I have a MCE remote from long ago (shipped with an MCE 2005), but i cannot find the IR receiver. I now have Win7 and a generic usb IR receiver i picked up a fry's. Is there a way to make my old mce remote work with this 'generic' usb ir receiver? If I buy a logitech harmoney remote, will it be able to control media center via my generic IR receiver or do I need to buy a MCE IR receiver?
Yes you can use the generic IR receiver as long it's compatible with EventGhost and teach it to use the new remote commands to send them as keystrokes to Windows (and eventually to MCE itself).
Here is a list of all the keyboard shortcuts that MCE accepts: Windows Media Center keyboard shortcuts.
The only problem I've noticed is that MCE doesn't provide a keyboard shortcut to open the on-screen keyboard, so prepare to miss that...
A more in-depth answer is here: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/human_errors-guide-to-usb-ir-receivers-and-media-centre-remotes.98630/
Outside of Saxtus's suggestions, more generic compatibility can be achieved by buying specific IR receivers, which are listed on the page above, along with other user information.