Using Media Center with a Mouse or Keyboard

Although the Media Center interface was designed for ease of use with a remote control, it also responds well to more conventional forms of input. If you move the mouse (or touch the trackpad on a notebook PC) while Media Center is running, navigation controls appear in two of the four corners . Use the back arrow and the green Media Center logo in the upper left corner to emulate pressing the corresponding buttons on the remote control. Playback and volume controls appear in the lower right corner, as shown here:

The playback controls in the center are familiar to anyone who's ever used a DVD player. The four controls on the left allow you to record the current TV program, switch to the program guide, and use the Channel/Page Up and Down buttons, respectively. The three buttons on the right allow you to mute, lower, or raise the volume .

All of these elements go away after five seconds of inactivity on the mouse's part.

You can also gain full access to Media Center functions using a keyboard. The techniques we describe here work with a wired keyboard or one built into a notebook PC; if you have a wireless keyboard with sufficient range, you can control your Media Center PC from the comfort of your couch, using the keyboard as a replacement for or supplement to the remote control

Some keyboard commands are obvious: the Up Arrow, Down Arrow, Left Arrow, and Right Arrow keys work just like the navigation controls on the remote, and pressing Enter or Spacebar is the same as pushing OK. Page Up and Page Down map to the Channel Up/ Down buttons . In search boxes, you can type search terms directly and use the Backspace key to clear the most recently typed character.

Table 14-2 lists some other combinations that might be less obvious but are still useful. In particular, the numeric keypad on a full-size keyboard can fill in for a lot of tasks during Live TV and while viewing the guide.

Table 14-2 Media Center Keyboard Shortcuts

Menu Choice

Keyboard Shortcut

Media Center Start page (start Media Center, if necessary)

Windows logo key+Alt+Enter

Recorded TV

Ctrl + O or Ctrl+Shift+T


Ctrl + G

Music Library

Ctrl + M

Video Library

Ctrl + E

Picture Library

Ctrl + I

Movie Library

Ctrl + Shift+M



Go back to previous screen


Toggle full screen/window


Go to channel number (Live TV or Guide)

Enter number using the 0-9


Up one channel (while playing TV)

Plus (+) or Equal (=)

Down one channel (while playing TV)

Minus (-)


Ctrl + R

More Info/Display shortcut menu

Ctrl + D


Ctrl + Shift+P

Pause/Play (toggle)

Ctrl + P


Ctrl + Shift+S

Replay (Back)

Ctrl + B

Skip (Forward)

Ctrl + F


Ctrl + Shift+B

Fast Forward

Ctrl + Shift+F



Volume up


Volume down


Audio language options (TV or DVD)

Ctrl + Shift+A

Subtitles/Closed Captions

Ctrl + U

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