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#317074 - 08/12/2008 17:11 Windows System mysteriously shutting down
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Ok, my machine must have some really advanced AI as it's started shutting itself down since last night (in protest?), just a day after I made an inquiry here about what motherboard I might consider replacing the current one with.

This is definitely going to accelerate my plan to buy a new mobo, CPU and RAM, unfortunately at a very inconvenient time. Busy and of course tight on budget during the holidays.

Anyway, I looked in Event viewer and found nothing at all around the time the machine shut itself down. It's done this at least twice in the past 24 hours. When i got up this morning it was off and it just shut down again 10 minutes ago.

This machine is a PVR and music server, so it needs to be running all the time. Something it's been able to do without an issue in the past 12 months. The only two changes I've made are to update to a new nightly of Slim Center and I've changed the UI layout presentation within SageTV.

I'd have an easier time believing SageTV has something to do with it than my minor UI change in SageTV, but neither of these really strike me as the type of change that would bring upon this kind of symptom.

I'd like to try to make sure this doesn't happen anymore until I can swap out the components. Since I'm changing the mobo I'll no doubt have to completely reinstall XP which also means reinstalling SageTV, so that's something that's going to take the better part of a day which I'll have to schedule.

Any insights?
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317079 - 08/12/2008 17:25 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
AndrewT
old hand

Registered: 16/02/2002
Posts: 867
Loc: Oxford, UK
I had a PC doing this last week and the problem was caused by an IDE cable fouling the CPU fan. I'd guess the thermistor on the mobo was detecting an overheat and signalling the OS (XP) to shut down. I have to admit I'm making an assumption about the graceful shutdown, it may have been more abrupt than that.

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#317081 - 08/12/2008 17:54 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: AndrewT]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31390
Loc: Seattle, WA
That's a good suggestion. Also, what about an intermittent short on the power button?

Is the PC actually fully shut down or did it get placed into standby mode? Did it shut down gracefully or did it just lose power?

Some operating systems have an option as to how to behave when the power button is pressed. See if the power button is programmed to "Shut Down" or to "Standby". If the former, set it to the latter, and observe the behavior if you leave it running overnight.
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Tony Fabris

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#317085 - 08/12/2008 19:32 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: tfabris]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: tfabris
That's a good suggestion. Also, what about an intermittent short on the power button?


I haven't touched the case in months - it lives on a rack in my basement. But I'll check for obstructions and the like if the problem happens again.

Quote:
Is the PC actually fully shut down or did it get placed into standby mode?


It was fully shut down. Pressing the power button ran it through regular post and boot sequence as far as I can tell.

Quote:
Did it shut down gracefully or did it just lose power?


There was no message when starting Windows saying that it wasn't properly shut down "boot from safe," etc. when I started it up. Other than that, is there any other way for me to know? I have no idea how/why it shut down. I don't even know the exact time of the shutdown.

Quote:

Some operating systems have an option as to how to behave when the power button is pressed. See if the power button is programmed to "Shut Down" or to "Standby". If the former, set it to the latter, and observe the behavior if you leave it running overnight.


The power button is set to shut down and the sleep button (which i don't have) is set to stand by. I'll try this if the issue happens again.

I've reinstalled the previous copy of Slim Center I was running to see if the issue happens again. So I'd like to confirm this and then look into trouble-shooting the hardware. In the end, I just need it to behave for the next couple of weeks if I'm to replace the hardware. If I notice it's back to solid, then I can post-pone the new hardware until the new year.

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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317086 - 08/12/2008 21:55 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2496
Loc: Roma, Italy
You can set the power button to do "nothing", so if there's a short there, the server should keep up and running. You will have to shut down via software since that moment on, which is actually better, in my view, if your machine is supposed to stay up all times.

Also, shut down events must be triggered by something, whether that is a power button push or a software initiating the shut down process. That "something" ends up in the event log. You say that you did not find anything around the time of the shut down. Do you mean you did not find anything "unusual", or do you mean the shut down event itself was not logged? If the latter, that's not ok and makes me think of a non-graceful shutdown, regardless of XP asking you to boot in safe mode or not uopn restart.

