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Vaio VGX-XL1 First opinion/ review

post #1 of 479
Thread Starter 
I have just added the VGX-XL1 to my home theater and have been playing with it for several days.
Main reason for choosing this item is the 200 disc changer incorporated with a HT/PC.
First impression's:
1: Sleek look to components (black and silver). Plain fronts with cover on PC closed only 2 slots 1-DVD/CDRW on pc and other slot on Disk changer. Minimal lights which keeps your HT from looking like a power station control board.
2: PC functions adequate, lite editions of Adobe photo elements, photo album and adobe premier.
3: MCE interaction is OK (not quite Tivo but better than Cable interface. Was able schedule and record a show and transfer to DVD. (Note: Transfer to DVD with 1 hour show recorded in best quality took about 1 hour. Shows file is converted and then burned to DVD. Burned DVD worked fine on several DVD players.
4: Adding DVD's to Changer so far has proceeded without error. I have inserted 15 DVD's in one block and then selected the DVD section of MCE and clicked on manage DVD's and the changer scan's the DVD's. Process for 15 DVD's took about 10 minutes, after completion DVD are listed with DVD cover picture. To play just highlite and select play about 10-15 seconds later the DVD starts to play.
Note: Visit sony's website for the up to date manual. The one shipped with the unit is 106 pages the updated manual is 175 pages.

Positve comments:
Record quality and live TV are good (actually clearer than a pioneer elite Tivo DVR)
Setup was straight forward some minor tweeking may still be need but I am currently enjoying the product.
Still need to try archiving High 8 video footage and burning to DVD.
No audible fan noise from PC.

Negative comments:
DTS audio is not supported only Dolby Digital 5.1. I am trying to get an answer from sony as to if this is a limitation of the sound card used or the intervideo software used. Getting 5.1 surround sound out to the receiver was cryptic with the supplied info. The updated manual on the website solvedthe problem.
Changer is noisy when changing a disk but playback is silent.
DVD DL RW drive is only in changer. Works as advertised using MCE but does not act like a standard DVD rw drive outside of MCE interface. I don't know why they just didn't install a DVD dl RW in the PC as well (cost I guess).
DVD changer: For a 200 disc changer the foot print is large (17" W x 19"D)

Recommendations Made to Sony:
1: Added support for DTS audio.
2: DVD DL RW drive in PC as well.
3: Addition of HD OTA tuner card or HD Cable card tuner.

I think for for a first effort on incorporating a changer/ DVD DL RW drive with a MCE PC Sony did a fair job for the price. I will post any functionality hurdles that I encounter.

Connected as follows:
VGX-XL1 connected to a Gefen 4x1 HDMI switch to a Sony KF50WE610.
Optical audio out from VGX-XL1 to surround sound receiver.
Cable feed split and connected to the tuner on the VGX-XL1.
post #2 of 479
Thanks for the detailed summary review. I got one of these the day after your posting, and after four frustrating hours trying to get the DVD DD 5.1 working, I finally saw your post, which tipped me off to the online manual with detailed instructions for sound setup. Be advised that this is not an issue of the manual being updated - I got the same "Entertainment Guide" that you did. That book is still valid - our problem is that the detailed "User Guide" was simply not shipped with our units. This is inexcusable, in my opinion, and if I decide to keep the unit, I will make Sony send me a paper copy. Note that my brother also got one on the same day, and his was also missing the User Guide. Anyway, after following the instructions, the DD 5.1 now works for me (although there are some drawbacks, which I'll talk about later).

I have to say that overall this unit is impressive, when it works. Unfortunately, for me I have about a 50% chance of the unit working as designed.

I have experienced frequent crashes of the Media Center application, which freezes with the screen totally black. I can then get to Windows using the keyboard, but have to kill Media Center, losing whatever I was doing, and then restart. This happens to me frequently. I have only had the system set up for about four days, and I have visitors which means that I have not used it for more than, say two hours a day. Yet, I've experienced this "black screen freezes" 1-3 times per day.

The first two days I had frequent "black screen freezes" while using the basic My DVD changer function, with only a few discs loaded. I've also been able to load DVD's without the software realizing I added discs. These particular problems were solved temporarily by cycling power on the DVD Changer. But eventually it happens again. The DVD Changer seems very flaky.

Out of the, say, ten times that I've added an individual disc to the changer, nine of the times the changer locked my machine while discs were added to the library. You get a little popup asking if you want to scan the new discs and add to the library, and the popup states that you can do other things in Media Center while the changer is updating. But, for me, all but one time, the complete Windows machine was totally locked while the discs was being added - I could not do anything until the disc scan was complete. It seems that the entire machine, and not just Media Center, was locked. Only once have I been able to do other things in Media Center while the disc was being scanned.

I have installed all Sony online updates, in the required order, and it has not changed the situation.

The first time I ran any of the "Create DVD", "Click-to-DVD", etc. I experienced the "Black Screen Freeze" of Media Center. That doesn't happen any more - at least not every time.

While initially I thought that only functions related to the DVD changer were causing the black screen freezes of Media Center, I've now used the system long enough to determine that these freezes happen during other functions too. I.e. it's not necessarily the DVD changer that is causing the freezes in Media Center.

Frankly, this unit so far has been an embarassment. Now I don't even use it during the day until after my visitors go to bed. A couple of days ago we decided to watch a DVD disc that my friend had brought, I loaded it into the changer, but Media Center did not detect the addition, did not ask me to add it to the library, etc. The Media Center froze, I had to reboot, etc. Took me 15 minutes just to get the disc out again so that I could put it into my ancient, seven year old DVD player so we could watch it.

I'm also having a lot of trouble now coming out of Standby. The system is designed so that you don't shut down the machine, but instead put it into Standby by pressing the power button on the remote or on the front of the machine. For me, the last two days, when I bring it out of standby I usually get an error box telling me that I need to be in 32-bit color mode, and I can see that I running in only 16 colors and in low resolution, despite the fact that everything was fine when I went into Standby. This is happening every time now. Sometimes it wakes up to the black screen, and while I can see that the computer is powered up (green light) I get only a black screen through my TV, and there is no way to get a response from the unit. The only solution is to hard power the machine down (by holding down the power button for >4 seconds).

