How to Troubleshoot a Sky+ box & Upgrade the Firmware

Whilst out and about seeing customers last week, one of them asked me why they couldn’t get their + box to record programs. My immediate thought was that the software was either not the latest version, or it was faulty, and not the actual hardware inside the box that was the problem.

I would like to point out some important things from the start:

  • It is very unusual for a Sky+ box to go wrong. But these things do happen.
  • Your Sky box must be connected at all times to a telephone line.
  • Most users need not apply for a firmware update, this is only a recommended for users who are experiencing problems with their decoder.
  • This article is for Sky+ decoders, but it may also work on Sky and original Sky Digiboxes – but it remains untested.
  • Lastly (the boring part, but pay attention!), is providing this information in good faith, but waivers any responsibility for damage caused by these procedures.

The problem that my customer was experiencing was recordings were set and they didn’t record, as well as being unable to access the Sky+ planner or recorded programs.

Notes before you start

To to the latest software, you will need to force the decoder if it is failing to do so

  • You must have at least 50% signal quality, or more, before attempting a software upgrade
  • Make sure the satellite cable lead is tightly screwed into the decoder and not loose
  • You must have your decoder connected to your Sky registered line, i.e. not a secondary number that they do not know about
  • You are strongly advised not to run this procedure if you have already got the latest firmware available
  • You must not use your phone line whilst you are doing this process
  • Do not unplug the decoder from the mains whilst the software update is happening, or where it appears to have stalled / crash. You may end-up doing permanent damage.
  • If you have broadband on the same phone line / number, you must make sure that you have a broadband filter at the socket that the decoder plugs into. It may also be best that you turn-off your broadband connection at your router or modem whilst doing this process.

How to upgrade to the latest Sky Firmware / Software

  1. Remove your Sky viewing card from the decoder.
  2. Turn on your and ensure that you can see a feed coming from your Sky decoder (if you remove the card it will most likely just give you a message to reinsert the card, but no images will be shown, only a blue background).
  3. Turn-off the decoder at the wall socket, or better still unplug it and wait one minute
  4. Then, holding down the ‘back-up’ button on the front of the decoder, plug it back into the mains. Do not use the back-up button on the remote control.
  5. Still holding down the back-up button, count to 15, or wait until all the lights on the front of the decoder are on. A message should appear on the TV screen saying that the decoder is “Updating System Software – Please wait” – do so (patiently). When you see this message, you can remove your finger from the back-up button. Remember not to use your phone line during this period.
  6. Wait for around 15 minutes for the software upgrade to complete itself.
  7. When the update has completed the decoder will restart itself automatically. Wait for 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the red light appears. If it does not, wait for a minimum of 1 hour before turning it off and on again at the mains.
  8. Try watching and recording some TV and see if it works.

How to perform a full system reset on your Sky box

This should really only be used as a last resort. This is because all the recordings you currently have in your Personal Planner will be deleted.

  1. Press services on your Sky remote control.
  2. Highlight option 4 using the up/down arrows and press select.
  3. Press (number) 0, then 1, then select to access the Installer Menu.
  4. Highlight option 8 and press select to access the Full System Reset procedure.
  5. You will receive a warning advising you that you are about to delete everything that is currently in the planner. Press select to continue.
  6. You will see a message on your TV screen, “Housekeeping Please Wait.”
  7. After approximately two minutes the Housekeeping message will disappear and your Sky box will carry out the procedure and switch itself off and back on.
  8. Leave your Sky box on standby for one minute and then test the recording facility to confirm that this has solved your problem.

If you have come this far in the article, then final advice would be to call Sky Customer Support to book a service call.

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23 comments to How to Troubleshoot a Sky+ box & Upgrade the Firmware
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  3. Charles Shields says:

    I am unable to view a number of channels that I previously had such as: GOLD, Dave, Living, Sky1 etc. The on screen message is: “This programme is not available”. The information bar above the message has number 08 on it. I am still able to view the film channels that I subscribe to. I changed the Sky viewing card ca 3 weeks ago and haven’t had any problems until today.
    I have tried a Sky+Planner Rebuild as well as a Full System Reset, again without success. My final chance is with the upgrade of firmware/software. I’m hesitant to do this as I don’t have my Sky box connected to a telephone line. Is it a requirement to have the phone connected fro this procedure?

