Set Up OpenELEC with TBS Drivers and Tvheadend

How To Set Up OpenELEC with TBS Drivers and Tvheadend

This guide shows you how to upgrade an existing OpenELEC Media Center system with the TBS drivers for Turbosight DVB tuner cards. It then explains how to configure your tuner card to scan for channels so that live TV becomes possible in Kodi by using the tvheadend back end and client add ons.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time testing various OpenELEC images and tailored upgrades and I have finally settled with a system that I now use daily. However, I encountered so many problems in achieving a usable system that I thought it was worthwhile writing down the solutions to help others working on similar projects.

My OpenELEC Media Center:

Dell Studio 540S; 6GB RAM, ASUS 1GB GeForce GT430 and a Turbosight TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 tuner card.

Official OpenELEC distro: [Beta] OpenELEC 5.95.1 (x86_64) | Generic 64 bit Build

TBS Driver upgrade image: 6.0 Beta 1 | OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-6.0.b1-TBS-1.0.tar

Main features: Kodi 15.0 Isengard Beta 1; Video Skip Steps (skip backwards and forwards); remote Power button Suspends and Wakes the machine; serves as a digital video recorder, waking to record and suspending when complete. It’s reliable and boots from cold quickly.

What You Will Need

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Card Installed

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Card Installed

  • A Turbosight DVB tuner card installed in your target computer.
  • The computer running the OpenELEC system needs to be connected to your home network, either with a wired ethernet cable or a wireless connection.
  • A second computer, connected to the same network, will be used to connect to the OpenELEC system using the Secure Shell (SSH) network protocol. Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu and Mint have this tool as standard. If your second computer is running Windows, then download the free telnet and ssh client,  PuTTY to do the same tasks. This computer will also be used to connect to the tvheadend back end with a web browser to allow configuration of the TV server.

The Procedure

  1. Download and then install an official OpenELEC distro on your target system.
  2. Download a compatible upgrade image that contains the TBS DVB drivers. Copy this to your OpenELEC system and upgrade.
  3. Set up tvheadend in Kodi.
  4. Configure tvheadend via the web browser graphical user interface (gui). This includes transmitter selection, scanning for channels and channel mapping.
  5. Instruct Kodi to unload TBS DVB drivers during Suspend. This prevents the loss of tuner functionality when Kodi is woken from sleep.

1. Selection of Official OpenELEC Distros

OpenELEC Download

OpenELEC Download

Visit and navigate to the download page and make your decision on either a 32 or 64 bit operating system.

Nvidia Legacy Builds

Notice the Nvidia Legacy builds that cater for older Nvidia cards. One of my first builds was based on this initial distro because my Nvidia GT430 card was listed as supported. It certainly was, but I found by experimentation that my old GeForce card was also supported in the latest OpenELEC distro too.

My advice then is to try the latest version of the OpenELEC distro. If you find that your card is not supported, then restart your project with one of the Nvidia Legacy builds.  After all, each release is only ~140Mb and the installation time from USB stick, minimal.

My choice: [Beta] OpenELEC 5.95.1 (x86_64) | Generic 64 bit Build

Openelec Installation Guide

OpenELEC Installation Guide

Once you have your downloaded image, visit the OpenELEC wiki installation instructions and install.

Enable SSH Server During the Installation of OpenELEC

Enable SSH Server During the Installation of OpenELEC

During installation, ensure that you Enable SSH server per default and select Configure SSH and Samba Services in the Kodi set up wizard.

OpenELEC Kodi Configure Services

OpenELEC Kodi Configure SSH and Samba Services

2. How to Apply OpenELEC Upgrades

2.1 Obtain an OpenELEC image with TBS DVB drivers

Kudos to CvH on the OpenELEC forums for providing these images for download and to the people who spent time creating them. Visit:

then use either Dropbox, OneDrive or the FTP Mirror to download a suitable image containing the drivers for your card.

My choice: 6.0 Beta 1 | OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-6.0.b1-TBS-1.0.tar

6.0 Beta 1 - OpenELEC TBS DVB Image

6.0 Beta 1 – OpenELEC TBS DVB Image

2.2 Upgrade OpenELEC with TBS DVB drivers

Boot your OpenELEC system, ensuring it is connected to your home network.

On another computer, open your file manager and navigate to the OpenELEC Update folder, which can be found via a Windows network share:-

Network > Windows Network > Workgroup > OpenELEC > Update

Navigate to the Openelec Update Folder

Navigate to the OpenELEC Update Folder

Enter the Update folder and you should find it empty.

Copy the upgrade (.tar) image from your computer to this folder. When the copy process is complete, reboot your OpenELEC system by rebooting Kodi.

When the system reboots, pay attention to the top left of the screen. You should see:

Found new .tar archive. extracting…

The OpenELEC system will reboot automatically when the update has been completed.

Upon reboot, check that your graphics card hardware is still supported after the upgrade. Navigate to:

System > System Info > Video

3. How to Set Up Tvheadend on OpenELEC Media Center

Note: Many problems encountered during the set up and configuration of tvheadend can be resolved easily by a simple reboot of Kodi and your OpenELEC system. Sometimes, the changes you make are not recognized until the next reboot.

3.1 Install the tvheadend backend service

From the Kodi main menu, navigate:

System > Addons > Get Addons (or Install from Repository) > OpenELECMediacenter OS Add-ons > Add-on repository > UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-ons

Install the  UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-on repository.

Go back x3 to update the repository, then:-

Get Add-ons (or Install from Repository) > UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-ons > Services > tvheadend


Enter the tvheadend service Configuration and select the DVB tab.

Enable Wait for frontend initialization and chose the Number of adapters to wait for

Click OK

3.2 Install the tvheadend client

Go back x3

Disabled Add-ons (or My Add-ons) > PVR clients > Tvheadend HTSP Client

Click Enable.

Return to the Kodi Settings menu.

3.3 Enable Live Tv

Navigate to:-

Settings > TV > General

and click Enabled.

Return to the Kodi main menu.

IMPORTANT: Reboot your OpenELEC system

4.  How to Configure tvheadend

4.1 How to access the tvheadend web configuration page

On your other computer, launch a web browser and type the IP address of your OpenELEC machine into the web browser’s address bar with the port suffix used by tvheadend:-

This should display the graphical user interface configuration page for tvheadend.

If you are unsure of your OpenELEC system’s IP address, find it in Kodi by navigating to:

System > System Info > Network

Tvheadend Web GUI

Tvheadend Web GUI

If the tvheadend web page fails to show or asks for a user name and password on the first attempt, then on a Linux machine, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T (use PuTTY if you have a Windows operating system).

