How-To Geek

Startup Customizations for Media Center in Windows 7

Do you wish you could just jump right into playing music when you open Media Center? Or maybe just skip that start up animation? Today we are going to show you a variety of startup switches that will allow you to customize the way Media Center opens in Windows 7.

Startup Customizations

We will be adding all of these switches to the end of the Target, on the Shortcut tab in the properties of Windows Media Center. If you start Media Center from the Start menu, go to Start > All Programs, right-click on Windows Media Center and select “Properties.” If you launch Media Center from a desktop shortcut, simply right-click on the icon and choose “Properties.” On the “Shortcut” tab, you will see the Target box with the text string: %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe.


To add each of these switches to the Target, simply leave a space after %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe, type the switch, and click “Save.” When you are finished, it should read like this:

%windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /nostartupanimation


Disable the Startup Animation & Music

This switch opens Media Center without it’s animation and music. It doesn’t seem to open Media Center any faster, but if you are annoyed by the animation and music, this will rid you of both.

/no startupanimation


Media Only Mode

Media Only mode keeps Windows Media Center displayed in full screen with the minimize and close buttons hidden. A small padlock will appear in the top right corner next to the time.


You can turn off Media Only mode from within Media Center by going to Tasks > Exit Media Only.


RTL Mode

If you prefer to look at things from right to left, you may enjoy RTL mode.


This switch essentially flips the direction of everything in Media Center. You’ll notice that in windowed mode, even the close, maximize, and minimized buttons are flipped to the left side.


Remove Shut Down from Tasks

This switch disables the Shut Down tile under Tasks on the Windows Media Center Start menu.


This can be especially useful for preventing family members from clicking shut down and turning off your PC when it needs to stay on to record your favorite shows.


No Chrome

This switch opens Media Center without the window frame and doesn’t display an icon on the task bar.


It’s got a cool appearance if you don’t mind not being able to either move the window around with your mouse, or easily exit out of Media Center. To escape this mode once you’ve entered it, double-click on the green Media Center logo at the top left to pop it into Full Screen mode, then click the ”X” at the top right to exit.


Open in the Video Library

Start directly in the Video Library in Full Screen mode with this switch.



Start in Recorded TV

If you want to dive into your recorded TV shows right off the bat, this switch will open Media Center in your Recorded TV library in Full Screen mode.



Open in the Picture Library

If pictures are more your thing, try opening Media Center in the Picture Library in Full Screen mode.



Open in the Music Library

If you use Windows Media Center more for music than Video or TV, you may want to try this switch on for size. It opens Media Center in the Music Library in Full Screen mode.



Play Your Music at Startup

Start your music collection playing on startup with this switch.


If you’d rather start up to only your favorite songs, try this switch instead.



Play Music with a Slideshow

Start off Media Center with a slideshow accompanied by your music.


Or play the slideshow with only your favorite music.



Start with Just a Slideshow

If you prefer only a slideshow on startup, try this switch.


Or a slideshow of just your favorites.




Some of these switches will help you customize your Windows 7 Media Center experience to your liking. Others may simply be more interesting than useful. If you like these switches, and use Media Center primarily to watch Live TV, you may want to check out our previous article on  Starting Windows 7 Media Center in Live TV Mode.

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 02/26/10

Comments (11)

  1. Matthew Guay

    Wow, this is really neat! Thanks for sharing! I think I just might make several shortcuts for quick access to the different modes depending on what I want.

  2. Bob

    Windows Media Centre in W7 is much improved and these shortcuts make it much more usable – Thanks very much

  3. jpmays

    Geek… can one use multiple switches? For example, /rtl /no startupanimation?

  4. Rob

    Very helpful, thank you. I had never heard of these before. I believe, however, the switch to disable startup animation is:

    /nostartupanimation (one word)

  5. Mysticgeek

    @Rob: Thanks for pointing that out. We made the correction.

  6. Greg Sowa

    Is there a way to use these customizations when the ‘Start’ button is pressed on the Windows media center remote?

  7. Chook

    Is it possible for 7MC could start up in a windowed mode of say 1400×900?


  8. Ron

    Hi, could there be a customized option added to play other video formats? For example, I have a player that plays High Def MKV files, which Media Center does not support. My player does however. If I could start this player from within Windows Media Center, I could keep Media Only Mode enabled and play the MKV files from there.

  9. Brian Bach Kjeldsen

    I have just tried “nochrome” but the picture doesn’t fill out the entire screen. On my TV its shows up in the upper left corner (25% of full screen) and on my 15″ monitor it’s 80% and I cant get it to fit the screen. What do I do wrong?

    A have chosen normal window, and going for the option full screen just gives me MC in normal full screen.

    I wan’t to avoid that the mouse is trapped in MC full screen. I have tried Maxifier and the windows key, and they both make the live TV flicker a lot. I have also shortly tried Muliton, but it minimizes MC instead of Maximizing.

  10. carl

    I was wondering if there is a way of making media center only look for files once on start up and not every time you go in to movies. It takes on mine about 20-30 seconds every time and thats most annoying

  11. Paulus

    I’ve been working on a HTPC with Windows 7 64-bit. It’s looking great!

    I got everything working in windows media center, from movies to nintendo wii games and controllers, I am constantly hitting one dead end. A web browser.

    MCEBrowser only works with 32-bit media center, I’ve tried Kylo web-browser but it does not match the rest and causes alot of problems, I’ve tried editing all the normal web browers with bigger skins, no good.

    But I know found a new method, Run: C:\Windows\ehome\ehshell.exe /url:
    This allows you to open any webpage in windows media center.

    Only problem is I want to get it working with my remote control and that means some sort of on-screen keyboard, that’s were I’ve hit my dead end, I found out how to activate the on-screen keyboard when searching for music and other stuff:

    Check the registry settings:-
    1 Start > Run > Regedit > OK
    2 Click on Yes tab when UAC dialog box pops up.
    3 Now locate the following registry location:-
    4 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\MCE.PerUserSettings\showOskOnKeyboardEnter
    5 On the right pane of the registry editor select showOskOnKeyboardEnter
    6 Right click on it to select Modify
    7 Change the vale fron 0 to 1.
    8 Close the regisry editor.

    Anyone know if there is a way of keeping this keyboard on the screen?

    I also discovered Remote KC, this is a software package that allows you to use your remote and a mouse (using arrow buttons or 2,4,6,8 keys on remote) or keyboard (like texting on a mobile phone), and by switching between them using the * button:

    Another great tool and gets me one step closer to what I want but the mouse moves really slow and it takes ages to enter something.

    I hope someone could give me a solution or some advice on achieving my last goal to finish my HTPC, I will also post everything I done to make the HTPC on the internet when it’s done :D

    Kind Regards,

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