1Windows Media Center eHome LogoSpeeding up WMP12 & 7MC media library database

One of the problems with my HTPC that I have only just started looking at is how to use it to play and manage my large collection of audio CD’s which I have painstakingly ripped to FLAC’s. The Xiph codecs (see previous articles here and here) make it possible to play FLACs in 64bit media center, but the media library was incredibly slow.
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0Xiph Codecs Logo64bit Xiph codec breaks file-type dialog in WMP12

In an earlier article I recommended installing the Xiph codecs to support FLAC files in 64bit Media Player and Media Center. One of the comments (my thanks to thom007) on that post pointed out that the Xiph codecs break the “file type” dialog box in Media Player 12. Below is a work-around which restores the file-type dialog box. The possible side effects are as yet unknown, so experiment at your own risk.
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4LG Viewty KU990i LogoPC Suite for LG Viewty Lite KU990i

One of my family owns an LG Viewty Lite KU990i (note: the original Viewty is a KU990 which includes a stylus that the Lite ‘i’ version lacks) and asked for my assistance in connecting it to their PC. The problem is that LG seem to support the KU990, but not the KU990i. The phone was not supplied with any software or cable, but my family member had obtained a cable in the expectation of downloading the software from LG. Apparently this is too much to ask. The KU990 was apparently provided with LG PC Suite version 2, and I found various posts around the net stating that LG had said that version 2 would also work with the 990i, however, despite obtaining a copy of LG PC Suite 2 I was unable to communicate with the phone successfully. Eventually I was led to try LG PC Suite 3, and with some fiddling was eventually able to get communication working.
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0Dial-Up LogoWindows 7 dial-up connection autodial

Over the xmas holidays I was asked to look at a few issues with a family PC. One of the problems was a minor annoyance related to the modem-based DSL internet connection. The dial up box has a tick box which says “connect automatically”. Although this box was ticked, when the PC was restarted when a connection was required the same dialog box would show up, with the option unticked.
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0Flash Flv LogoPlaying downloaded FLV’s

I recently had a problem with 2 PCs which appeared to be configured identically, but whilst one would play a FLV downloaded from youtube, the other would fail. Some other FLVs played OK on both systems. After much further investigation I discovered that the activeX version of flash player on 1 of the PC’s was up-to-date, but on the other was not.
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0GigaByte Dynamic Energy Saver LogoAudio issues with gigabyte power saver

I’ve been suffering from audio distortion issues when playing back movies on my recently rebuilt HTPC. After much testing I discovered a solution – disabling (in my case by uninstalling) the gigabyte dynamic energy saver utility. I am not sure if this tool only causes problems because of my specific configuration of codecs, but it certainly did cause problems across a range of hardware and media players. Disabling it immediately resolved the problem.

0DVD Shrink LogoAutomate DVD Ripping on Windows 7

With my recent HTPC project now working really well, I want to rip my collection of DVDs to my media server for more convenient playback in Windows 7 Media Center (and all the additional benefits associated with Media Browser, particularly the meta data on ratings, synopsis, etc). Ripping DVDs, whilst straightforward is rather tedious. I found an excellent method of automating the process was to modify my autoplay settings with AutoPlay Repair, and point the autoplay to a program called DVD Rip which automates the ripping of DVDs with the well known DVD Shrink.
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0Windows Media Center eHome LogoFixed: Media Center 7 behind taskbar on startup

I’ve had a very irritating problem with my new Windows 7 Media Center HTPC setup. I have 7MC set to load fullscreen on startup (as the PC is a dedicated HTPC), but something I changed at some point was causing the taskbar to show on top of Media Center (i.e. Media Center didn’t have window focus) and therefore my remote control didn’t work until using the mouse function to click on Media Center to refocus it (at which point the taskbar disappears).
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