Last night I watched a football game that I had previously recorded in MyTV. I watched this for about 1.5 hours with no problems. The DVR functionality is impressive - easy to use and looks great. I then decided to go to bed and watch the remainder of the game in the morning. So, after going back to the main Media Center screen, as designed, I pushed the power button on the remote to put it into Standby. I pushed the power button on the remote this morning to wake the machine up and resume viewing. Note that prior to waking up the machine, I turned my TV on and set it to the HDMI input - just in case this was a factor in the video screwing up on wake-up from Standby. Anyway, when I pressed Standby on the remote, the machine woke up, but then almost immediately the screen switched to the Windows "computer now going into Standby" screen, and the machine immediately went back into standby. (Note that I did NOT press the power button twice!) From that point, I could not get the machine to wake up from the power button on the remote, so I held the power button down on the unit for a hard reset. I then powered the system up, waited for it to boot and load completely up. Once at the Media Center screen, I found that the machine will no longer respond to my remote control. The keyboard works, but not the IR remote. I shut down and repowered up the machine, which loaded up fine, but, again, the IR remote (which seems to be working, based on the red LED on it lighting up) will no longer work to navigate through the Media Center menus. At this point, I powered down the machine and, as I've done so often the last few days, went back to pretending that I don't even own this machine. It's just too embarassing to keep trying to use this completely flaky unit in front of guests. It's rediculous how bad this system is...

And that sums up my experience so far with this unit - an embarassment that I am afraid to even use in front of other people. When this unit works, the features are amazing. The problem is, I literally can't sit down and use the machine for an hour without expecting some kind of major malfunction. And that's if I'm lucky enough that it will even work for an hour, or that I can get it on in the first place.

When you build a machine like this that is supposed to replace consumer electronic equipment, it should be similar in reliability, as that is the customer expectation. Expectations are much lower when you are talking about a computer, as they are never as reliable as a consumer electronic component (e.g. DVD player or TV). In reality, this unit ranks at the bottom of my list of all the PC's that I have ever owned in terms of flakiness. I don't get it - I even got my mom a Sony Vaio laptop as a present this season, and it seems to be working fine, despite all the Sony bloatware and advertisements that come preinstalled. I have never, ever, come across a computer that was as unreliable as my Digital Living System.

I'm very fluent in computers, build my own PC's, etc., and am actually very tolerant of errors and bugs, as they are to be expected. But this Digital Living System is so bad that it is totally unusable for me for it's intended purpose. Imagine if you only had a 60% chance of your TV turning on and tuning a program when you sat down to watch a show. Or your DVD player had a 50% chance of playing a disc when you rented it, that it took over a minute to load into the player, and there was some chance that it would disapper into the player and take a lot of time and effort to get it back out. This would be completely unacceptable if it happened once a week, but this is a continual experience with the Digital Living System.

Note that I'm using it with a KD-34XBR960 through HDMI, and audio through Toslink to an ES receiver.

I apologize to all if you find my "review" not useful. I really, really want this system to work - it just doesn't. I've actually found some interesting details to add to eddicus' observations, but I'll save them for a later time - right now I'm just so frustrated with this unit that is so flaky that I can't even use it...
post #3 of 479
Thread Starter 
i am sorry to hear that you have experienced so many problems. My experience with the changer has so far been un eventful. the only issue i have run accross is when i scanned a disk that seemed to be part of a 2 disk set including another movie the cover art and description show both movies. I have edited the detail to reflect just the one movie. If i eject the movie and reinsert it the detail change stays linked.
I have tried importing home video from my camera but the supplied versions of the software only support the dv input.
I may try and upgrade adobe premier and see if support for the analog ports becomes supported.
I was able to take the analog video on my workstation convet to mpeg2 and import into the sony for editing.

BSD107: In reference to your problems have you tried a sony Viao restore. I have not read into it but it seens there is a partition with restore files. If the restore is run it is supposed to return the computer to out of the box state. I would also consider an exchange definatly soundslike you have to many problems. Definatly give their tech support a call if not for any other reason then to make them aware of a potential problem. Looking at other posts on other sony products it seems that they currently have a quality control issue. It seems they have passed the testing phase for new products onto the consumer.
Maybe with enough complaints they will get their act together again.
post #4 of 479
As a followup to my previous post, two days ago I had an entire day of using this system trouble-free, with no crashes, problems or errors. I recorded a lot of TV, watched it, etc. Was wonderful to use. I don't know why there were no crashes this time.

One of the things I have started doing is holdling down the "standby" button on the remote for at least 1-2 seconds when trying to bring the system out of standby. Since then, the system has woken up just fine. But, I don't know if that's the trick or not. I had seen that with MCE2004 this was a known problem in the MS Knowledge Base (i.e. if you don't hold down the standby button long enough, the system will not wake up properly), but I assume that this has supposedly been fixed in 2005. I don't know that this is the trick. But, in the last day or so I have not had the problem coming out of Standby where the card is only running in 16 colors on resume.

Of course, I knew it was too good to be true, because now I have encountered a problem where the system crashes after sitting for a while. Basically, I stopped putting the system into Standby due to the problems listed above. The system will sit there with the power light colored green, so I know that the system is awake. After a few hours of doing something else, I switch the TV input to the XL1 and find that the screen is black (which I assume is intentional). I then press the down arrow button on the remote, to simply wake up the screen. At this point, the system beeps and I see the BIOS "VAIO" logo, followed by the BIOS "Pentium D" logo - i.e. as soon as I pressed the button on the remote, the system hard reboots. After the system fully loads up, I get a warning from Windows XP that a serious error has occured, send info to MS, and then get a web page from MS explaining that an unknown blue screen crash has occured. I don't know what the cause of this is - it might be related to TV recording, or the system simply just crashing while sitting there. But, it doesn't actually start rebooting until I hit a key on the remote, which is strange.

I've now tried disabling the screensaver completely, which may be related, and I'm leaving the system on to see if it crashes again while sitting...

To answer your question about system restore, I did do a complete system restore after seeing your post about the 5.1 audio, and then tracking down the online manual (which was omitted from my box). I had made so many tweaks to the various audio settings trying to get them to work that I did a Vaio restore prior to following the instructions in the manual (which did then work first time).

I could try a restore again, but I can't accept that I'm going to have to restore the system and re- setup the machine every time I encounter a problem here. After doing a restore, there are a ton of MS and Norton updates that need to be installed, etc., as well as Sony updates, so it's not like the Sony base install is all that great...

We'll see if disabling the screensaver helps me here. My visitors are leaving soon, after which I spend more time beating on the DVD Changer and see how stable it is now...

