The 2017 Snapstream Firefly Survival Guide

In October 2017, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update went out to various machines – three of mine were updated, including my Home Theater PC (HTPC) which houses my Kodi, Plex DVR and Firefly functionality.

One of my boxes never booted again (my main workstation), my son’s was fixable with some recovery tools – and my HTPC seemed to be initially unaffected.

Until I tried to use my Firefly remote.

If you’re not interested in a story, jump to the bottom of the page – what you need to get your Firefly working again is down there.  Otherwise, read on.

So let me give you just a bit of background on my love affair with the Snapstream Firefly remote control and why this adversely affected me so much.

The Firefly is a remote control + USB receiver originally created by Snapstream to compliment their consumer media products including Beyond TV.  The remote was of unusually high quality and was driven by window-centric profiles.  Whatever window had focus, the Firefly could be completely reprogrammed via an XML file to provide completely different functionality.  Profiles of the time including XBMC, Windows Media Center, VLC, SageTV, etc. – magically remapping everything perfect from product to product.

It was also one of the first consumer RF controllers – no longer requiring line of site or even nearby proximity to control the HTPC software.

Most important – my family could use it.  It looked and felt like a remote control they were familiar with; no screen on it, no keyboard plastered to the backside.  It was just another remote – and my wife, daughters and son just knew how to use it instinctively.

Needless to say, with all the TV watching in our house – the Firefly is an extended member of the family.  While we moved on from Snapstream’s software products, the Firefly continued to be amazing at controlling Kodi and Plex.

Yes, there are dozens of other remotes.  There are dozens of alternative ways to control Plex and Kodi – from phone apps to cheap Chinese Kodi controllers to even an Extension for your web browser.  But I assure you … after several attempts to wean ourselves to other controllers or methods, it just isn’t the same.

So, when Windows 10 Fall Creators Update destroyed my Firefly – things got bad.

What happened?   We aren’t sure.

The USB receiver stopped working.  Old driver that Windows 10 didn’t like?  Maybe.  Trying to insert the USB receiver in other ports, etc. – no solution.  I figured a reinstallation of Firefly software may be the solution.  But first, let’s run through configuration again.  This was still present in the Firefly directory.

Setup failed due to a missing file (which isn’t identified).  Sigh.  So I run the Firefly main app again.  Great, now it doesn’t run at all – says setup didn’t complete; try again.

A full reinstall was needed – and I needed the Firefly + Beyond TV Basic installer.

But where do you get them?  The product is so old, any site (including Snapstream – who went on to corporate video solutions) that might have carried them – the links are all broken.  But I kept searching.  I even wrote Snapstream (thanks for ZERO response, guys).

I finally found some old ass blog or forum that actually HAD what APPEARED to be what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, Snapstream in their infinite wisdom decided to wrap the ACTUAL install with a bunch of pre-requisite downloads.  Every one of them failed (causing the installer to fail) since they all pointed to Snapstream’s non-existing server).  I even tried to tear the installer apart to get to the core files.  No good.

This meant a couple of things.  First, I don’t know if a reinstall would have even fixed it.  Second, I can’t build a new box with an older Windows – because I don’t have working drivers that are tied to a dead internet endpoint.

Once we decided we simply couldn’t live without it, I decided to take a stab at rolling back the Windows 10 update.  It may work, but maybe not.  It may leave the box destroyed – taking down my Plex DVR and other stuff.

A last minute search of my hard drive found a secret folder containing UNWRAPPED installer files – and thank GOD – The FireFly installer was there.

So I uninstalled FireFly (mistake, btw) and reinstalled it fresh.  I followed the setup processes and lo and behold – the receiver was again recognized and the FireFly remote started working again.

Just one problem – all of the configurations I had painstakingly created over time (KODI, default and global profiles) were NUKED when I did the uninstall of FireFly.

I spent several hours “re-learning” the configuration/profile system, and finally managed to get all my functionality back (even made a couple of improvements).

So, backup the hidden folder c:\PROGRAMDATA\SNAPSTREAM before you do the uninstall of FireFly.  The profiles are in there.

To help out, here are some links to what you PROBABLY came here for:

Remove your receiver.  Uninstall FireFly.  Reinstall.  Run through setups.  Copy the profiles back from the above back up.

I hope this saves someone the 10+ hours this took me to recover after Windows 10

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+