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
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