I was able to burn two TV shows to a blank DVD+RW with no problem. To get the changer to re-recognize the disc as a DVD-Video disc after burning did require me to eject and reload the disc from the changer, though. I haven't tried the same with the Click-to-DVD software yet (I used the standard MCE method from the MyTV section). Trying to load Click-to-DVD from MCE with the base install crashed my system the first time, although since then it has loaded up fine - may be due to me installing the patches from the Sony site.

I sure do like that you can simply throw a single DVD-Video disc into the drive slot in the XL1A - it automatically just starts playing the disc when you do this. This is very convenient for rental or borrowed DVD's, as it avoids loading it into the XL1B changer and having to catalog it (which for me takes a long time). The "My DVD" interface does list whatever DVD-Video disc is currently loaded into the XL1A if you go to that screen, and shows cover art etc. - this is slick (and automatic - it doesn't ask you if you want to catalog the disc in the XL1A, it just does it, which makes sense because it does it so fast that there is no point to asking...)

A couple of days ago I did try loading the lastest Nvidia video drivers from the Nvidia site. They installed fine, and seemed to work OK. But for me, I then had fewer resolution choices with the new driver. The new Nvidia driver has a new section for HDTV support, and works significantly differently from the previous version of the driver that was preinstalled on the XL1A. It's probably an improvement, but I couldn't figure out how to get a comfortable resolution on it, so I ended up having Windows XP do a rollback to the previous Nvidia driver, and all works fine again. It's possible that the upgrade and then rollback has caused my hard resets described above - if they turn out to be screensaver related this would be another hint. Basically the reason I had to rollback the driver is that even the MCE interface gave me fewer resolution choices after the upgrade. I have a KD34XBR960 TV, which is a CRT. It just is not useable at 1920 or 1440 resolutions, due to massive overscan. There are some oddball "underscan" resolutions a few steps down (such as 1176x664, which looks the best for me) that show up under the MCE and Nvidi interfaces with the preinstalled drivers, but don't with the latest driver. The latest driver does let you add resolutions, but I hadn't written them down prior to upgrading, and so didn't know what to try. I may try upgrading again, and adding the resolutions that work for me.

Anyway, this system is a beauty, when it works. I've been able to watch a lot of downloaded videos (i.e. program demos, flight simulator movies, etc.) on my desktop PC, through my home network and the MCE interface. Look and play great. There are even a few Sony HDV demo AVI files that played fine and looked great. Some of my AVI files won't play, and I get a MCE error - I assume these are due to codecs that are on my desktop but not on my XL1.

The My Pictures functionality is nice. One question that I have regards picture rotation. On my desktop, I use the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer interface that is built into Windows Explorer on my desktop to browse and view my pictures that I have take with my 5MP digital camera. If I try to rotate a large picture from landscape to portrait from this interface, I get a warning the resolution will be permanently reduced. (I'm not sure why this is - a limitation in the software, or the JPEG format???) Anyway, if I rotate the same picture from the MCE My Pictures interface, I get no such warning, even though the software permanently rotates the picture. Am I downgrading the quality of the picture when I do this through the MCE interface? I'd like a warning if this is the case...
post #5 of 479
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear you are making some progress. After reading your post i started to experience similar issues. I decided to remove any extra services that AOL added.
I then ran it through several tests and experieced a black screen. My next step was to turn off the screen saver. This seems to have done the trick. I have recorded tv from the on state and from the suspended state.
I have also minimized MCE checked e-mail and then went back into MCE. I then put it into sleep and woke it up the next day without incident.
One note: When i was testing a scheduled record from sleep mode, the computer came out of sleep visible by power light going from amber to green.
I then switched to view the mcpc, the screen was black. I decided to leave it alone for this test. After record was complete the mcpc went bach to sleep. I then was able to wake the pc to a operational MCE screen. I may try at a later date to see if the black screen would restore if doing a scheduled record from sleep mode
I have also activated the option to schedule programs from tv.msn, great if you are away from home and find out about a program you would like to see. The only catch is you need to leave the Vaio on. The remote record will not work if in sleep mode.

In reference to your picture question. I remember reading an article in a photo magazine in reference to this. Windows should be working with a temp version of your original file when you are viewing it. If you rotate it it may change resolution for viewing. If you click on close it should ask if you want to save changes.
If you choose yes without changing the file name it will overwrite the original high res file with new low res file. Nice of windows to do.

Ironing out the bugs with the Vaio is going to be a fun experience. I can allready hear the tech support guy saying it is a MCE issue and to contact microsoft support. Only to hear Microsoft support say it is an OEM install and support needs to be through sony.

For now turning of the screen saver has given me a solid system. I guess the screensaver in XP does not play well with the video card and MCE.
post #6 of 479
Thanks for the details of your further findings. As part of my "black screen" problems, I have rebooted and sometimes found the vaio complaining that it couldn't complete a record as scheduled. I may have done what you did - i.e. it may have been recording, I turn on the TV to find a black screen, then press a key to wake it up, and a hard reboot results. Please try this to see if you encounter the same problem. I will set the unit up to do some recordings, put it into standby, and then see if I can induce problems by trying to use the system after it has woken itself from standby.

Is it possible that when a MCE wakes itself from standby to record a show that it deliberately does not activate the monitor? I had read in the MS Knowledgebase that you should make sure you hold down the standby button for 2-3 seconds when waking the computer. If you don't the machine will wake, but will not know why it was awakened. There were no other details about this in the article. But maybe that's the difference - i.e. if it wakes from standby due to the remote, it knows to turn the screen on, but if the TV recorder wakes it, the monitor does not activate... In any case, regardless of why it is woken, I don't know why you shouldn't be able to get the screen to wake up and start using the unit. I have disabled power saving on my monitor under the Power settings to see if this avoids the black screen altogether (I'm using a CRT Television, so the power saving doesn't do me any good anyway...).

Thanks for the tips on the photos - if the viewer is resampling to the resolution as displayed on screen, that would make sense. More importantly, I want to be sure that MCE doesn't do the same thing...
post #7 of 479
Here's another one - that Sony sound interface (I don't know why Sony just didn't stick with the Intel 5.1 standard audio support - it would have been so much easier to get to work) does not properly check your speakers, even after following the instructions in the manual. Try loading up that screen in the Sony sound driver settings, and start clicking on the different speakers. You are supposed to use this screen to check your speaker operation - i.e. when you click a speaker, you should hear white noise through that speaker. But, for me, no matter which speaker I click, I hear the noise only through the front L+R speakers. This is despite the fact that DVD's do properly play DD 5.1 through this system...
post #8 of 479
Thread Starter 
Audio setup: when i was setting up my audio and trying to decifer the supplied instructions before checking online. I beleive if i selected 5.1 speakers it allowed a test i don't rember if it was automatic or manual.
I do remember that when 7.1 audio was selected the audio test did not work but playing a dvd all speakers were ok.

