Resetting PlayReady

I spent several hours this weekend struggling to get my Windows Media Center (WMC) systems up and running with the HDHomeRun. I ran across the error "The PlayReady update was incomplete" on two different machines. The solution involved resetting PlayReady on one machine; another machine required resetting the whole Windows DRM system.

These were the steps required on one computer to reset PlayReady:

  1. Run services.msc
  2. Stop the "Windows Media Center Receiver Service"
  3. Go to %programdata%\Microsoft\PlayReady and delete (or move to a backup location) the Cache folder and .hds files
  4. Go to %programdata%\Microsoft\eHome and delete (or move to a backup location) the Cache folder and .hds files
  5. Restart the receiver service
  6. Run Windows Media Center and go to Settings, TV, TV Signal, Update PlayReady
  7. If PlayReady still fails to update, follow the steps below to reset Windows DRM, then repeat

Another computer required additional steps, possibly because the hardware underneath Windows had changed so much. Note that these steps may render existing DRM-protected content inaccessible. Save your existing DRM folder (in step 1) if you are worried about that possibility. These are the steps to reset Windows DRM:

  1. Go to %programdata%\Microsoft\Windows and delete (or rename as a backup) the DRM folder
  2. Visit the Microsoft Security Component Upgrade site. Unfortunately you must visit this site using Internet Explorer.
  3. Click the Upgrade button and follow the prompts
  4. Follow the PlayReady reset steps above

Postscript: DRM is terrible. All it does is make it difficult for legitimate users of content to access what they've legally paid for. I consider myself proficient in the "computer arts" and I struggled mightily to make this stuff work. Most consumers will end up downloading torrents long before they'll put in that much effort to watch TV legally.


  • Don
  • February 14, 2013
  • 12:30 am
Thank you so much for this article. It helped me fix bothmy Media Center HTPC as well as Netflix.
  • Bill
  • March 3, 2013
  • 9:28 pm
Thank you. This also worked for me. I had a disk fail in my HTPC RAID1 setup and ended up updating the machine BIOS and RAID software (Intel RST) to get it working, which seemed to have broken my playready - Live TV from HDHomeRun Prime would no longer work.
  • John RIcketts
  • May 2, 2013
  • 12:47 am
Thank God. It was the stupid Security Component Upgrade portion that I was not finding until I found your post. You are a GOD.
  • G. Grubbs
  • January 9, 2015
  • 8:47 am
I was going in circles without the "additional step." I upgraded both the cpu and hard drive and nothing seemed to work. Thank you - you kept me from reinstalling windows as a last resort.
  • Andrew
  • January 31, 2015
  • 7:23 am
Last tip -- turn your monitor off and on again, that was preventing the error from going away for me. HDCP protection I guess?
  • Broderick
  • April 25, 2016
  • 7:33 am
Thank You! I was here a few years ago and was remiss in not thanking you then. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
  • gini
  • September 24, 2016
  • 11:34 am
awesome thanks
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