XBMC for Windows specific FAQ
(→How to install XBMC for Windows (DirectX)?)
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for Windows and Windows-.
:<big>''See also: '''[[XBMC all platforms FAQ]]''' for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.''</big>
:<big>''See also: '''[[XBMC all platforms FAQ]]''' for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.''</big>
Revision as of 22:49, 29 May 2012
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This is the Frequently Asked Questions for Windows and Windows-compatible computer hardware.
1 General FAQ
- See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.
1.1 Hardware/OS Questions
1.1.1 What is current recommended hardware requirements for XBMC
- For end-users the recommended minimum requirement is a x86-based computer, with a Graphic adapter that supports DirectX version 9.0c.
1.1.2 XBMC for Windows minimum requirements
- ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA graphic controller.
1.1.3 OS requirements/recommendations
- minimum supported: Windows XP with Service Pack 3.
- recommended: Windows 7, which enables xbmc to take advantage of hardware video decoding.
- Windows Home Server and Windows Server are not supported but have been reported to work with some tweaks.
1.2 Where is user specific data stored?
- All user-specific data is stored in in the XBMC home directory which, for a standard installation, is found in your windows users' application data directory, which may be found in one of two places.
- 1. Windows Xp: Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\XBMC\
- 2. Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\
The UserData Folder, where your settings, thumbs and library files are stored is located in the UserData folder within this directory. Similarly, Add-Ons (skins, scrapers, plugins, scripts, ...) are installed in this directory.
- XBMC will not alter this directory on an upgrade, so your data will remain safe between upgrades of XBMC.
1.3 Can XBMC be run in portable mode?
- If you wish, you may run XBMC in portable mode by adding the -p switch to the shortcut used to launch XBMC. This will then use the XBMC folder itself as the Home folder, which means scripts, plugins, skins and userdata will be located in the 'portable_data' folder within the XBMC folder. This is useful for running XBMC for Windows off a USB stick for portability.
- You will, however, have to be careful when upgrading to make sure that the UserData folder you use is not overwritten.
1.4 Where is the log file located?
- The log file (xbmc.log) is located in the users writable directory, which by default resides in %APPDATA%\XBMC\.
- 1. Windows Xp: Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\XBMC\xbmc.log
- 2. Vista/Windows 7: Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\xbmc.log
- If XBMC is started in portable mode, the log file will be created in the XBMC folder itself.
1.5 What is the best way to post logs?
- Take the xbmc.log from the appropriate XBMC UserData directory (see above, make sure it's a debug log) and upload it to http://pastebin.com/ (other pastebin options exist, but this one is currently the most popular). Post the pastebin link instead of the content into the support forum. For more detailed instructions see How to Post A Problem In a Useful Way.
1.6 How can I switch XBMC back and forth from windowed to full screen?
- Press the '\' button or 'alt' + 'return' on your keyboard.
1.7 Can I start XBMC with a delay of X seconds?
- When starting XBMC on Windows startup it can be that some sub services weren't started when XBMC is up. To delay XBMC just add the parameter -d X with X equal to the startup delay in seconds.
- Qualitatively no. There is not yet any C/C++ open source software out there yet capable of fully playing back Blu-ray or HD DVD. FFmpeg (the open source codec-suit that XBMC uses) is able to decode all audio and video codecs used in both Blu-ray and HD DVD, but, even as that might be the case, you still have to get around the DRM encryptions used by the disc formats and there is not yet any C/C++ open source software library capable of that on-the-fly, nor is there any C/C++ open source software library out there capable of displaying Blu-ray or HD DVD menus. XBMC need C/C++ open source software libraries for all of these things to fully support Blu-ray or HD DVD playback. With that said, XBMC does support .m2ts extensions, as well as the decoding and playback of all Blu-ray and HD DVD video and audio codecs. Most current audio limitations are a function of hardware related issues.
1.9 Why does XBMC use x% CPU usage while sitting idle?
- XBMC was originally written for the XBox game console, which is a single-threaded system (not a multi-tasking OS like Windows). As such, it was written in a game loop, rather than being event-driven. This means that the screen refreshes as fast as possible in order to "feel" responsive to the user. What this boils down to is that while sitting on the idle screen, XBMC is still repainting the screen at 60-90 frames per second (as can be seen by the FPS number if debug mode is enabled). This takes up a lot of processor power, because the "game" is still running, even though you may not be doing anything with it.
- There are currently no intentions to change this, as it is a very low-level change of the entire XBMC platform. A few workarounds do exist though:
- Enable the "blank" screensaver. This puts XBMC into a low FPS mode which uses much fewer resources.
