Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Four-and-a-half months

…that’s how long I was running Windows 7 RC1 without switching back to my hard disk with Windows Vista. The System event log shows I last booted it on 31 May 2009.

This is practically the last action I’m going to take before wiping this disk – the Vista disk – and installing Windows 7 RTM. Just a little check here and there to find anything that I might not have backed up when transferring over to 7 RC1, then it’s formatting time.

The only thing I’ve missed? The extra 200GB of disk space!

In retrospect Windows Vista has not been a bad operating system, but it had some pretty rough edges, particularly at the start with poor hardware support. It was a rush 18–month project, after the initial three-year disaster of Longhorn, and in some areas it shows. Windows 7 has had a further two-and-a-half years to bake, and a further two-and-a-half years of device driver and hardware development; it’s not fundamentally different but feels more complete.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Technical details on Humax problem

I thought I’d break this into another post so that the fix is easier to understand for non-technical people.

Comparing the old and new driver source shows that the definition of the libusb_request structure had changed. Visual inspection suggested that this was probably the source of the compatibility issue, when using the old DLL with the new driver.

When using the new DLL, the following error occurs: “The ordinal 76 could not be located in the dynamic link library libusb0.dll.” Inspecting the program and DLL shows that while the DLL’s entry points are exported by name, the program links to the DLL by ordinal. This is peculiar; while it’s a little faster than string-matching, and it saves a little space, care has to be taken to keep the ordinals the same between versions of a DLL. Reading the .def file shows that the ordinals weren’t specified, and that numerous functions were added and removed between the two versions.

My fix is to add specific ordinal declarations to the .def file for functions that humax.exe is using, so that the correct functions are used. I did this, and recompiled the DLL with the Windows Vista WDK (Windows Driver Kit). Success! Or, at least, as much success as I’ve had with Windows XP 32–bit; the box still has a tendency to hang during file transfer.

File Attachment: libusb0.def (1 KB)

Downloading from your Humax PVR9200T on Windows x64

The Humax PVR9200T is a pretty good Freeview/digital terrestrial personal video recorder. I’ve had mine for a few years now. Over time, the disk fills up with some programmes you want to keep. It’s possible to copy recorded programmes from the box to your computer, over USB.

Unfortunately the supplied eLinker software is not highly-regarded. As a result some replacements have been written, such as Humax Media Controller. However, the driver supplied only works on 32–bit Windows.

The USB library and driver used are a Win32 port of libusb, a driver which makes it possible to write your USB transfers fully in user-mode. A later version ( has both 32– and 64–bit versions of the driver. However, the updated driver doesn’t work with the libusb0.dll supplied with Media Controller 1.05, and the program won’t run if you overwrite it with the new DLL.

I’ve rebuilt the new DLL so it will work with the program. The attached ZIP file contains the new version and the new drivers. To use, extract the contents of the folder. Copy the libusb0.dll in the top-level folder to the Humax Media Controller folder, overwriting the current version. Then, use Update Driver in Device Manager to install the driver from the Driver folder.

Windows Vista introduced a driver signing requirement for x64, and this driver isn’t signed. To get it to load on Windows Vista and Windows 7, reboot, and press F8 until the boot menu appears. From this menu, select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement, then continue to boot normally.

Hopefully this will help other people with the x64 versions of Windows!

File Attachment: HumaxPVR.zip (78 KB)