I seriously want to delete this topic completely and start over because, I have all the information now on what is needed, and some of it negates, or, corrects what I've previously posted.
First of all, the Ugly and what Microsoft doesn't tell you:
If your system states that it wants to update PlayReady after the first, initial PlayReady update when you first set up Media Center was successful, then, PlayReady (and/or Windows DRM) may have crashed or the following conditions may have happened or are corrupt:
- Drive Signature changed or corrupted: This is the actual key that Windows DRM uses to determine if the content is on the system or drive it was originally stored or created on.
- Drive MBR changed or corrupted: We all know that if an MBR is corrupted, Windows will tell us one way or another. This is actually one of them. If the MBR does not match the MBR information stored in Windows DRM in anyway, shape, or form, this will set off PlayReady update. (If you use a bootloader, install it from the beginning or immediately after installing Windows before the Windows DRM registry key is written).
- Windows Media Digital Rights Management scheme has changed or updated: This is one that happens usually once a year around every October. This is also an indicator that your tuner's firmware may need to be updated to match the new scheme.
- A false positive may corrupt DRM: This is the oddest one I've experienced, but, this could be due to using an Ethernet Tuner (Ceton InfiniTV6 ETH). Essentially, what happens, is that Windows Media Center did not fully connect to the tuner (no spinning ring at Media Center startup), and, therefore states that there are no tuners available. For this, I need to make this clear: DO NOT REMOVE AND REDISCOVER OR REINSTALL TUNERS FOR WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER. If you rediscover or reinstall, it may corrupt Windows DRM and set off PlayReady Update to fail.
If PlayReady Update fails on the first, initial install and run of Windows Media Center, then the HDD was not sufficiently wiped and/or cleaned for the Windows installation and old DRM information is still in the MBR.
Secondly, The Bad and what you may have to do to correct the mess:
In most cases, once your system states that it wants to update PlayReady, and/or it fails on the initial install, there might be very little you can do to recover from it with the OS as it is.
- For you gamers out there, to put it into perspective, think of PlayReady as a game that can crash at any given time for a number of reasons like Fallout 3 or Fallout - New Vegas for which this has taught us to save, or backup often.
- Do not always trust Windows Restore or Windows System Protection: On all of my systems, I have this disabled. Not only for the reasons that it does not always work and space, but, also for the reasons, that, if you hit a virus on the internet at which your anti-virus cannot catch, it gets stored in your Windows Restore repository. In the case of PlayReady, if the drive signature or MBR has been changed or corrupted, this, will not help you and may even make the situation worse.
- Wipe all and wipe it good: You may have to completely, not only wipe your hard drive in a government wipe, but also, delete all volumes or partitions prior to reinstallation or restore/recovery.
- You may have to prepare your drive using another computer if reinstalling OS: To make sure you get to utilize all of your hard drive space for a reinstallation, you may have to use the Windows Computer Management Drive Management to create a new volume on the drive by using another computer. You may have to purchase a SATA or IDE to USB drive connector from ebay to do this for which they are actually really inexpensive. Just remember not to assign it a drive letter and that the MBR does not get created until an OS is installed.
And Thirdly, The Good, and what can be done:
In most cases, these are the only and best ways to recover from a possible PlayReady crash and ways to prevent a crash:
- Do not install tuner or initialize DRM unless you are ready to run Windows Media Center Live TV setup on a fresh install: Once you run any Windows Media Interface for the first time, enable media sharing, or install the tuner, it may initialize the Windows DRM key in registry located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\DRM for Windows 64 bit users or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DRM for Windows 32 bit users. It is suggested, that before this key gets filled out, make sure that you are actually ready to run tuner setup. PlayReady requires fresh data in this key before it can update correctly upon initial setup.
- A false positive situation is easily resolvable: Verify that you get a spinning ring at Windows Media Center startup that indicates tuner connection and initialization. In the case of Ceton InfiniTV6 ETH on a fresh install, initial Windows Media Center Setup may only allow you to access 4 tuners at that time , which, with this device, causes a false positive of tuners connected (spinning ring), but no tuners available. This is the ONLY case, where it is allowed to use the diagnostic utility to remove and then rediscover tuners and re-run Windows Media Center Live TV Setup. If the issue of no spinning ring or no tuners available happen after this point, and, If you have a diagnostic utility for your tuner, verify that all appears to be connected and working good. If it appears not, wait, or, restart media center and/or reboot the system and check again.
- If all is good, back up, and back up often: I cannot stress enough how imperative it is that a good backup be created of the HDD to restore from in the event a future PlayReady crash happens. It has saved me many, many times.
- Suggested backup solution is Acronis True Image 2013: I suggest this solution because it can store a complete image of your hard drive and even compresses the file at which the image is stored to roughly 1/3rd the size of your data. This also stores the MBR and Drive signature in the backup, plus, provides tools to clone a hard drive, or, do a government DOD (3 pass) wipe and partition deletion on your hard drive before you restore from back up. This even provides incremental backup and a better backup than system restore, and, the backups can go to an external drive or network drive. The recovery CD image even has networking drivers. The best places to get it for free is actually the manufacturer of your hard drive's website. For Seagate, go to http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/discwizard/
,and/or, for Western Digital, got to http://support.wdc.com/product/download ... dc_lang=en
. If you want to download the actual, original version, you can see if you can order it from Acronis, or, torrent it and follow the installation instructions. Remember to create the recovery CD and recovery ISO.
- Remember all things when recovering: When restoring or recovering to a previous time when all things were good, remember to check and restore drive signature as well as MBR.
- Upgrades actually do not affect PlayReady: Contrary to popular belief and what's posted on the Microsoft website, you can actually upgrade, and even, change most of your hardware without affecting PlayReady. Just remember these tips:
- For system board, verify that it has a same brand similar or newer chipset. Older or different brand may set off PlayReady Update.
- For video card, same as for motherboard, however, also must have the same amount of memory, or, a larger amount of memory. Older chipset or less video memory may set off PlayReady Update.
- For memory, verify that it is of same speed or higher as other memory installed. Installing slower memory, or removing memory may set off PlayReady Update.
- For HDD, verify that it is the same size, speed, or larger and/or faster as the previous primary OS HDD, and, you may clone the old HDD to the new or replacement HDD without issue. A smaller, slower HDD may also may set off PlayReady Update and drive brand actually does not matter.
- Any other hardware can be changed and not cause an issue, even the tuner itself.
- Check Windows Update and Tuner Firmware: Around October or November, every year, Microsoft may update the Windows Media Digital Rights Management scheme to meet compliance of current Digital Rights Management Guidelines. This is also the best time to check for a firmware update for your tuner to also meet those guidelines, even beta firmware if available.
- When recovering to a replacement HDD after HDD failure: Provided that you created a backup using the previously mentioned tools, you can actually restore a backup image to a replacement or new drive without messing up PlayReady. Just remember to always restore drive signature which is exactly what is done in drive cloning as well, however, in recovery, if the replacement drive is larger, you may have to manually set the replacement drive's partition size.
Anyway, these are the best tips I can give to help with this issue as I have 4 systems that have been through it.