NICE AND EASY: Why do DIRECTV Receivers always say “Running Receiver Self Check” when they boot?

You don’t often reboot your DIRECTV box… but when you do you always see a blue screen with white letters saying “Running receiver self check.” It can take up to 20 seconds for that screen to go away, while you stare and fret and worry that the DVR that holds hundreds of hours of programming is going do disappear. And then the screen gives way to another one, and everything is fine.

The first thing you need to know is that this receiver self-check is perfectly normal. By itself, it’s not a sign that anything is wrong with your DIRECTV box. It’s part of the regular startup process.

Remember that a DIRECTV satellite receiver or DVR is basically just a computer. When you boot up your regular PC, or even a tablet or phone, it does some simple hardware checks to make sure everything is just where the device thinks it should be. The processor, the memory, the input and output ports are all checked. That’s what’s happening here. In addition, the hard drive is checked for errors (yes, if you’re a Linux person, it is actually running a fsck) and if there are minor errors they’re identified and dealt with. Again, this is perfectly normal and every hard drive develops these minor hiccups from time to time and these corrections help things work better.

If there really was a hardware or hard drive problem, it would be noted on screen immediately and you would be told to call DIRECTV for service and given a code. If the hard drive is damaged, the receiver will try to recover it, a process which can take several hours and sometimes results in a loss of programming. This is very rare.

Bottom line folks, this is a normal part of the DIRECTV experience and not something you should worry about.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.