Use a Secure Shell  (SSH) to login as the root on your OpenELEC system. Type:-


The password is:-


at this point you have access to your OpenELEC system and have  full ability to manage the file system. A list of useful SSH commands can be found here if you need to do something else.


tvheadend -C

and press enter. Go back to your web browser and try to access the tvheadend configuration page once more. If this fails, reboot your OpenELEC system and try again.

4.2 Create a tvheadend user account

Configuration > Access Entries > Add

and create a user account with complete access to everything.

Tvheadend Login Account

Tvheadend Login Account

The default account, without a user name or password can then be deleted to secure your system.

Login with your newly created account.

4.3 How to configure tvheadend to scan for channels

On the tvheadend web page, navigate to:

Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV Adapters

tvheadend | Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV adapters

tvheadend | Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV adapters

Check that your tuner card details are displaying the correct driver details. If they do not appear or are incorrect, then search for another update image that may contain the drivers for your card and try again from Step 2.

If all is well, then the first step in this process is to configure the network type.

Networks tab > Add


tvheadend | Networks

Select the network type from the drop-down list. Either IPTV, ATSC, DVB-S, DVB-C or DVB-T Network.

Give the network a name (“Freeview” in my example) and select the transmitter from which you receive your broadcast. If yours is not represented, try one of the generic ones at the top of the list like Generic auto default.

Tvheadend DVB-T Configuration for Freeview

Tvheadend DVB-T Configuration for Freeview

My example shows a typical DVB-T Freeview set up for the Mendip transmitter in Bristol.

Click Create to complete the network set up.

Now click on the TV adapters tab then the first of your tuners.

Enable the tuner and rename it if you so wish.

At the Networks drop-down menu, select the network that you created in the previous step (“Freeview” in my example).

Select any other options that your tuner supports and when done, click Save.

Repeat this process if you have more than one tuner.

Tvheadend TBS Tuner Configuration

Tvheadend TBS Tuner Configuration

Now, go back to the Networks tab and wait for the #Services (channels) to be found. There is no requirement to press any sort of scan button. As soon as the network and tuners are configured, tvheadend will begin to scan for channels.

Tvheadend can take a few minutes to complete the scan. Initially, #Muxes will be equal to Scan Q Length.

Tvheadend Start of Channel Scan | #Muxes = Scan Q Length

Tvheadend Start of Channel Scan | #Muxes = Scan Q Length

As each of the pre-defined muxes are scanned, Scan Q Length will decrease accordingly. The channel scan will have finished when Scan Q Length reaches zero.

Tvheadend Channel Scan Progressing | Scan Q Length Total Decreasing and #Services Increasing

Tvheadend Channel Scan Progressing | Scan Q Length Total Decreasing and #Services Increasing

Tvheadend Channel Scan Successful

Tvheadend Channel Scan Successful

If, at the end of the scan, no channels have been found, then edit your network profile and change Pre-defined Muxes to Generic-auto-default and try again. Press Force Scan to initiate this.

4.4 Map services in tvheadend

When tvheadend has completed a successful scan and has returned a good number of services, the next step is to map those services to channels.

Configuration > DVB Inputs > Services > Map All

tvheadend | Map all (Services to Channels)

tvheadend | Map All (Services to Channels)

Make the following selections and then click the Map  button to map services to tv channels.

tvheadend | Map All Selections

tvheadend | Map Services

  • Check availability – if you select this option, services that are not currently transmitting will be omitted.
  • Include encrypted services – self explanatory.
  • Merge same name – prevents channel name duplication.
  • Create provider tags – produces useful tags that Kodi can use to filter tv channels; for example, SDTV and HDTV. It’s beneficial to select this option.

The mapping process should be completed quickly in a matter of seconds. And when complete, TV will appear in the Kodi menu.

5. How to unload OpenELEC DVB drivers for suspend

Depending on your tuner card and the TBS drivers chosen, a condition may exist where the tuner card(s) cannot be accessed after the computer has been suspended and then woken. This problem spoils the whole installation and means that the system cannot be used reliably as a digital video recorder.

To circumvent this problem it is necessary to force the DVB driver modules to unload during the Suspend operation.

Reboot your OpenELEC system and ensure that you are able to play TV channels to demonstrate that the tuner drivers are loaded and running.

Use a Secure Shell (SSH) to log into your OpenELEC system as described in step 4.1, and having logged in as root, type:-


and press Enter. This command will list and detail the kernel modules that are currently loaded.

lsmod | OpenELEC

lsmod | OpenELEC

Look down the list and take note of the module name that is clearly associated with your tuner. In this case, the module name is:-


Go to your OpenELEC system and using Kodi, navigate to the tvheadend back end service add on. Click configure and choose the DVB tab.

Settings - Tvheadend | DVB

Add the module name to the field entitled Unload DVB modules before suspend and click OK.

A notice that Kodi is Working and unloading the DVB drivers will be seen when Suspend is now initiated. The drivers will be re-loaded upon resume.

6. Other Aspects to Try

Once you have your OpenELEC machine running reliably, you may want to consider exploring the following to improve your system.

  • Tvheadend – Timeshifting with available RAM.
  • Configuring Kodi Power Management to Suspend your machine after so many minutes of inactivity.
  • Recording time offsets so that you don’t miss the beginning or end of your favourite shows.
  • Adding TV logos to your TV channels.
Track and Field

How To Install MAME On Linux Mint

How To Install MAME On Linux Mint

This guide shows you one of the ways to install the MAME arcade emulator on Linux Mint and then configure it to point at your ROM folder path.

This tutorial concludes with the installation of a mame graphical user interface frontend called Gnome Video Arcade, which improves the selection of your favourite games.


  • Linux Mint (Although this is a similar procedure for Ubuntu).
  • Your compatible arcade ROMs.
  • A few minutes to complete the installation and configuration.

1. How to Install MAME on Linux Mint

1,1 Launch the Linux Mint Software Manager by clicking on the Menu button and selecting it from the list. Enter your administrator password when prompted.

1.2 Type mame into the search bar and press Enter on your keyboard.

Search for MAME in the Software Manager | Linux Mint

Search for MAME in the Software Manager | Linux Mint

1.3 Select mame – Multiple arcade emulator (mame) and then Install it.

Install MAME | Linux Mint Software Manager

Install MAME | Linux Mint Software Manager

2. How to Configure MAME on Linux Mint

2.1 Open up a Terminal command window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T

2.1 In the terminal window, type the following command exactly to edit the MAME configuration file, mame.ini. Enter your administrator password when prompted.

sudo gedit /etc/mame/mame.ini

2.2 Look through the configuration file and locate:

# Default data search paths
Alter the rompath Parameter to Point to Your Rom Folder

Alter the rompath Parameter to Point to Your Rom Folder

Change the rompath parameter to point to your ROM folder.

Here, I have opted to store my ROM files inside a hidden folder in my Home directory(*). The dot that precedes the folder name mame indicates that this folder is hidden.

