Adding custom tiles to built-in Windows Media Center Start menu strips

Last week, I posted some instructions explaining how to create custom strips on the Windows Media Center Start menu and populate the strips with tiles.  There is an additional way that you can customize the Start menu that I wanted to cover separately.

There is a slot on each of the built-in Windows Media Center Start menu strips that you can add a single tile to by registering an application and entry point for a specific category.  The new tile will appear just to the left of the default selected tile in each relevant Windows Media Center Start menu strip.

For example, the following sample XML file can be used with RegisterMceApp.exe to add a tile to the Windows Media Center Music strip:

<application title="Custom Music Application" id="{PUT_GUID1_HERE}">
  <entrypoint id="{PUT_GUID2_HERE}"
              title="Custom Music Entry Point"
              description="Custom Music Entry Point Description"
    <category category="Services\Audio"/>

(note that you will need to use a tool such as guidgen.exe or a website such as this to replace the values of PUT_GUID1_HERE and PUT_GUID2_HERE in this example)

Registering the above XML file on a Windows Vista system and launching Windows Media Center will show the following in the Start menu:

Windows Media Center Start menu with custom music tile added

The following table lists the categories that you can register an entry point for and what Start menu strip they will appear in within Windows Media Center:


Start menu strip
Services\Audio Music
Services\Movies TV + Movies*
Services\Pictures Pictures + Videos
Services\TV TV + Movies*

The TV + Movies strip is a special case because there are 2 distinct categories but only a single strip for the tile to appear in.  If you register an entry point in the TV category, it takes precedence over any entry point registered in the Movies category and will appear in the TV + Movies strip on the Start menu.  If you only have an entry point registered in the Movies category, then it will appear in the TV + Movies strip on the Start menu.


Comments (5)
  1. This article will serve as a central repository for topics that I have written about Windows Media Center

  2. evanlin says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your article, it is very helpful.

    But we meet one problem under Win7.

    We found the category "ServicesMovies" will not show in "TV + Movies" it will show in "ExtraExtras library"

    Do you have any idea which we could add our custom tiles in start menu for "Movies" and "TV" in Win7 MCE?

  3. Hi Evanlin – I left the Media Center team prior to the start of Windows 7 development, so I don’t know for sure how these categories map to strips in the Windows 7 version of Media Center.  I’d suggest taking a look at the Windows 7 Media Center SDK for additional information about these scenarios.  You can find a download link to the latest version of this SDK and some links to development forums that can be helpful if you have more detailed questions in the blog post at

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