XBMC and Windows 7

So I have had XBMC installed on my Gateway DX4831-01e for awhile now under my normal user account, and today I migrated it to it’s own user account. What that means is that all it loads is EventGhost for handling my PS3 Bluetooth Remote and XBMC. That’s it. I did limit what the account had access to in terms of folder access not counting system files.

So to get this to work as it works, you need several things depending on hardware and peripherials:

A computer (Duh silly :D). I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium on my desktop, so these instructions will work on that. Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate may have different registry settings that need applying.

Something to control the XBMC interface with if you aren’t sticking to the usual mouse/keyboard type. In this instance I’m using a Blu-link PS3 Universal Remote which also allows for control of IR based devices such as home stereos, TV’s, etc. Link here: http://www.blu-link.com

A Bluetooth adapter if you use the Blu-Link Remote

EventGhost, I’m using build number 0.3.6.1487 but I think using the latest will also be sufficient. Get it here: http://www.eventghost.org

XBMC, a multimedia center program that can used in several ways, if you wish to explore them, do so at your own risk, I won’t be covering it here in any great detail. get it here: http://www.xbmc.org

Ok, so after initially setting up the computer and what not, which if your reading this and you got lost at this point, DON’T DO ANYTHING FURTHER, FIND A COMPUTER GEEK AND GET SOME ASSISTANCE. WHAT I COVER IN THIS POST IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.

Step 1: Install EventGhost and XBMC

Step 2: Pair up your Blu-Link Remote using a Bluetooth adapter if one isn’t present in your existing computer system. Pair it without entering a passcode on it, it will make your life a hell of a lot simpler.

Step 3: If EventGhost isn’t running, open it. We are going to use this to capture the signals from the remote and have it do what it is you/we want. After it’s open, and your remote is paired, press a button on it. If it’s paired properly, then you should see an “event” appear on the left pane and it should match the button you pressed. I.E. on my PS3 remote I have a red button and when I press it I see “Hid.Red” as the event. In my case it triggers for deletion of the selected item from the playlist. That is what it made sense for me to have, but for you, you may want/need it for another purpose.

If that works, continue to step 4. If not, you may have to hit Google for an answer to the specific problem you may be experiencing. I know I had to go and hunt down a specific Bluetooth stack from Toshiba to get the remote to work. But it all depends on what your ultimate choice of input device is.

Step 4: Tell EventGhost to load the PS3 Bluetooth remote Plugin as a part of the auto sequence when it’s loaded. Just right click in the right panenical knowled, Add Plugin, and it’s under one of the many many many options you have.

Step 5: Ok, so now here is the most tedious part of the whole thing. Either you can hand assign each button to an action, or you can go and find a base template and work from it. I chose to do a mix of the two, I took the base Example.xml and modded to my needs. I turned off Zoom Player and Winamp plugins, and told it to load only the XBMC components and the remote components. Depending on the controlling device it may not take too long to do, especially if it’s a mouse keyboard because really there isn’t much to map.

Step 6: Once you get everything mapped, test it out to make sure you have it more or less the way you want it. You may decide to change some things later after we make in the primary GUI. Once that is done to your satisfaction, add XBMC to the startup sequence as auto starting with EventGhost.

This is where things kind of depend on how many background processes you want running while using this as a media center. A couple of notes though: I have it running as my shell, and I did notice that minimizing a program makes it disappear because XBMC is always on top and you <i>cannot</i> Alt+Tab your way back to it. Also things that rely on explorer.exe will NOT work, it doesn’t seem to load that as a process even when requested unless you do it by hand.

Ok so if you want to let all your normal stuff as well, such Skype, Yahoo, AIM, etc. and still want to have your desktop in the background, just make a shortcut to your Startup folder and if XBMC is set right in EvenGhost to load went starting it, you should be good to go.

IF you want it to be your only interface, read on!

Step 7: Go to Start and in the search bar type regedit and hit enter. We will be modifying some registry keys so if you aren’t comfortable with this, either do the first method and make a shortcut, or get a friend with technical savvy to help you out.

Step 8: Once the Registry Editor is open, you will need to navigate to: (HKLM)  HKLocalMachine/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon/ and make a backup of Winlogon by selecting it and going to File, and then Export. This is in case this messes up and we need to fix it :)

Step 9: Once the backup is made and you’ve stored somewhere you won’t forget, i.e. on a flash drive or in My Documents or wherever, go back to the Editor and make sure Winlogon is selected and look for on the right pane a object called Shell with a value of explorer.exe . If that is accurate, leave it alone! Don’t touchy. That is a global setting for all the users and unless everyone will be expecting this, don’t change it. I only mentioned it in case this is in fact what you want, but it will do it for ALL ACCOUNTS including any new ones made afterwards. Hence the reason for the backup.

Step 10: Collapse all of that on the left pane, and navigate to (HKCU) HKCurrentUser/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon/ and again make another backup just in case. Be sure to differentiate between the two since they are radically different if you look at how much data is in this right pane compared to before. Ok after making the backup, create a new String by right clicking in the right pane (after making sure Winlogon is still highlighted first.) and go to New and String (RZ-SH) and naming it Shell. Right click on Shell and give it a value of “C:\Program Files (x86)\EventGhost\EventGhost.exe” WITH the quotations. That is a must. Now if EventGhost is installed elsewhere, simple substitute that path for the one I gave. That is just where mine is installed on my system because I am running 64-bit.

Step 11: Reboot and test it. Tweak as necessary. You should now have a functioning Windows 7 based Home Theatre PC running XBMC, using whatever controller you prefer but hopefully Blu-Link’s PS3 Remote or even the Sony PS3 Official Remote. I just know the battery life in the PS3 remote wasn’t the greatest based on some reviews so I opted for the knockoff aside from the fact that it serves more than one purpose.

Alrighty then! XBMC is pretty straight forward to configure, if you need help with that go look at the Wiki which is here:

http://wiki.xbmc.org

Now go and enjoy your movies :)

If you have any questions comment below and I’ll answer them as best as I can or I may give you a link to get some further help with.

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~ by hackersarchangel on October.20.2010.

5 Responses to “XBMC and Windows 7”

  1. you dont happen to remember what BT stack you used do you?

    …old thread is old…

  2. Excellent post. I am going through a few of these issues as well.
    .

  3. Can the Blu-Link still be used to control the PS3 when you set it up like this?

    • Yes, although you would have to pair it with the PS3 each time you wanted to use it, and then re-pair it back to the PC. However I don’t have a PS3, so I can’t swear to that. If the PS3 is in a different room, it might not need to be paired everytime you switch between them. Pure speculation though, so I’d say try it and let us know how it went :)

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