How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote


Some of the Windows Media Center remotes has the ability to control other hardware in addition to the Media Center. The most common one is the one in this picture. On that one you can program the “TV”-button and the Volume-button. Most likely you would want to control the ON/OFF-function on your TV and the volume on your amplifier.

This is how you do it (from the MCE Remote Manual):

Update2: The manual is no longer available from Microsoft

Link to the manual (PDF).

– By default, the VOL + and VOL – buttons on the remote control for Media Center PC control the system volume on your computer, and the TV button has no command assigned to it until it “learns” one.

– Do not perform this procedure in bright natural or artificial light.

To program buttons on the remote control by using the learning feature
1 Place the remote control for Media Center PC head to head (2 to 3 inches apart) with the remote control from which it is learning.

2 On the remote control for Media Center PC, press and hold the DVD MENU and OK buttons at the same time until the remote control lights turn off (2 seconds). The remote is now in learning setup mode.

3 On the remote control for Media Center PC, press and release the TV, VOL +, or VOL – button, depending on which command you want it to learn. The remote control for Media Center PC lights blink once to confirm the selection.

4 On the remote control that is teaching the command, press and hold the button that you want the corresponding button on the remote control for Media Center PC to learn.

The remote control for Media Center PC lights blink twice to confirm the selection. If the remote did not learn the command, the lights blink quickly four times. To try again, repeat steps 1 through 4.

5 Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the other buttons that can learn commands.

To restore the default remote control settings
1 Press and hold the DVD MENU button and LEFT navigation button at the same time until the remote control for Media Center PC lights turn off.

2 Press the OK button.

The remote control for Media Center PC lights blink twice to confirm that the buttons have been reset. The TV button will have no command assigned to it and the VOL + and VOL – buttons will adjust the Media Center PC system volume. If the default settings were not restored, the lights blink quickly four times. To try again, repeat steps 1 and 2.

How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote

63 thoughts on “How to program the buttons on your MCE Remote

  1. I have seen a printed version of the manual, so I think it depends on where you buy it. Anyway, it’s strange that most people get the remote with no manual…

  2. I have a UK remote with no legends so it took me some time to work out which the DVD menu button was. It’s the one on the extreme right, isn’t it? Well, if it is, this technique isn’t working. DVD menu + OK does zip, and DVD menu + left does nothing either. I’m very annoyed. Why can’t I find a manual for this remote? I found a web address for a pdf and MS expected me to sign in! Why? Anyway, not your problem… if you have any further help to offer on programming my remote I would be grateful. Great site by the way.

  3. Paul says:

    I have the remote for the Sony VGX-100 Media Centre, it’s black, model number RM-MCE10EP, and guess what… it does nothing when I try to put it into learning mode. Grrrr!

  4. Liquid says:

    Hi ya,
    Your Trendmapper is a really interesting site. It seems like the stats haven’t be updated since July (even for the phrase “”). Are you on summer holidays, or, is the site just an R&D tool for you?

  5. Larry says:

    your straight forward instructions worked perfect for my MS keyboard but not my programmable RC6 remote. (MCE 2005) it does everything you state but it always responds with four flashes for no workie.. any ideas?

  6. I’ve had some problems with my remote as well. After several tries it finally started accepting the remote I used to train it.

    An old trick with the MCE remote is also to remove the batteries, let them stay out of the remote for half an hour and then put them back in. This remote has a tendency to crash from time to time…

  7. Problem is that Microsoft has made a mess when it comes to the different versions of this remote. Some of them are possible to program, some of them are not…

  8. magnets says:

    yah, just what i was looking for.
    I had to do it twice, even though the remote flashed twice. but it all works ok now.
    I wish it could learn more than one command. like the power signal for my TV AND my amp.
    Guess i’d have to go for a harmony remote or something

  9. I had problems doing the volume controls, but then I reset the remote (using the above instructions) then re-learned the power first, then vol+ finishing with vol- and it worked perfectly. (mine too is 1039 model)

  10. gid says:

    I also had problems trying to program the remote after nearly 2 hours of pressing buttons I decided to put new batteries in as a last ditch attempt and hey presto success. I have a sony tv and a cheap duraband surround sound amp so I was suprised to get this working. (1039 model)


  11. Michael says:

    Thank you for the Info. I know that when you press the DVD Key at the same time as any digit key (0-9) for 5 seconds, you can change the IR commands the remote is using. I had to do this as the default set (0) turns on my TV when I press the green button. So I changed it to 6.
    Now I bought the XP MediaCenter Keyboard where I have the exact same problem. The Green Button turns on the TV. Do you know how you can change the IR commands set on the Keyboard? I was looking around for hours but do not find anything until now.


  12. Unfortunately I don’t have a solution to thet problem. Maybe removing the batteries and leaving them out for a couple of hours? Actually, that’s a trick to completely reset the remote. Maybe it works for the keyboard as well.

  13. Michael says:

    I found it myself. You can change the MCE Keyboards IR command set by pressing (I) Info and OK simultanously. The LED remains light. Now you can choose the IR command set by choosing 0 to 9. The LED confirms by blinking twice. Everything is working wonderful now.

