update 13/11/2014 We got the dreaded “component registration failure” message again. stream-recorder.com has a few good ideas on how to fix this issue. The fix that worked for me was to delete recordings.xml. No need to re-install Vista. Phew! The old post is below.

Just as we were settling down to watch TV on Sunday night, our HTPC (which runs Vista Media Center) decided to stop working. After installing some updates, Media Center gave a “component registration failure” error whenever we tried to watch either live or recorded TV. After several attempts at fixing it, I decided to re-install Windows Vista (this was something I’d been planning to do for a while because Vista had swallowed up almost all of the system drive on which it was installed). Here are some notes on installing Vista on my HTPC. Our hardware includes:

  • TerraTec Cinergy 2400i DT dual DVB-T tuner card
  • Biostar TA690G AM2 motherboard with AMD 690G chipset, PCI-E, Realtek RTL8111B ethernet, ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics with composite (YPbPr) video output and Realtek ALC888 audio (with digital S/PDIF output)
  • PAL Panasonic CRT TV connected to HTPC via YPbPr component (interlaced not progressive)

Here’s what worked:

  • I wouldn’t bother saving anything from the previous install; except perhaps making a note of which TV programs you want to automatically record (I had saved everything from C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\ (about 600 MBytes) but I didn’t need any of this data. All of our TV recordings are on a separate partition and I just told MCE to add that folder to its “Recorded TV folder watch list”. We manually re-entered all the programs we want to record.)
  • Do a clean re-install from the Vista DVD. Tell automatic updates to not install anything.
  • Disable password at startup
  • Install SP1 (download from MS, not using windows update). If it doesn’t work then try copying the file to Desktop (not a directory within Desktop) (I know, I know… sounds crazy but seems to work). If you’re using a saved version of SP1 then try downloading it again from MS to your Desktop. If it still doesn’t work then try to ideas listed by Magon Liu on technet.
  • Install Vista Media Centre TV Pack. This procedure worked for me (I actually installed this on top of SP2 and the 2010 WMC update but that’s not best practice. Probably better to install the TV pack after installing SP1):
  • Install SP2 using a similar procedure as SP1.
  • Let automatic updates download all available updates. Then install these updates by shutting down. Repeat until all updates have been installed.
  • Install the hack to enable remote desktop on Vista Home Premium. (Note to self: I need the Non-Americal English version)
  • For the ATI Radeon, ethernet and audio, I just let Automatic Update install the relevant drives from the “recommended updates”. (In the past I spent a while tinkering with various ATI drivers to get the best signal on our YPbPr component output. It turns out I needn’t have bothered: the driver installed by Automatic Update appears to work fine for YPbPr).
  • For the TerratTec Cinergy 2400i tuner, I installed driver
  • Setup the “sleep settings” so that the machine goes to sleep after, say, 20 minutes (it wont sleep while you’re watching TV but it will sleep if you leave it idle for 20 minutes… good for saving power).
  • Setup WMC TV channels. I had to edit several channels to get access to the full 14-day listings for those channels (edit listings)
  • Install Avast Free Antivirus