How To Make Media Center Download Torrents Automatically

I have been asked about my Windows Media Center setup and how I have it setup to automatically download tv shows and email me a message when they are complete for quite some time now. Well the time has now come, long awaited I know. I have been meaning to get around to this for well over 3 months now. Sorry about that but finally here it is.

First I think it would help if you read these articles first.

How to Install and Configure uTorrent

How to Install and Configure Peer Guardian

How to Spot the Best Torrents for Fast Downloads

Ok so like I was saying,  simply put, I have a computer tucked away in our tv armoire that is connected to our 42 inch HDTV, and it monitors RSS feeds for television shows that I tell it to look for, and it downloads them when they are available. When the download is complete, the computer sends an email notification that it is indeed finished and ready for viewing.

My Setup

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
2.8 GHZ Intel Pentium D CPU x2
1.5 GiG Ram
500 Gig Harddrive
2 Video Capture Cards – Hauppauge WinTV PVR 150 with remote

I know its old but it has worked best for me for a long time now, since October 2006 I believe.  Media Center is Microsoft’s Digital Video Recorder, or DVR as most call it. You can pause and record live tv, schedule shows and movies to record for later viewing too.

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Iphone Car Dash Mount

Ok I think through all my trials and searching I have finally found a really good windshield or dashmount for the iPhone.

I was shopping in Target this week and noticed that they had one that looked very interesting. It was from a new brand I have never heard of called Speck.

I had been seeing a lot of Speck cases and what not for the iPhone all the day long as I shopped today. This however looked like something I had been searching for, for quite some time.

This kit provides you with a base that can be mounted on the dash or suctioned to the windshield, a belt clip, a snap on case for the iPhone, ipod touch, or ipod nano, audio aux cable, and also an additional swivel attachment so that you can get every possible angle you need out of this thing.

As soon as I got to the car I took it out of the package and pretend to mount it on the dash to see how well this was going to workout. I could see right away that I didn’t want to give up my Incipio Case for the one they provide. The one that they provide is almost perfect for this.  See on the pack of it there is a square piece of plastic and it happens to fit in the other square on the mount.

This was not a deal breaker for me. I like to modify things, and I had been looking way to long for a decent mount.

All I had to do was take the piece that came with the kit for the ipod nano, widdle it down a bit with a grinder, super glue it to my Incipio Case and I was done.

I tried to find a good link to provide you with so you get pick up one for yourself but I had no luck. I guess the easiest thing to do is visit Target and see if they have one there.

Here is the exact same thing but its by a different company.

I included some photos from my setup.

Shutdown or Reboot Shortcut in Windows XP

Well now that you know how to launch several programs with one click, how about I show you how to shut your computer down superfast?

This file you are about to create should be used at your own risk. I just have to say that for legal mumbo jumbo, but hey trust me it will work.

This file will kill all currently running apps on a system that you have started with the exception of a few locked Windows processes and some antivirus products making for a fast shutdown or reboot.

Here is the recipe for what I call a “just do it!” script. What its doing is basically killing off all apps that are started in your username and at the end its rebooting the computer.

@echo off
title Kill all running apps
cd c:windowsSystem32
for /f “skip=3 tokens=1” %%i in (‘TASKLIST /FI “USERNAME eq %userdomain%%username%” /FI “STATUS eq running”‘) do (
if not “%%i”==”svchost.exe” (
if not “%%i”==”explorer.exe” (
if not “%%i”==”cmd.exe” (
if not “%%i”==”tasklist.exe” (
taskkill /f /im “%%i”
shutdown -r -f -t 00

Remember to copy and paste this into notepad and save it as a bat file like we showed you in the earlier post

If you don’t want the computer to reboot and you simply want it to shutdown, and I mean shutdown fast, then just remove the -r like this shutdown -f -t 00

Start All Your Programs With One Click

Today I am going to show you an easy way to launch all your favorite programs with the click of one icon.

Normally I leave my computers running 24/7. I know that’s not very green of me but that’s what I do. On the occasional reboot I have several of the same apps that I constantly use and I hate to click each one and wait for it to load so I created a batch file that will launch the ones I use the most with one single click.

Here is how its done.

Lets say you want to launch Firefox, Microsoft Outlook, Opera, and Pidgin. These will need to be installed on your computer of course.

First open notepad and copy and paste the following into it and save it as something like “startall.bat”

@echo off
start /d “C:Program FilesPidgin” pidgin.exe
echo Launched Pidgin!
start /d “C:Program FilesMozilla Firefox” firefox.exe
echo Launched Firefox!
start /d “C:Program FilesOpera” opera.exe
echo Launched Opera!
start /d “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12” outlook.exe
echo Launched Outlook!

Remember that when in notepad go to File then Save As and notice the Save As Type in the dialogue box? Change that to All Files or it will default to a standard text document and this will not work.

That’s it! Save your batch file to your desktop labeled to something like I said earlier like StartAll.bat and there you go, double click it and all your apps that you coded into the file will launch.

Let me teach you how to find your own apps to add to this code above.

Through lots of trial and error I finally figured out the magic behind all this and its simply start /d and you have to have the correct quotations in place.

On your computer double click My Computer or click Start and click on My Computer and then Click your C drive and navigate to Program Files. Here lets look for programs that we want to launch when we want to.

For fun I have navigated to C:Program FilesInternet Explorer and within that directory I see iexplore.exe which is indeed the Internet Explorer Application.

Now if I want to add that to my StartAll.bat file I would simply need to modify the code a bit to look like this:

start /d “C:Program FilesInternet Explorer iexplore.exe

Just to be clear on the syntax for this I am going to retype this below and for spaces I will use [spacebar]


I hope this makes sense and helps you out.

If you have any tips or improvements to this please list them in the comments section below.

Windows Automatic Updates Annoyance

Lately, I’ve been dealing with the Windows XP Automatic Updates restart nag screen for quite some time now. I am normally pretty busy and have tons of apps open along with several browsers with several tabs. Even though it doesn’t take long for my computer to reboot, I would rather do it at the end of the day.
To keep from hulking out like The Incredible Hulk and thrashing my laptop, (just kidding I would never do that) after clicking the Restart Later button for the tenth time, I decided to stop being lazy and figure out how to shut it off.

It turns out to be pretty easy.
You can either use the command line to shut off the Automatic Updates service or manually shut it off in the Services panel.

To shut it off manually:
1. Go to Start->Control Panel->Administrative Tools and double-click on Services.
2. Right-click on Automatic Updates and select Stop.

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