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Windows Vista and Media Center DVD library hack

Max Zuckerman, if you’re like me, one of the inputs on your TV is your desktop or laptop computer. It’s one of the best ways to surf the web or share pictures and videos with others.

But my favorite feature, hands down, is the ability to have my entire DVD collection available to me in a very intuitive and slick-looking interface all on my TV. The best part is I don’t have to physically insert a DVD every time I want to watch one. I can just browse my collection very easily all on my TV/monitor and hit “play” and I will get this:

So here are the tools you’re going to need for this:
1) Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate (these are the versions that include the new Media Center that I am using)
2) A DVD ripping program of your choice, the one I will be using is DVDFab. The free version does everything you will need to make this magic happen.
3) A desktop or laptop with a decent size hard drive (movies are big… 4-9 gigabytes uncompressed)
4) DVD-ROM drive… if you don’t have this, you’re probably running Windows 95 anyway and might as well skip this guide 🙂

The first thing you need to do is edit the Windows Vista registry so that Media Center displays a “gallery” view of your DVDs instead of just a “play DVD” button. To do this, run “regedit” and navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings and change the “ShowGallery” value to “Gallery.”

Once you have made this modification, open Media Center (if it was already open, close it then open again) and it should look like this:

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Windows Vista, Windows Media Center, Digital, DVD Library, Hack, Tips and Tricks

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