Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Wednesday, 08 October 2008

When I was getting ready to move last month, I sold my computer. Actually, I sold my computer, the monitor, keyboard & mouse, the desk, the chair, the lamp the UPS and everything else all in one fell swoop. After that, I needed a computer to use while I was still there for streaming to the Xbox360 on the 65" DLP TV we had in the living room. I borrowed an old PC from work and set it up as a media center.

When I tried to connect to it from the xbox360, it wouldn't work. It just didn't show up on the screen. I spent hours messing with it: rebooting the computer, turning the xbox off and back on again. I started searching Google and found out that a lot of people are having this problem, and there were a bunch of things to try that had varying degrees of success.

Ultimately I found that there was an issue with the DRM subsystem of Windows XP and WMP11. The posts suggested that I find the DRM folder and delete everything in there. It also listed out all the steps how to find the folder and how to show hidden and system folders and such which (to me) were useless. I tried that and it didn't work.

On a whim, I decided to look in the Event Log. In the event log I found some errors relating to the WMPNetwkSvc.exe and an error code. Sure enough it pointed to a DRM subsystem.

Once I started looking for suggestions based on that error code and the windows event log code I started finding some other things that were more relevant. In the end, I think I had to open up the Services MMC and change the logon credentials for the Windows Media Sharing Network service. Once I made that change and rebooted, everything came up roses.

Earlier this week, Laurie said she tried to watch a show from her computer on the Xbox but it wouldn't work. She forgot to tell me, and last night I tried to watch something and came up blank. D'oh! I messed with it for a half hour or so, but I was alreayd cranky and irritable so I left it off. Today I decided to crack into it again and get it sorted out. I started from scratch.

I un-installed (rolled back) Windows Media Player 11 to 10, rebooted and then re-installed it. I re-set up media sharing and then her computer showed up on the Xbox! None of the video folders did though, so I restarted the service and the xbox and... the computer disapeared again. ARRRGH!

I started searching online based on the error code that the "Test connection" window showed, which was Z:8000-4005 it turned up a bunch of problems with "service unavailable" stretching from Xbox media sharing to MSN Messenger to FP2007 (I thought Front Page died and was replaced by Expression Web?) so that took me back to the service again. I checked and checked and the service was started and sharing was working, it just wasn't showing up on the Xbox360.

Google pointed me to forum posts on varying sites AGAIN saying it was a DRM issue. I didn't know what all was on Laurie's computer and didn't really want to fuck around with it too much, either. It was her brother's computer before hers, and had a bunch of stuff on there that he still used when he's in town and didn't want to mess any of it up for him. In the end, I rationalized that he wasn't the type to buy a bunch of DRM'd files and then leave them on an old computer without transferring or backing up the licenses, so I opened up the Registry Editor and navigated to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\DRM. The key "DataPath" is enrypted and in hex, but if you double-click it, it will show it in both hex and decimal and looks something like C.:.\D.O.C.U.M.E.N.T.S...A.N.D...S.E.T.T.I.N.G.S.\.A.L.L...U.S.E.R.S.\.D.R.M.. which if you read without the dots (duh) is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM in XP and C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Windows\DRM in Vista.

Opening C:\Documents and Settings\All Users doesn't show you the DRM folder, because it's a hidden folder. You have to click Tools>Folder options in Explorer and then click the View tab and un-check "hide hidden and system folders" for it to show up. once you've done that you'll see a DRM folder that looks slightly grayed out, to designate that it's a hidden folder. Open it up, select all and shift-delete to send it to the hell from whence it came! (Shift-Delete skips the recycle bin and permanently deletes) after that, you stop and re-start the windows media sharing network service and you should be good to go... or not.

It didn't work. Again. I guess for some people it works, because they posted back their success in those forums, but for me, the second time, it didn't work. I could play the files in WMP, but the whole point of using the media sharing is to watch it on the TV rather than on the computer.

Suddenly, the MCSE in me remembered the event log. Duh. I checked in there and sure enough, every time I tried to start the service, there were two errors:

Type: Error EventID: 14344

UserL N/A

Computer: <the computer's NetBIOS name>

Description: A new media server was not installed because WMCreateDeviceRegistration() returned error '0x00ds711'. The Windows Media DRM components on your computer might be corrupted. Verify that protected files play correctly in Windows Media Player and then restart WMPnetwkSvc service.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at: blah blah URL. I clicked it and of course it said "Sorry, no additional information is available...'

Armed with an eventID and an error code, I returned to Google. This led to more forums messages, most of which referred back to other forum threads all of which talked about deleting the contents of the DRM folder and restarting the service WHICH DOESN'T FUCKING WORK!

Christ. Eventually on page 4 of the Google search results, I found a page that seemed to be a support page for Kodak digital picture frames (which seem to use Windows Media Sharing to display pictures from your computer)referred to a WMP Security Upgrade page that was an aspx file and warned that you HAD to open the page in Internet Explorer.

This 'Security Component Upgrade' page at has a button in the middle of it (grayed out of course in Firefox, but active in IE) labeled UPGRADE.

Clicking it in IE kicked off an upgrade routine that said "Windows Media Player component is out of date. Click here to upgrade." and below it had some disclaimer about how no personally identifiable information is transmitted, etc etc. I clicked Upgrade, it did it's thing and said it was done.

I went back to the Services MMC and stopped wmpnetwksvc. I waited for it to finish, and then I clicked start. I waited for it to finish and say "Started" and then switched back to the Event Viewer and hit refresh. No BIG RED X, no error. Instead I got the white balloon with the i in it saying "service control manager" and the text was that it started successfully.

I went back to the xbox360 and turned it back on, navigated to the Media blade, clicked Video and... there it was: <Computername>:Lauren I clicked it and there everything was. I clicked a few things to see if they actually streamed and they did.

SO in the end, I burned through two hours on Google reading a bunch of forum threads that had the right idea but not the right solution before finding it (a second time, mind you) and getting it fixed. After I fixed it, I remembered that this was the same thing I did to the temporary computer in Cayman before I left.

If *I* had that much trouble "fixing" the streaming from WMP11 to Xbox360, how the hell are mere mortals expected to be able to figure this out? Ork had a similar problem and he ended up installing TVersity to make it work, and I initially installed Orb to get around it before fixing it the first time, too.

Hopefully this post grabs some link love and moves up the Google search results in awhile and can save people some frustration.

Wednesday, 08 October 2008 14:45:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Links | Tech | Gaming | Microsoft | WWW#
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