Similarly, make the appropriate changes to point mame to your ROM artwork and sample folders if you have them.

Note (*)To toggle the visibility of hidden files and folders in a directory listing, press Ctrl + H.

2.3 Continue to scroll through the configuration file.

If you have more than one CPU core then it is beneficial to enable multithreading. At the multithreading parameter, delete the zero and replace it with a one to switch this function on.

Likewise, other MAME features can be enabled in this part of the configuration file by replacing zeros with ones. For example, MAME can be instructed to start in a window instead of full screen mode.

Remember: 0 (zero) = Disabled | 1 (one) = Enabled

MAME Configuration File - Multithreading | Linux Mint

MAME Configuration File – Multithreading | Linux Mint

2.4 Save the configuration file.

Save your changes to the mame.ini configuration file by pressing Save. Then close the editing window.

Save Changes to the mame.ini Configuration File | Linux Mint

Save Changes to the mame.ini Configuration File | Linux Mint

3. How to Run MAME in Linux Mint

3.1 MAME can be run in a number of ways:-

  • In a terminal window, type mame and press Enter.
  • Menu > Games > MAME™ Arcade Emulator
MAME | Linux Mint

MAME | Linux Mint

4. How to Add Gnome Video Arcade to MAME on Linux Mint

The GNOME Video Arcade application allows you to play classic coin-operated arcade games on your GNOME desktop using the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME).

GNOME Video Arcade provides the following features:

  • Play classic arcade games on your Linux desktop.
  • Tag favourite games to find easily.
  • Read historical information and tips about your favourite games.
  • Game recording and play back.
  • Searching.

4.1 Back in Software Manager, type mame in the search bar then select gnome-video-arcade (Simple mame frontend) and install it.

gnome-video-arcade | MAME Front END GUI | Linux Mint

gnome-video-arcade | MAME Frontend GUI | Linux Mint

4.2 To launch the Gnome Video Arcade mame frontend:

  • In a terminal window, type gnome-video-arcade and press Enter.
  • Menu > Games > Gnome Video Arcade
Gnome Video Arcade (MAME Frontend) | Linux Mint

Gnome Video Arcade (MAME Frontend) | Linux Mint

4.3 The first time that the Gnome Video Arcade runs, it will scan your game folder to check the integrity of your ROMS. If any are found  not to be compatible with your version of the mame emulator, you will be notified and those games will be struck from the list of those available.

Updated ROMS should be sought for compatibility.

Errors Detected in ROMs | Gnome Video Arcade

Errors Detected in ROMs | Gnome Video Arcade

4.4 Having obtained compatible ROMs the game library will need to be rebuilt. To force a rebuild of the game library, in a terminal window type:

gnome-video-arcade -b

Lightroom in Ubuntu

Lightroom in Ubuntu

This guide shows how Adobe Lightroom can be run in Ubuntu through a virtual machine, courtesy of Oracle’s VirtualBox.

This video illustrates the functionality and responsiveness of Adobe Lightroom 6 running on the following hardware, native operating system and virtual machine:-

  • Dell XPS420 – Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz × 4  and 4GB RAM.
  • Host Operating System: Ubuntu 14.04LTS (64 bit)
  • Guest Virtual Machine: Windows 7 (64 bit) Home Premium.

The video also illustrates the seamless integration of Windows 7 with the Ubuntu desktop environment, allowing both Linux and Windows programs to be run side-by-side.

In today’s terms, the Dell XPS420 is an old desktop machine. Newer PCs, with faster processors and more RAM are likely to perform much better than shown. But it is worth noting that I have had success in getting Lightroom to run adequately on an even older Acer Aspire laptop with a slower dual core processor and less RAM.

Video Details:

  1. Browsing a webpage with Mozilla Firefox in Ubuntu. Re-sizing the browser and moving it around the Ubuntu desktop. Browser then minimized.
  2. Clicked Start on the VirtualBox Manager to launch the virtual machine installed with Windows 7 (64 bit) Home Premium.
  3. Typing password to logon to Windows 7.
  4. Windows START > Calculator and then maximize Mozilla Firefox from Ubuntu.
  5. Windows START > Adobe Lightroom.
  6. Showing the speed of Adobe Lightroom 6 Library by double-clicking a few images to maximize them.
  7. Folder removal then imported back to demonstrate the import speed: 20 x RAW NEF image files totalling 380MB.
  8. Chosing a RAW image to develop.
  9. Zooming in 1:1 then spot removal tool use to conceal sensor dirt.
  10. Image to black and white and various adjustments made.
  11. Zooming in 1:1 and out a couple of times to look at detail.
  12. Pressing F on keyboard to view adjusted image in full screen.
  13. Exporting image: 18MB NEF file exported to 795KB 1060 x 1600 jpg (95% reduction).
  14. Exported image then displayed with Windows Photo Viewer.
  15. Back to the Ubuntu Firefox browser to demonstrate that it is still responsive.
  16. Closing down Lightroom.
  17. Shutting down Windows 7 to return the Ubuntu desktop.

Getting Lightroom to Run in Ubuntu

Check the specification of your PC. It needs to outperform the minimum requirements of your Ubuntu operating system AND the version of Adobe Lightroom you wish to use.

Minimum System Requirements: Ubuntu | Adobe Lightroom 6

Take note of the operating systems that are capable of running your version of Adobe Lightroom and make sure you have an appropriate installation CD/DVD and licence key to hand.

Please follow my guide on How To Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu. It describes how to install Oracle’s VirtualBox; make a virtual machine and install the Windows 7 (64 bit) Home Premium operating system; how  to install Windows Guest Additions CD Image and how to integrate the two environments of Ubuntu and Windows 7 seamlessly to make one unified desktop. The article shows you how to share files and folders between the two operating system and install Windows software.

Once you have Adobe Lightroom installed on your virtual machine it is time to tweak the settings of that virtual machine to make it snappy. These tweaks made Lightroom more responsive for my hardware.

Base Memory: As much as you can afford. 2GB is the minimum requirement for Adobe Lightroom. Leave at least 2GB for Ubuntu.

Processors: From a Quad Core Processor I dedicated 3 of those cores to the Windows 7 operating system.

Execution Cap: Reduced from 100% to 90%. This prevented Windows 7 from stalling programs in Ubuntu.

Video Memory: From a 256MB GeForce Graphics Card, half of that memory given to Windows 7.

Acceleration: 2D & 3D switched on. Made little difference. Lightroom reported that it could not find a GPU to assist in processing.

Virtual Machine Settings for Adobe Lightroom | VirtualBox

Virtual Machine Settings for Adobe Lightroom | VirtualBox

How to Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu

How to Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu

This step-by-step detailed guide illustrates the way to install VirtualBox in Ubuntu and then install Windows 7 within a virtual machine to run seamlessly with the Ubuntu desktop. This allows software designed for Windows to run alongside Linux-based programs.