Adding DVD after woken up: I just experienced the issue with long to never update of a new added dvd. The MCE recognized the dvd was added but could not aquire the tile and cover art. Stalled at 17%, a reboot corrected issue.
From past experience Windows has always been flakey when it comes to re-recognizing firewire devices when coming out of sleep/ suspend.
For the next couple of days i will leave the system on 24/2.

I have a question, when you have a chance could you check in device manager. Look at the status of the intel pro/1000 pm network adapter. I have a yellow flag. I went to the sony web site and downloaded the driver for that device but when I tried to install it tells me this driver is not for this computer and stops the install.
I have disabled this device for now.
post #9 of 479
I'll check the network driver when I get a chance - right now I'm trying to test the new Nvidia driver.

For me it seems that as long as I never put the system into Standby, it is quite stable.

But, I just put the system into Standby after using it heavily for a couple of hours, and when it came out of standby the resolution was all wrong. It wasn't 16 colors, but looked more like 256 colors with a lower resolution than usual. I rebooted the machine, then went into Standby again. After resuming from Standby, I received an error that 16 colors was not supported by MCE. Looking at the video driver settings, I could see that the Nvidia driver was not loaded at all after coming out of Standby. In fact, right clicking on the desktop, the "Nvidia Display" context menu didn't even exist. Rebooting the machine brought the driver back again just fine.

In my mind, this is likely the same problem as the "black screen" after Standby. I.e. the video driver is not surviving Standby. I have never, ever encountered this on any machine, so I have no idea how to fix it.

Clearly, also, this does not seem to be related to the system waking itself up to record - it's happening to me when I wake up the system with the remote (and I'm holding the button down for at least 2 seconds when doing so, and have the TV already on and switched to the correct input before resuming).

The audio test I'm referring to is part of the Sony audio driver setting screen - not the one in MCE. There is a separate tab to this (not shown in the manual) that shows a drawing of a person sitting at a computer surrounded by speakers. You click on the picture to activate the sound from each speaker. It doesn't work for me at all. Frankly, I believe that the sound setup on this system is an incredible hodgepoge, and it's voodoo science that it works at all....
post #10 of 479
I just checked my Intel network driver in Device Manager, and it shows no errors. For me, it is working fine (I am using it instead of the wireless network). Do you have a network cable plugged into it?

I am totally convinced now that the "black screen" is actually the MCE front end crashing due to an issue with the video driver.

With the standard Sony video driver (i.e. the one preinstalled) loaded, I ran MCE, then switched to the desktop and changed the screen resolution. MCE turned black and completely froze. It took me a long time to kill MCE even from the Task Manager. I then attempted three times to load MCE again, and although it would load up to the menu screen, it was completely frozen each time, and had to be killed. (This probably also explains why sometimes after waking the system from Standby, the MCE menu will not respond to the IR remote - it is, in fact frozen. I thought that this was always due to the IR remote driver, but it must have been a frozen MCE front-end all along.) Anway, luckily a reboot fixed the problem - i.e. MCE loaded up then just fine.

So, it sure seems to me that our Standby problems are due to the video card driver not loading properly when resuming. If you ever wake up from Standby again and see a black screen, try using the keyboard to bring up the start menu - this will at least tell you if the entire video card is out, or if it's the MCE software frozen in black in the foreground.

Note that I tried installing the latest Nvidia drivers from the Nvidia site. While they installed OK, they do not allow me to select the oddball resolutions needed for my CRT HDTV (Sony 34" XBR960). For some reason, this driver will not allow me to add custom resolutions. The Sony preinstalled driver will allow custom resolutions, which is how the overscan correction works (i.e. it simply makes a new resolution that can be seen by both the Nvidia driver and the MCE front end). With the latest official Nvidia driver, I am stuck with only three resolution choices, and can't select the ones I need in-between. At one point, when simply clicking on an "Advanced..." button in the Nvidia driver, the system actually hard rebooted. It seems that the Nvidia drivers (both the current release and the one preinstalled on our machines) do not get along well with the customized card preinstalled in our XL1A's. I again did a rollback to the previous driver, and now the system is back to "normal"...
post #11 of 479
Originally Posted by eddiscus View Post


Adding DVD after woken up: I just experienced the issue with long to never update of a new added dvd. The MCE recognized the dvd was added but could not aquire the tile and cover art. Stalled at 17%, a reboot corrected issue.
From past experience Windows has always been flakey when it comes to re-recognizing firewire devices when coming out of sleep/ suspend.
For the next couple of days i will leave the system on 24/2.

You know, the first several times I used the changer, the machine would freeze at 17% for me, too, and the entire machine would seem locked up. That doesn't seem to happen as often now that I avoid using Standby. The other thing that I did was cycle the power on the XL1B (the changer). After I did that once (and I have not had to do that again), I have not had trouble with the changer at all, and that was a week ago now.

There are still some changer operations that freeze the machine briefly. It seems to me that at the exact instant that a disc is spinning up in the changer and Windows is trying to autorecognize it, the machine totally freezes. Frankly, my desktop does the same thing when I insert a disc. But, for some reason, I don't get the freezes as bad as I used to. I.e., when the MCE dialog tells me that I can click OK and do other things while it is working, I am actually able to do that, while the first few times after setting up the machine I was not able to...
post #12 of 479
Thread Starter 
Latest Test:
I tried a record from standby leaving the TV on the MCPC input. the PC started up with a blank screen about 6 minutes before scheduled record time. The pc started recording on time, 5 minutes into record I tapped the space bar on the keyboard and the system opened to a logon screen (power saving off, screensaver off). I was able to log on and perform other functions within MCE.

As far as the integrated ethernet card goes I tried connecting a router to the input and a reboot the card is still out. Device manager says that it "could not start the device (code 10)"
I was in contact with Sony tech support and went through about 1 hour of trouble shooting. Sony determined that the integrated card is no good and the motherboard needs replacment. They will order part and tech will come out to replace. Estimate this friday or monday.
Currently have no need for the ethernet port, wireless works fine, but for the price paid all systems should work.