  14. Rob Langdon says:

    You say most people buy their remotes and they don’t come with a manual. This is exactly what happened to me. Do you know where I could obtain a manual?

  15. Mike says:

    I have an MCE 2005 remote for my htpc, it worked fine controlling my old crt tv remote commands, but it just dosent want to know if i try and train it with the commands for my new plasma screen. must be a “bug” with the length of the string which can be saved by the remote. I love the way even somthing as simple as a remote, when constructed by microsoft, has the ability to crash – frequently.

  16. McQwerty says:

    Thanks very much! This simple set of instructions worked for me and now I can dispence with one of my many remotes :-)
    p.s. I have a model 1039 remote

  17. Ranel says:

    I finally got mine (1039) to work with Sony KDS-55A2000 and Bose 321 GS Series II after replacing the remote control batteries.

  18. Mike says:

    I have a Fujistsu Scaleo P and I cant get the remote to do anything, it flashes with the transmitter but nothing happens – any ideas ?

    Have tried removing batteries to reset and removed from device manager

  19. Bob says:

    Found this site after searching for info on the MCE remote. I’ve had mine for three years and have had no problems until tonight. It stopped working, so I replaced the batteries. It still didn’t work, so I replaced them with another set of new ones. It still doesn’t work. Also the little light above the Stop button does not light when I press any of the buttons. I have checked the batteries with a meter and they are good. Any ideas?

  20. Have you tried the trick with leaving the batteries out of the remote for an hour?

    Sounds strange, but a lot of people have fixed that problem by simply leaving the batteries out for an extended amount of time and putting them back in…

  21. Marky B says:

    Works great for me using the standard MS MCE remote in the UK, even with a no-brand cheap LCD TV remote. I’ve had it 18 months but had no idea it could be programmed!

    So funny about how it can crash… it’s a remote, not a computer! But I suppose it does have a Windows logo on it, so…..

    I actually recently bought another remote because I thought I had killed the original when fighting over it with a few friends last year – because of that (and MCE randomly dropping all my channels and guide listings) I actually stopped using XP MCE 2005 and bought a cheap Freeview box.

    I just recently built a new media PC though using Vista Ultimate which seems far more stable and reliable… and was about to chuck out the dead remote but thought I’d just try it out… and it worked! Maybe I had crashed it when grabbing it back off my friends, but not caused any lasting damage!

    I have an Xbox 360 setup as an extender in another room… and so the spare remote is being used very happily with that.

  22. Paul Jones says:

    hi, ive been going nuts for 2 days about how to reprogramme the volume controls on one of my old RC6 MCE 2005 remotes, now that i have an xbox 360 as an extender (the Xbox 360 is an awesome mce extender but “doesnt do” volume). thanks for a very helpful article!!!

  23. Greg Flint says:

    Your post is STILL valuable… that manual is impossible to find elsewhere on the internet. I got a new TV and couldn’t remember how to program this silly thing. Thanks, I’ve archived it in my email for future reference and bookmarked your blog.

  24. Yoram says:

    If this procedure does’n work, then it’s about time to change the butteries. The Microsoft remote doesn’t learn with weak butteries for sure.

  25. Bryan says:

    Thought two of my remotes went bad, turns out low batteries can ‘lock’ them up, Left batteries out for days didn’t fix. Found out pressing dvd menu + ok while putting batteries in fixed! Just in case I am not the only one.

  26. Fredi Cesar says:

    Eirkso,or MICHAEL this dont work:

    On 03.18.07 Michael said:

    I found it myself. You can change the MCE Keyboards IR command set by pressing (I) Info and OK simultanously. The LED remains light. Now you can choose the IR command set by choosing 0 to 9. The LED confirms by blinking twice. Everything is working wonderful now.

    please, how can i chance different sets for my controller?

    Because my vol is to my receiver Yamaha, but i need chance to set for only my htpc sometimes

    how can i work this way ?

    i hold INFO (I) +

  27. I’m currently running a Mac Mini as my mediacenter, so I’m afraid you’ll have to rely on some of the other people in this thread. Hoping that they still follow the discussion… :-)

  28. subzeroepsilon says:

    Awesome instructions, thanks!! The internet is amazing when info from 2005 is at the top of the search results in 2011 and still completely relevant.

  29. Grant says:

    Hi all, great posts.

    The links for the manual above doesn’t seem to work anymore. I’m prompted for login details.

    Doesn’t anyone know of an alternate link, or saved a copy of the file?

    Many thanks.

  30. Simon says:

    I found a copy of the remote manual at the site below. I can’t see it on any MS site. There is little more than has been posted above, but it does refer to the Infrared sensor unit and its use, too. I do have a hard copy of the remote manual and it has the same content – recalling from when I looked at it a few years ago.

    My Olevia TV remote volume up button has failed and as you have to send the signal to the MS remote so it can learn it, I think I am still stuck.

  31. Jason says:

    7 years later this info comes in handy yet again when I had forgotten how to program those vol and tv power buttons. But, I have to admit that I have never had an issue of crashing my remote. I have the 1039 model and bought it 5 years ago. I’ve only had to put 4 sets of batteries in that time. Amazing. I have a few different models and the 1039 is my favorite of them all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s