Can you post here the events that preceed and that follow the down time? Maybe we can help with those.



Edited by taym (08/12/2008 22:01)
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MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#317105 - 09/12/2008 02:49 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
From the description, it really sounds like it must be a software thing. Hardware faults don't result in perfectly clean shutdowns.

Note that PVRs don't have to be powered up all of the time to do their thing -- our MythTV box is only powered up when actually recording or when we're viewing recordings. The rest of the time it completely shuts down, using the real-time clock "alarm" feature to power on again automatically for the next recording.

It is possible, I suppose, that SageTV might also have that feature, and somehow it got activated on your box. Or more likely, some WinUpdate has enabled a different power profile than what was in use before, and the system now shuts down after an extended period of "inactivity".

Cheers


Edited by mlord (09/12/2008 02:51)

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#317118 - 09/12/2008 12:17 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: mlord
Hardware faults don't result in perfectly clean shutdowns.

That's not entirely true. A bad fan could cause overheating which could be detected by the system, causing it to perform a shutdown. Sure, software is still intimately involved, but the root problem is a hardware problem.
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Bitt Faulk

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#317123 - 09/12/2008 12:25 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: wfaulk]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
If it was really that, then just check the system logs to find out more about it. Doesn't MSWin have a "event viewer" or some such syslog interface?

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#317125 - 09/12/2008 12:27 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Yeah, but it sucks. It's obtuse and always seems to log the wrong things.

As evidenced by the fact that this seems like a software-related issue of some nature, yet he can find no information in the Event Viewer.
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Bitt Faulk

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#317126 - 09/12/2008 12:33 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: wfaulk]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
As evidenced by the fact that this seems like a software-related issue of some nature, yet he can find no information in the Event Viewer.


There's absolutely nothing in the event log related to the shut downs. The previous entries in the Event log were hours before the shut down.

After reinstalling the older version of SlimCenter the machine has not shut down. What I need to do now is see if I can find some type of crash note in a SlimCenter log file. I'm pretty confident it's what took the machine down since it was the only change I had made to any software in months.

Windows Update is disabled on this machine because I can't trust MS not to break something. And if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317127 - 09/12/2008 12:38 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Note that PVRs don't have to be powered up all of the time to do their thing -- our MythTV box is only powered up when actually recording or when we're viewing recordings.


I would love to run the system in this fashion, but I don't think my hardware setup will gracefully deal with all the power management requirements for this, even if SageTV did support putting the machine to sleep and waking it again (which I'm not sure it does completely yet).

I should have mentioned in the other thread, this is another requirement of a new mobo, power management layers properly and completely implemented to allow this type of scheduling to be done by the OS services.

As long as the new SageTV extender product can wake the server I'll be set. That's something I'm going to look into as well because I'm not currently using extenders. I'm looking forward to disconnecting the computer's video from the TV though since it will open up a lot of possibilities. Running the TV at HD resolutions conveniently, ability to decode HD streams without bogging down the record processes, ability to log into the computer remotely without affecting the video output to the TV and of course being able to get the PVR content onto more than one TV.
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317131 - 09/12/2008 13:07 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
So long as the hardware supports wake-on-LAN (WOL, for use with the media extenders), the rest is just about all up to the software.

EDIT: Mmm.. I do keep forgetting that, on MSWin, functionality of hardware is frequently restricted by software and drivers, and the only way to gain features is often to buy newer hardware so as to gain access to the improved drivers/software. Ugh, great way to make money, but disrespectful of one's user base.

Pity that MythTV is still a major pain to set up initially, because it handles all of that stuff with aplomb.

SageTV claims to support shutdown and autowake, in conjunction with Windows power management. But I never did get a straight answer from anyone about the same stuff with SageTV on Linux.

