Monday, 20 December 2010

Windows Media Center unable to record programs

This weekend I decided it was time to upgrade my Windows 7 Media Center to support Freesat HD.  After purchasing a BlackGold DVB-S2 tuner, and installing it, things seemed to be going well, until it picked up the wrong satellite!

So - Fresat comes from the Astra Satellites, not the Hotbird one, to get around this you can run the Media Center TV Setup Wizard, and choose your own Satellite - 28.2E Astra 2A-B-D is the one you need.

The next problem I faced was that all the guides got out of sync, as well as the channel listings not showing any of the Freesat channels such as BBC1 HD, ITV1 HD, and the CBS Drama Channels.  I followed the advice of and this was a really bad idea - it corrupted my WMC installation - some say the way to return it to former health is to install again!  No way!

So - what was the result of runing the above - none of the recording functions worked.  You could select a program from the guide and record it, or just press the record button on Live TV you may be watching, but all it said was "This program will be recorded".  Its the "will be" be that worried me, why would it not record, a reboot did not even help?

So - how did I resolve it?  Easy.  You do not need to reinstall windows like some people have suggested.  Just to the following:

Go into Control Panel | Programs and Features | Turn Windows Features on or off | Select the Media | Windows Media Center option and un-tick the option.  This will force a reboot of your Media Center.  After rebooting you will notice the WMC is not installed.  Go back into the Control Panel option and re-select it, it will ask to reboot again.

This will re-create the C:\Windows\Microsoft\ehome and C:\Program Data\Microsoft\ehome directories that comtain the WMC features and also the guide, TV setup data and Guide listings.

After this you will find the Recording starts working again - phew!  All sorted!

Next blog item will be how to get the Freesat HD channels to appear (as they dont by default!)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Using Windows 7 "God Mode"

Firstly a Happy New year to all! 

I have just discovered this fantastic hidden feature of Windows 7 - called "GodMode", that allows one view on all commonly used Control Panel settings.

To enable it, simply create a new folder on the root of your C: drive called:


Immediately you will notice the icon changes from a folder, to a Control Panel icon, so you know something specials going to happen!

The following screen then appears:

I love the item to add two other time zones to my clocks - something I have never looked at before, but now can't get enough of:

See this article on for more information.

Recently I have had issues with my DELL laptop running Windows 7, the display sporadically turned off, on, and at one point not even an external monitor would connect to it.

The GodMode utility pointed me in the right direction and after resolving the faulty connection to the screen was able to see what was posted as an event:

Now this is what I call a useful utility - begs the question as to why Microsoft has chosen to hide this option, as would be a great option to have as standard!