Sunday, October 15, 2006

upgrading an hp z552 to Vista RC2

I have blogged before of problems with my hp z552 Media Center machine. When they began to affect my wife then I had to take action. I could either wipe it back to its factory install or go with Vista. Of course, I'd rather be using Vista.

Prep work

First, I had to do some research:

Then I had to take stock of what apps I would want to reinstall:

  • dCut (sometimes my wife appears on TV as part of her job, we like to edit and save these few-minute appearances and dCut is pretty easy to use)
  • mceWeather (killer app for the Media Center, particularly useful if you add the cities you travel to regularly)
  • WebGuide3 (for remote scheduling -- I am working on a blog entry on what I've done with this)
  • Codecs (currently I am running with ffdshow, I uninstalled AC3Filter very recently when I lost my audio device and hadn't had to reinstall it; basically I need whatever codecs let me view downloaded materials)
  • Preloaded software? I don't know, do I need Intervideo WinDVD? The Sonic programs? I will go forward without them and if I need them and they don't install from HP's site, well, then I will regret it. Until then, moving on...

Then I had to think about data and settings to move off the system as backup and so that I wouldn't have to Ghost the whole thing:

  • Moved my unwatched recordings off to my USB hard drive
  • Recording schedule (so that I could at least see what was scheduled if I couldn't import it into Vista)Pictures (I synced a copy to the USB hard drive and I also have a copy on my PC)
  • MP3s (as above)

I wanted to make sure I knew the drivers loaded and the hardware I was supposed to be working with. So I elaborately went through Device Manager. I know this is boring but I am taking these notes for myself so you can just skim it if you don't care what hardware is in a factory hp z552 image:

  • Computer
    • ACPI Multiprocessor PC
  • Disk drives
    • Generic USB CF Reader USB device
    • Generic USB MS Reader USB device
    • Generic USB SD Reader USB device
    • Generic USB SM Reader USB device
    • WDC WD2000JD-22HBB0
  • Display adapters
    • RADEON X300/X550 Series
    • RADEON X300/X550 Series Secondary
      • Both are using ATI drivers of date 1/24/2006, version
      • In Driver Details most files were variations of 6.14
      • I think I installed the ATI MCE version of the driver at one point since HP was supposed to be so far behind in their driver releases. Hopefully this is a common enough driver on Vista, or I can refer to this ATI Vista RC1 driver that I saw on some TGB thread last night.
  • DVD/CD-ROM drives
    • HP DVD Writer 640b
  • Human Interface Devices
    • (3) HID-compliant consumer control device
    • (5) HID-compliant device
    • (1) Microsoft eHome Infrared Transceiver
    • (3) USB Human Interface Device
  • IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
    • Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 266F
    • Primary, Primary, and Secondary IDE Channel
  • IEEE 1394 Bus host controllers
    • VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
  • Keyboards
    • HID Keyboard Device
    • Microsoft eHome MCIR 109 Keyboard
    • Microsoft eHome MCIR Keyboard
    • Microsoft eHome Remote Control Keyboard keys
  • Mice and other pointing devices
    • (2) HID-compliant mouse
  • Monitors
    • Plug and Play Monitor
      • I know I tried to mess with a custom definition of my 32" ProView RX326 LCD to try and get the 1366x768 resolution it claims without overscan, but I must have given up and reverted to 1152x648 which doesn't cross the screen's edge, is recognized as widescreen by Media Center and looks awesome in the 10' interface, and is tolerable though not wonderful in regular Windows.
  • Network adapters
    • 1394 Net Adapter
    • Marvell Yukon 88E8053 PCE-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
      • I hope I am luckier than the gentleman on TGB, because this thing needs to work.
    • Wireless PCI 802.11b/g adapter WN4201B
      • Don't actually care if this works unless the NIC doesn't work, but really, I have done a ton of shit to get the Ethernet line run and I am not going back to 5Mbit wireless.
  • Processors
    • (2) Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz
  • Sound, video and game controllers
    • (2) Audio Codecs
    • (2) Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II (26xxx)
      • Hauppauge driver version dated 7/28/2005
      • I believe the critical driver is hcwPP2.sys with above version
    • Legacy Audio Drivers
    • Legacy Video Capture Devices
    • Media Control Devices
    • Realtek High Definition Audio
      • Realtek Semiconductor Corp driver RtkHDAud.sys version dated 4/15/2005
    • Video Codecs
  • Storage Volumes
    • (4) Generic volume
  • System devices
    • ACPI Fixed Feature Button
    • ACPI Thermal Zone
    • Direct memory access controller
    • Intel(R) 82801 PCI Bridge - 244E
    • Intel(R) 82801FB LPC Interface Controller - 2640
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM PCI Express Root Port - 2660
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM SMBus Controller - 2580
    • Intel(R) 82802 Firmware Hub Device
    • Intel(R) 915G/P/GV PCI Express Root Port - 2581
    • Intel(R) 915G/P/GV Processor to I/O Controller - 2580
    • ISAPNP Read Data Port
    • Microcode Update Device
    • Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System
    • Microsoft System Management BIOS Driver
    • Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio
    • (6) Motherboard resources
    • Numeric data processor
    • PCI bus
    • Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator
    • Programmable interrupt controller
    • (2) System board
    • System CMOS/real time clock
    • System speaker
    • System timer
    • Terminal Server Device Redirector
  • Universal Serial Bus controllers
    • eHome Infrared Receiver
    • Generic USB Hub
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2658
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2659
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265A
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265B
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 265C
    • USB Composite Device
    • USB Mass Storage Device
    • (5) USB Root Hub
  • whew! There it is.

