How to use the registry hack to convert files for the Zune.

04Mar07

To begin: if you are not comfortable taking your computer’s well-being into your own hands then do not follow the following instructions. Making changes to your computer’s registry can cause many serious problems, you are warned.

To begin with you need to have a registry entry to merge with your computer’s registry. What we will be using as our registry entry today is the combined AVI and DVR-MS registy file located here. Download the file ZuneRegistyHacks.reg to a folder on your computer.

Right click ZuneRegistryHacks.reg and select Edit from the menu. The file opens in Notepad and contains the information that will allow the Zune software to add both AVI and DVR-MS files to its library.

THE ZUNE SOFTWARE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PLAY AVI OR DVR-MS FILES! IT WILL ONLY ALLOW FOR THEM TO BE ADDED TO THE LIBRARY AND CONVERTED TO BE PLAYED ON THE ZUNE.

The registry file begins by listing the location where the new entries will be added – [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\Zune\Extensions\.avi]. All this registry hack does is tell the Local Machine that Software made by Microsoft for Multimedia purposes named Zune can use files with Extensions of .avi. Each of the keys or values will be added to that part of the registry.

Let’s open the registry and locate where the new keys will be added. To open the registry click on the Start button and then click on the Run… option. If your computer doesn’t have Run… listed as an option – hold the Windows Key and press R. The Run dialog will appear, enter regedit in the text box and press Enter or select Ok with the mouse. A window similar to the one on the right will appear. This is your computers registry.

To protect yourself you should create a backup of your registry. To create the registry backup select File > Export > Select All name your registry file and press Enter. Wait while the backup is created, this may take some time depending on the size of your registry. When the backup is complete (the backup can be quite large mine is over 72 MB) I recommend keeping a copy of it on removeable media. To repair any issues that may arise you now have two options to turn to; repair your registy using the file we created OR using Windows system restore.

To locate where we will import the registry keys you need to follow the trail located at the top of the ZuneRegistryHack.reg file. Open keys by clicking the plus sign; HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Multimedia > Zune > Extensions. The keys listed under Extensions show the current file types the Zune software supports: .wma, .wmv, .mp3, mp4, etc. Our registry changes will add new keys under the Extensions key adding the new file types. You can see the registry before and after in the pictures below.

<Before and After>       If you want to remove the keys we are about to add at a later date: right-click the Key you want to remove and select Delete, it will prompt you asking “Are you sure you want to delete this key and all subkeys?”

ONLY DELETE KEYS FROM YOUR REGISTRY IF YOU ARE 100% CERTAIN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Once you have selected Yes then the Keys will be removed. The Keys that we are adding are .avi and .dvr-ms located in the Extensions key under Zune. These are the only keys that we will be adding and that you will need to remove to put your registry back to its former state.Now, close regedit and navigate to the folder where you downloaded ZuneRegistryHacks.reg. To add the registry keys in the file to your computers registry double-click the file or right-click the file and select Merge. You should see a dialog asking you to confirm.

Select Yes and the information will be added to your registry. Two keys will be created AVI and DVR-MS like the pictures above. You will receive a confirmation that the keys have been added successfully.

If you wish you can confirm the entries have been added by opening RegEdit and navigating to the Extensions key. Now that you have add the needed keys to the registry it’s time to set up the Zune software to add the new file types to its library.

Begin by opening the Zune Software. To add new folders to be watched click Options and select Add Folder to Library or press F3. All of your folders the Zune software is currently monitoring will appear. Select Add Folder… and browse to the folder containing your AVI or DVR-MS files and select OK. The dialog window will close and after a period of time all the files from the folders will be added to the Zune library. Select a file and drag it to your Sync window connect your Zune and select Start Sync. After a while (most conversions occur at real-time speed) the file will be converted and copied to your Zune.

If your AVI files are poor quality try adjusting the Sync settings to convert files to a higher quality. Click Sync Options from the Sync window > select More Options > Click Advanced… > put a check in Choose quality over speed when converting video.

I hope this helps someone out there with getting AVI and DVR-MS files onto their Zune. My wife and I are incredibly happy with the results we’ve had using this method. Since the conversion process involves only one piece of software it’s simple to use and it copies the file to the Zune without having to do so manually. We set up the Zune every night with new media and in the morning it’s ready to go.

Best of luck everyone, hope this helps someone else out there.

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10 Responses to “How to use the registry hack to convert files for the Zune.”

  1. 1 Nick

    Didn’t work for me, but I’m running Vista. Not sure if it would make too much of a difference. It detects the files but doesn’t convert them over and just says Error.

    Will try on XP tomorrow.

  2. 2 Irving

    Didnt work for me either. Im running xp. It detected it fine but did not convert. Also gave me error.

  3. 3 King

    i did it the zune software sees avi and dvr-ms but i get error when i try to convert to zune

  4. Hi, Is there a recommended codec that we have installed for the conversion to work? Like others, the fiels show up fine in the Zune software, but when I start to convert them, the status is just “Error”. Any help in this will be greatly appreciated!

  5. 5 Eric D.

    The keys show up on the registry. The files show up, but there’s always a conversion error even though I’ve downloaded the codec you recommend in a later post.

  6. 6 Muyiwa

    A much more simpler and rather ingenious method (deviced by me) is just using windows movie maker to convert the .avi to .wmv which the zune readily recognizes…u can get high quality videos if u carefully select the right options…..and for .divx files, just change the .divx extension to .avi and use movie maker again…works so far u have the divx codec pack installed on ur system…let the registry live to die another day…

  7. 7 Nick

    Hey, the link to the registry entry takes me to a quicktime movie that doesn’t work. No registry entries.

  8. 8 matt

    Worked great, thanks a million!!! Why, Microsoft? Why????

  9. 9 Kinayas

    generally the hack doesn’t work on most files, when I used it it worked on a select few smaller files.

  10. Hack doesn’t work anymore since they upgraded to version 3


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