I see a lot of questions in the Media Center newsgroups and forums asking how to access recorded TV from another Media Center in the house.  This is fairly easy to accomplish.  In this entry I’ll walk you through it in Vista; XP is almost the same except for some of the steps for sharing and securing the folder.    

This setup is for Media Centers that are not part of a Windows domain.  Now that Vista allows Media Center machines to act as part of a domain it’s a little simpler process.  I’ll write another entry later on how to set that up.

The first step is to turn off the sharing wizard (simple file sharing in XP) do this on the Media Center that is doing the recording.

  • Open Control Panel
  • Open folder options
  • Click on the view tab
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom
  • Uncheck “Use Sharing Wizard”

Next is to share the Recorded TV folder on your Media Center that is doing the recording.

  • Navigate to your Recorded TV folder
  • Right click on it and choose properties
  • Click the sharing tab
  • Click on Advanced Sharing
  • Check “Share this folder”
  • Click the permissions button
  • Click add
  • Type anonymous in the box and click ok. If you want the remote computer to be able to delete TV shows click the change box, otherwise leave it at the default of Read (see figure below).

  • Click OK twice
  • Go to the security tab
  • Click the edit button
  • Click add
  • Type anonymous in the box and click OK. If you want the remote computer to be able to delete TV click the modify box, otherwise leave it at the default (see figure below).



  • Click OK then close

The next step is to edit the local computer policy to allow anonymous access to the share we just created.

  • Click Start and then type gpedit.msc in the search box and hit enter.
  • Expand Computer Configuration
  • Expand Windows Settings
  • Expand Security Settings
  • Expand Local Policies
  • Click on Security Options
  • Double click on “Network access: Shares that can be accessed anonymously”
  • Type Recorded TV
  • Click OK

  • Double click on “Network access: Do not allow anonymous enumeration of SAM accounts and shares” and ensure it is set to disabled.
  • Close the local computer policy
  • Reboot

Now to tell the other Media Centers to look at this share for Recorded TV you’ll need to edit the registry.

  • Click Start and type regedit.exe into the search box and hit enter.
  • Expand SOFTWARE
  • Expand Microsoft
  • Expand Windows
  • Expand Current Version
  • Expand Media Center
  • Expand Service
  • Click on Recording
  • Create a new Multi-String Value by right clicking in the right pane and going to New.
  • Name the new value “WatchedFolders” (without the quotes).
  • Double click on WatchedFolders and enter the path to the share on the remote Media Center machine, ex. \\computername\Recorded TV


  • Click Ok and close the registry editor.
  • Reboot
  • Open Media Center and go to Recorded TV, you should now see all the recorded TV on the remote Media Center.
29 thoughts on “How To: Share Recorded TV with other Media Centers”
  1. Mike

    Just done this on my Vista box.

    Couple of points WatchedFolder didn’t work but WatchedFolders did.

    Also the Recorded TV view doesn’t refresh to new content on the share unless I exit and restart Media Center. Any ideas?


  2. Sorry that was a typo. I also have the same issue with the refresh and searching google and the green button it looks like everyone has the same issue. : (

  3. Today’s “Daily” is the “Oh No You Didn’t!” edition. It was a strange day in Microsoft-land. REALLY strange.

  4. gpedit.msc is not available in vista home Premium. I managed to make changes to my main PC which is running ultimate but would like to have the opposite for the PC running home premium.

    Is there a work around to the missing tool.

    Great tip by the way. Works flawlessly


  5. This is a great article. Although had to upgrade my MCE it ultimate to get it working!

    However i still cannot get my laptop (the remote computer pointing at the recorded tv on the MCE) to play the video in recorded tv. It can see it just fine, and if i browse to the recorded tv folder in media player i can play the video fine.

    Media Center throws the following error when trying to play the video:

    “Video Error:
    Files to display the video are not installed or working properly. Please restart Windows Media Center or restart the computer.”

    Anyone got any ideas what is actually causing the error?



  6. In your notes there are some small changes to getting this to work on XP. Can you tell us what those changes are? I tried was suggested above and can not get it to work.

    Thanks in advance.


  7. I have two machines running Vista Premium, and wanted to share recorded TV between them. I have things working pretty well after following these directions, but I do have one problem:

    Machine1 has shared content, which I view on Machine2. The one thing that isn’t working is HD content. I can see all the content from Machine1 when looking at recorded TV on Machine2, and I can play content that is not HD. But when I play HD content I get audio, but the screen is just solid green.

    Any ideas?

  8. The directions here are for Vista Ultimate, but with one small tweak you can make this solution work for Vista Home Premium as well.

    Vista Home does not include the policy editor capability. So when you get to this step above:

    “Click Start and then type gpedit.msc in the search box and hit enter.”

    You won’t find gpedit on your machine. However, you can make the necessary adjustments directly to the registry, and achieve the desired outcome. Details on translating between gpedit and the related registry keys are here:

    For this particular one you just need to do this:

    * From the start menu, type regedit into the search box to open the registry
    * Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanManServer\Parameters
    * Right-click on Parameters and choose New – Multi-String value
    * Name it NullSessionShares
    * Edit the value, and type in Recorded TV

    Then reboot, and continue on with the directions to access the new share from your other MPCs.

