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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Thumbs up What is corrupting my system configuration?

    I have an interesting situation. ON my HTPC, recording with the Hauppauge HD-PVR is of questionable reliability. This is a common problem.

    I have always blamed some hardware glitch or another as the cause of the unreliability but with some recent troubleshooting effort, the problem seems to be a software or Windows configuration problem.

    A few weeks ago, I configured up a win7 PC from scratch and installed all of the software. New motherboard, new everything except for the TV tuners. I took an image before I started using the system so I wouldn't have to start from scratch again. The system worked like a champ for several weeks with narry a glitch.

    Suddenly I started having problems with the HD-PVR. I made another copy of the original hard drive image and put that hard drive in my computer. Atleast for the last couple of days, the performance had been flawless.

    To me this means that something in the system configuration has gtten mangled but how can I determine what? I have a copy of the hard driver that works. and a copy of the harddrive that doesn't.

    I realize this is a tough one. Just hoping that someone has some ideas.

    Take Care
    Ian

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Lounge!!

    Have you installed any other hardware?

    Have you installed any other software?

    Have you updated software - patches, upgrades?

    Do you have the most current drivers for the Hauppauge device?

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Without a fuller description of the problem Ian, it's difficult to know. DPClat and LatencyMon might be useful to test for buggy drivers; read the info on the DPClat page and the documentation links at the foot of the LatencyMon page for how to troubleshoot the problems they might flag up.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    I sort of realized that I wasn't giving enough info to actually solve the problem. I was manly looking at the technique to try and diagnose.

    This computer has the following specs.
    Athlon X4
    Biostar A770E motherboard
    2Gb memory
    Hauppauge HD-PVR
    SiliconDust HDHomeRun
    Adaptec 3610 Dual tuner
    2 Freestyle USB hard drives
    40Gb hard drive (C sata
    500Gb hard drive (D sata
    esata card
    JBOD external sata hard drive bay with 4 hd (750Gb, 1Tb, 1.5Tb and 2Tb)
    USB-UIRT IR reciever/blaster
    Logitech bluetooth keyboard

    running
    BeyondTV
    XBMC
    Eventghost
    SwissCenter

    The problem with the HD-PVR has been long standing. THe HD-PVR is a USB based recorder that records the component output of a cable box using the "analog hole"

    Other users have blamed everything from a bad power supply on the HD-PVR to overloading the USB system.

    What made this last set of events interesting is that I have a configuration that works well and one that doesn't. I do install software updates on this computer (mainly XBMC) but not much else.

    Everyone in the family uses this HTPC so when it is down, I hear about it.

  5. #5
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    Can you be more specific about the problem? Doesn't record. Bad quality. Stops recording in the middle of something. Quits working at all.

    Joe

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
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    Arrow Compare the two configurations?

    First off, I'm wondering if you're best off occasionally restoring your stable configuration, and just letting it go at that. I sense a huge time sink right around the corner, here, with the strong possibility that, even if you identify the locus of the problem, you may not be able to fix it.

    That said: My take would be to ditch all the traditional troubleshooting methods, and work from what you know right now, as my gut tells me that this problem's root cause is either multivariate or so deeply buried that you'll just get yourself into an endless tail-chase (barring, of course, the possibility that you answered "Yes" to the question of having installed new software or hardware right before the problem surfaced). You have one drive image that's stable and one that exhibits the bad behavior--ergo, there's something different between the two. If you could nail down the difference(s), then you may be able to figure out what's happening and prevent it from happening in the future. This would require your installing the two images on separate HDDs (or perhaps on separate partitions on a large HDD); this would go a lot faster if you could use a couple of SSDs (OK, a time and money sink).

    Things that I could think of comparing, in order of my best guess of the likelihood of uncovering something significant:
    • All Windows-related files, including the User folders.
      There are a lot of compare-files-and-folders utilities floating around out there; I suspect that one of them will be able to look at file sizes and dates (both created and modified), as well as other possibily-useful comparisons. I also suspect that the list of file differences generated will be quite long.
      .
    • All files related to any apps that control the DVR functions.
      Same comments as the previous item.
      .
    • The Windows Registry on both images.
      No, I don't know of any utilities that could do this, but I wouldn't be surprised if one exists, possibly by comparing exported .REG files.
      .
    • The list of services running on both images.This would require, I suspect, booting from each image and generating a list all running services. The Services section of Computer Management can export a list, so you could compare the two lists. Just how automated that comparison would be would depend on the tools you have available and the degree and nature of the differences between the two lists.

    I'm sure that the other participants in this thread could vet my list and also suggest some suitable tools to use and other things to compare.

    Again, though, I must ask: Are you sure that you want to find the perfect answer, and that the "restore image" answer isn't good enough?

  7. #7
    Star Lounger lesle's Avatar
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    I have used satisfactorily the freeware program SyncBack, http://www.2brightsparks.com/download-syncback.html, to compare partitions. If you can restore your images to two separate partitions, using SyncBack you can find differences in file size, date, & time. Less than a minute is typical. The freeware version, SyncBack, does not handle locked files well, so you would want to avoid using your C: partition (presuming that's your boot drive).

    There may well be other comparable programs out there; I've had nothing but good experience with SyncBack.

    Hope this helps.

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