- Set an Idle timeout. In the PM3-HD skin, under Settings > System > Hardware there is the option to enable a "Shutdown function timer" and a "Shutdown function". The timer only counts down when media is not playing (it's not based on mouse movement like a typical screensaver). Setting the timer to something like 5 minutes, and the function to "Quit" will quit XBMC if no media has played for 5 minutes. It is also easy to use EventGhost or a similar application to register a remote button (or an Un-Idle event) to re-start XBMC.
- Disable vertical blank sync in the System/Video Output directory. Alternatively, set vertical blank sync to "Enabled during video playback."
1.10 How can I make it work on Windows Server 2003 (probably 2008 too)
- Some users reported success by changing the following settings:
- Right click Desktop -> choose Properties -> Settings tab -> Advanced button -> Troubleshoot tab -> move slider on Hardware Acceleration to Full -> OK
- Make sure as well that you have Audio Playback Hardware Acceleration to Full as well
1.11 Why do I see a black/white screen instead of video?
- ... but the gui works fine.
- if you have a video adapter with pixel shader >= 2.0
- XBMC compiles the video shader at runtime and the compiler was not installed. When installing XBMC, do not uncheck the "Install DirectX" option. Contrary to a common belief, Windows Vista and above do not have a complete DirectX installation out of the box.
- if you have a DirectX 9 video adapter with pixel shader < 2.0
- version 9.11: you are out of luck because the video renderer requires support of pixel shaders >= 2.0
- versions after 9.11: supported, with the 'Software' render method. The CPU will work harder.
1.12 Why do I not see the "Allow hardware acceleration (dxva2)" and WASAPI output settings? (Dharma and later)
- These options are available with Windows Vista, 7 and later.
- If you have the required OS and do not see the options, check System Info->Summary->Operating system. It should match your actual OS version.
- If not, Windows is starting XBMC in a compatibility mode, which reports an alternative OS version. To disable the compatibility mode, open the file properties of xbmc.exe (located in Program Files\XBMC), and uncheck all the options of the Compatibility tab.
- If that doesn't help, check the compatibility options of the shortcut used to start XBMC or any launcher program that starts XBMC. If there is a chain of launchers, check each and every one.
1.13 Video stutter/jerky playback when "Adjust display refresh rate" is turned on
- The "Adjust display refresh rate" function of XBMC sometimes has bad interactions with Aero on Windows Vista and 7.
- Turn off the "Use a fullscreen window rather than true fullscreen" option.
- If you must have the "Use a fullscreen window..." option turned on, disable Aero, either globally on the PC with the selection of a basic theme, or just for XBMC, with the "Disable desktop composition" option, in the compatibility tab of xbmc.exe's file properties.
1.14 Video plays in half/a quarter of the screen
- This happens for certain settings with nVidia graphics cards/integrated chipsets and hardware decoding. To fix this, go in the 3D settings of the nVidia Control panel and stop forcing antialiasing to be used (set "Antialiasing - Mode" to Application-controlled or Off). To avoid changing the setting globally and to preserve it for other applications, you can alternatively create a program profile for XBMC and only disable antialiasing in that profile.
1.15 DVD player does not work, why I keep getting "please insert disk" message?
- Please check if you have more than one ejectable media drive in your system. If that's the case you must be sure that you insert the disk in the drive that has the first drive letter, as XBMC will fail in all others. You may need to swap driver letters in your Windows installation.
1.16 XBMC displays Chinese Text as unrecognized squares
- When using e.g. Youtube plugin to search for Chinese media video content, the XBMC displays the retrieved media video title Chinese text as unrecognized squares. The reason is that the default font pre-installed with XBMC does not support Chinese Unicode Font display.
- To make XBMC to display proper Chinese Text, you need a True-Type Font (.ttf) that supports Chinese Unicode. Below steps guide you on how to install the required font:
- Navigate to Windows | Fonts directory, select an Unicode ttf font file that supports Chinese characters display e.g.KaiTiRegular, copy the font file.
- Navigate to the XBMC user directory i.e. C:\Users\<your_user_name>\AppData\Roaming\XBMC\media\Fonts (Windows 7)
- Create the Fonts sub-directory if it does not exist.
- Paste the copies Chinese font .ttf file into this Fonts sub-directory.
- Rename the newly copied .ttf file to arial.ttf.
- Launch XBMC and navigate to System | Appearance | Skin
- Change the Fonts selection to 'Arial based'.
- You should now be able to see the Chinese font display properly.
- Note: Your Windows system must have the Asia Fonts support pre-installed. Otherwise you may not be able to find any Chinese .ttf font file in Windows|Fonts directory.