Using WatchedFolders on Media Center 2005

I don't know how many times I've had to search for this on TheGreenButton, so I thought I'd post the info here so I always know where to find it. The problem is this: I have 2 Media Center 2005 machines and one file server. Recorded TV that I want to keep around I copy to the file server and I want both my MCE machines to be able to display it in Recorded TV. I also want to be able to view recorded TV from any MCE machine, regardless of where it lives. So, here's how to configure your MCE machines and file server to play well in this scenario, aggregated from this post on

You probably should not do this unless you're behind a hardware firewall or NAT (like a cable/DSL router).

So here goes:

  1. Have both machines on the same network.  If the machines can't ping each other by name, this will not work.
  2. Share your recorded TV folder on each machine.  Give "Everyone" full control on the share and on the folder itself.  You can name the share the default, "Recorded TV" if you want, that's what I do.
  3. Open RegEdit, and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Recording.  Find the entry "WatchedFolders" and open it up.
  4. On each machine, add a new line to this entry at the bottom, pointing to the other machine's Recorded TV share.  For example, see below the steps.  You have to do this on all machines.
  5. With RegEdit still open, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanserver\parameters
  6. Find the NullSessionShares entery and add the name of your share local share (e.g. "Recorded TV" without the quotes). 
  7. Close RegEdit.
  8. Click start, run, and open gpedit.msc.  Navigate under Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options, and find "Network access:  Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users".  Open that up, and change the setting to enabled.  Do this on all machines.
  9. Reboot, and check your recorded TV.  Shows from both MCE's should show up on both MCE's!

The sample Watched Folders:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Recorded TV
E:\Recorded TV
\\machine1\Recorded TV
\\machine1\Recorded TV

Skip to main content