Change Windows Shell to boot straight to Media Center or XBMC! Working flawlessly! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Changed the title from "Has anyone tried this 'straight boot to MC (eh shell)' guide over at AVForums? Looking for feedback & comments" to the present one, since I have it working.
Check Post 6.

AVForums has this guide posted on how to change the default Windows Shell to either XBMC or Media Center.

I want to try this but I would like to obtain feedback from anyone here who might have messed with this.
Its not a simple 'launch MC at start up' guide; it changes the shell of the OS. The only thing I can relate it to is changing launchers in Android.

It seems very interesting and am looking for feedback from other users. Even if you have never tried it but have knowledge of what this does to the OS (pros and cons), please provide some comments.

Thanks.

AVForums is a popular AV forum on the other side of the pond (UK).

P.S. I hope its not against the rules to link a post from there over here.
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 05:19 AM
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Very interesting. I wonder if this works fine with external players like Media Browser + MPC-HC.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Very interesting. I wonder if this works fine with external players like Media Browser + MPC-HC.


Media Browser runs inside Media Center while XBMC has its own UI. So (I'm just hypothesizing here) it might launch MB, but it won't have a UI.
The guide specifically mentions launching into (using) the XBMC shell or MC (ehshell.exe).
I'll probably take out an older box and experiment on that.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 06:02 AM
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I may give this a try next weekend. Worse case scenario is that I have to reinstall Windows and reset up WMC.
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SUBCOB View Post

I may give this a try next weekend. Worse case scenario is that I have to reinstall Windows and reset up WMC.

Maybe do a system backup beforehand so you can boot from your system disc and recover faster that way?

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post #6 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Yahoo!
I couldn't wait to try it and I am happy to report it works great.
Couldn't be any simpler, download 'Instant Sheller', point it to 'ehshell.exe' and click 'Apply', restart and it boots straight into Media Center.

Few caveats though:
[1] Create a separate login, whether administrator or simple user. Give a password or don't.
[2] Boot and log into the second account.
[3] Confirm that MC/XBMC is working as you want, including setup of your collection.
[4] Run IS: Follow Part 3 of the guide,
[5] Reboot
[6] Ctrl+Alt+Del and run 'Task manager', Alt+F, Enter and type 'explorer.exe' in 'Run New Task'. This will bring back the desktop.
[7] The cursor will be replaced with a 'dot' (if you changed it in IS), now follow part 4.1 for auto logon.

Changes can be undone anytime by running IS again and clicking 'Undo'. I have done it twice and it worked flawlessly both times.
To access the desktop (from inside the changed shell), you can 'Switch User' or follow step 6. Again, if you choose to change the cursor into a dot, it will be barely visible.

My setup is Media Center + Media Browser and it runs great; XBMC should run even better.
Make sure to uncheck unnecessary items in Startup. I have Daemon Tools for ISO mounting, I left that to run at startup.

I hope other users try it and report back.
Good Luck!
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Maybe do a system backup beforehand so you can boot from your system disc and recover faster that way?
That is a smart idea. I will do that before I venture forward.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 08:01 PM
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Sounds pretty cool! Ill have to check it out. Once you boot into MCE can you then exit out and use the computer as usual? Any idea how this affects the Intel Smart Boot, or whatever the new thing on ivybridge is called.

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post #9 of 17 Old 06-11-2012, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by scoyne88 View Post

Sounds pretty cool! Ill have to check it out. Once you boot into MCE can you then exit out and use the computer as usual? Any idea how this affects the Intel Smart Boot, or whatever the new thing on ivybridge is called.
You probably just have to execute explorer.exe when you exit MCE.
By Intel Smart Boot you mean Intel Smart Response? If so, I don't know why it should affect.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-12-2012, 03:07 AM
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As writer of the guide over on the other forum, glad to see it's being put to use over here as well smile.gif

I found when wanting to do this myself sometime ago that although there's load of info out there on how to do it, the info on the techniques are spread across many blogs, postings, & sites with no single resource that brings it all together, so that was my aim with the guide. Please suggest possible improvements as I want it be the most complete & easiest to follow guide for doing this.

JeffD
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-12-2012, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Very interesting. I wonder if this works fine with external players like Media Browser + MPC-HC.
You can set any program to be the Windows shell with the program set providing the primary interface, other Windows programs can be still opened as normal if needed. Obviously by replacing the Windows shell you lose the normal Windows desktop with start menu, therefore the program acting as the shell must have the ability to launch the required program either as an external player directly or via it's GUI e.g. Menu strip item in MCE or Advanced Launcher in XBMC.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-12-2012, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeky chappie View Post

As writer of the guide over on the other forum, glad to see it's being put to use over here as well smile.gif
I found when wanting to do this myself sometime ago that although there's load of info out there on how to do it, the info on the techniques are spread across many blogs, postings, & sites with no single resource that brings it all together, so that was my aim with the guide. Please suggest possible improvements as I want it be the most complete & easiest to follow guide for doing this.
JeffD

Thanks!
Its an excellent guide. I was thinking about registering just to thank you.
Since you wrote it and basically 'own' the hard work you could post the guide here too.
I'm sure it will be a 'sticky' in no time.
Looking forward to videos, whenever you get around to them.

Cheers!
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-12-2012, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent View Post

Thanks!
Its an excellent guide. I was thinking about registering just to thank you.
Since you wrote it and basically 'own' the hard work you could post the guide here too.
I'm sure it will be a 'sticky' in no time.
Looking forward to videos, whenever you get around to them.
Cheers!
Based on your experience I've already made some minor tweaks to the guides, as after going into a lot of depth to understand the concepts it can be very difficult to look at this stuff from a newcomers point of view and not make an assumption that something is obvious, so any feedback is gratefully received. I had thought about posting it across here too, but have only recently got it in a state where I'm reasonable happy it's pretty much complete, unfortunately time has been at premium so I haven't had a lot of time to spend on it. Maybe once I find the time to get some videos done & posted on Youtube I'll duplicate the thread across to here.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-12-2012, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaster View Post

You probably just have to execute explorer.exe when you exit MCE.
By Intel Smart Boot you mean Intel Smart Response? If so, I don't know why it should affect.

Thanks, and yeh that's what I meant.... I think, to many gimmicks on new motherboards these days.

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post #15 of 17 Old 07-18-2012, 07:32 AM
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I've done this for all my XBMC machines, and it's dead simple to set up. It definitely adds a extra touch of elegance to your HTPCs. Also, since explorer isn't loaded, I'm guessing it decreases the chance of popups and other annoying things from interrupting your HTPC experience.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-28-2013, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

I've done this for all my XBMC machines, and it's dead simple to set up. It definitely adds a extra touch of elegance to your HTPCs. Also, since explorer isn't loaded, I'm guessing it decreases the chance of popups and other annoying things from interrupting your HTPC experience.

Do you use the Suspend and Wake functions using this setup? If so, is there any noticeable delay when resuming from Suspend?

I'm looking for the most WAF friendly setup and under my current windows setup XBMC is very slow to "warm up" again after resuming from sleep. OpenELEC is a bit faster in this regard but I prefer to stick to Windows if possible.

I really want an "appliance like" feel but under Windows and this thread caught my eye.
Thanks
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-28-2013, 04:32 PM
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Wow, old thread! Anyways, I never really experienced any delay after wake before doing this, so I couldn't really tell you.
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