This problem all started during a hard shutdown from frozen screen. When windows booted back up it notified that it found a new device and installed the drivers. This was for the Ethernet card. Hopefully just bum luck.
post #13 of 479
Thanks for the details. Too bad about your network card, but nice that it will be replaced.

Your Standby experience is interesting. I'll have to try duplicating your experiment in a few days.

I have not had any luck lately bringing the system out of Standby (by pressing the power button on the remote) - my video card & driver never makes it out of the Standby. Please try this same test if you get a chance (i.e. bringing it out of standby yourself) - I'm trying to figure out if it's my install or a common thing.

For now, I just have all power saving disabled, and I leave the system totally powered up if I have a scheduled recording coming up. This is not the most efficient way to do this (power-wise) but at least it seems to work...
post #14 of 479
Just a side note. I have three firewire changers being managed by an old Escient front end. I have found the firewire connection - the physcial connection - somentimes works loose and can cause the system to crash. I know this is not the same as the MCE front end but it may be a common problem. I have also found power cycling the changers periodically helps.
post #15 of 479
Originally Posted by jchick View Post

Just a side note. I have three firewire changers being managed by an old Escient front end. I have found the firewire connection - the physcial connection - somentimes works loose and can cause the system to crash. I know this is not the same as the MCE front end but it may be a common problem. I have also found power cycling the changers periodically helps.

Thanks for the help. The iLinks are not coming lose - at least in my case. The system has only been assembled for just over a week, so they haven't had time to come lose anyway.

I did try swapping the i.Link input used on the XL1B, and it didn't really make a difference.

I have also found that when the XL1B stops recognizing discs, doesn't work with the Sony software, etc., cycling power on the changer (and rebooting) can help...
post #16 of 479
Thread Starter 
Well I have been through a lot. You know you really dont get a warm fuzzy feeling when the service tech comes out to change a mother board and says he never saw one of these before. He then proceeded to complain about the # of screws inside the case. I will have to say that the inside of the case makes use of every inch of available space and components are well supported.

That being said the motherboard swap cured the integrated ethernet card error. It then gave me a driver error for the "nic1394" device. After spending some time with sony support we reached a point where they suspected the windows install suffered serious errors from a hard shutdown.
I wound up doing a complete restore. All seems well except for the fact that on a restart or cold boot the media changer is only recognized 10 % of the time. A power cycle of the device with windows media center running usually (99.9 %) of the time corrects the issue.

Are you still experiencing the same issue with the media changer ?

After getting my system back to normal I loaded the 100+ DVD's it recognized that new disc's were added. I told it to go ahead and scan the disks in and in the morning it accuratly scanne all but 4 discs. The 4 errors were just title errors and one no cover art.

I have tried a record when in sleep mode. All worked ok and computer came out of suspend ok. Media changer also functioned correctly after coming out of sleep mode.
post #17 of 479
I am now having massive problems with the surround sound, similar to the problem that I was having when I set up the machine originally and could not get 5.1 to play through anything but the L+R for hours. I originally fixed that by doing a complete restore of the hard drive to factory settings, then following not the onscreen instructions, but the instructions in the manual that did not ship with our machines. This made 5.1 DD work fine on my machine.

A few days ago, all of a sudden I started getting only the L+R channels to play. This is not a remapping issue (i.e. I can't hear any dialog, since it's going to the center channel which is silent) - it's like the center and surrounds are not hearing any signal. I am using a Sony 3000ES receiver, and have never, ever had any issue with DD 5.1 sound, from either the optical output from my TV or the coax digital from my old DVD player. The receiver thinks that it's getting 5.1 DD from the XL1. It's just that I can't hear anything but the L+R channels.

For literally more than 3 dozen times, I have gone through the instructions in the manual and followed them verbatim. Two nights ago, when the 5.1 went out, I tried again and again, and couldn't fix it. All options look normal. On one or two tries I actually got a black, blank screen when going to the intervideo screen, but other than that, the options look as they are supposed to be. Of course, I also tried toggling to the wrong options, then the right ones, but no luck. After about an hour of doing this, magically it finally worked. However, I went into the Reality Audio settings to check the setting there about half an hour later, and although I didn't change anything there, all channels but L+R became muted again. Another hour of trying could not bring it back.

This morning I tried many, many times again, with no luck. I called Sony support, they walked me through all the settings, and decided that I had everything set right, and said they would escalate the issue to their engineering department.

Note that I also tried connecting to another input on my receiver, which I always use for my DVD player, and switched from optical to coax. But, same result.

Note that I can tell when the surround sound is going to work, because when I am in the MCE General Settings, Set Up Your Speakers section, when I do the Test, where you should hear an individual tone through each speaker, I instead hear each of the five tones through all the speakers at the same time. I can tell when it is not going to work, because I will hear the L+R tone together (when the L should only be sounding), then a pause (while the center channel is supposed to be sounding, but doesn't), then the L+R again (when the R should only be sounding), and then a long pause while the two tones for the rear do not sound.

Have you ever encountered this problem?

I've been going mad trying to fix it.

Between the non-functioning surround sound, and the standby issue (which I also walked the Sony tech support guy through, although all he could do was take notes and escalate), this unit has become completely useless for me. Despite the flaky changer, I was actually having some fun playing some demo HD files on my TV from the XL1, and then the surround sound went out...
post #18 of 479
Regarding the changer, yes, I've had plenty of problems with it.

Today, during my surround sound troubleshooting, I selected MyDVDs and clicked, and MCE froze for over a minute. I finally powered down the changer, at which point MCE immediately became responsive and went back to the main screen. I then turned the Changer on again, then selected MyDVDs. The MyDVDs section loaded, but it listed only the disc that I had last played (and was still loaded in the actual player in the changer). The "Manage Discs" button was also completely missing.

I then exited MCE totally, cycled power on the changer, then reloaded MCE. At that point, the changer seemed to work fine.

Note that the above ended up fixing my surround sound - at that point I could hear 5.1 sound.

However, I then went into the Intervideo audio settings (Settings, DVD, Audio) at which point I got a black screen. From that point on, my 5.1 no longer works, again... It seems that crashing the changer somehow fixed my surround sound, at least temporarily...

I have also had little luck with other changer features.

Selecting My Changer, or Click-to-DVD under My Changer, more often than not goes to a "spinning disc" icon screen and freezes there totally, after which I get an MCE error stating that the program is not responding. That spinning disc screen is the Sony software that plugs into MCE - it is what seems to be crashing and causing the problems there - not MCE itself.

