How to disable a Media Center add-in

Jason over at Digital Media Thoughts sent me an email about his new article on The Powers and Perils of a Platform.  Jason talks about the trouble he had when a Media Center "plugin" went bad and couldn't be uninstalled.  It's not clear if it was an HTML application or a managed code add-in, but based on the description I'm assuming it's the latter.  He ran into problems when trying to manually uninstall the application so I thought I should post something on what to do when an add-in goes bad...

In Media Center 2005 add-ins can do pretty much what they want to do without restriction, if one starts to misbehave the best thing you can do is to disable it:

    1. Start Media Center

    2. Click on Settings

    3. Click on General

    4. Click More Programs Options

    5. Click Edit More Programs

    6. Deslect the app to disable and click Save

This will disable the app from starting and hide anything entrypoint it's registered throughout Media Center.  It won't uninstall the app, but it will prevent it from running.

Comments (4)

  1. alternate is to focus its icon in ‘More Programs’, select ‘More Info’ or ‘right click’ on it, then select ‘Remove’

  2. mcreasy says:

    Yes, although this will only work for applications in More Programs whereas the above will work for all Media Center applications. I recommend against using the "remove" option in More Programs as it’s rather hard to get the item back once you’ve removed it.

  3. Jason Dunn says:

    Thanks for the link! The app was managed code, not HTML. Unfortunately that error I was getting happened immediately after starting up the MCE GUI, as soon as I clicked up or down. So at the time I wasn’t even able to get into the settings panel. 🙁 But this is good to know for next time! 🙂

  4. mcreasy says:

    Jason, there’s still a way to disable in that scenario, although it does involve working in the registry. Registration information is stored under HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionMedia CenterExtensibility and the same location in HKLM. Now comes the hard part, there are three folders, Applications, Categories and Entrypoints. First you need to find the application in the Application folder and note the GUID used. Next find the entry under Categories that you need to disable, the category names are fairly obvious so this should be easy, the folder you need will reference the application guid. Finally take the name of the folder in Categories and find the folder of the same name under Entrypoints and create a string value called "Enabled" with a value of "false". That will disable it.

    If the application only registered one entrypoint, you can skip looking through categories and go right to the Entrypoints to find the entrypoint that references the application guid.

    Yes, it’s complex and yes, we know it could be better.

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