Troubleshoot problems with recording TV on your computer

Here are solutions to some common problems you might encounter while using Windows Media Center to record TV on your computer.

Show all

Why is there a recording conflict?

You might get a notification that there is a recording conflict in the following situations:

  • Your computer only has one TV tuner, and you have scheduled more than one recording for the same time.

  • You have multiple TV tuner devices enabled, but have scheduled more recordings for the same time than you have available tuners.

When prompted, follow the on-screen instructions to resolve the conflict. If you do not resolve the conflict, Windows Media Center will resolve the conflict automatically. If possible, Windows 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, Windows Media Center 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 Windows Media Center encounters a recording conflict between two episodes from different series recording requests, it uses the series priorities list to decide which show to record. You can rank the series you most want recorded at the top of the series priorities list to help ensure that it gets recorded in the case of conflicts. When you schedule a new series, it is automatically added to the bottom of the list with the lowest priority.

To adjust the priority of a series recording

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, click recorded TV, click view scheduled, click Series, and then click Change Priorities.

  2. Use the up arrow or down arrow on the screen to move a scheduled series up or down in the list of series priorities.

  3. Click Done to return to the Series screen.

Why didn't my TV show record?

Your show might not have been recorded for a variety of reasons. To check the history of a recording for information about why the show might not have been recorded, do the following:

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, click recorded tv, click view scheduled, and then click History.

  2. To organize the list, click Sort By Date, Sort By Status, or Sort By Title.

  3. Use the arrow buttons on the screen to scroll through the list. The status for each show is listed next to the title as one of the following: Recorded, Not Recorded, Deleted, Canceled, Preempted, Partial or Bad Tuner.

  4. For a more detailed explanation about a show's recording status, click the title of the show.

The following are reasons why a show might not record:

  • There was a conflict with another recording that had higher priority. You can see more information about priorities earlier in this topic.

  • A tuner was not available when the show was scheduled to record.

  • There was no available disk space and no recordings could be deleted to create more space to record. To learn how to delete recordings, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

  • There are no updated Guide listings available for the scheduled recording. Make sure that the latest Guide data is downloaded in Windows Media Center. For more information, see Troubleshooting Guide downloading problems.

  • Restrictions that were set by the broadcaster or originator of the content prohibited the show from being recorded.

  • The show was recorded previously. Windows Media Center does not record a show in a series if it has already been recorded or deleted within the last eight weeks.

  • You have reached the limit of how many recordings are kept for a series. Either delete other recordings for the series or increase the limit of how many recordings can be kept for a series. To learn how to manage your recordings, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

  • The TV broadcaster changed the schedule or channel number for a specific network or the show did not air.

  • There was no TV signal because the channel was not available, the TV signal was disconnected, or the tuner was disabled.

  • Your computer was turned off or lost power during the time the show was scheduled to record. Your computer must be turned on or in Standby, Away, or Hibernate mode to successfully record a show.

  • If you have a set-top box, the infrared (IR) control cable may have been disconnected, which prevented Windows Media Center from changing the channel to start the recording.

Why can't I find a recording?

You might not find a recorded show for any of the following reasons:

  • Your show might not have been recorded or it might have been recorded and then deleted. You can check the recording history to find out if the show was recorded or deleted. Information on how to do this is included earlier in this topic.

  • The recorded show is located in a folder that is unavailable and different from the folder set up for recording. Make sure that the folder that contains the recording is available and can be accessed from your computer. Also, you can change the default folder to store recorded TV shows by doing the following:

    1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

    2. Click either the - or + button next to the Record on drive option to choose a new drive. Click Save, and then go to the recorded tv screen and check for your show again.

  • If you still cannot locate your recorded TV show, you can search the Recorded TV folder (the default location is C:\Users\Public\Recorded TV). If you have your recordings stored on an external drive, the folder location might be different (for example, G:\Recorded TV).

Why did the wrong channel record?

