How-To Geek

Automatically Start Windows 7 Media Center in Live TV Mode

Do you use Windows Media Center primarily to watch Live TV?  If so, you may want to avoid a few clicks or keyboard strokes and automatically start Media Center in Live TV mode.

If you use a Media Center remote, you can always start in Live TV mode by pressing the Live TV button. If you don’t have a remote, here’s a quick switch you can use to accomplish the task. If you launch Media Center from a desktop icon, right click on the icon, choose Properties, and click on the Shortcut tab at the top.


In the Target box, you should see %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe. Leave a space after exe and type “/mcesuperbar://tv?live=true”

The final string should now read:

%windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe “/mcesuperbar://tv?live=true”


Click “OK.”

If you open Windows Media Center from the Start Menu instead of the desktop, you will need to add the switch there.  Click Start > All Programs, then right-click on Windows Media Center and choose Properties


Then and add the same switch in the Target text box on the Shortcut tab.


That’s it! Media Center will now open directly in Live TV mode on your last viewed channel.


If you use WMC mainly to watch live TV, this is a cool trick that will open it automatically saving you some clicks.

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 02/17/10

Comments (27)

  1. Josiah Garber

    Very cool thanks for sharing it!

  2. jpmays

    What about additional command line switches… say, for instance, if we want to start WMC always in Internet TV mode, or Netflix mode? Are there switches for that?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. ka

    Awesome tip, it also removes the 5 second splashscreen with the windows logo :)

    I had to remove the quotes from the switch for it to work though. So just like this:
    %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /mcesuperbar://tv?live=true

  4. andy

    Wish we could do this with an xbox

  5. lmiller867

    If you have Windows Media Center pinned to either the Start Menu or Taskbar you can also use the jump list to start up in Live TV mode, to start up playing a specific recorded show or to start in the Guide.

  6. Eric

    How would you go about changing it if you use a windows media center remote control?

    Thanks, great tip!


  7. Wil

    This shortcut worked well for me.

    %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /homepage:VideoFullscreen.xml /PushStartPage:True

  8. Bob

    The quotes! D’oh! I was wondering why I couldnt get it to work!!

    Thanks – very useful

  9. Yardman

    I would love to have this work with the MCE remote also…

  10. DigitalGeekery

    It worked on my systems with and without the quotes, but yeah, if one doesn’t work for you, try the other.

    Eric – If you have a Media Center remote, it “should” have a Live TV button. It looks like a little tv w/ an antenna. Pressing that should open WMC in Live TV mode.

  11. Bill

    As above, I continue to use what I did in Vista: /homepage:VideoFullscreen.xml /PushStartPage:True

    I’ve to know if there’s a way to open on a specific channel.

  12. Mouser

    How can you do this on vista so it opens windowed, not full screen?

  13. travelgirl

    have to say, i’ve tried it both quoted and unquoted (vista 64 home premium) and it fails to open in live tv… not sure why, because it doesn’t appear to be annoyed (no warning/error dialog appears)…

  14. travelgirl


    This shortcut worked well for me.

    %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /homepage:VideoFullscreen.xml /PushStartPage:True

    and it didn’t change the size of my window (which is not fullscreen)… i’m a happy camper. thanks!

  15. Adam

    Just found this link… great idea!

    Is there anyway to make this work for users who automatically start 7MC when Windows loads?

  16. Paul Hermans

    If you want to start in live TV mode when windows starts do the following:

    1) in windows media center settings disable “start mediacenter when window start”
    2) then in windows start menu go to “All programs” richt click “Startup” and choose explore
    3) in new window right click “new shortcut”
    4) type link in shortcut: %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /mcesuperbar://tv?live=true
    5) restart your computer and see if it works.

  17. andre78

    j’ai fait la manip ci dessus pour avoir la tv il me sort (application non valide impossible de lancer ” “)

    essai sans guillemets idem j’ai ete voir dans extander il me demande une clé N° à 8chiffres ?

    pouvez vous me répondre svp merçi AD

  18. d00msay3r3

    I agree with some others. How do we do this we a MCE remote and is there a list of other defaults? I’d love to have my mce remote open and go right to my video library. I store all my downloaded tv shows in there and is where I go most of the time after clicking 20 times.

  19. RightonRyan

    So cool! Thank you…remember no quotes.

  20. rich

    what about the desk top gadget? Or Logitech Dinovo Mini which has WMC button?

  21. Firedog

    Doesn’t work for me. Using Vista 64 bit.

  22. s-g

    tancks a lot

  23. Ryan

    Works w/quotes so I guess Windows changed whatever quote restrictions they had. WMC7 set to start up on Windows start in full screen = PERFECT!

    -Ceton 4-tuner

  24. KariBari

    if this doesn’t work
    %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe “/mcesuperbar://tv?live=true”

    try it without the quotes

    %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /mcesuperbar://tv?live=true

  25. AdamiX

    Works on Win7 Ultimate 64bit. but like KariBari wrote: without quotes.
    It also works witm my Logitech Wave keyboard! Perfect. Thanks!

  26. Mark

    I’m curious. Does anyone know what that number is that comes up in a rectangle in the upper right hand corner when you start live tv? Mine says 50.

  27. N2

    Mark – That number represents the volume level in WMC. Change the volume w/ your remote and it will change as well.

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