As a final check, I put the Vista RC1 DVD in the drive and then clicked Check compatibility online, downloaded and installed Windows Upgrade Advisor RC, and let it scan my system. For what it's worth, the Upgrade Advisor said I could run Vista and suggested Home Premium. It identified the following issues:

  • System
    • It suggested installing a specialized HD Audio driver but also said Vista didn't support HD Audio. That's OK, I have 6-year-old Dell freebie speakers (2 speakers plus a subwoofer) attached to Media Center, no receiver, SPDIF output, or any of that stuff. Sound is not a big issue for our Media Center use given that half the time it is drowned out by the loud-ass fans on the z552.
    • It suggested making sure my video card supports TV output. I have a DVI to HDMI connector so I am good to go there.
  • Devices
    • It could not find information about my HP 4050 and suggested I visit HP's site. If I need to print ever again on the Media Center PC, I will revisit the issue.
    • It also couldn't find information about my Accton WN4201B wireless card. As I said, I hope I don't need it (it did say no issue was detected for my Marvell Yukon NIC).
  • Programs
    • J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 2
    • ATI Catalyst Control Center
    • PC Help & Tools
    • HP Image Zone for Media Center PC
    • Sonic RecordNow!
    • ATI Desktop Component
    • Sonic Express Labeler
    • I can live with all of these except maybe PC Help & Tools which is the HP utility to run diagnostics and whatnot.

All the data I believed I cared about was fully stripped off, and I thought I had enough info to fully recreate the system if I needed to. Now, to back up the OS image itself. I downloaded PE-Builder and found an old copy of Ghost, but since I felt lazy I also happened across something called "Hiren's Boot CD" and burned a copy of that, since it seemed to include Ghost. I booted this CD and, well, it was basically a frustrating experience. Either you go into the network and you are faced with DOS NET USE hell (I could never get it to attach to my PC) or you run Ghost, load every combination of USB drivers, and find your keyboard stops working. I gave up. Either my setup is too complex for this boot CD or I really can't Ghost to a USB hard drive AND use a wireless, possibly USB keyboard.

So, having given up on doing a backup, I figured I didn't want to have done all this work for nothing, and decided to upgrade the existing installation in place. Maybe that's a bad idea, but there you have it. It sort of gave me an out if it turned out to be a disaster. I popped in the disk, saw the same warnings about ATI Control Panel, etc., and let it go. My wife came home and seemed dismayed at the "your upgrade may take several hours to complete" message. Ordered food and let it be. It took around two hours.