I wanted to test the CD ripping feature, so a few night ago I loaded six audio CDs into the changer, while at the MCE main screen. I then selected Copy Music under My Changer, and the Copy Music feature locked up at the initial "spinning disc" screen. I somehow (don't remember) got back to the MCE main menu, then loaded MyDVDs, which asked if I wanted to catalog the discs. After cataloging, I could see in the Manage Discs section that all the Audio CDs were mostly recognized properly and by title. However, one of the CD's was listed twice! I then went back and retried the Copy Music feature under My Changer. This time it properly listed the audio discs, and I was able to select them all, including the disc listed twice. I started the session, then went away. When I came back, I found that it had ripped the first disc, but not any of the other 5. The other five had "X" next to them instead of a check mark. So I started the process again, and watched. Here, I found that the changer would load a discs, start reading it, then immediately move on to the next disc. It's as if the changer could not read the disc. Assuming that the double-disc listing was part of the problem, I went back to Manage Discs and ejected the double listing. Two CD's came out - of course only one of them had been correctly identified. I then loaded both CD's back in, and again they were identified as the same disc, but this time they both used the same name as the other one(!).

I decided then to unload all the audio CD's, exited MCE, cycled power on the changer, then loaded MCE again. I loaded the 5 audio CD's which had not been ripped yet, and then was able to successfully complete the Copy Music feature under My Changer successfully.

This changer - either the hardware, or the software on the XL1A, or most likley both, are incredibly flaky, no matter what is being attempted.

I've gotten to the point that I'm trying to figure out what actually works on the XL1.

Frankly, the My Pictures, My Music, My Videos sections, and even the My TV sections work flawlessly for me, every time. I.e. the standard MCE stuff.

What doesn't seem to ever work more than 50% of the time is anything that Sony had to make, write drivers for, or add in. I.e. the My Changer features, the My DVD features, the surround sound (which uses Sony "Reality Audio" drivers), etc. The customized video card (and/or drivers) will not function properly when resuming from standby. For the life of me I cannot believe that they actually are shipping this system. Honestly I can't think of a feature that this system has which is unique to Sony that actually works.

Back to your issue - I tell you, if hard resets are going to force a complete wipe and reinstall of the machine every time, then these machines are never going to be useable. With the frequency at which I get black screens, there are going to be a few hard resets here and there. I've now learned that ususally it's MCE that is frozen black in the foreground, and sometimes I am able to get to windows behind it, but sometimes I can't and have no choice but to hard reset.

I already did the wipe and restore once when I first set up the audio drivers (after finding the online manual). I will not accept that this will be the answer to every problem. How many times more does Sony expect me to do this? As you are finding, Vaio Restore is not the magic bullet - in your case it sounds like you traded one problem for another, and possibly even traded a normal working motherboard for a refurb. I wonder if your Intel network driver issue would have gone away if you had done a Vaio Restore prior to replacing the motherboard. That's the problem with the "over the phone" troubleshooting that we have to do - the vast majority of the time these problems are drivers and software, but once they've run through a few procedures, the default is to replace the hardware. The reality is likely more that bug fixes are required...

Have you installed any of the Vaio Updates? None of them seem to be designed to fix our issues, but I noticed that my tech rep never brought it up to me.
post #19 of 479
I'll reply with more details later - but here's a quick note:

I was on the phone with a Sony support engineer this morning (they called me).

Regarding the Changer not being recognized, this is a known issue with the Norton Internet Security 2005 that comes preinstalled on the machine (I'm not clear if it's like that out of the box, or only after NIS2005 does some LiveUpdates...).

Anyway, NIS is blocking the system from seeing the changer. This makes sense, as the unit works thorugh i.Link, and XP treats firewire connections as network connections. The NIS firewall works on ALL network devices. AFAIK, you cannot tell NIS to ignore specific network devices, as you can with the standard WindowsXP Firewall.

The Tech walked me through a few procedures to check, everything worked (including the bugs) as he expected. In the end, he told me to disable NIS, and the changer was immediately recognized. I have to say that MCE responded faster too - it seems that a lot of the freezes of the MCE, especially on initial loading of MCE, are due to it choking while trying to access the changer with NIS running.

I'll do more checking of this tonight, make sure this is the fix. The tech claimed that it's the firewall feature of NIS (not the other components of NIS), that cause this problem.

You should try permenantly disabling the NIS firewall and see if the changer recognition problem goes away.

I'll do more checking of this on my system tonight. It did do the trick the one time that I tried it with the tech on the phone.
post #20 of 479
Thread Starter 
I'll have more to add but for now I tried disableing the NIS FIRE WALL and the changer was not recognized. Only after a power cycle or firewire unplug/ plug. After speaking to Sony tech support they tried exactly what we are doing on their own setup and had the exact problem. I heard the same response, they will tell engineering.
In the meantime check Article # 891570 on the msn knowledge base. Sounds like our changer issue. The "SBP2 DRIVER ON MY MACHINE IS A 2001 CIRCA DRIVER". The hotfix driver they mention is circa 2005.
In the meantime goodluck with your issues.
post #21 of 479
As with you, just a quick response for now. (I spend so many hours troubleshooting the system that I hardly have time to list all the problems!)

Anyway, as with you, I have found that disabling the firewall is not a fix.

What the support engineer on the phone told me to do was:

1) Disable the MCE autostart with windows.

2) Disable NIS "firewall" (what he actually told me to do disables NIS entirely, not just the firewall)

3) Wait for at least 30 seconds after system boot before loading MCE. I.e. wait for the drivers to load.

4) After loading MCE, wait for a bit before selecting MyDVD

Of course, this is rediculous, but I figured NIS firewall was the main problem. But, after doing literally a ton of cold reboots tonight, trying different configs, I have found the following:

- NIS2005 does indeed sometimes cause MCE to freeze for about 20 seconds after MCE loads. However, this has nothing to do with the changer being recognized or not. Sometimes MCE loads just fine and the changer is found, even with NIS2005 loaded.

- To really test the theory out, I actually completely uninstalled NIS2005. Regardless, whether I had MCE autostart or not, whether I gave the system lots of time before loading MCE and/or selecting MyDVDs from the MCE screen, whether the changer would be recognized or not was totally random.

- During all of my attempts, I never once cycled the power on the changer - only the computer.

