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All about XBMC’s advancedsettings.xml file

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In a great deal of the guides you will find here and other places, you will find mention of XBMC’s advancedsettings.xml file. Often I have found most other sites only include what can seem like somewhat cryptic instructions – if you have some knowledge of the purpose of this file and how it works it is fine, however a new or novice user can struggle. Hopefully this article will go some way in demystifying the advancedsettings.xml file for new users and helping you understand how to use it for maximum benefit.


What is XBMC’s advancedsettings.xml?

An often overlooked part of most guides is explaining why XBMC needs or has the advancedsettings.xml file. The purpose of this file is to allow the user to configure advanced configuration options that aren’t required by the majority of XBMC’s user base. By removing them from the graphical user interface and putting them in a separate configuration file, it keeps the graphical user interface simple and removes options that the majority of users do not require.

Additionally you will often find that as new features are added to XBMC, initially support for those features will only be available by configuring it through the advancedsettings.xml file. Once a feature becomes more stable and mainstream, options for configuring it will then be added to the GUI. Likewise you will often find that some options that can be configured through the GUI will have additional advanced configuration options available through the advancedsettings.xml file.

Do I need a advancedsettings.xml file?

For most users, most of the time, probably not. However, if you are looking to try some of XBMC’s more advanced or new features then possibly. Given you are reading this, quite possibly!

I can’t find my advancedsettings.xml!

Don’t worry, by default the advancedsettings.xml does not exist – so until you create one it will not be there.

My advancedsettings.xml file is missing!

Again, don’t worry – this is normal. You will not have an advancedsettings.xml file unless you create one.

Where can I download a advancedsettings.xml file?

You should create your own advancedsettings.xml file as the contents of it will be specific to your requirements and setups. Downloading and trying to use someone else’s will likely cause you issues!

Where should my advancedsettings.xml file located?

The advancedsettings.xml file should be created in your userdata folder. The userdata folder is the folder that XBMC uses to store the majority of its configuration files, library data, plugins, etc…

Click on the appropriate tab for your operating system to locate where you userdata folder will be.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

C:Documents and Settings%userprofile%Application DataXBMCuserdata

You can create and edit this file using Notepad or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

C:Users%userprofile%AppDataRoamingXBMCuserdata

You can create and edit this file using Notepad or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

C:Users%userprofile%AppDataRoamingXBMCuserdata

You can create and edit this file using Notepad or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

/Users//Library/Application Support/XBMC/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using TextEdit or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

/private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using vi or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

/private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using vi or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

$HOME/.xbmc/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using vi or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

$HOME/.xbmc/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using vi or any other text editor of your choice.

Your userdata folder can be located at:

/storage/.xbmc/userdata
or
$HOME/.xbmc/userdata/

You can create and edit this file using vi or any other text editor of your choice.


Will XBMC change or overwrite my advancedsettings.xml?

Once you have created your advancedsettings.xml file, the XBMC software will never overwrite or write to this file, so any settings you define will not be overwritten by and XBMC GUI settings. You can only edit this file manually on your computer using a text editor (Notepad in Windows, TextEdit on OSX, vi on Linux or any other text editor you might have).

What can I define in the advancedsettings.xml file?

There are a multitude of options that can be defined in the advancedsettings.xml file. These cover items from library management, thumbnail generation, remapping special folder locations, shared library settings, and countless more.

NOTE: The advancedsettings.xml file is CaSe SeNsItIvE and must be called advancedsettings.xml not ADVANCEDSETTINGS.XML or advancedsettings.XML, etc… If it is not named advancedsettings.xml XBMC will not read it.

Likewise the contents of the advancedsettings.xml are case sensitive, and all tags must be in lowercase or again they will not be read correctly by XBMC.


How should I layout my advanced settings.xml file?

The advancedsettings.xml file is a simple plain text file (technically an xml file). It must start with the <advancedsettings> tag and be closed with the <advancedsettings> tag. As previously mentioned, the contents of this file are case sensitive and all tags should be in lowercase to ensure XBMC reads them correctly.

<advancedsettings>
    <setting1>myValue</setting1>
    ....
    <setting2>myValue</setting2>
</advancedsettings>

Where setting1 and setting2 gives the name of the setting that is being defined and myValue is its corresponding value.

Where can I find out more about advancedsettings.xml options?

I will be putting together guides for most of the common advancedsettings.xml usage scenarios and detailing the options used within them.

If you can’t find a guide for the feature you are looking for, drop me a email or use the contact form to request a guide.

If all else fails, then there is always google or the incredibly helpful people at the XBMC forums.

Is there a definitive list of all advancedsettings.xml options?

Unfortunately no, or if there is I haven’t managed to find it yet. In theory the wiki page on main XBMC site should document all of the options, however I have often found it to be missing some & outdated. It is however a good starting point to understand its options. You can find it at http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Userdata/advancedsettings.xml

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