Pulling together a lot of previous posts here is a guide on how to build and set up a fully featured DIY HTPC from scratch…
- See my post about a typical HTPC hardware config for £425
- Install Windows 7
- Install all drivers, especially GPU drivers
- Set a password, enable autologon and enable remote desktop (via my sys ctrl panel, remote settings)
- Disable password required on wake via power control panel.
- Set sleep on after a short period.
- Disable screensaver
- Ensure the default windows 7 scheme is enabled (this speeds up boot-up and logon)
- Disable the windows 7 startup sound (slightly speeds up boot up, and avoids noise when PC wakes to record)
- Disable Media Center startup sound and animation via registry. Open regedit and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionMedia CenterSettingsMCE.PerUserSettings. set “enableStartupAnimation” and “enableStartupSound” to a dword value of 00000000 (credit to Mikey-Z on Hack7MC)
- Download and install an AV app – I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials
- Download and install your browser of choice (e.g. Firefox)
- Download and install an unzip utility – I recommend WinRAR
- Download and install some basic codecs and plugins: Java, Flash Player, Shockwave, Adobe Reader, QT Lite, Real Alt
- Consider using speedfan to control fan speeds
- Change time sync server to pool.ntp.org and don’t notify when clock changes – important to make sure programmes record at the correct time.
- Run Media Center and complete first setup
- Set up your TV signals
- Add ITV HD (if you have freesat)
- Disable 7MC screensaver
- Exit 7MC
2. Install DIY freesat (if you want freesat)
- See my previous post about installing DIY freesat
3. Configure the codecs for optimal performance and broad file support
- See my previous post about setting up codecs in 7MC
4. Tweak and add features to 7MC
- Use TunerSalad to increase tuner numbers if necessary. Update: the latest versions of tuner salad are no longer free. We recommend you buy the latest version for the very small price of $3.40. If you want the free old version, please find it on our downloads page
- Download and install Media Browser
Consider downloading and enabling SQLite to improve MediaBrowser performanceUpdate: MediaBrowser now uses SQLite by default
- Download and install Virtual CloneDrive
- Set up Media Browser and point it to folders containing any local videos.
- Change the setting in “extenders and iso” to point to Virtual CloneDrive
- Run Media Center and open Media Browser once to complete first setup. Then exit Media Center
- Download ImagesByName to enhance the Media Browser metadata display – extract to C:ProgramDataMediaBrowserImagesByName
- Download and install TunerFree MCE for Internet TV support
- Download Media Center Master and use it to download metadata for all your local videos
- Download Stark Covers from our downloads page to enhance the covers downloaded by Media Center Master – it is possible to automate this process, which I will post about separately later
- Download Guide Tool and use it to rearrange, combine, and manage your channel listings
- Download and install MyChannelLogos to enhance the 7MC channel guide. Update: the latest versions of MyChannelLogos are no longer free. We recommend you buy the latest version for the very small price of $3.40. If you want the free old version, please find it on our downloads page
- Use Media Center Studio to customize your themes and Media Center start menu.
- Open Media Player (32bit) and add your music folders to create a music library. This may take a while. Note – it is worth preventing Media Player writing to your tags or it may erase all the tags – do this via options: library: retrieve…
- Consider using a ramdisk to speed up the media player database
- Download and install Remote Potato to enable managing your 7MC TV Recordings remotely
- If you have an Android phone install RemoteDroid to use your phone as a remote keyboard and mouse
- Enable wake-on-lan if you want to wake the PC remotely to schedule recordings. If you need to wake it from another local computer, via the internet, see my post about a webpage script that does just that
Got some thoughts of your own? Indulge yourself below by commenting! If you would like to subscribe please use the subscribe link on the menu at the top right. You can also share this with your friends by using the social links below. Cheers.