- After reinstalling NIS2005 was when I found that it could result in some freezes in the MCE interface after first load. However, this is with the NIS firewall disabled, but the rest of NIS running. So, I don't think it's actually the firewall, bu some component of NIS. Again, I don't think this has anything to do with the changer being recognized, but it sure does add to freezes of MCE. With NIS not loaded, I don't think I ever had the MCE interface freeze up after loading, in approx 15 attempts, even though in 1/3-1/2 of those attempts the changer was not recognized.

I have the engineer's name and number - I'm going to call him tommorrow and let him know that it's still flaky as heck.
post #22 of 479
Regarding the surround sound issue that I am having, the engineer had me check some things, and in the end agreed with me that it's a bug that they need to figure out how to fix.

He noted that one other user has my same problem, so they know that it's real.

I would encourage you to bring up our common issues (if you haven't already) with Sony tech support so that they know that they are real and prioritize them.

The video problems with Standby is a good example. The engineer basically blew me off when I described my video issues when resuming from standby. He gave me some blanket thing that it's Microsoft's issue, that Rollup 2 has lots of bugs in the power saving software, etc, and that they are working on patches. He also said that Sony basically cannot address those issues, as they have to do with compatibility issues between different displays, so they can't replicate in their lab. When I pointed out that I am using a Sony current and top of the line CRT HDTV, and one that is likely one of their most popular HDMI TV's, it didn't really make an impact on him. He told me frankly that this isssue may be one that I will just have to live with long-term.

Now, regarding the video issue, tonight I found that if I have MCE minimized, or I exit MCE completely (i.e. I have the desktop visible), the video card (and everything else) resumes just fine from Standby. I was able to do this two times in succession. I then tried it with MCE maximized, and then when I resumed it came up in 640x480x16 again, with MCE closing with an error due to the low color count. Just to see what would happen, I hit Standby again, but when I came up the screen was totally black and dead, even though MCE was not running. This proves that (contrary to my previous belief) the black screen is not always due to MCE crashing black - here it was clearly the video card not waking up. I was actually able to cleanly shutdown windows here from memorized keypresses - Windows was indeed still running...
post #23 of 479
Originally Posted by eddiscus View Post

In the meantime check Article # 891570 on the msn knowledge base. Sounds like our changer issue. The "SBP2 DRIVER ON MY MACHINE IS A 2001 CIRCA DRIVER". The hotfix driver they mention is circa 2005.
In the meantime goodluck with your issues.

Nice find - Have you installed this hotfix yet to try it? I can't figure out how to download and install it. Also, have you checked your driver to see if yours has the old driver or a new one? (I'm not sure if that was what you were trying to say in all-caps above, in quotes...)

You might mention it to Sony next time you talk to them
post #24 of 479
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bsd107 View Post

Nice find - Have you installed this hotfix yet to try it? I can't figure out how to download and install it. Also, have you checked your driver to see if yours has the old driver or a new one? (I'm not sure if that was what you were trying to say in all-caps above, in quotes...)

You might mention it to Sony next time you talk to them

My SBP2 port has the old 2001 driver. I says tat you need to contact microsoft support for the driver. Since we have an OEM install of windows I will try sony first. From the conversations I have had so far with tech support they seem willing to listen and try idea's.
post #25 of 479
Thread Starter 
I have tried the hot fix from microsoft. Don't waste your time. It did not work. I have wasted more time with microsoft support than with sony. After dealing with microsoft Sony is a breath of fresh air.
I have placed a call to sony every day with -/+ results. After reading your other posts I tried to copy some CD's to my music folder. Yes you have to initialize them through "my dvd" then you can copy them. My system copied 3 out of 5. I then burned a recorded show to dvd-rw. All went ok without lock up. I am going to try and uninstall NAS and see how my system responds.
I am starting to think there are only three people withe these systems. You, sony support and myself. I read that at the CES show they are coming out with a VGX-XL2, digital video tuner, dts audio support, second hard drive and hoprfully less bugs. Oh and the goog news for us early adopters, the unit wil be available seperatly from the changer.
First attempt with NAS un installed everything powered down, changer turned on then main unit. Changer failed to be recognized, power cycle and changer was back.
Second attempt shut down Pc and left changer on, restart pc and wait for os to finish loading. Start MCE changer not recognized. Power cycle changer and it is back.

I think sony is off the beaten path with NAS. I am going to re install and if I have to reboot I will just leave the changrt off untill the os boots up, turn the changer on and start MCE. This has worked 100%.
post #26 of 479
Well guess there are now 4 people with this system. And yep I have the same issues you guys have except (Knock on wood) I havent had the changer disappear. My system has been randomly BSODing and giving errors with the nv4_mini.sys driver as well as having the SBP2 port critical error every boot. I updated my Nvidia drivers to the newest 81.95 (I think) and that didnt seem to work. I had already disabled Norton Firewall (I hate Norton) and was ready to install Avast and MS AntiSpyware, but the system crashed while I was updating my monitor settings and rebooted with the can't find \\system\\config\\system error. So I am now in the middle of a Sony Vaio Recovery. Even better is I had it hooked up in my dedicated Home Theater and the stupid Vaio Recovery runs at a Res\\Frequency my projector hates, so I had to unhook it all and bring it to the office and hook it into a computer monitor to rebuild it. I am definitely not impressed with this product and I am very near to a return on it, if this rebuild and instant removal of Norton doesnt fix my issues.

post #27 of 479
Thanks for the feedback on the Firewire driver update from MS not working. I just wish that Sony would admit that this is a bug and start working on fixing it. I did call my tech rep back today and left him a voicemail to call me, as I wanted to tell him that NIS2005 is not the root cause of the changer recognition problems.

I will say this, though - I am fully convinced that NIS2005 does not cooperate well with MCE. I reinstalled NIS2005 last night, and then today got a black-screen crash of MCE again, which I had not seen during the many reboots when NIS2005 was not installed. Also, the MCE interface is immediately responsive when NIS2005 is not installed. Those 20 second freezes on the main menu of MCE just after startup (i.e. and not related to hard disc activity - it's a freeze of MCE) do not seem to occur at all for me unless NIS2005 is installed.

In the hopes of having MCE be more stable, for now I've uninstalled NIS2005, and I'm leaving it that way. Right now I'm instead using Norton Antivirus 2005 - a 3 month free trial of this can be downloaded (which is really no different than the 3 month free trial of NIS2005 that comes installed on our machines). So far, NAV2005 does not seem to cause the MCE freezes and crashes that NIS2005 did, but time will tell.

I'm still ticked off about not being able to use Standby with the MCE interface maximized - I'm going to need to keep on Sony's case about that one, too.

