How to: Create a Mac Mini Media Center (Part 5 – Installing and Configuring the Media Center Remote Control)

As our Mac Mini is going to be positioned in the lounge, powering the content viewed on the large screen TV, trying to control it with mouse and keyboard would not be the most fun. Windows Media Center is best controlled with a Media Center remote and that’s the subject of this next section. Before we get started, a quick refresher in the other parts of the series:

  1. Get the Mac Mini Up and Running (with OSX)
  2. Configure Boot Camp to Allow Dual Booting With Windows 7
  3. Install Windows 7
  4. Installing and Configuring Codecs
  5. Install and Configure the Windows Media Center Remote Control
  6. Connect and Configure our TV Tuners
  7. Set up Windows Media Center
  8. Install the Media Center Connector
  9. Install and Configure Media Center Master
  10. Install and Configure Media Browser
  11. Install and Configure TunerFree MCE

There are two essential elements to getting our Mac Mini (or indeed any PC) working with a Windows Media Center Remote Control. You need, obviously, a Windows Media Center Remote Control (you can find a whole bunch of them at reasonable prices herealt) which will send commands to the PC, and then you’re going to need an IR Receiver to pick them up. Now, I can already hear you shouting, “Hang on! Doesn’t the Mac Mini comes with an integrated IR Receiver?” Yes, it most certainly does, but whilst it works like a dream with a standard Apple Remote (or the new Apple TV remote for that matter), it simply doesn’t do the job with Windows Media Center. So, you’re going to need a USB IR Receiver.


The good news is that the remote control manufacturers tend to ship an IR Receiver in box with the remote, but make sure you check when purchasing. So, with remote and receiver in hand, let’s get installing!

1. Disable the Internal Apple IR Receiver

So if we’re installing our own external IR Receiver, then we certainly don’t need that internal Apple receiver, so let’s get rid of it.

In the System Tray, click on the small arrow that points upwards, click on the black diamond (the Boot Camp icon) and select Boot Camp Control Panel.


The Boot Camp Control Panel opens up, and we’ll be visiting the Remote Tab. Check the box marked Disable remote control receiver and click OK.


2. Plug in the USB IR Receiver

Plug the receiver into one of the Mac Mini’s rear USB connections. It will install automatically, pulling any required drivers from Windows Update. When installed, you’ll see this.


3. Check the Remote

Once the receiver is installed, go ahead and try out that green button. As long as the install went okay, Windows Media Center should fire up.


Short and sweet, that’s how we like it! Join us again as we get our TV Tuners installed and set up Windows Media Center.

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