Just been one of those weeks

As the title says it has been one of those weeks. Between having a sick daughter all weekend, getting into a small accident in my car due to an ice storm we had Saturday night into Sunday and then my HTPC decided to die on me Sunday night in the middle of a football game.So needless to say I’ve been a little on edge all week. Monday night I was finally able to settle down, collect my composure and actually spend some time diagnosing my HTPC issues.

At first my thought was the main OS drive had failed so I then installed a new/spare hard drive, and began the process of doing  WHS system restore. After 20 minutes or so the WHS restore was completed and I went to boot up the newly restored system however it was still showing signs of the same failure I was having previously. The system would boot up, I would see the windows logo, and the status bar was sliding along, however once that went away, the screen would go black and wouldn’t do anything beyond that.

So then begins the hair pulling, the frequent “F-bombs” and contestant frustration trying to figure out just what the hell went wrong and why the system wouldn’t boot up any more. After a long and daunting evening of reading forum posts, updating the bios, hardware firmware, safe mode boots, registry edits, you name it, I tried it. I ended up breaking down the system, removing every single piece of hardware that wasn’t necessary for the system to boot up. I completely wiped the hard drive clean, started over from scratch and re-installed windows. Once I got windows up and running installing hardware piece by piece, updating the drivers, and several reboots later I was up and running to the point I was ready to install my tuner cards and get my system recording TV again.

I started with my ceton tuner, downloaded the latest drivers, got it up and running verified I could record TV and had no issues, I moved onto my OTA ATSC tuners. I then installed my tuners, updated the drivers, rebooted, and all of the sudden I started getting the same symptoms as before. System would boot to the windows logo, then go black. A few more “F-Bombs” I removed one tuner at a time, and found the culprit. One of my Vista View Saber DN-1-N-1 ATSC tuner cards went bad. So after realizing what happened I damn near died, went through all that hassle of rebuilding my system all because one of my tuner cards failed. Needless to say I will store this experience in the books so that when (not if) this situation happens again I will know where to start looking first.

The one great thing about this whole ordeal is that it gave me a chance to finally wipe and rebuild my HTPC, something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months now but due to the fact we are in the middle of prime time TV watching I was holding off as long as possible. So while I didn’t get a system restore with WHS, I still had all my system files backed up which allowed for me to still retain all my series recordings, I just needed a way to restore them. Doing a little digging I found an article on Hack 7MC. The article was about backing up and restoring your series recording schedule. While WHS does my nightly backups, I already had the backup portion covered from WHS. I opened up the backup from WHS, pulled out the necessary files that I needed followed the instructions and sure enough all my series recordings where back and I didn’t have to go through are re-ad any of them. So now I am back up and running, go my HTPC recording TV again, next up is Auto commercial skipping, MKV codec support, and auto converting MKV video to WTV with meta data. Stay tuned for further posts about those processes.

Until next time, have a great Thanksgiving,


  • George L. Schmauch Jr.

    Quite and ordeal, but I know

    Quite and ordeal, but I know most of us have been there before.  And, we often forget the simple things to check, like failed hardward.  Thanks for the reminder!

    Also, in my research about DE alternatives, I ran across [url=http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6826]this guide[/url] on how to clone and upgrade a WHS system drive.  Pretty neat stuff!

  • I had one of the same tuners
    I had one of the same tuners go out on me earlier this year with the same result. Luckily I was able to get enough info from the crash log to identify it. Still have one running in the box along side an HDHR. Hopefully I will get a little more mileage out of it. I hate hardware failures they always catch me off guard.