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In this instructable will show you from start to finish how to make your media center.

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, and Windows. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages. (via XBMC.org) 

Background:

Hardware, You will need a tv with eather a pc, dvi, or HDMI input, a computer with the same output as your tv, a network/internet and a USB remote.

Software, we will be using 4 different programs.
 Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise, or Professional
 XBMC, the actual media center
 input director, allows remote control
 Event Ghost, This will make everything work.
Optional: Kylo web browser

Step 1:

The first step is to set up the equipment. You will need a keyboard and mouse to start but we can quickly get rid of them and operate wirelessly from a laptop. (optional) hook everything up and make sure it all works. Now since there are a million variables with the computer and tv I am leaving this step vague. Google is a great source. The process is pretty simple. Take your VGA, DVI, or HDMI cable and plug the computer into the tv. If you have front USB ports plug your KB and Mouse into those. 

Step 2: Install Windows

Again, this is pretty straight forward. Install windows as described by Microsoft. If you want a really fast boot you can install on a SSD and keep all your media on a separate drive. Remember you need the Ultimate, Enterprise, or Professional version of windows 7. At somepoint I will make another instructable for other versions of windows. However this is the best way to do this. 

install
no password
activate

simple right?

Step 3: Install Software

now we add our programs:

start with input director: http://www.inputdirector.com/downloads.html
set it to start as a slave automatically (see screen shot) now close it for now
(you can use a wireless keyboard and mouse instead. I like the PS3 keyboard by Logitech.)

next install XBMC: http://xbmc.org/download/ if your brave the beta is coming along great. however I suggest the stable version.
for now we are just going to install and forget. We do need to have this run as administrator.
Right click the xbmc icon> Properties>compatibility tab>Check "run as administrator". 
Then: Control Panel>All Control Panel Items>Action Center>change user account control settings>set it to the lowest setting.

Optional: Kylo TVBrowser: http://kylo.tv/features/ This is pretty cool
again, install and forget

last but most important event ghost: http://www.eventghost.org/downloads/
Once this is installed we need to set it up. That takes us to step 4

Step 4: Event Director and File Sharing

Event Director is whats going to start XBMC when the computer starts. Its also going to do a few other things. 

All you have to do is open the attached xbmc shell file. from eventghost file>open>select "xbmc shell"

it should look like the first picture. now click save and close.

Next you need to make a folder for movies, tv shows, music and pictures. You can use the windows built in folders but I like to put them on the root of the drive. c:/movies, c:/tv shows, ect. This makes it easier to share and add to XBMC as you don need to navigate from the root.
Now you can ether share the entire drive or each folder. its the same process ether way but sharing each folder is a little safer if you are on an unsecured network. Simply right click>share with>Advanced Sharing>Advance Sharing(again)>check "share this folder">Apply. 

Step 5: XBMC As Windows Shell

Next we need to make XBMC our shell instead of windows explorer (the start menu and icons)

1. Setting up your user account to log in automatically

Log in as administrator.
Open the start menu, and type in the search box: netplwiz <ENTER>.
Uncheck Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer and hit Apply.
A window will pop up asking for the user name and password of the user account which should log in automatically. Supply all the information and hit OK.


Next time you restart, the account selected in step 1 will log on automatically. Now you can setup this account to use XBMC as shell instead of Explorer:

2. Set XBMC as shell for a specific user account

Log in as administrator.
Open the start menu, and type in the search box: mmc <ENTER>.
Choose File -> Add/Remove Snap-in....
Select Group Policy Object Editor and hit Add.
In the wizard that pops up, hit Browse..., go to tab Users, select your user account (the one that you set up to log on automatically in step 1) and hit OK.
Make sure that the checkbox in the wizard is Unchecked, and hit Finish.
Hit OK in the Add/Remove Snap-ins window.
In the User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System folder, open Custom User Interface.
Select Enabled and enter the full path of eventghost in the Interface file name textbox.
("C:\Program Files\EventGhost\EventGhost.exe") include the quotes
Hit OK and reboot your system. It should now log in and start XBMC automatically without showing the start menu and icons first

Step 6: TRY IT OUT

Now restart the computer. You should boot right up into XBMC. Nice and clean.

Then next step is to configure XBMC. Coming up after a short break.
This is&nbsp; good start, but theres a lot more you can do.<br> <br> Assuming you DON'T leave the XBMC frontend, AND you have a smart phone, download the official XBMC remote that will wirelessly operate the xbmc through your wifi network. No separate laptop needed. I have a wired usb keyboard with ports and trackball mounted on a board that i simply plug in when i need to work OUTSIDE of xbmc.<br> <br> Skin it! i prefer Transparency! as it looks nicer, has more features than the stock skin, and seems simpler to operate.<br> <br> &nbsp; Add-ons! by far some of the best things you can do is to install add-ons. streaming, scrapers, different views application launchers, theres so much to do.&nbsp;<br> <br> Enable UPnP in networking, let your other toys around the house find and use your shared media files (PS3 works well with it) but you MUST keep XBMC running to use it. now you have MULTIPLE systems you can watch media on!<br> <br> I would agree with the other posters, its cheaper to make this run on a linux setup, and mint IS the way to go. I run linux mint 10 with xbmc (both 10.1 and 11.0 on different builds) and its pretty easy to setup. the OS installs like any other OS and gives you the option to try before installing to make sure everything works right. and installing xbmc is as easy as looking at the online documentation or going to ainer.org and following what they do to a &quot;T&quot; for an awesome setup.<br> <br> in the next few months, i hope to assemble all the parts needed to create an all in one hidden htpc/server, speaker enclosure, media shelf, DLP stand. Im currently considering re-purposing an old console stereo cabinet, if i can find the right style.
When I get some more money I am going to start playing with different system setups. The computer I am using is older and for some reason XBMC live wouldent stay stable when surfing the menus. I am going to try to make one of these for each system. <br><br>Personaly I have a MCE remote and the android app. the only reason I have input director is if I decide to do somehting else I dont need to find a keyboard and mouse. I also have a Logitech media board for the PS3 that is awsome for mediacenters.<br><br>I like the aeon MQ2 theme. actually MQ3 now with eden. My goal with this artical was to make a really easy guide with stuff people had around. I love the suggestions and I am going to make another with what ever turns out to be the best setup.
Why not just use the XBMC Live installer? Then you don't need to do all this setup, it just works out of the box... At least, it did for my Revo. The only thing that didn't work was my wifi card, but I wired it in just fine.
this is more for the people who dont know what they are doing. But there are some other benefits. Windows file sharing makes it easier to download from another computer and transfer. you also get the option to switch back to windows if you want to do something. XBMC live is just XBMC running on ubuntu so you need some linux experience to use it.
Well, I'd say that file sharing is easier with Windows, but you don't really need any Linux experience to run Live. It's set and forget. I've customized mine a bit, but the cost of a Windows license is substantial compared to free Ubuntu. Your point is taken, just a difference of opinion I'd say. :-) Thanks for posting this 'ible.
Many people are dumping ubuntu for Mint. Have Debian on all but two or so of the servers. Moved back to Fedora on my desktop. To install xbmc on F16 was just 'sudo yum install xbmc' with no reboots. As for file sharing, It is easier for me to securely share files on linux than mswindows. We also useMythtv and it all fits together nicelt. <br>

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