BIOS and Windows Settings – Windows Media Center HTPC Build – Part 3

HTPC Build – Part 3

Going to be tackling software next. This will be broken down into many parts. 

First a couple of things to do in BIOS. If you using onboard graphics, make sure that you select onboard in BIOS menu under Primary Graphics Adapter (may be different for each motherboard). Also I would recommend disabling onboard HD Audio and enabling Onboard HDMI HD Audio. Last thing is to Enable USB Keyboard/Remote Power On so you are able to wake from sleep with Remote Control. 

Next we are going to setup audio devices and sound output. 
1. Open up sound in control panel.

2. I would delete everything on the playback menu except for your main audio. For mine, the one I kept was my receiver (TX-NR809) Intel Display Audio. I also made this my default device. (Highly recommend not installing or uninstalling any audio drivers, such as Realtek). 

3. Click on Configure. I received advice to set up audio as Stereo here (regardless of how many speakers you have). Don’t worry, we will get surround sound once we set it up properly in WMC. This supposedly helps to resolve handshake issues. Click test and make sure you hear sounds.

4. Next click on properties. Under advanced tab you can select default format. I selected 24 bit, 44100 Hz (studio quality). Again, test this to verify your computer/receiver can handle this and output sound correctly. 

5. Under exclusive mode, check the boxes next to “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” and “Give exclusive mode applications priority”. This will vary from person to person. This is needed to get HD audio if you use plex and also seems to work well with WMC. If you use XBMC you need to experiment because I had to disable exclusivity mode when running that.