If you receive your TV signal through a set-top box, Windows Media Center might encounter an error when changing channels to begin recording a show. A channel changing error on a set-top box could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • The IR control cable is positioned incorrectly on the front of the set-top box or is not connected, and Windows Media Center cannot send a signal to the set-top box to change a channel.

  • The set-top box TV channel changing speed may have been configured incorrectly. For example, if an incorrect channel changing speed is selected, the set-top box might get the signal for only two out of three channels numbers transmitted by Windows Media Center and 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.

    To change the channel changing speed

    • On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Set Up TV Signal, and then continue through the wizard.

  • Windows Media Center might have attempted to tune to a channel that is not part of your TV service package. In some cases, the automatic behavior of some set-top boxes affects how Windows Media Center can control the set-top box. When Windows Media Center tunes to a channel that is not part of your TV service package, the set-top box might instead change to a default channel, display an on-screen message, remain on the last viewed channel, or change to the closest viewable channel in the listings. In all cases, the set-top box performs a default action that causes Windows Media Center to get out of sync and record the wrong channel.

    You can prevent Windows Media Center from trying to access and record channels that you do not subscribe to by hiding unwanted channels.

    To hide channels that are not included in your TV service package

    1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Guide, and then click Edit Channels.

    2. Use the arrow buttons on the screen to scroll through the list and locate the channels that you want to show or hide. As you click each channel, the inset window displays that channel.

      Picture of the inset window
      Picture of the inset window
    3. Select or clear the check box next to each channel. When a check box is selected, the channel appears in the Guide; when a check box is cleared, the channel does not appear.

    4. Click Save to return to the Guide settings screen.

    In the case of an on-screen message, channel navigation for recording TV is not possible until you take action with the set-top box remote. The message might cause several incorrect recordings if you are away from your computer and cannot correct the issue immediately.

What happens if the hard disk space is low or full?

The notifications for low disk space or no disk space indicate that the hard disk that stores recorded TV shows is almost full and Windows Media Center will not be able to complete the next scheduled recording or any thereafter until enough space is made available. The hard disk might be nearly full if:

  • There are a number of recordings that can't be deleted. For more information, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

  • There are a large number of other files, including media files such as music, pictures, or videos, stored on the hard disk that TV is recorded on.

  • A large number of digital TV shows have been recorded that cannot be deleted. The file size of recorded digital TV shows—especially high-definition TV shows—is larger than recordings of standard definition TV, and will fill up your hard disk faster.

  • The hard disk that you are recording to might not have enough storage capacity, in which case you can change to a different and larger disk.

    To create more free disk space, you can delete some recorded TV shows manually or allocate more disk space for recordings. To learn how to delete a recording, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

How can I increase the limit so more series shows can be recorded?

If a recording was canceled because the limit was reached for how many recordings in a series are kept, you might be able to increase the limit. For more information, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

Why can't Windows Media Center locate the channel to record?

You might need to show the channel in the Guide and reschedule the recording.

To show a channel in the Guide

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Guide, and then click Edit Channels.

  2. Use the arrow buttons on the screen to scroll through the list and locate the channels that you want to show or hide. As you click each channel, the inset window displays that channel.

  3. Select the check box next to the channel you want to show. When the check box is selected, the channel appears in the Guide; when the check box is cleared, the channel does not appear.

  4. Click Save to return to the Guide settings screen.

What should I do if Windows Media Center fails to record a program?

You might be able to reschedule the recording. To learn how to reschedule a recording, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

Other recording failures might require you to restart your computer in order to record future shows.

What should I do if Windows Media Center fails to stop recording a program?

You can stop the recording manually by right-clicking the program and then clicking Stop Recording. If the problem persists, try restarting your computer.

Why was Windows Media Center unable to create the recording file?

Your computer might be low on hard disk space. Try deleting some recordings to create more disk space.

It is also possible that Windows Media Center cannot find the Recorded TV folder. Make sure that the Recorded TV folder exists on your hard drive, and then try to reschedule the recording. To learn how to reschedule a recording, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.

Note

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