TIP: No need to force a download on DIRECTV receivers

It used to be considered a common solution. Back in the 2000s DIRECTV was developing new software for their receivers at a breakneck pace. Technologies like DVRs, HDTVs and HDMI cables were all very new back then and DIRECTV’s engineering department was struggling to keep up.

News has come from DIRECTV’s technical departments that forcing a download is no longer the best way to fix common problems. At The Solid Signal Blog and Signal Group Forums, we’re issuing a strong “don’t download” recommendation.


Our sources tell us that downloading the same software does not do anything to help your receiver, and in more than 90% of the cases, it’s impossible to download anything newer than what you have. In fact you may accidentally download software that is older than what you have and in rare cases that can cause a loss of recorded programs. It’s not worth the risk.

For those who have experienced some benefit from downloading the same software, it’s probably just rebooting multiple times that has helped.

We’ve also received word that unlike in past years, older receivers may not have new software available on the satellite 24/7. This means that if you attempt a download, the receiver will try for up to 20 minutes to pull new software from the satellite and then automatically reboot itself without downloading anything. This is simply a waste of time.

What should you do instead?

In many cases, a simple reboot solves problems. Since 2009, DIRECTV’s receivers have included an automatic built-in self test that diagnoses problems every time you reboot. If a reboot does not help, here are some more steps that actually make a difference:

  • Check your signal strengths to make sure that the dish is properly aligned.
  • Make sure all cables are clean and all connections are tight.
  • Reboot twice within a 30-minute period. This flushes guide data and some other log data within the receiver.
  • Unplug the SWM power inserter, wait 15 minutes, plug it back in, then reboot all receivers.
  • Unplug the receiver and leave it unplugged for at least 15 minutes. Sometimes leaving it unplugged for up to 2 hours can help.

All of these steps will help at times when downloading software will do nothing.

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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.