MCP9350i: Installing VISTA

Previously I had blogged about adding tuners to my MCP9350i which seemed to work just fine until I booted into Windows XP (media centre) and fell foul of microsoft’s licensing and activation nonsense – the machine has a COA label on it and was installed with Media Center 2005 as standard but I couldn’t get the thing to activate. I couldn’t even log in to the machine – it was completely locked! I tried the F11 system recovery process but with the same end results – you can’t log in until you activate the copy of windows.

Well never mind I was going to try out VISTA media centre anyway!
So here is a very quick run down of installing VISTA on the phillips machine.

1: Backup
The crucial backup is the c:\phillips directory which contains all the original drivers shipped with the machine – they don’t seem to be available anywhere online. Even with the machine locked by the windows activation problems I was able to get a copy by booting into safemode and using a USB memory stick.
You should get a image of the hidden partition that contains the recovery software and a fresh install of the O/S. 

2: VISTA installation
I just booted the vista DVD and let it do it’s worst – when it came to selecting the disk partition to install vista on I chose to delete all the existing partitions and do a completly new install. This included deleting the hidden partition that the recovery (F11) proceedure runs from. I guess if you wanted to be able to go back to XP at some point then you could try leaving that partition intact.

 3:Drivers
Most of the information needed to find all the vista drivers came from this very usefull blog – verydodgblog.com.
One key file to source is the VISTA drivers for the MCP9360i from the phillips support site.
http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/get?url=/sca/sca/070314/070314170811_18207.zip&ofn=Vista drivers.zip 
Although these are for the later MCP9360i rather than the MCP9350i the two machines have a lot in common and the drivers seem to be OK for the sound and front panel at least. 

3a. Graphics (intel GMA950).
Initially the VISTA install used it’s own drivers. I downloaded the very lastest GMA950 drivers from the intel support website and these seem to improve a number of things and add a widget to the control panel for advanced graphics card settings. The link is here but I suspect the intel support website is pretty fluid just go to intel site and search for GMA950 drivers!
http://downloadcenter.intel.com/filter_results.aspx?strTypes=all&ProductID=2102&OSFullName=Windows+Vista*+Ultimate,+32-bit+version&lang=eng&strOSs=156&submit=Go! 
 

3b. VFD display drivers (Intel front panel manager).
I used the ‘Front Panel Manager’ drivers from the phillips MCP9360i drivers (see above). This worked just fine and I’ve tried a few of other possible FPM drivers but this is the only one that works. A quick note (although it does say this in the readme notes) you need to disable User Account Control before installing the FPM driver.

3c. Sound drivers (Sigmatel 9221).
Again the best and only place I could find drivers was in the MCP9360i vista drivers update from phillips. I did try a number of other drivers whcih are supposed to be for the sigmatel 9221 but none woudl even install. My sound seems to work fine now (I’m not using the SP/DIF or anything fancy just the RCA outputs). 

3d. Standard TV tuner card (Nvidia DualTV).
Nvidia support site has the latest download for this card that includes a custom media centre application for tweaking the settings. The link is here but probably subject to change.
http://www.nvidia.com/object/tvtuner_drivers.html 

3e. LAN Networking (Intel PRO/100 VE)
Vista finds the device and installs default drivers but I went to the intel support site and downloaded what I think is the very latest driver.
Get it from here – http://support.intel.com/support/network/adapter/pro100/pro100ve/ or just go to intel site and search for PRO/100 VE. 

3f. WLAN Networking (ATHEROS miniPCI AR5413 802.11abg card).
Vista default drivers seem OK – I don’t use the wireless networking so I didn’t bother to see if I could find latest ATHEROS drivers. There is a site here (http://www.atheros.cz/) that claims to have all the latest drivers.

 

That’t it really I’m very pleased with it – I’m not sure that any idea of upgrading the CPU and graphics card will ever be followed-up it just seems to work – High praise indeed!

PROBLEMS
There are a couple of things;

1. The front panel doesn’t wake-up after standby.
Initially when you turn the machine on the front panel work fine it says the date/time and track information where relevant BUT when you ‘wake’ the box up after it’s been in standby the front panel doesn’t wake-up it constantly says – ‘starting up’ but never does. 
Others have pointed to the MCE Standby tool to fix this (http://slicksolutions.eu/) but I haven’t tried it yet. 

2. Something wierd about rebooting
I had thought that it was a problem with a regular user (rather than an administrator) account not bootinh into media centre. In fact it seems to be that when an account is set to start media centre automatically I get a message about the video card not having enough RAM (a damn lie!) – I think it maybe something to do with the phillips decoder/transcoder I installed (maybe it didn’t fully support vista?) I need to fiddle about and see if I can work out what’ happening – I think that the Nvidia tuner comes with a Nvidia decoder.

168 Comments

  1. ian Said,

    February 2, 2015 @ 11:35 pm

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    February 3, 2015 @ 10:53 pm

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    February 8, 2015 @ 7:42 am

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    February 11, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

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    February 14, 2015 @ 3:40 am

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    February 14, 2015 @ 10:46 am

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    February 14, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

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