The main benefits of this – over having a dual booting system – are speed and convenience.  You won’t have to wait for either operating system to  shutdown before you boot into the other, nor will you have to save and close down work before re-boots.

Steps Covered:

  1. How to install VirtualBox in Ubuntu.
  2. How to create a virtual machine with VirtualBox and install Windows 7.
  3. How to install Windows Guest Additions CD Image.
  4. How to integrate Ubuntu and Windows 7 desktops, seamlessly.
  5. How to share files and folders between Windows 7 and Ubuntu in VirtualBox.
  6. How to install software on the virtual machine.
  7. Adobe Lightroom running in Ubuntu via seamless integration with a Windows 7 virtual machine.


  • A reasonable PC.
  • An Ubuntu operating system.
  • A Windows 7 installation ISO file and activation key (1). Remember! A 64 bit version is best for computers that contain more than 3GB RAM.
  • Ample hard disk space to accommodate a new operating system.
  • Plenty of time and no distractions.

(1) – Almost any operating system can be installed within a virtual machine, provided you are able to obtain the correct ISO file. This guide details the installation of Windows 7 (64 bit).

Terminology: The Difference Between Host and Guest Operating Systems.

The host operating system is the operating system on which you install VirtualBox. In this case, Ubuntu. And Ubuntu will host the guest operating system, Windows 7.

1. How To Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu

1.1 Select the Ubuntu Software Centre Icon and in the search field, type virtualbox.

Ubuntu Software Centre | VirtualBox

Ubuntu Software Centre | VirtualBox

1.2 Select VirtualBox (Run several virtual systems on a single computer) and then click Install. You may need to enter your administrator password.

Ubuntu | VirtualBox Install

Ubuntu | VirtualBox Install

1.3 Once installed, close the Ubuntu Software Centre.

1.4 Click the Ubuntu Unity ‘Start’ icon and type virtualbox in the search bar. Select VirtualBox to run it. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager window will open.

Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager

Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager

2. How To Install Windows 7 in VirtualBox

2.1 Open the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager as described in step 1.4, then select New.

2.2 In the Name field, enter a description that best describes your virtual machine and guest operating system. If you specify what your guest operating system actually is, the Type and Version fields alter to match automatically. If they do not, ensure that you select the correct type and version before proceeding and clicking Next.

VirtualBox | Configuration for Windows 7 (64 bit)

VirtualBox | Configuration for Windows 7 (64 bit)

2.3 Move the slider to select the amount of memory (RAM) you want to allocate to your guest operating system. The more RAM you make available the better, but be careful not to starve your host operating system of memory.

VirtualBox Memory Allocation for Guest Operating System

VirtualBox Memory Allocation for Guest Operating System

2.4 Create a virtual hard drive now.

Create a Virtual Hard Drive Now | VirtualBox

Create a Virtual Hard Drive Now | VirtualBox

2.5 Choose the VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image).

Create a VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)

Create a VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)

2.6 Select Dynamically allocated.

Create a Physical Hard Drive | Select Dynamically Allocated

Storage on Physical Hard Drive | Select Dynamically Allocated

2.7 Choose a reasonable amount of storage space for your guest operating system. Take into account the space needed for the operating system itself and the size of the programs you wish to install on it. Since we have opted for Dynamically allocated disk space in step 2.6, the size of the virtual hard drive will grow as more data is written to it, up to the maximum specified here. This maximum cannot be altered later, so chose wisely.

VirtualBox Hard Drive Size

VirtualBox Hard Drive Size

2.8 Click the Create button to complete the main configuration of your virtual drive.

2.9 Your new virtual machine will be shown in the Oracle VM Manager. Right click that drive and select Settings…

Right Click New Virtual Drive and Select Settings

Right Click New Virtual Drive and Select Settings

2.10 If you see a warning triangle and Invalid Settings Detected then click the warning box to address the highlighted issues.

2.11 Go to System and select the Processor tab. If your computer has multiple CPU cores, you can stipulate here how many cores will be dedicated to your virtual machine and guest operating system.

VirtualBox | Select the Number of CPU Dies for your Virtual Machine

VirtualBox | Select the Number of CPU Dies for your Virtual Machine

2.12 Select Storage and the Empty CD icon beneath Storage Tree. Under Attributes, select the CD/DVD Drive location icon and select Chose a virtual CD/DVD disk file…

Select your Windows Operating System ISO File

Select your Windows Operating System ISO File

Navigate to your Windows installation ISO file and Open it. The ISO file will then be shown underneath the Controller: IDE. Click OK. Effectively, this step inserts your Windows installation disk  into your virtual machine. Your virtual machine will boot from this when it is first switched on.

2.13 You are now ready to start your virtual guest machine for the first time. Click Start.

2.14 If you receive an error regarding VT -x/AMD-V, it means that you do not have that type of hardware acceleration enabled in your BIOS. At this point you will need to re-boot your computer and enter the BIOS system to enable it. Not all BIOS systems are the same. You will need to look for this setting. It is generally found under the Performance or Virtual Machine Monitor headings.

BIOS Virtualization | Dell System XPS420

BIOS Virtualization | Dell System XPS420

2.15 When your virtual machine runs for the first time, it will begin to install the operating system that you specified in step 2.12.

Ensure you select Custom (advanced).

Installation of Windows 7 (64 bit) in VirtualBox

Installation of Windows 7 (64 bit) in VirtualBox

And then select the unallocated space you created as a virtual drive.

Unallocated Space for Windows Installation | VirtualBox

Unallocated Space for Windows Installation | VirtualBox

2.16 Install your Windows operating system.

3. How To Install Windows Guest Additions

3.1 With the guest operating system installed and booted to the Windows desktop, maximize the VirtualBox window to make it full screen. Notice that the Windows environment does not rescale when you do this. We need to install something called Guest Additions in the Windows system to enable this. Hover the mouse pointer over the top menu bar to reveal the VirtualBox menu. Select Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image…

VirtualBox will check your host system to see if you already have the appropriate Guest Additions CD Image downloaded for your guest operating system. If it cannot be found you will be prompted to download it. Click Download.

VirtualBox Guest Additions Download Prompt

VirtualBox Guest Additions Download Prompt

And then confirm the download.

VirtualBox Guest Additions Confirm Download Confirmation

VirtualBox Guest Additions Confirm Download Confirmation

3.2 When the Guest Additions CD Image has been downloaded, you will be asked: “Do you wish to register this disk image file and insert it into the virtual CD/DVD drive?”.

Click Insert.

Register & Insert Guest Additions CD Image File

Register & Insert Guest Additions CD Image File

The Guest Addition CD Image is then made accessible through the Windows virtual CD drive. Navigate to Windows START > Computer to view in Windows explorer.

