Windows Media Connect Folder Sharing Won't Start

After installation the next barrier that folks can hit is service startup.  It looks something like this.  You run through the first-run wizard and after it is all done you get a popup balloon that says “Folder sharing failed to start”.  That doesn’t sound good so you click on the bubble and the Windows Media Connect UI opens up.  You click on the Settings button on the left.  You hit the button at right at the top that says Start.  And again, you get an error that says “Folder sharing failed to start”.

When this happens, the first place to start is the system event log.  You can read that from the event viewer.  There are several ways to get to the event viewer.  I usually get to it by right-clicking on “My Computer” and choosing “Manage”.  That brings up a nice management console that has all kinds of useful snaps-ins for managing everything from hard-disks to user accounts and includes both the service manager and the event viewer. However, for simplicity sake lets just pull up the event viewer in its own console. Press Start->Run and type in “eventvwr.msc”.  That should launch the event viewer management console in its own window.

To figure out what went wrong you should look for error entries from either the Service Control Manager or WMConnectCDS.  The most common problem is that one of the services that WMC depends on didn’t start. The error message looks something like this

Event Type:     Error
Event Source:   Service Control Manager
Event Category: None
Event ID:       7001
The Windows Media Connect Service service depends on the Universal Plug and
Play Device Host service which failed to start because of the following

Ok, so the problem is with another service. It is time to open the Services management console.  As I said before, I usually do this by right-clicking on “My Computer” and choosing “Manage” but again for simplicity sake, let’s open the services console in its own window.  Click Start->Run and type “services.msc” and the services console will open.

Let’s take a look at the services that WMC depends on.  Scroll down the list in the services console until you find one that says “Windows Media Connect Service”.  Double click that entry and the details dialog for WMC will open.  Click on the “Dependencies” tab and you will see that WMC depends on two services, the HTTP service and UPnP Device Host.  But wait, that’s not all.  These services may also depend on other services.  Click on the little “+” next to each of these services to see what they depend on. HTTP doesn’t depend on anything, but the Universal Plug and Play Device Host depends on HTTP and the SSDP Discovery Service.  Clicking on the SSDP Discovery Service we see that it depends on HTTP as well.  So all together we find that Windows Media Connect depends on HTTP, the Universal Plug and Play Device Host service, and the SSDP Discovery Service.

I’ve talked to lots of people who had tremendous trouble getting the UPnP services to start. The problem run from permissions problems on files, to permission problems in the registry to corrupted installs of Windows XP.  Unfortunately, in a few cases the only way to fix the issue was to re-install Windows.  Hopefully that won’t be the case for you, but I want to prepare you for the worst.  You do have backups of all your critical files don’t you? 

For a lot more people the problem was that the UPnP Services were disabled.  Fortunately that is easy to fix. To re-enable the services look in the Services Console for the SSDP Discovery Service. Double click the entry.  Look in the “General” tab look in the middle for the “Startup Type”.  If this says “Disabled” change it to “Manual”.  And do the same for  the UPnP Device Host. After that close the event viewer and the services console and go back to WMC and click on start again.  With a little bit of luck your service should be running now.  If not, you’ve got a more serious problem and you should probably post something to the forums or or the newsgroups at news:\\Microsoft.public.windowsmedia.devices

I often wonder why so many people have the UPnP Services disabled.  I’ve got a theory about that.  Back in 2001 a major vulnerability was found in UPnP.  The vulnerability is fixed in SP2, so if your system meets the install prerequisites for WMC, then you’ve already got the patch.  If you are interested in reading more about the vulnerability you can check out the original security bulletin (  Having the patch is great, but my guess is that many people went one step further.  The other way to secure you from the vulnerability was to disable UPnP.  Back in 2001 there wasn’t much you could do with UPnP anyway.  Almost nobody was using it, so you could probably disable it and nobody would notice.  My theory is that some of the common security tools of the time did just that.  They disabled UPnP.  The result being that 5 years later when a really cool UPnP Application comes out there are lots of people out there who disabled UPnP five years ago and didn’t know it, or don’t remember.  Anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.