On its first boot after setup, it asked if I was at home, a business, or a public setting. Picked up my wireless keyboard to answer and… nothing happened. The remote wasn't working either. I guess that was somewhat to be expected so I grabbed a spare USB mouse and plugged it in. Fortunately Synergy had been left alone as part of the upgrade so I launched that and connected it to my laptop.

The first thing I noticed that Windows was looking for DocumentViewer.MSI for some reason. A quick Google search told me it was the HP Image Zone (which isn't supposed to work in Vista) and a quick search of the machine's hard drive said it was located in C:\hp\drivers\hpiz423\setup\DocumentViewer. Vista didn't like that file or the subsequent Unload.msi that was requested, so I decided to uninstall HP Image Zone. I had used it in the past to easily load pictures from our camera by sticking the SD card in the media center PC, but if it doesn't work with Vista, I guess we'll have to find another way. I realized later that this had left the HP Image Zone in the Media Center start page area so I uninstalled "HP Image Zone for Media Center PC" as well. Note to fellow Vista noobs: it's now "Programs and Features", not "Add/Remove Programs".

I let Media Center launch and went through the TV setup. Worked just fine; found my tuners and downloaded the Guide. And, my scheduled recordings were all there. It did say there was a conflict and sent me to Scheduled Recordings, but I couldn't see what the problem was.

Moving on, I set up my display for the previous 1152x648 (it had reverted to 800x600 and looked a little funky) and then set up my speakers (two). So far so good. Liking the new interface. Then I went into Videos and, well, then I got my first taste of the Media Center crash message, which was to tell me that Media Center had stopped responding, and that I could check for information on why, restart it, or (I forgot the third option). Hmm. It restarted and Media Center seemed to be working, so I moved on.

I then wanted to try and get the wireless keyboard working as a hopeful first step towards getting the remote working (and thus being able to turn the thing over to my wife). So I downloaded and installed the HP Multimedia Keyboard/Mouse Driver Update and rebooted the machine. Cool, the keyboard and its trackball mouse work now. Oh, and hey, the remote does, too! Sweet.

I repaired the Front Panel Display Service to try and get it working (or at least to be dim and show only the time rather than brightly scrolling "Welcome to the HP Digital Entertainment Center"). Vista then suggested that the program might not have worked, and suggested I run it again. I did, and just did "Modify" and modified the only thing I could modify. Now the front panel display seems to be working.

I then went to try the final test, watching a movie, and it failed. I went into Pictures & Videos and then Video Library, and was greeted by a crash. I thought to myself that maybe it was choking on old ehthumbs.db files, so I deleted them, but had the same result. Finally I actually looked at the details of the error and found that was the cause of the problem. I then uninstalled ffdshow and went to watch my movie. No crash, but the movie wouldn't play. Hmm, turns out it needs the Xvid codec. (I must have, er, gotten it from Blockbuster Online that way.) Googled "ffdshow Vista crash", found this TGB thread, and FaberfoX's suggestion to grab version 1.27 did the trick. Note: because of Vista security shenanigans, I couldn't remove the old Maybe Vista was trying to protect my old MCE 2005 installation? Anyway, installing it to a new directory did the trick. Vista Media Center was now working to my satisfaction.

So far the experience following the upgrade has been pretty good, if it was a little frustrating getting there. I do wish I had been able to clone my drive so I could start fresh, but if the upgraded version is more stable than its predecessor (which won't be hard) then I think it was worth it. The new interface is cool and has certainly fixed some of my MCE annoyances.

Anyway, sorry for the longest and most boring blog post yet. It amuses me to think that it will be immortalized due to the sheer number of Media Center-tastic phrases that will result in Google hits. Hope you visitors find it useful!

more later,


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I tried to install Vista RTM on a HP All went well, the drivers were all in the install DVD or downloaded in the update process. Just to describe my z552, i added 1Go of RAM and replace the video card with a 7300GT and the tuner with a HVR 1100.
In order to make the VFD and the media keyboard, you have to install the updates sp26654 and sp26752 (one to update the VFD display information (stability) and the other to update the keyboard).
Everything work perfect!!!
Hi, do you have any suggestions for when the disk drive won't read any disk of any type? It is an x552 fr machine with a 640b DVD writer?
thanks very much
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