VirtualBox Guest Additions | Windows Virtual CD Drive

VirtualBox Guest Additions | Windows Virtual CD Drive

3.3 Double-click the CD Drive (D:) VirtualBox Guest Additions icon and launch the VBoxWindowsAdditions application by double-clicking it. Hit Yes when asked, “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”

Oracle VM Virtual Box Guest Additions Set Up

Oracle VM Virtual Box Guest Additions Setup Wizard

3.4 Work through the installation process by clicking Next and Install if asked for permission to install device software. Re-boot the guest operating system when prompted to do so.

4. How To Integrate Windows 7 and Ubuntu Desktops

4.1 When the guest operating system re-boots, you should notice that resizing the VirtualBox window also resizes the Windows desktop too. This demonstrates that the Windows Guest Additions are working properly.

4.2 To integrate the guest environment with the host operating system (i.e. integrate Windows 7 with Ubuntu, seamlessly), hover your mouse over the top menu bar to reveal the VirtualBox menu and select View > Switch to seamless mode. To switch back, move your mouse to the bottom centre of the screen to access the guest operating system menu.

Alternatively, you can use the quick-key combination of host-key + L to enable and disable seamless mode. The host-key default is the right control key. Right Ctrl + L.

Seamless integration means that the Windows task bar is accessible at the bottom of the Ubuntu desktop and both Linux and Windows programs can be run side by side.

Seamless Integration of Windows 7 with Ubuntu | VirtualBox

Seamless Integration of Windows 7 with Ubuntu | VirtualBox

 5. How To Share Files and Folders with VirtualBox

5.1 The installation of Windows Guest Additions should allow drag and drop functionality between the host and guest operating systems, either one way or bidirectionally. By default, this function is disabled. In the VirtualBox menu, select Devices > Drag’n’Drop > and your direction preference.

5.2 The clipboard can also be shared between host and guest operating systems in a similar manner. Select Devices > Shared Clipboard > and your direction preference.

5.3 Devices > Shared Folders Settings… allows the sharing of host folders with the guest operating system in order that files can be shared between them.

VirtualBox | Shared Folders

VirtualBox | Shared Folders

To add a new folder for sharing, click the add folder icon on the right. At the drop down menu entitled Folder Path, select Other… then navigate to your designated folder and click Open.

Before adding the share, you are given the opportunity to provide a name for the shared folder, make it read-only and auto-mount it. Tick Auto-mount then OK. Click OK to exit the settings menu.

5.4 Shared folders are shown as network shares in the guest operating system.

Network Shares | VirtualBox

Network Shares | VirtualBox

In Windows 7, START > Computer > Network > VBOXSVR to access your shared folders.

6. How To Install Software on the Virtual Machine

To install software on your guest operating system you have a number of options:-

  • Use the browser of the guest operating system to download the software and install it from the appropriate download folder.
  • Make an ISO file of the installation CD/DVD and have that available in a shared folder on the host operating system as described in step 5.3.
  • Make an ISO file of the installation CD/DVD and mount that in the same manner as described in step 2.12.
  • Enable Drag’n’Drop and move files accordingly.
  • Use the Shared Clipboard to Copy files from the host to the guest operating system.

7.  Adobe Lightroom Running in Ubuntu via Seamless Integration with a Windows 7 Virtual Machine

Adobe Lightroom Running in Ubuntu | VirtualBox

Adobe Lightroom Running in Ubuntu | VirtualBox

Once your virtual machine is running with folder shares, it is quite easy to start testing various types of software.

See Adobe Lightroom 6 working in Ubuntu.

To get Adobe Lightroom installed I shared two folders with the virtual machine; one that contained the installation files and a second that contained my photographs. I installed Lightroom from the Network Share described in step 5.4.

Photographs were imported into Lightroom’s Library by adding the second Network Share to Folders.

Kodi Not Scraping

Kodi Not Scraping

If the System Attribute flag is set on a Windows folder containing a movie, TV shows or music, then Kodi (XBMC) and Mediaportal will fail to register that these folders even exist during a scrape. This means that media inside them will not show in the integrated file managers and will be missing from the relevant media libraries. These folders are simply ignored during scrapes.

This problem seems to be specific to the Windows operating system. Scraping the same media from a Linux-based Kodi installation will work perfectly.

My Specific Problem

I have three media centres around the house, all being fed by a Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) that stores all my media files. Two machines have Kodi installations on Linux operating systems. The main machine has a Kodi and Mediaportal installation on Windows 7 64-bit. On this machine, access to the NAS media is obtained by a network mounted drive under a local drive letter, “Y:”. That drive source has been added to Kodi and Mediaportal.

Initially, the addition of new media to the NAS caused no problems until I began to use a computer running Ubuntu to rename media files before moving those files to the appropriate folders on the network attached drive.

FileBot, the file renaming tool for Linux-based operating systems, seemed to be causing the problem by generating the Windows System attribute on renamed folders.

Although the two Kodi installations on Linux were able to scrape this new media successfully, the Windows installations of Kodi and Mediaportal were unsuccessful. The video files were missing from media libraries and could not be seen in the file managers. Windows explorer however, showed the folders and their contained files. The folders were there in the directory listing but were being ignored during the scraping process.


1) Go through the steps outlined in  the Kodi wiki for Incorrect and Missing Videos.

2) Determine if the System Attribute flag is on for missing videos:

By default, folder and file attributes are not displayed in Windows Explorer, but they can be enabled quite easily. Navigate to your media library. Right click on the column header and select Attributes. If Attributes is not visible, click on More… and select it from the list.

File Attributes Enabled in Windows Explorer

File Attributes Enabled in Windows Explorer

Look down your list of folders while paying attention to the attributes column on the right. Identify the folders that have the System attribute switched on. This will be denoted with an “S”.

The basic attributes list:

  • R – Read Only
  • H – Hidden
  • A – Archived
  • S – System
  • D – Directory

3) Deselect the System Attribute flag on folders:

There are two ways to remove the System Attribute flag on a folder.

i) The first way is to use the DOS command attrib in an elevated cmd window to change file and folder attributes. Due to the complexity and length of some of my file paths, I opted not to use this and use the next option instead.

ii) Download Attribute Changer, a very useful tool to do the work with just a few simple clicks.

Once installed, a simple right click on a folder or file displays the option to Change Attributes…

Selecting this option and then the Folder Properties tab shows the available attributes that can be removed or added.

Remove the folder’s System Attribute flag by unticking System in the Folder Properties tab. Click OK.

Refresh the directory listing to ensure that the flag has been removed.

Launch Kodi or Mediaportal to update your media library.


Tech Support Forum – Folders Stuck On Read Only

Add PayPal Donate Button in WordPress

How To Add A PayPal Donate Button To WordPress

This article illustrates how to create a PayPal Donate Button in WordPress blogs, either in a post, page or as a sidebar widget. This guide is based on the new PayPal dashboard.

