How to start Media Center in second display


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Oct 30, 2006
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Hello. I have a dual display set up with my LCD telly as my secondary display (extended desktop). I want to use this exclusively for Media Center. Can anyone tell me how to configure things so that Media Center starts automatically in the second display when I start up my PC?

Thanks, Matt.
Windows remembers the last display use for an application. So open media center (not full screen), move it to the second display, then put it in full screen on the second display.
then when you close it, the next time you launch media center, it will open on the second display.
I've been battling to get MC to display on both my monitor and telly.

How do you move it between one display and another without going through the whole palavf of setting up MC from the beginning? (Which I always struggle with!)
I am not sure I understand what you are trying to achieve.
If you want the media center on BOTH monitor and TV, then this has to do with the way you setup your secondary display in Windows. What you want is to set it up in clone mode, so that the TV shows the same thing as the Primary monitor.

If you only want to have the media center some times on the monitor only, , some times on the TV only, then you secondary display is setup as Dual View / extended desktop, and you only need to move the media center window manually.
You start media center, then exit full screen mode so that you can see the window media center is running inside. Then you click on the top of the window, and drag it from the display it is on , onto the other one.

One think to pay attention to, is the resolution of each display. For example, if Media center is on your primary monitor with a 1280 x 1024 resolution, and you want to move it to the TV, realize that the TV is probably at 1024 x 768 or 800 x 600, so you may need to reduce the size of the media center window before you drag it to the TV.
Thanks - you understand exactly what I want to do and explain it well. The different resolutions cause all sorts of practical difficulties for me. It ain't easy setting up a media centre is it :rolleyes:

Microsoft have somehow managed to suck all the relaxation out of something as basic as just watching a movie! I think I'll just go back to my VCR. Just push in the tape and press used to be so simple :D
Media center is not very flexible if you want to use it on several displays at once, I agree. But if you only use it on your TV (which I guess was its main design goal), then it is a very easy and quite powerfull system. Move it on the TV, put it in full screen, and then you are set. Everytime you start it, it is on your TV.

Now in terms of moving it around, depending on your graphic card, you may have some additional help. On NVIDIA for example, you can set a Keyboard shortcut that sends the active window to the next display. In this case, when Media center is active, by just hitting that key, it will send media center back and forth.
I think I'll just go back to my VCR. Just push in the tape and press used to be so simple :D

Yes, the good old days of the VCR. Back when it took a couple of hours to program the machine to record a 1/2 hour show and then you'd come back to find it has chewed the tape up :devil:
Yes, the good old days of the VCR. Back when it took a couple of hours to program the machine to record a 1/2 hour show and then you'd come back to find it has chewed the tape up :devil:

Yeah I remember those days. It took half an hour to find a tape to record on. Another 5 mins to rewind the thing, then a week later you realise you've just taped over your favourite film!!

Media Centre is such a simple program to set-up and use if you use it as intended. I went through exactly the same as you trying to get it to work on 2 screens of different resolutions but soon realsied it was a lot easier to build a Media Centre PC dedicated to the job just as Bill Gates envisaged.

Sorry to hi-jack, but it may help others. I have just set up media centre on dual display

Display 1 = 22inch tft 1680x1050(windows etc)

Display 2 = 32inch LCD 1360x768(media centre)

The problem, dragging media centre over to display 2, and then going full screen with media centre, results in my mouse locking to display 2, meaning I can't move the mouse over to display 1(windows), rendering my pc useless. Any solutions?

Also when you manually try to stretch media centre there seems to be a lock point that it won't go over, meaning you can't manually stretch it to full screen.

edit found this
the mouse issue is well known, and it is a limitation of DirectX. when in full screen the application grabs the control of the mouse.
there is a workaround, and it is to hit the Windows key on display 1 (the one that opens the start menu at the bottom left of your keyboard with a windows logo). this will allow you to bring the mouse back to display one while the MC is running on display 2. but as soon as a command is done on MC it will grab it again.

the strech limitation problem I worked around it by fixing the resolution of media center in the registry. Only do this if you are confortable with registry editing.
It is in the following key:
HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current version/Media Center/settings/MCE.erusersettings
o Set fullscreen height and fullscreenlogicalheight to the vertical res of your MC display (ie 768)
o Set fullscreen width and fullscreenLogicalWidth to the horizontal resolution of your MC display (ie 1024)
Great stuff scrambler, the reg hack is just what I was after


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