XBMC for PC (v10 “Dharma”)

XBMC for Windows 7 PC: how to


XBMC is a great multi-platform media center program. It can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and the old XBOX1. XBMC is highly customizable, plays nearly every type of media file, and users can install add-ons for nearly every conceivable function or feature they would want a media center to perform. One of my favorite features is that XBMC keeps track of what you watch and when you stopped watching. Smart Playlists are another great way to keep track of an ever growing media collection. Recently I’ve been enjoying the growing list of media streaming add-ons. I could go on and on for days so lets just cut to the installation process.

Before starting, make your life easier by consolidating all your multi-media files to a single location and logically sorted into folders. XBMC requires at minimum Music, Movies, and TV to be separated from each other. For videos you will want to place all your Movies into a “Movie” folder, TV Shows into a “TV Show” folder.  You can put all your music into a single folder and it will work but I suggest some sort of organization using artist and album folders. Feel free to use subfolders within video and music directories.  XBMC works better when using a standard type of naming convention for TV and movies. Music info is pulled from the tag data of the file. The way your files are named affects the accuracy of the scrapers for library mode

A simple folder structure is:



                                * Moviename.year.info or Moviename [year]info

                <TV Shows>

                                <TV Show>


                                                                *showname.1×1 ,showname.s01e01, or Showname [1×01]




                <Album Artist>





1.       Download XBMC from www.xbmc.org

2.       Right click and “Install as administrator”

3.       The XBMC install wizard opens. Install using the defaults, or choose to customize. I prefer the defaults.

4.       Run XBMC

5.       Add your media sources from File Mode (default):

a.       Local sources (cannot be used with advanced library sharing but this won’t matter for most users)

                                                               i.      In XBMC select “Videos” or “Music”, then “Add Source”

                                                             ii.      A window opens, highlight and select “Browse” or manually type the folder location and skip the next step

                                                            iii.      Using the explorer window that opens, navigate to the location on your computer you keep your media. On Windows 7 the default locations should be C:UsersUserNameVideos and C:UsersUserNameMusic, the screenshot shows the music folder. The Videos folder will be the same process.



                                                           iv.      Enter a Name for your source and select “OK”

                                                             v.      When adding a music source the window will close and your new source will be visible in the file list. When adding Videos an additional window opens asking what type of content is contained within the folder. On standard XBMC installations the choices are: Movies, TV Shows, and Music Videos.  If you want to add each type of media source individually now is when you can select the “Scraper” that will retrieve additional media info and populate your media library. I only add a Video folder that contains subfolders, and manually select the media type of subfolders in a later step.



b.      SMB shares (windows network share) Smb://ComputerName/ShareName/

                                                             i.      In XBMC select “Videos” or “Music”, then “Add Source”

                                                             ii.      A window opens, highlight and select “Browse” or manually type the network folder location and skip the next step

                                                           iii.      Using the explorer window that opens, navigate to the location of your network share which might be similar to: smb://ComputerName/…/Music/ and/or smb://ComputerName/…/Videos/



                                                          vii.      The remaining steps are the same as before; Set a name for the source, select “OK” and disregard the prompt to set content.

c.       FTP sources *not optimal but can be utilized.

                                                               i.      Same steps as above but you will need to select “Add Network Location” and in the resulting screen use the arrow buttons to select “FTP”clip_image0144.jpgclip_image0164.jpg

                                                             ii.      Enter your FTP server address, username, and password. Press “OK”.

6.       Set content for sources and activate media scraping.

a.       Use your mouse or keyboard (I prefer keyboard) to navigate to your newly added media sources. Right mouse-click or press the “C” key or “Menu” key on your keyboard while highlighting your Movie or TV folder. I will select “Movies” first. The menu key may look like this:clip_image0184.jpg



b.      Use the arrow buttons to choose what the directory contains. Select “Run Automated Scan” and press OK. Choose “Yes” if asked to refresh. XBMC will begin scanning your Movies folder into the library.

 clip_image0224.jpg clip_image0244.jpg


c.       To set up TV Shows the steps are nearly identical just choose the correct directory content type and select “OK”


Depending on how many files you have stored on your computer, your naming convention, computing horsepower, etc, XBMC may take a while before it completes scanning all your media.


d.      Enable “Library Mode” from within your XBMC Videos section by pressing left and then selecting the radio button for “Library” clip_image0284.jpg

e.      You should now see a menu like this:clip_image0304.jpg

f.        When in your Movie or TV folder, press left arrow to view available global options for your library. Here I have changed my view to “Media Info” which displays a plot summary and resolution information for the selected file among other things clip_image0327.jpg

g.       *Sometimes your files may get scanned incorrectly or not at all. There are options to manually add individual files as well as options to edit incorrect information. Highlight the file and press the menu key to see those options.  There are also options to automatically scan for new media on startup.