NOTE: This button is intended for fundraising. If you are not raising money for a cause, you should choose another option. See PayPal’s terms regarding Donations.

Step 1 – Log into your PayPal Account

At the bottom-left of the screen, select Classic Site.

PayPal Home Screen - Click Classic Site

PayPal Home Screen – Click Classic Site

Then, select your account settings by clicking on the cog wheel, top right.

PayPal Account Setting - Click the Cog Wheel

PayPal Account Settings – Click the Cog Wheel

Select My Selling Preferences from the left PayPal menu.

Select My Selling Prefences

Select My Selling Preferences

Beneath the top category, Selling online, choose PayPal buttons Update.

PayPal Buttons - Choose Update

PayPal Buttons – Choose Update

Step 2 – Create or Manage PayPal Buttons

PayPal My Saved Buttons allows you to manage existing buttons that you have already created. Create a new PayPal button by selecting Create new button.

PayPal My Saved Buttons - Create New Button

PayPal My Saved Buttons – Create New Button

Now configure your new PayPal button: –

  • Select the button type: Donations
  • Enter the name of your company or service name
  • Choose your default currency
  • Decide whether donors enter their own contribution or donate a fixed amount
  • Under Merchant account ID, select Use my primary email address
  • Click Create Button
PayPal - Create Button Configuration

PayPal – Create Button Configuration

Step 3 – Obtain the HTML Code for your new PayPal Button

Following the creation of your new PayPal Button, the next screen will show the HTML code to allow its use on other websites. For WordPress blogs, you need to select the Email tab and use that code.

PayPal Button - Email Code

PayPal Button – Email Code

Step 4 – Create the Full HTML Code for your PayPal Button

Right click on your desktop and select New > Text Document. Double click your new text file to launch it.

Highlight the following HTML code and copy it to your open text document:-

<a href="Paste the Email code from PayPal here" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="The Image Code" alt="" /></a>

Go back to the  Email tab in Step 3 and then click Select Code to copy the HTML code to your computer memory.

Then, in the text document, paste that code between the first set of quotation marks by using Ctrl v on your keyboard.

Copy the corresponding HTML code for the PayPal Button you wish to use and paste that between the quotation marks, replacing the words: The Image Code.

PayPal Donate Buttons and Code

Step 5 – Review the Full HTML Code of your new PayPal Button

When complete, the code in your text document should look something like this.

<a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="" alt="" /></a>

It is very important to get the syntax correct. A missing quotation mark or slash symbol will prevent the code from working properly. If you have any problems applying your PayPal Button to WordPress in the next steps, revisit this code and check every detail in yours.

It’s also worth saving your progress at this point. Save your text document by selecting File > Save, or give it name by using File > Save As…

Add A PayPal Donate Button to a WordPress Widget

From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets

  • Drag a Text widget to either your sidebar or footer.
  • Open the Text widget.
  • Enter a title for your PayPal Donate Button if you want to have one.
  • In the larger text box, copy and paste the HTML code from Step 5.
  • Click Save.
Add PayPal Donate Button HTML Code to a WordPress Text Widget

Add PayPal Donate Button HTML Code to a WordPress Text Widget

Now check your WordPress blog to see if the HTML code works. You should see the button you chose and when clicked, it should take you to the PayPal payment screen.

If you see the code itself, it means that there is an error. Go back to Step 5 and check the accuracy of your code.

Add A PayPal Donate Button to a WordPress Post or Page

In the WordPress Editor, select the Text tab.

WordPress Visual and Text Editor Tabs

WordPress Visual and Text Editor Tabs

Find the position in your post or page where you would like your PayPal Donate Button to be seen.

Copy and paste your HTML code from Step 5 to the WordPress Text Editor. Click the WordPress Visual tab, then scroll down to see if your PayPal button is displayed properly. If not, return to Step 5 and check the construction and syntax of your code.

How To Block Text Message SMS Spam

How To Block Text Message SMS SPAM on Samsung Galaxy Phones (Android)

If you’ve started receiving SPAM SMS text messages purporting to be from LloydsBank, Sky or elsewhere, and you cannot report them as SPAM because of the invalid number error, there is a workaround to divert these messages to your existing SMS SPAM box without installing SPAM-catching applications.

I will show you how, using the LloydsBank SPAM SMS text message that has been plaguing me for a while.

LloydsBank SMS SPAM Text Message

The LloydsBank SPAM SMS text message appears something like this in your SMS Inbox.

SPAM SMS from LloydsBank

LloydsBank SPAM SMS Text Message

If you Press and Hold the text message to bring up the options associated with it, you have the option to Delete the thread or Register as spam number.

Android Text Message SMS SPAM | Register as spam number

Register as spam number

Registering text messages as SPAM usually works to divert subsequent messages to your SPAM folder. Unfortunately though, spammers have become crafty and use alphanumeric strings or numbers that are too long to be recognized as telephone numbers in their transmissions. This results in the invalid number error when trying to register a number as SPAM. This means that marking that text as SPAM fails and you will continue to receive them in your SMS inbox.

How To Block Text Message SMS SPAM with Invalid Number Error

Open up a thread of the offending SPAM messages to identify a recurring keyword. In the example of the LloydsBank SPAM SMS, there are a few, namely;

  • A/C
  • Bal
  • CR
  • DR
  • Entries
Keywords in the LloydsBank SPAM SMS Text Message

LloydsBank SPAM SMS Text Message Thread

Return to your SMS text message Inbox and press the Menu button on your device.

Android Menu Button

Android Menu Button | Often Found On The Phone Itself (Bottom Left) Rather Than The Screen

This will display many options associated with your SMS text messages. Select Settings at the bottom of the list.

Android Text Message Option List

Select Settings From the Text Message SMS Options List

Scroll all the way to very bottom of the Settings page. Ensure the Spam settings option is ticked. Then, select Register phrase as spam.

Tip! You can also tick Block unknown senders so that you only receive SMS text messages from people on your contact list.

Spam Message Options - Android

Select Register phrase as spam & Ensure that the Spam settings Option is Ticked

Click the plus + icon to add one of the recurring phrases that you noted earlier. Then click Save.

Android SPAM SMS Text Message Keywords and Phrases to Block

SPAM Keywords and Phrases to Block

To block the LloydsBank SPAM SMS text message, I have used the word entries, but I could have used any of the others identified earlier.

It is important to note that:

  • phrase and word matches are not case sensitive
  • a genuine SMS text message could be diverted to your SPAM folder if it contains one of your entered words or phrases. So choose wisely.

Once you have set-up phrase blocking, it is worth checking your SPAM SMS folder occasionally to check it’s effectiveness. It can be accessed from your SMS text message Inbox screen and by pressing your device’s Menu button, then selecting SPAM messages.