-ml

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#317140 - 09/12/2008 15:02 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Mark, to tell you the truth, the only reason I even run Windows on the PVR is for the expanded support of hardware by SageTV. Once the system has been set up it's (the configuration) not something I really want to go back and play with.

I have some future plans for the PVR as far as capture devices go, so I'm going to look into Sage's Linux support on that end as well as power management (search forums and put in a question with their developers).
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317148 - 09/12/2008 17:12 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
On Linux, all that's really needed is a configurable call-out from SageTV: the ability for SageTV to call out to a user/vendor supplied script to schedule a shutdown/wakeup sequence.

With that, anything is possible, and not at all difficult.

On the Windows side, the impression I got from the SageTV site/forums, was that normal windows power management could be used to shut the machine down when idle. SageTV prevents the maching from appearing "idle" when it is busy recording/playing. There were no details about when/how it sets the wakeup alarm, though.

Cheers

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#317149 - 09/12/2008 17:21 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
Quote:
the only reason I even run Windows on the PVR is for the expanded support of hardware by SageTV.

Odd. Linux supports *way* more capture hardware than Windows for SageTV. But not necessarily "officially" supported by SageTV.

The best reason to use SageTV is that it is MUCH easier to set up and use for the most common situations, choosing from a limited selection of hardware tuners and remote controls. And the menus probably are much better configured by default than in MythTV.

MythTV is more confusing to set up (though not difficult with MythBuntu), and has a chaotic default menu structure. It is also confusing to configure certain common remote controls (such as the older ones that were included with the Hauppauge PVR-250 cards).

And I don't know about "media extenders", but MythTV is natively designed for external "viewing clients" (aka. "frontends").

But MythTV does have very good commercial flagging out-of-the box, works with a zillion tuner/capture devices, and can (with WORK) be customized for any scenario. Such as the multi-antenna setup here with the Frankenswitch V2, and the multiple tuners devoted to specific groups of channels in our config.

I (still) really like the look of SageTV, but it could never work for the situation here.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (09/12/2008 17:23)

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#317151 - 09/12/2008 17:24 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
Oh.. MythTV is also available for OSX.

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#317153 - 09/12/2008 17:53 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Mac OS has virtually no support for capture devices. There's no capture driver standard to speak of and every vendor has their own proprietary driver architecture, none of them tied into the OS features for video acceleration and high quality display.

Of course display wouldn't be a concern with my future setup of having the PVR doing only record and stream duty. But the hardware support is still down to one or two products, none of which I care for.

From some quick research it doesn't appear that there's stable/good/final Linux support for the Hauppauge HD-PVR. This may be the capture solution I move to in the future. It's a choice between that or modified Satellite STB's that allow pulling the digital stream over USB (R5000-HD mod).

Though I may very well switch the OS on which the PVR is built, it will likely be a long time before I give up SageTV, if ever. smile I'm not 100% happy with some of its UI, but I have no desire to spend time making mods and redesigning that I just live with it and wait around for newer versions to make improvements. The Sage guys thankfully have a better idea of what a PVR and Media player is than a lot of others out there. Obviously not as focused or consistent as TiVo used to be, but still by far the best PC-based setup I've seen.

Their media extender hardware products pretty much seal the deal since no one else has anything like it except Microsoft.
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317154 - 09/12/2008 18:10 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Their media extender hardware products pretty much seal the deal since no one else has anything like it except Microsoft.

And MythTV. Just about any little mini/nano ITX box, plus a CF card (or network fileserver), can run mythfrontend, and thereby becomes a "media extender". Ditto for notebooks/netbooks.

But MythTV is a DIY solution, not a retail product. smile

Cheers


Edited by mlord (09/12/2008 18:12)

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#317155 - 09/12/2008 18:19 On a related note: Hauppauge HVR-950Q USB2 sticks [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
On a similar topic, I recently got a Hauppauge HVR-950Q USB2 stick.

