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nce upon a time I enabled a feature in Windows Media Center (MCE) called My DVDs. I tried it out for awhile, and then turned it back off because I never used it. But I was single then, and now I’m married, and my wife has found a new application for it.

My DVDs can be enabled by using the TweakMCE powertoy published by Microsoft. Once turned on, it switches the Play DVD function on the MCE Start Menu to the My DVDs function. The new My DVDs menu lists DVDs you have in the DVD drive, and all the ripped DVDs you have in any of the folders MCE looks in for content.

Why is this useful? It’s very convenient to play DVDs directly off the hard drive or network rather than tracking down a DVD that may or may not be on the shelf where you thought you left it. Of course, this form of DVD storage uses up a ton of hard drive space, but we’ve found that for the few DVDs that my wife uses constantly (exercise videos and the like), it is worth it.

One of the cool aspects of My DVDs is the integration with the AMG lookup service. It takes a little bit of tweaking, but MCE can use the same service it uses to list info about movies in The Guide, to fill in the info for ripped movies. Here are the steps to use to get a DVD working smoothly in My DVDs.

  1. Rip your DVD. (I use DVDFab)
  2. Move the new ripped DVD folder (the one that contains the VIDEO_TS folder) to a directory that Media Center looks in for content.
  3. Use notepad to create a file in this folder called [Your_DVD_Name_Here].dvdid.xml, with the following contents:
  4.  <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
    <Name>[Your DVD_Name_Here]</Name>

  5. If you haven’t already done this, place the DVD in the DVD drive of your Media Center PC with Media Center open. You don’t have to watch it, just give MCE a minute, it’s going online to AMG to get info.
  6. Use Windows Explorer to go to C:\Documents and Settings\[Your username]\Application Data\Microsoft\eHome\DvdInfoCache. (You may need to choose “Show hidden files” in Tools/Folder Options/View tab in order to see these files)
  7. You should see at least one or more XML files in this folder. Open them up until you find the XML file that is for your DVD.
  8. Scroll down to the bottom of the file and locate the “<dvdid>” tag.
  9. Copy the data between the tags (should look something like “e0dab1f1|fbf3fe71″.
  10. Go back to the file that you created earlier ([Your_DVD_Name_Here].dvdid.xml) in notepad and paste the data between the “<ID>” tags, and save.


Now when you go to My DVDs in MCE, you should see your DVD listed, with the cover art displayed and lots of neat info about the movie. And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZZZ



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