Find MAC Address of Samsung Galaxy Devices

How To Find The Wi-Fi MAC Address Of A Samsung Galaxy Phone And Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tab

Samsung Galaxy S2, S3, S4, S5 and Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tab

This guide shows you where to find the Wi-Fi MAC address in an Android operating system, common to Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and the Samsung 10.1 TAB tablet.

The screenshots are taken from a Samsung Galaxy S3 and the instructions are based on this model. However, this method will be very similar on most versions and releases of Android and Samsung mobile devices.

How To Obtain the MAC Address Of A Samsung Galaxy Device

Step 1: Access the Settings Screen

Swipe your finger down from the top of your phone’s screen to access the quick options page.

Then press the settings icon. The cog icon, shown top right.

Step 1: How to find the MAC address of a Samsung Galaxy S3

Step 1: Access the Samsung Galaxy Main Options Screen by Swiping Down from the Top of the Screen | Press the Settings Icon (Cog Wheel)

Step 2: Select About device

On the Samsung Settings screen, swipe the screen down to view the very last option at the bottom of the list.

Select About device.

Step 2: How to find the MAC address of a Samsung Galaxy S3

Step 2: Scroll to the Last Option at the Bottom of the Settings Screen and Select About device

Step 3: Select Status – Show status of battery, network, and other information

On the About device screen, select the Status option.

Step 3: How to find the MAC address of a Samsung Galaxy S3

Step 3: Select the Status Option in the About device Screen

Step 4: Find the Wi-Fi MAC Address of your Samsung Device

Swipe the screen down to find the MAC address of your Samsung Android device.

The MAC address of your mobile device can be found approximately halfway down the list under the heading of Wi-Fi MAC address.

Step 4: How to find the MAC address of a Samsung Galaxy S3

Step 4: Scroll Through the List to Locate Wi-Fi MAC address. This is the MAC Address of Your Samsung Android Device.

Click the appropriate page back button on your device until all the setting screens disappear.

Speed Up DNS Propagation

Speed Up DNS Propagation by Ensuring DNS Cache is Purged

DNS Propagation Taking Too Long | DNS Replication Problems | How To Clear DNS Cache | DNS Troubleshooting | DNS Benchmarking | Changing DNS Provider

Modified DNS entries can take hours or even days to replicate across the internet. And often, this delay can be extended unnecessarily by old DNS cache residing on your computer and slow, Public DNS servers.

This article details the checks you should perform after updating DNS records to ensure that cached DNS lists and slow-to-refresh Public DNS  servers are not misdirecting your browser and causing unwanted delays.

This article is useful in these circumstances:-

  1. Moving a web site from one host to another: When name servers or DNS records have been updated to point your domain to a new hosting company. The hosting company confirms that the DNS transfer is complete and that your site is working normally but your domain name still directs to your previous host and old website.
  2. Pointing a domain name to a website: When name servers and DNS records have been set to point your new domain name to your new web site. You are still waiting for DNS records to propagate throughout the world’s networks for your new web site domain name to be resolved.
  3. Troubleshooting a problem with DNS.
  4. Learning how to clear your DNS cache.
  5. Making browsing speed faster. You could benefit by changing your ISP’s default DNS servers.
  6. Benchmarking DNS servers in order to choose the one optimal for you.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name System (or Service or Server) is a look-up table that resolves internet web addresses like Facebook to their respective IP address, i.e. – the backbone on which computers are able to connect and communicate.

Without a DNS directory, we would all have to remember meaningless numbers instead of easy-to-remember names.

When a web address is requested in a browser, it’s equivalent IP address is sought by these steps and in this order.

1. Local hosts File

On a Windows Operating System, the hosts file in:


is the first port of call. If the web address is recorded in that file with a corresponding IP address, then the browser will be directed and the search ends there.

2. Locally Cached DNS

If there is no record of that web address in the hosts file, then locally cached DNS is searched next. This can be stored on the computer itself and / or inside the router. If a suitable record exists in stored DNS cache, the search will conclude there and the browser will be  directed to that stored IP address.

Some routers are capable of storing a cached copy of Domain Name System lists. If one does exist, this cache will be the next list to be searched to enable fast interpretation of the web address, instead of requesting that data from a Public DNS.

3. Public DNS

Only when the previous two steps cannot be fulfilled does the request go to a Public DNS to resolve the web address to an IP address.

How Web Addresses are Resolved with a Domain Name System

How a Web Address is Resolved to an IP Address with DNS


How to Clear Cached DNS

Follow these steps to ensure that you are not waiting unnecessarily for DNS replication and propagation after updating DNS records and name servers of your website.

Check the hosts file

It is always worth checking your hosts file in notepad to see if there have been any redirects added in the past that you may have forgotten about – or indeed, not known about.

Tip! notepad has to be opened with Administrative privileges if you are going to make any changes to your hosts file.

If there is a reference in your hosts file to your problematic site, then  make a back up of the file; remove that entry and save the hosts file. You may need to re-boot your computer for the new hosts file to be read by the operating system.

Clear Local DNS Cache

Open a command console with Administrative privileges by clicking on the Windows START icon (bottom left) and typing cmd into the search field. Do not press Enter.

cmd.exe will appear at the top of the list. Right click on it and select Run as administrator. The command console will open.

In the command console type:

ipconfig /flushdns

and press Enter.

Windows Command Console: Ipconfig /flushdns

ipconfig /flushdns

The console will report Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache. Close the console window.

Check and Clear Router DNS Cache

Some routers are capable of caching DNS lists. You should determine whether or not your router does this and if it does, purge that list.

Log into your router and look for for an option or something that resembles Advanced DHCP Settings or DNS Settings.

The example shown below is of a NetGear router with the option to clear router DNS cache.

Clear Cache DNS NetGear Router

NetGear Router Configuration: Advanced DHCP Settings – Purge DNS Server List

Change the Public DNS Primary and Secondary Addresses in your Router

By default, most routers are programmed to obtain and use your ISP’s Primary and Secondary DNS addresses automatically.

However, these servers could be slow to replicate changes in DNS records and therefore slow to propagate the changes you have made. They might be over loaded too, causing substantial look-up delays that decrease browsing speed.

There are many alternatives to DNS servers supplied by ISPs. The benefits of using an alternate provider include:-

  • Faster refreshing of DNS record changes
  • Faster browsing speeds
  • Improved security
  • Family filtering

Google Public DNS is a free Domain Name System that can be easily configured for use in your router without having to install any software. OpenDNS is another free Domain Name System that is commonly used.

To configure your router manually to use another Public DNS, log in to it and find an option similar to this: Domain Name Server (DNS) Address and select Use These DNS Servers. Enter the two IP addresses given by your chosen provider.

OpenDNS Router Configuration

Manual Configuration of Primary and Secondary DNS Addresses | OpenDNS IP Addresses Shown

Save the changes if necessary then re-boot the router.