This is a *tiny* ATSC tuner (plus an analog NTSC tuner that I completely ignore), which uses the state-of-the-art XC5000 RF Tuner frontend (a DSP chip connected to the coax input), plus a current generation ATSC demodulator chip.

Performance in MythTV is spectacular -- it easily pulls in the distant WNPI-DT station that I've been targetting for over a year now. The HDHomeRun units (old and new) are hopeless there.

The exact same hardware in the 950Q is also available under other brand names (with different USB IDs), including an EyeTV product (the 2008 version only) for OSX.

We had a side-by-side comparison here the other day, with a MacBook+EyeTV connected to the same antenna feed as the MythTV+950Q at the same time.

The 950Q showed a perfect picture, the EyeTV showed some pixelation (this is a *really* weak station here).

So we swapped the EyeTV into the MythTV box, and suddenly it performed as well as the 950Q. Different "microcode" (downloadable DSP code) installed on the two computers, I expect.

So, if anyone in USA/Canada is looking for a *really good* OTA (or CATV) digital TV tuner, this one is a keeper, and doesn't take up any PCI(e) slots.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (09/12/2008 18:23)

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#317157 - 09/12/2008 19:44 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Just about any little mini/nano ITX box, plus a CF card (or network fileserver), can run mythfrontend, and thereby becomes a "media extender". Ditto for notebooks/netbooks.


Those products however, the netbooks included, have relatively weak CPUs and no dedicated video decoder chips. That means no decoding 1080 or likely even 720 h.264 and similarly encoded video.

The beauty of the Sage Theater (HD200 or the older HD100) products is they feature a decently capable Sigma integrated chip which handles AV decoding and things like HDMI output. The products also come in under $200 whereas any DIY solution I could put together would surely cost at least two or three times that (maybe even 4 or 5 times that) and still have the limitations I mentioned up top.

Of course one could use an off-the-shelf retail streamer like the Popcorn Hour, but then you lose the UI and integration with the PVR for things like Live TV and scheduling of recordings.

I should have one of the new Sage Theater HD200 boxes by early next year. I've just unexpectedly come into borrowing a 51" HDTV for at least 3 or 4 months, so it makes sense to try out the HD200 soonish. I won't have a live HD source until later in the spring though (I'll subscribe to Bell sat and install the dishes when it's not so snowy/cold).

I do have the HVR-1600 in my system now which has one ATSC tuner I can probably test out. Unfortunately the snow and cold outside also don't make the best environment to be setting up outdoor antennas. wink The funny thing about the 1600 is that currently I'm using it for a single channel, Food Network (tuning the clear QAM signal on my cable feed)
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317158 - 09/12/2008 19:48 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
.. I won't have a live HD source until later in the spring though

There are 15-20 DTV stations within reach of a small antenna from your home. Most of those have 1080i (full HD, and better quality than Rogers digital cable). The computer shops on College St. in Toronto sell 4-bay bowtie antennas for about $40, which are good enough to pull in most of those stations, even if just mounted on a fencepost outside your home.

Alternatively, some cardboard, aluminum foil, and about 10' of copper wire, can be combined into an even better antenna (SBGH) for attic use, with about an hour of effort.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (09/12/2008 19:51)

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#317159 - 09/12/2008 20:14 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
I'll try the antenna route of course. Right now there's no fence to mount anything on (new house, won't have a fence until next spring). The attic installation sounds ideal if a decent amount of signal still gets through. The SBGH (googled) sounds interesting and I'll have to give the plans a closer inspection. If you have a link to plans with specific building materials I'd appreciate you passing it along.
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317162 - 09/12/2008 21:17 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
For the cardboard and foil version (works VERY well in attics), try post #83 (about halfway down) from this thread.

It can be constructed quite rapidly with pliers, a hot-melt glue gun, an old cardboard box, and some foil and wire.

All of the critical (not very) dimensions are available here.

There are even better versions on the drawing boards now, and some simple modifications can give interesting improvements in many situations (eg. use a 95mm gap between the left/right front elements).

