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Windows 7: ESXi Based Windows 7 Extenders TV Issue

15 Apr 2012   #11
pjaromin

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

The other things I needed to do with this system (though I don't recall at what point), was to bypass the DCA test and get the PlayReady update to complete.

Here are a couple links to look at....perhaps these will help?

Guide Override Digital Cable Advisor in Windows Media Center 7 | Missing Remote

The PlayReady update was Incomplete.You will not be able to watch or - Microsoft Answers

My setup is still working fine, except for the sluggish file seek that makes skip, ffwd, and rewind frustrating to use. I've moved the vm to a dedicated gigabit virtual switch under vmware, but that didn't make any difference.

Good luck!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Apr 2012   #12
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 

Hi Thanks for the ideas. I tried deleting the DRM and rebuilding it - but I had no luck - though I do not get a DRM failure message anymore I still do not get any audio/video :-(

For fun I setup a Windows 8 CTP VM in ESXI 5 and got it working fine in vsphere 5 with my sat receiver - my linksys extender connected but wouldn't even show Media Center menu's, the XBox extender however connected fine and displayed menus perfectly and was quick, but it had exactly the same issue as windows 7 media center when atempting to play TV - i.e. blank screen and no audio.

So no further forward.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2012   #13
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 

Just to sum up (and save anybody else wasting time) I have tried Windows 7 & 8 CTP. All have been 64bit, fresh installs. I have the virtual audio driver installed and can get the video to work fine via vsphere 5 on both. I have tried dropping the firewall, installing codecs, using linksys and xbox extenders. I have added the mkv entry to the registry.
I have a good quality 1Gbit switch between me and the TV set extenders - though I'm sure that is not effecting it as my old windows 7 media center server works fine over it.

I allocated 3 cores/4gb and 128mb memory/switched on 3d on the video card and installed all the patches that were available to both windows and ESXI.

Nothing so far has made a difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Apr 2012   #14
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 

Well amazingly I think I have fixed it!! As with any good evening hacking I'm not 100% sure what I did - I will rebuild a new one just to check (the good thing about using VM's!!). Anyway - I think there were a number of problems
1) DRM - this seemed to go away after I followed a link to removing/replying the DRM keys to windows 7 - I basically deleted the DRM folder in Windows 7 and went to a MS website where it recreated them (see how do you manually reset the drm media rights? - Microsoft Answers)
2) Network performance - the NIC on my dell server (Dell R210 ii) couldn't keep up. Basically it is poorly designed and shares the same IRQ as a couple of other devices - so the performance is very poor. I fixed this by switching to the second on board NIC.
3) I had to untick all the service options for the ethernet card on windows 7 (link layer/IPv6 etc) just left IPv4 and QOS working.
4) Applied a new Client VM tools patch and updated the tools into the Media Center VM - not sure if it helped but I did it anyway

I did do a bunch of other things so its difficult to be sure - but what I would say is that its now working both with my Linksys 2100 and Xbox 360. I will spend a few more days testing it before building a new VM to prove it.

thanks for all your help.. I will let you know how it goes

:-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #15
cram501

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I had this same exact problem with ESXI 5.

My issue revolved around the default ethernet driver (E1000). I could uncheck the "link-layer topology" properties for the network card and it would work with some performance issues.

Switching to the VMXNET virtual Ethernet driver (comes with ESXI 5) solved all my problems. Note: You won't have a driver until you install vmware tools.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #16
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 

Update on the update :-)
1) cram501 is correct "link-layer topology" kills media centre and I am also now using VMXNET3
2) I have now had to switched to using Windows 8 CTP (i.e. pre launch version) – see below for the reason. But this amazingly works fine I am now running Windows 8 CTP with 4 TBS QBOX 2 S2 HD USB sat feeds via an xbox extender and it works fine. Its responsive, with no lip sync, rewind problems.
3) I have built a number of windows 7/8 VM’s now and have had no repeat of the DRM issues.


My situation was much worse due to me using a Dell 210 ii rack server -
(http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/pedge/en/poweredge-r210-ii-technical-guide.pdf) , hopefully the following might help others. I bought the server as it appeared to fit my needs (small rack server, good range of options etc). BUT be warned

a) The cheap RAID card that seems the obviouse choice when configuring the box on the Dell website is the PERC H200, this (I discovered after the fact) has a known configuration issue, which when used for RAID kills the performance. So I now run without any RAID.
b) The first NIC on the Dell 210 is crippled by sharing the same IRQ as the USB and other peripherals. So I am using the second only for media centre the first is restricted to admin functions.
c) I was using USB 2 virtual drivers to pass the 4 USB satellite cards through to my Windows 7 VM. However USB 2 seems to be crippled as I started to suffer huge amounts of signal breakup. The performance of USB 2 was so bad for me that it was simple unusable.

An option that exists in ESXi is to pass the hardware directly to a VM. However I couldn’t pass the Dell USB hardware directly to the VM as there is no Windows 7 workstation driver for this USB 3 chipset (vSphere warns you about this when you try to configure the Windows 7 VM with a xHCI USB port)

Dell do Windows server 2008 drivers but it appears not a Windows 7 workstation version. My solution (in fact the only solution I could find that would allow me to use ESXI 5.0) was to switch to Windows 8 (which as I write I only have the customer technology preview version – this happily has Media Centre built in). ESXi 5.0 does support the USB 3 drivers for Windows 8 CTP. In fact I have not had to pass the hardware directly the to the VM as it appears that the combination of Windows 8 CTP and update 1 to ESXi is good enough to deliver the performance I need for the 4 USB Sat cards – (these by the way are USB 2 devices, and I am running them through a good quality 10 way powered USB 2 hub and into a single USB port on the server).

d) I still had to turn off the "link-layer topology" setting in Windows 8.

e) Windows 8 doesn’t appear to work with my old Linksys 2100 media centre extender boxes but it works fine with my xBox 360 slim.

f) I think there is a fault with the TBS QBOX S2 drivers – it appears that both Windows 7 and 8 drop them (fail to see them) after 36-48hrs – so I now auto reboot the Windows 8 VM every night via a scheduled task.

Hope this helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #17
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 

Quick update - I have built a new VM using the latest version of Windows 8 release preview (still had to do all the things mentioned above) but it seems to be working fine - I have only connected it my XBOX but media center is working, record/playback/pause as well as guide download are all working. I have however mapped the USB ports direct through to the Windows 8 VM (I was suffering some breakup before I did this). I'm currently only using some old Nova-T DVB USB tuners. Added Iplayer to the extras and it appears to work as well. Cracking :-)

Note VMware doesn't support VMXNET3 network with this version of Windows 8, and I cannot get it to install the tools anyway so I'm running without them. No prob really as I'm only using the extender capability.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2012   #18
siman007

Windows 7 prof 64bit on ESXi 5.0
 
 
Last update

The RTM of windows 8 was very stable and has worked pretty well since it was installed.

I have just built a new system with full windows 8, VMNET3 with 4 USB sat cards and all appears to work well.
Little tip that I used was to copy my win8 RTM vmware directory to a new one (to keep all the vmware settings) then create a new virtual disk into which I installed Win8 release. Saved rebuilding all the VMWARE settings (thanks to Alex for that idea).
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 ESXi Based Windows 7 Extenders TV Issue




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