Once all these steps have been completed, try to access your domain again.

DNS Benchmark – Chosing a DNS Provider that is Optimal for you

DNS Benchmark

DNS Bench,ark by Steve Gibson | Gibson Research Corporation

The DNS Benchmark by Steve Gibson at the Gibson Research Corporation is a valuable tool for finding the DNS  provider optimal for you. It is a free and small, stand-alone program that requires no installation. Try it and discover faster browsing speeds and all the other benefits that are gained by changing your DNS provider.

Coms Plc Broadband Review

Coms Plc Broadband Review

ADSL24 to Coms Plc Migration

As a broadband user who lives miles from the nearest telephone exchange with no fibre in the area, my expected download and upload synchronization speeds are never going to be the best with conventional telephone wires. And that’s why, years ago, I signed up with ADSL24 and remained with them for years. They provided an unadulterated broadband connection, and worked with me to optimize my broadband speeds, reduce latency and improve line stability. On moving to them from Tiscali, my average download speeds increased from 0.5Mb/s to an achievable 3Mb/s; with upload speeds almost doubling from 0.5Mb/s to 0.9Mb/s. And more than that, they provided first-class contention and did not engage in stealthy traffic shaping techniques during busy periods: no port blocking and no port throttling. The connection was fast and consistent at all times. And the few problems that I had were dealt with professionally and promptly.

Unfortunately, ADSL24 were purchased by Coms Plc in May 2013 and despite assurances from Coms that my ADSL24 service would not be adversely affected upon migration to them, my download speed dropped by half to 1.5Mb/s and my upload speed dropped back to the former 0.5Mb/s after the switchover. Latency increased and stability issues were a nightmare. The connection kept dropping frequently, resulting in ridiculously low synchronization speeds upon reconnection.

Assurances Made by Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers | Sent December 2013, Prior to Migration

Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers

Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers. Assurances of next generation networks, continuous improvements, and commitment to high quality services.
The promise of no adverse effect on monthly usage limit, or maximum available download speed.
Why is my broadband connection with Coms Plc so terrible then?

 Numerous calls to Coms technical support to get the line synchronization speeds raised to those that I was accustomed to resulted in:

“You live over 7km from the exchange. You should be grateful you’re getting what you have!”

And despite constant pressure from me, the very best speeds I’ve been able to attain through the Coms technical support are nothing like I achieved with ADSL24.

And it gets worse.

Coms Plc Broadband – Stealthy Traffic Shaping & Port Throttling

On Sunday 13th April 2014, I noticed that my broadband connection had been subjected to port-throttling or traffic shaping without being notified that this would happen.

I ran the Glasnost test a number of times throughout the day to determine if this was the case. The ports for bit torrent peer-to-peer communication had been throttled back. The ports for news server connections (nntp) had also been severely restricted.

Coms Plc Glasnost test results. Port throttling.

Coms Plc: Bit torrent peer-to-peer port throttling confirmed with Glasnost


Coms Plc Glasnost test results. NNTP News server port

Coms Plc: Hindrance of control flow transfers on port 119 (nntp) for news servers


I contacted Coms Plc about this and they replied with:

Concerning Coms’ Traffic Management Tools, please see below, Coms’ most recent confirmation on services/time affected;

A basic policy set was deployed to:
Prioritise real-time traffic during peak time (18:00-00:00 weekdays; 10:00-00:00 weekends) e.g.
VoIP, gaming, video etc. to ensure a consistent user experience

::De-prioritise peer-to-peer traffic outside of off-peak (00:00-07:00 daily)

::Ultimately reduce to peer-to-peer traffic during peak time to reduce 95th percentile bandwidth consumption

There are no exceptions to these measures, and the main data protocol that will be affected is peer-to-peer and NNTP.

There has never been, and will be NOT be any blocking of ports.

We are awaiting a final decision to be made at Coms’ concerning this policy.

Our customers can expect communication from Coms once this has been fully implemented as Coms are still trialing these methods.

I take exception to my broadband connection  being used as a test bed to trial these traffic shaping methods, especially when I had received assurances from Coms Plc that my service would not be adversely affected upon migration to them. My speeds have already been halved by their next generation network and by restricting what little bandwidth remains just adds insult to injury. Their broadband is not fit for purpose. I want an ISP, not a http and https provider.

So the original service that I had with ADSL24 has changed despite assurances to the contrary when I was switched to coms.
 I received no notification that Traffic Management Tools / Traffic Shaping techniques were going to be trialled. 
 I was paying for a very good ISP service with ADSL24, now it seems I am paying for a very expensive http and https service.
 Not happy.

Apparently, all ADSL24 customers were sent this, but I never received it.

Upon migration from Adsl24 to Coms, our customers received communication outline the below;

“Are there any changes to my existing contract?

There are no changes to any existing minimum contract term.  If your ADSL24 service was still within a minimum term this will be transferred to your Coms service.  Your Coms service is subject to our standard terms and conditions, a copy of which is available at”

Adsl24 also had a Fair Usage Policy; however I cannot confirm the exact details of how it was implemented across the network.

We apologise that you had not received communication from Coms; however Coms are under no obligation to inform customers of such policy changes.

Once again, we apologise that you feel you are not receiving the level of service you expect from your ISP.

Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.

Coms are under no obligation to inform customers of such policy changes.

Hmm, I think a change as significant as this should have been communicated fairly and properly. At least give advanced warning so customers can escape unnecessary suffering by transferring to a capable ISP.

Coms Plc Broadband – No SNR Management Tools

With ADSL24, I had the ability to alter SNR margin myself within my account profile. It is an important feature for someone like me that wants to tweak and experiment with SNR values to get the best performance from a long line. This has been lost with the migration to Coms Plc.

Coms Plc Broadband – In Brief

  • Despite assurances from Coms Plc that my broadband usage would not be affected upon migration from ADSL24, my download and upload speeds  decreased significantly; latency has increased and line stability has declined.
  • Coms Plc technical support take too long to respond to problems. They have not been able to resolve my speed issues and regain my former speeds.
  • Coms Plc employ stealthy Traffic Shaping and Port Throttling techniques to manage their congested network. They prioritize VOIP, gaming and video at the expense of peer-to-peer and news server connections.
  • There is noticeable high congestion at weekends and in the evenings. Even with their Traffic Shaping controls in place, internet browsing speed takes a massive dive.
  • No line controls such as SNR margin selection. You’re at the mercy of their technical support.
  • Clearly, Coms Plc are arrogant in their belief that they can make significant changes to customer agreements without informing them.
  • Only suitable for occasional browsing if you can stomach the lag at weekends and evenings.
  • Expensive and not value for money.

MAC code obtained.

See other complaints about Coms Plc broadband on ISP Reviews.