    Good luck!

  9. I went through all of the above steps with interesting results. The secondary MCE with the WatchedFolders registry edit brings in all of the metadata for the Recorded TV shows, but when you select a TV show to watch it brings up a playback error. When you go directly to the folder over the network, the secondary MCE does not have authorization to access the Recorded TV folder. I have checked this scenario from other PC’s in the home and none of them have authorized access to the Recorded TV folder.

  10. This is a great article. I had to do another step for the computer sharing the recorded tv. In Control Panel, Network and Sharing Center, I had to turn off “Password protected sharing”. After that change, everything worked fine.

  11. Great Article. Have got 2 vista machines seeing and playing each others recorded tv.
    However I have a linksys 2200 extender which is connected to one of the vista machines. It sees the content from the other machine but get the video error screen when try to playback.The host mce plays the files great.
    I know it is a permission thing but at loss to get it going. Any ideas!

  12. Great tip! But one question:

    I have two VMC machines. One (A) which is set to record all programs to its own hard drive in the living room. The second (B) is in the bedroom, and I want that one to access (A)’s recorded TV. This tip does just that! My question is:

    Is there a way for (B) to automatically send a wake-on-lan signal to (A) when I turn (B) on from standby (S3 mode)?

    In other words, both (A) and (B) are set to go to S3 sleep mode when they are inactive. When I turn on (B), I’d like it to send a WOL signal to (A) automatically, so that it can then access (A)’s media.

    I already have a program and a batch file to send the WOL signal. I just need a way for (B) to know to run this program every time it wakes up. Thoughts?

  13. I had trouble getting this working as well. Be sure to check the following security settings:

    Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment > Access this computer from the network

    Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment > Deny access to this computer from the network

    “Access this computer from the network” must include an entry for “Everyone” and “Deny access to this computer from the network” must not include “Guest.”

    Also, make sure that the Guest account is enabled in Computer Management. To enable that account, run “compmgmt.msc” from the run window or command prompt. The guest account can be found here:

    Computer Management > System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users

    Good luck.

  14. Oh yeah, and you can skip the reboot after making changes to these settings by running the following command from the command prompt (running as an administrator):

    gpupdate /force

    If successful, you’ll see the following two messages:

    User Policy update has completed successfully.
    Computer Policy update has completed successfully.

  15. This work great !

    Is there anybody knowing how to also share the DVD library ? I rip all my DVD on the HTPC’s hard drive and have enabled the DVD library in MCE… Now, I would appreciate to share those rips between my PC…


  16. Hi,
    tjohn wrote in a comment about a whiel back that he had trouble getting the REcorded tV to work and got a message saying ‘video error’
    I have the same problem does anyone know how to fix this problem? I can actually see the recorded programs from the other MCE but when I go to play them it has the ‘video error’ comment.

  17. The video error is usually a permissions issue, double check your share and ntfs permissions and make sure they’re correct. Also make sure you can navigate to the share and playback the content by double clicking on it.

  18. I’ve been researching how to share Recorded TV with other media centers for a couple of days. I’ve tried everything listed in this blog, but no go. I really haven’t found any new posts on the subject anywhere on the internet.

    Do the methods described here (some from 2 years ago) still work with Vista today?

    The key problem I’m experiencing is that the remote media centers (while they can open the share on the MCE server) don’t show any files in the actual Media Center interface.

    Some observations:
    -I can browse to the shared folder and see the contents
    -I can add the folder to the watched folders under TV settings
    -Anonymous login’s and permissions are set
    -The firewall on the server is shut off
    -No Antivirus software is present
    -I can play back the files on the MCE server itself through the interface
    -The NullSessionsShares reg entry was added with the correct share name

    Any ideas/updates you have would be appreciated.



    Yes for Vista Ultimate these instructions are still valid.

    An easier way to accomplish this is to use Windows Home Server with power pack 2 and copy/move your shows to the recorded tv share on it, it takes care of the rest for you.

  20. I used the above instructions and had repeated issues with permissions. Namely I could not access the recorded TV folder on a different computer. I had to do the additional following steps to make this work in Vsta 64:

    * First, make sure that anonymous enumeration of SAM accounts is turned off. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa and find the restrictanonymoussam REG_DWORD. Sit this to 0.
    * Second, you need to allow anonymous access to your recorded TV share. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters. If there is a NullSessionShares REG_MULTI_SZ, add the name of your share. Don’t add the path! Just the name of the share, like “Recorded TV”. If NullSessionShares doesn’t exist, create a new multi-string value, name it NullSessionShares, and put the name of the share in.
    * If you don’t use passwords, you _might_ need to find the “LimitBlankPasswordUse” DWORD at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa and set it to 0. I don’t think you need to change this unless you’re having problems, though.

    I found the helpful tip at the following link:


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