If you were intested in meeting over the holidays (pre-xmas), I could drop by and we could build/trial one for fun some evening or whenever.

I expect to be in Toronto a week or so before Christmas, through to after Boxing Day. Just suggest a date, and supply the wine. smile I would bring a balun, some coax, and F-connectors / tools to make things easy.

Or not. Whatever. smile

Cheers

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#317167 - 09/12/2008 23:27 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2496
Loc: Roma, Italy
Quote:
There's absolutely nothing in the event log related to the shut downs. The previous entries in the Event log were hours before the shut down

I've always found windows system log too rich, actually. No too poor. Maybe largely redundant and therefore largely useless, but never inaccurate. Usually, you need to filter a lot before you find what you need.

And, while I believe there's no evidence of the shutdown as you say so, I've never heard of a windows box that does not log shut downs unless a system crash occurs. What I would not trust, actually, is XP telling you windows did not shud down properly at next reboot, as that is often unreliable.

Did I understand correctly that you do not see any record of the following reboot either?!?

Out of curiosity, "disabled" Windows Updates means it does not update automatically and you do so manually, or simply it does not update at all?
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MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#317191 - 10/12/2008 13:18 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: Taym]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: taym
Quote:
Did I understand correctly that you do not see any record of the following reboot either?!?


The boot (I had to manually power the computer on) is fully logged. At this time I can say with some confidence that the shutdown or crash (that also shut down the machine) is related to the version of SlimCenter I had installed. I will try to confirm that by reinstalling it on Friday (when I don't need to make any recordings).

[quote]
Out of curiosity, "disabled" Windows Updates means it does not update automatically and you do so manually, or simply it does not update at all?


It was fully updated when I reinstalled Windows sometime earlier last year. Since then no updates have been applied and that's the way it's going to stay. This machine is not used for email, web browsing or any other active internet connectivity. Firewall is enabled and no ports are forwarded to it from my router. The only software that gets installed on it are manual updates for SageTV and SlimCenter.
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317192 - 10/12/2008 13:20 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: mlord
I expect to be in Toronto a week or so before Christmas, through to after Boxing Day. Just suggest a date, and supply the wine. smile I would bring a balun, some coax, and F-connectors / tools to make things easy.


We might be able to do that. Send me a PM and I'll check what my holiday schedule is like. I'm in Milton right now which is a bit west of Toronto (directly west of Mississauga actually). Lots of wine here though.
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#317194 - 10/12/2008 13:34 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada

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#317198 - 10/12/2008 13:53 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: mlord]
Robotic
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/04/2005
Posts: 2026
Loc: Seattle transplant
Originally Posted By: mlord

Hmm- that story reminded me of this one. Specifically, the last lines of the article:
Quote:
Another competitor Comcast will face starting on Feb. 17 is broadcasting.
All major TV stations in the country will then be offering digital high-definition content over the air free.

Seems that digital broadcast may revitalize OTA program transmission.
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#317203 - 10/12/2008 14:32 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: Robotic]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
It should do that. But nearly everyone I mention it to is mesmerized by their existing Cable TV "service", and really just don't get it that paying hard earned after-tax cash, every month, is not necessary to watch really high quality television.

EDIT: Mmm.. just like software, I suppose, except even less of a difference for HDTV.

Maybe if I offered to let them pay me for the service, then it wouldn't be "free" or therefore "obviously" inferior? smile


Cheers


Edited by mlord (10/12/2008 14:35)

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#317205 - 10/12/2008 14:39 Re: Windows System mysteriously shutting down [Re: Robotic]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14272
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Another competitor Comcast will face starting on Feb. 17 is broadcasting.
All major TV stations in the country will then be offering digital high-definition content over the air free.

A slight bit of misdirection there, too, as nearly all of the major TV stations in the USA are ALREADY offering digital high-def content OTA for free. Now. No need to wait and panic on the final day.

Here in Canada, the deadline is sometime in August 2011.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (10/12/2008 14:40)

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