The only good news I can say is that today I found in the Sony Knowledge Base that Sony has identified and is working on a solution to my surround sound problem. Therefore, I figure I'll have a resolution that one at some point.

I'd feel even better if Sony would make similar postings in their Knowledge Base acknowledging the changer recognition problems and the video problems...

Although I'm right now so ticked that I can't return this machine for a refund (it was actually a gift through a mail-order outfit, I'm passed 30 days, etc.), the fact that the XL2 was just announced doesn't make me feel any better. Although I'm really wanting CableCard support, I would like to have the ATSC tuner card in the XL2. The DTS support would also be nice. I've also read that the XL2 is an official VIIV platform. When I talked to the Sony support guy about the new model coming out (he actually mentioned it first), he said that it will have more RAM, a larger hard drive, the digital tuner. Also, he said that the changer will be available separately. I noticed your mention of the XL2 being available separately for us early adopters. I can't imaging spending another $1500 to upgrade from one buggy VAIO to another buggy VAIO - what we are going through is really disgusting.

I did ask the tech whether the digital tuner card could be purchased as an upgrade for XL1 owners, and the guy said no. Also, he said no CableCard support in the works, as CableCard is to inconsistent nationwide (i.e. works great in some areas, not well in others - I have to say that I live in one of the "not well" areas...).
post #28 of 479
I've never seen a SBP2 error, ever - that must be the one error I haven't had.

Chartman, I'm envious of you that you are in the postion to actually be able to return your unit. If I still could, I would return mine for a refund in a second.

The XL1 is an amazing setup when it works. The actual vision of what it is supposed to do is top notch (if single tuner only and no HD tuner is good enough for you...).

But the number of major bugs that affect the basic functionality of the unit - like being able to use the changer that is the whole point of the unit, being able to use the power button on the unit or remote to put the machine into Standby without losing the video card, and playing 5.1 surround from DVD's - are just so enormous that I can't even use the machine. The thought of unleashing this unit on my family is just so evil that I can't even fathom doing it.

"Looks guys, I removed the DVD player and CD changer, and replaced them with the XL1, so now you won't ever be able to watch DVD's or listen to music. Enjoy!"

Seriously, Chartman, in addition to the massive amounts of bugs, there really is no light at the end of the tunnel. Sony has only acknowledged one of the 3 most major bugs that keep me from using the unit. And, as you've read above, there are plenty more bugs underneath (CD ripping, disc recognition, etc) that we don't talk about as much because the major bugs keep us from getting to them...

Save yourself while you still can!
post #29 of 479
OK, Sony returned my call this morning. I made it clear to the guy that I have completely removed NIS2005, and the changer is still not recognized. He acknowledged that this is as expected.

Sony's position is that the changer is recognized more often with the NIS firewall disabled. They obviously expect us to keep NIS installed, though, since when I told him I had totally uninstalled it he warned me that I then need to use an anti-virus software. So, they think disabling the NIS firewall alone will help. At this point I am totally unconvinced of this. I do feel, however, that using another firewall which allows completely disabling the firewall on the IEEE1394 port makes sense right now while we are troubleshooting. The WindowsXP firewall allows this.

Sony's positions on my three biggest bugs are the following:

1) 5.1 surround being flaky: Sony acknowledges this as a bug that they are responsible for, and they are working on a fix. No ETA yet.

2) The Changer not being recognized: Sony is not taking responsibility for this. They claim that it is Microsoft's responsibility, and a bug in MCE2005 RU2. Since they blame it on Microsoft, they won't even acknowledge it as a bug in their knowledgebase. Arguements by me that this is an OEM copy of Windows, and therefore Sony is responsible anyway (i.e. MS specifically will not support us directly because of this) got me nowhere. The tech told me that MS is working on a new set of IEEE1394 drivers that will allow daisy-chaining of the XL1B changers, and implied that this will fix the problem. These new drivers will come preinstalled on the XL2. He also said that HP units are having the same changer recognition problems, too. (I am not aware that HP has a unit with a changer, but he insisted that they do!) Therefore, all he could tell me is that it's Microsoft's issue, but that due to the more general release of these changers on the market, they should have to fix the issue soon. The XL2 is supposed to hit the market in about 6 weeks.

[I'm really ticked off that a new model will be out before we can even get the obsolete model to a stable configuration - what a joke...]

3) The Standby issue where video resolution is wrong after resume with MCE in the foreground: Sony will not even acknowledge this as an issue. He continues to totally blow this one off. "We can't test every configuration, there are some many outputs on this video card and everyone uses different outputs", etc. I pointed out that the XL1A only comes in one configuration, that it's the only card with HDMI on the market, that it's a custom video card for Sony - i.e. this is a Sony XL1 that I am using with a Sony TV, so they can't blow me off and tell me it's a Microsoft problem, and Nvidia problem, etc. But, again it got me nowhere. He keeps saying "power saving has never worked right in Windows", blah, blah, blah.

I did explain to this tech that I know of two other people with this unit who have changer recognition problems AND the video problems. It seems to be common to everyone that I can find that has an XL1. That didn't really have an impact on him.

I recommend that anyone who has an XL1 with this issues, please call Sony and report the problems. It's the only way that the issues are going to be acknowledged and corrected.

Personally, I do believe that eventually the changer problems will be rectified by MS, it's just a question of whether it will take weeks or months.

But the video problem is going to have to come down to Sony acknowledging the issue and then pressuring whoever they need to - MS and/or Nvidia - for a fix. With these customized video cards, nobody else is going to be looking out for us if Sony doesn't (and they are not).
post #30 of 479
OK, here is my new update. Took it to the office and rebuilt it while plugged into my 19" LCD computer monitor. Once it came up from the VAIO Recovery, I immediately remove Norton (All of it), added Avast (Free Antivirus that is really good), and added MS Antispyware. At this point in time (Knock on wood) I have not seen a Critical error for SBP2 port nor have I had a crash for nv4_mini.sys. I upgraded the Video Card drivers to 81.98 (Decmber 10th I think). After that I applied the 21 critical patches from Windows Update which included a rollup patch for MCE 2005 that is post Rollup 2. I updated the Java patches, and applied the Sony critical patch for Soundstage. I then set it to copy over the 1gb of Photos and 30gb of MP3's to the system from my other PC. It worked overnight and this morning all is OK. Next big step when I get home from work is to take it back to the Theater room and hook up the changer and get it hooked up to my projector. Cross your fingers all.

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