Why didn't my TV show record in Windows Media Center?

If a TV show in Windows Media Center doesn't record, and the show has already finished airing, there's no way to go back and record it again. However, you might be able to change your settings or your hardware configuration to prevent recording failures from happening in the future.

If the program that didn't record is on at another time, you can reschedule the recording. For more information about scheduling TV shows to record, see Record TV in Windows Media Center.

The following are reasons why a TV show might fail to record:

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There's a recording conflict

If you have more scheduled recordings than available TV tuners on your computer for any given time, Media Center will notify you that a recording conflict is about to happen, and you can follow the instructions to resolve it.

If you're not using your computer when the recording conflict is about to occur, Media Center will try to resolve the conflict on its own. If possible, Media Center will locate an alternate date and time for one of the shows, and then adjust the recording schedule to record both shows. Otherwise, it will select which show to record, based on the following priority (in order):

  1. A one-time recording (not part of a series)

  2. Series priority ranking

  3. The show that was scheduled first

If there's a recording conflict between two episodes from different series recording requests, Media Center will use the series priority settings to decide which show to record. You can change the series priority settings to help ensure that your favorite series gets recorded if there's a conflict.

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, click Recorded TV, click View scheduled, click Series, and then click Change Priorities.

  2. Click the Up arrow Picture of the Up arrow or Down arrow Picture of the Down arrow to move a scheduled series up or down in the series priority list, and then click Done.

    When you schedule a new series, it's automatically added to the bottom of the list with the lowest priority.

For more information about recording conflicts, see Resolve recording conflicts in Windows Media Center.


  • If you have frequent recording conflicts, consider adding an additional TV tuner to your computer so you can record two TV programs on different channels at the same time.

There's no available hard disk space

Media Center can't record a scheduled program if there isn't enough space on the hard disk to store it. You can delete some previously recorded shows to make more room. You can also increase the limit for recorded TV in Media Center; or, if you have multiple hard drives, you can change the drive that Media Center saves your recorded TV shows to when one gets full.

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Under Maximum TV limit, click the plus (+) or minus (-) button to increase or decrease the limit for recorded TV on the drive.

    • Under Record on drive, click the plus (+) or minus (-) button to choose a new drive for Media Center to save recorded TV shows to.

  3. Click Save.


  • Media Center can monitor multiple drives for recorded TV shows, but it can only save recorded TV shows to the drive specified in Recorder Storage.

  • High-definition TV shows take up much more hard disk space than standard-definition recordings and will fill up your drive faster.

  • If hard disk space is low, sometimes a show will record, but then it will be automatically deleted to free up space for the next recording. To change these and other settings, on the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

The TV signal is not available

If you're not getting a TV signal in Media Center, first check your TV signal cable to make sure it's properly connected to your TV tuner. If everything is connected properly, but you still can't get a signal, it might be because of one of the following:

  • Your TV signal isn't working correctly. This might be because the signal from your TV service provider is temporarily unavailable, in which case you'll likely need to cancel or reschedule the recording until the signal is working again. If you're having other issues with your TV signal, see Watching TV in Windows Media Center: frequently asked questions.

  • Your TV tuner isn't working correctly. Make sure that you have the most up-to-date driver for your TV tuner installed on your computer. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

  • Media Center is having technical problems. If Media Center can't detect a TV signal to record but everything else is working properly, try restarting your computer.

Your computer is turned off or your laptop battery ran out

Media Center can still record a TV show even if your computer is in sleep, hybrid sleep, or hibernate mode. But if your computer is turned off during the time of a scheduled recording, then the show won't be recorded.

If you're recording a TV show on a laptop, a scheduled recording will continue to record even if the laptop is in sleep, hybrid sleep, or hibernate mode, and it's running on battery power. If the battery power runs out, the recording will stop.

Media Center can't find the channel or recorded the wrong one

Media Center might encounter an error when changing channels to begin recording a show, or it might simply record the wrong channel. These problems are more common if your TV signal comes through a set-top box. A channel-changing error on a set-top box could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • The IR (infrared) control cable on your set-top box is positioned incorrectly. If the IR control cable on the front of the set-top box is positioned incorrectly or is not connected at all, Media Center can't send a signal to the set-top box to change a channel.

  • The set-top box TV channel-changing speed is too fast or too slow. If an incorrect channel-changing speed is selected, the set-top box might get the signal for only two out of three channel numbers transmitted by Media Center and, as a result, change a two-digit channel instead of a three-digit channel. You can set up your TV signal again and select a different channel-changing speed.

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click TV, click Set Up TV Signal, and then follow the instructions.

  • Media Center tries to change to a channel that's not part of your TV service package. If you're using a set-top box, it can get out of sync with Media Center, causing Media Center to record the wrong channel. You can hide unwanted channels in Media Center to prevent it from recording channels that you don't receive. You can also show hidden channels that you do receive so that Media Center can access them.

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click TV, click Guide, and then click Edit Channels.

    2. Scroll through the list and locate the channels that you want to show or hide.

    3. Select the check box next to each channel to change its setting, and then click Save.

      When a check box is selected, the channel appears in the Guide; when a check box is cleared, the channel does not appear.


  • If you're using a set-top box and you get an on-screen message, you'll need to use your set-top box remote control to take action before you can change channels in Media Center.

Other reasons why a show might not have recorded

  • The Guide is out of date. Media Center automatically updates the Guide, but you can also download the latest Guide information manually.

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click TV, click Guide, click Get Latest Guide Listings, and then click OK.

      You'll be notified when the Guide listings are up to date. For more information about the Guide, see Use the Guide in Windows Media Center.

  • There are restrictions for a specific show. If a broadcaster sets restrictions that prohibit a show from being recorded, Media Center can't record the show.

  • You reached the limit for how many shows in a series are kept. By default, Media Center will keep as many shows as possible for a TV series that's being recorded. However, if shows from a specific series are failing to record, try checking your settings for the series.

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, click Recorded TV, click View scheduled, and then click Series.

    2. Click the name of the series, and then click Series settings to view and adjust the settings for a specific series.

If you're still not sure why a show didn't record, you can check the recording history.

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, click Recorded TV, click View scheduled, and then click History.

  2. Click Sort By Date, Sort By Status, or Sort By Title to organize the list.

    The status for each show is listed next to the title.

    Click the title of the show for more details on the recording status.


  • An analog or digital TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center. If your computer didn't come with a TV tuner, you might be able to add one. For more information about obtaining a TV tuner, see Get help for your TV tuner or contact your computer manufacturer.