On DecCheck, MC Diagnostic Tool, Decoders and LiveTV

Microsoft Windows

How to muck up your day in four easy steps.

Greetings All,

I'm having problems backing up my computer to DVDs using Norton Ghost... but
that's another story. I ended up here because I have been repeatedly told to
ensure all drivers, software, etc are up to date and functioning correctly.

I have a Toshiba Qosmio G20 Laptop. (Similar specs to the US G25AV.) It had
MCE preinstalled, and currently has every single available update from
Windows Upadate installed. For multimedia, it came with NVIDIA GeForce Go
6600; SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio; TOSHIBA PCI TV Tuner type W (PAL,
analogue). Preinstalled software incuded WinDVD, Sonic's RecordNow and DLA,
and Norton Anti-Virus.

For the display adaptor, the only update recommended by Toshiba is a Version
78.82, which fixed a peculiar cursor-freeze problem. You could see on-screen
buttons highlighting as you twiddled the track pad, but the pointer remained
motionless.

I also have an X-Box 360 hooked up via ethernet cable and a HP Officejet.

In order to watch digital free-to-air TV, I have installed an AverTV DVB-T
USB 2.0 Video Capture Device (Tuner) with the latest drivers. This integrated
into the Media Center interface OK, provided that only the drivers, and not
the stand-alone application for TV viewing, are installed. Of vourse, I need
to re-Setup the TV Signal, if I wanted to watch analogue TV via the built-in
software tuner.

Everything seemed OK, until Mr Norton's Ghost sent me on a mission.

Now... DecCheck... downloaded and run. It reported, installed MPEG2
decoders: a single entry... M10 Compatible... big tick, Vendor.... Intervideo
Video Decoder, File Name... IVIVIDEO.ax, Version... 5.0.11.488, MCE
Compatible... BIG CROSS!, Preferred Decoder... blank. Now why would anyone
want to click "Set as Preferred", when it is not MCE Compatible? So I left
that as is - no preferred decoder. Remember, everything was working fine.
More on that later....

Next... MC Diagnostic Tool... downloaded and run. One subtle amber line
about my modem not having caller ID enabled, and a few bold red lines:
Initial MPEG2 Audio Decoder Is Media Center Compatible? FALSE; Initial MPEG2
Video Decoder Is Media Center Compatible? FALSE; "This Computer Does Not Meet
Minimum Requirements"!! Have Toshiba sold me a lemon?? My God!!

Next... A new Decoder... nVidia PureVideo free trial... downloaded and
installed... run Media Center... MbaaDooing... select Live TV... "You're
watching AB......................." FREEEEZE............... MOUSE FREEZE,
CLOCK FREEZE.... EVERYTHING FREEZE!!!!! Two minutes... Three minutes... Four
minutes... Suddenly, "And now a word from our spons..........." FREEZE!! And
so on for 10 minutes or so. Over time I was able to work the curser up to the
"x" to close the Media Center window. Eventually, it shutdown. I was more
dazed than the computer... everything seemed to have returned to normal. Hey!
I'm a sucker, lets try that again. Reboot... Media Center... Live TV... same
as before but over a much longer period.

Back to DecCheck... two entries this time, the previous one and the brand
spanking new NVIDIA Video Decoder, nvviddec.ax version 4020.223.0.0, with a
huge green tick under MCE Compatible. And self-selected as the preferred
decoder. Poor old Intervideo still had the red cross under "MCE Compatible",
but I thought, "It's a lot better than that puffed-up self-selecting
preferred Decoder", so I clicked on Intervideo and clicked on "Set as
Preferred". A miracle! Suddenly poor old Intervideo had a big green tick
under the label "MCE Compatible". How did this happen? Is it a criteria for
MCE compatiblity, to be selected as the preferred decoder? That sounds
absurd. A click on a button in DecCheck made my old Decoder MCE compatible...
All that unecessary downloading and installing and angst.

Back to MC Diagnostic Tool.... Initial MPEG2 Audio Decoder Is Media Center
Compatible? now TRUE; Initial MPEG2 Video Decoder Is Media Center
Compatible? now TRUE; but in the vaguest of categories, MPEG2 Audio Decoder
Meets Requirements?... FALSE. One bold red line, and "This Computer Does Not
Meet Minimum Requirements"!!

Breifly, switch back to NVIDIA as preferred decoder, and DecCheck's big red
cross against MCE Compatability is returned to Intervideo. Run the
diagnostics again, and NVIDIA gets a clean bill of health... no red lines at
all (just a tap on the wrist about my modem), and Hooray!... "This Computer
Meets Minimum Requirements". The only problem is that it is totally stuffed
as far as Live TV is concerned. Everything else seems to work perfectly ...
Music, the pre-installed High Definition National Geographic Video Clip of
the Pyramids, the pre-installed Recorded TV Clip of the movie, "E. T".