    • The Editor says:

      Yes Charles, you do need the Sky box plugged into the phone line at all times. It’s because the box will download updates when you’re not using it. This normally happens in the middle of the night.

  4. Charles Shields says:

    The subscription I have with Sky is without a phone line connected. Does this mean that I have to take the box to a service company to have the problem rectified ?

    • The Editor says:

      If you’re outside the shores of GB then your going to be a bit stuck. I don’t think Sky allows users to dial in from outside the UK when it checks for a software update.

  5. John Barton says:

    Does anybody know what has caused Charles’s problem? I have exactly the same issue, since yesterday.

  6. Charles Shields says:

    I asked Sky (via email) if I could download new software without a phone line. Yesterday my system was fully operational again and I received a mail to say that they had sent “signals” to my Sky box to rectify the problem.

  7. John Barton says:

    Charles, thanks for the update. Having done a bit of research into how the cards work I too had come to the conclusion that the card has somehow become invalid and a call to Sky to get them to fix it was going to be necessary. I like the email idea though, simpler than sitting in a queue – will give that a go tomorrow – thanks again.

  8. craig says:

    the picture on my sky+ box is rolling over as in it looks like a projector film. what’s the problem?

  9. Lax Sanghera says:

    During playback my picture flashes now and then.
    How can I prevent this. I have done a system update as shown above but problem still there.

    • The Editor says:

      Lax check your cable connections. If need be, try using a different SCART or HDMI cable.

  10. Shely says:

    We moved around our tv and Sky+ box and it worked fine for a couple of days and then after when we turned on the sky+ is says “No signal is found. Unplug your sky+ box at the wall for 1 minute”. So we turned the plug off if thats what it meant for 1 minute but still no hope. Any Help?

  11. chrisneh says:

    not any trouble ,but are sky going to bring out epg 8.2.3 for sky+ boxes too ,have it on main tv like it and woder if it’s going to be on sk+ (which we have upstairs on multiroom)

  12. Peter says:

    I have just had a new Sky HD box installed in my living room and now my TV in the bedroom no longer allows the channel to be changed. Previously I had the old standard Sky box with one of those ‘magic eye’ extensions into my bedroom, thus allowing me to change channels (so both the TVs in the living room and bedroom showed the same channel using the remote). However the new HD remote control no longer appears to work in conjunction with the magic eye extension. How do I fix this and return to being able to change channels on my new HD box whilst not being in the living room where my sky HD box sits, without having to install Multi room?

  13. Lee says:


    go to settings, and get into the Installer setup (can find how to do this on google)

    Find the option “RF power supply” and make sure its turned on…. if it isn’t thats why its not working, turn it on, save the settings and you should be working again. 🙂

  14. Jinx13 says:

    Full restore problem with instructions, to get installer menu you need to press “select” after 0+1

  15. Jinx13 says:

    Haha forget that missed it somehow

  16. Richard says:

    I use an out of contract box to view the free channels so I don’t have a subscription and are not interested in the Sky Channels.

    My box is in a room that does not have a phone connection – and my last residence didn’t have a phone line as I only use a mobile which is cheaper.

    So if my firmware is out of date (Which I suspect it is) then am I to undersdtand that Sky does not have another way to update the software – for instance through the satallite signal in the same way as a Freeview box updates?

    Seems a bit selfish of them really.

  17. jonny says:

    had massive problems a few weeks ago with failed recordings, read this article which prompted me to plug my phone line in (I didn’t even upgrade the firmware) I haven’t had a problem since.

  18. mark says:

    my sky hd box will record on the channel im watching but wont record a preset channel and comes up with no signal being received.if i turn on the channel i want to record and then go back to the channel i was watching it works that way.which is no good if i want to go out,has anybody got a clue.