O.K! It must be the AverTV Tuner with its WHQL-tested drivers, version
5.4.10.10, digitally signed by Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatability
Publishers, and a line on the global Avermedia website stating "MCE
compliant". I guess this is not the same as a big logo on the box and the
words "MCE Compatible", which it doesn't have. So, unplug AverTV, scan for
analogue signals, and both Intervideo and NVIDIA work fine, but the received
picture is nowhere near as good as digital.

Incidentally, the Diagnostic Tool Overview tab lists the number of TV Tuners
as one (therfore, meeting minimum requirements), but the Media Devices tab
lists both the Avermedia DVB-T BDA Video Capture (A800) and the Toshiba PCI
TV Tuner type W. Is the Avermedia thingy not a digital tuner?

Still with the Diagnostic Tool.... a tab labelled "Media Center Data", and
its first entry called "Application Event Log"... select. WOW! You should see
the huge chunk of red lines! Starting with,

"The message '-1062600703' for application 'nview_info' could not be
formatted using libary(ies): ''. The log entry contains the following
replacement strings:'NVIEW : Explorer: WAIT_TIMEOUT: (process 0x208) (thread
0x790) (wait 0x3) (pwait 0x3)"..... through to a multitude of errors like,

"The message '-1062600703' for application 'nview_info' could not be
formatted using libary(ies): ''. The log entry contains the following
replacement strings:'NVIEW : TPSBattM: WAIT_TIMEOUT, LAST SUCCESS: (thread
0xa0) (cmdName:TPSBattM.exe) WindowManager.cpp 3329"..... and finishing with,

"The message '-1062600703' for application 'nview_info' could not be
formatted using libary(ies): ''. The log entry contains the following
replacement strings:'NVIEW : HPWuSchd2: Mutex Recovery Code - app released
the mutex - back to normal operation."

One hundred and twenty-five errors in single chunk.

We also have a few "Application Hang" errors scattered around thje place
with references to ehshell.exe and strange things like fault buckets, etc

Lastly, the "Tests" Tab of the Diagnostic Tool... select all tests, click
"Run".... Status: Pending..... Status: Pending.... Status: Exception!!,
Result: Exception!!... all tests alike, and all in bright red. Well! I also
take exception. I wonder if there is a a diagnostic tool for the Diagnostic
Tool?

Just checked the X-Box and it's no longer talking to my Laptop. Oh well...
looks like another complete reinstallation job.

The moral? How about this. "If it ain't broke, doen't fix it!" I don't know.

P.S You should always make a backup of your computer before you go fiddling
around with the latest wizz-bang updates and devices. Which reminds me....
Does anyone know how to make backups to DVDs using Norton Ghost 10.0? I'm
having a terrible time. The programme doesn't do what it says in the meagre
GuideBook or in Symantec's KnowledgeBase. But don't let that stop you from
having a good one.

Bye
I've never had good luck with Ghost on Media Center PCs, but had heard that
10.0 fixed that...sounds like maybe not...

So did all of this happen after you Ghosted and restored? It definitely
sounds all screwed up. Have you run any antivirus and spyware apps?

Dana Cline - MCE MVP
Hi Dana,

Thanks for the concern. "All screwed up".... sounds like the story of my life.

I'm not sure if my Ghost problem is a Media-Center issue, which is why I
haven't raised it as a major topic. Scour the Web with the terms "ghost" and
"media is not ready" and you will find that there are others in the same
boat, even with the latest release, and as far back as early 2004. The
DVD-writing software in Ghost comes from a company called GearSoftware.

I have not been able to get Ghost off the ground. Occassionally, (after an
uninstall and fresh install of Ghost and a round or two of four "CHKDSK /r"s
- four being a magic number provided by Symantec) it will write a partial
backup to the first disk, automatically eject it, then ask for the second
disk, which I would duly insert, then ask again for the second disk
requesting that it be formatted and writeable, then ask again for the second
disk, ad infinitum. Usually I don't even get a first disk written to, to add
to my ever increasing collection of drinks
coasters. Ghost kind of lets you know what it is doing... like "creating
image", "calculating time remaining", etc. The last thing that scrolls
through before asking to insert media, is "Searching for NTFS File System".
On a DVD??? Not a chance!

I do have Norton Internet Security constantly up to date. But that is no
guarantee of protection. Now that you mention it, I do recall in my travails,
a rapid series of three serious looking message boxes - machine-like with
nothing other than a label "Norton Antivirus", content of something like
"Access Violation", a really big red cross, and an OK Button. I immediately
shutdown the internet, and searched out every log file that I know of -
Symantec's and Windows'. Nothing. Ran a full virus scan. Nothing. You would
think that if Norton wants to give you the heebi-jeebies, it would at least
have the courtesy of leaving a trace to follow.

Anyway... I'm still happy with my Qosmio.
I haven't tried the dvd-burning features of Ghost yet - I always backed C:
up to an image on D:. There have been lots of reported problems here that
were eventually traced to Norton's AV... Removing it seems to fix lots of
things. I use Avast on my Media Center boxes, and some PCs at home use AVG,
both are free and seem to work fine with no hassle.

Dana Cline - MCE MVP