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Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bkdtv, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. MPSAN

    MPSAN Active Member

    Jun 20, 2009

    Well, I spent $68 a few weeks ago but getting them at Fry's and being able to return them if I had trouble was kind of worth it. I needed to resolve our FIOS "issue"!
  2. ashu

    ashu User title defunct

    Nov 8, 2002
    It seems the usual suspects have spotted this deal. I was thinking about jumping on this for my S3, as a replacement for the only, never-upgraded internal drive.

    Wondering whether the WD-Green-won't-work with the S3 (but will work with HD, HD XL etc) issues of yore (back when the Greenw as released) are still a concern.

    i.e. Should I get the Green drive as a standalone/replacement upgrade (internal) drive for my S3 (classic, the one with THX and the OLED screen)?

    The timing would be great because I am having the intermittent reboot issue with the S3, with it sometimes staying stuck on the "Welcome, Powering up ..." screen! :eek:
  3. jeepguy_1980

    jeepguy_1980 Unregistered User

    Mar 1, 2008
    I just grabbed one this morning for my S3. I hope it works, but if it doesn't, I'll stick it in my PC.
  4. Gharlane

    Gharlane New Member

    Nov 26, 2007
    I just put the 1.5 TB version of this (WD15EARS) into my S3 (OLED) last week, and it's working fine so far.
  5. Rosenkavalier

    Rosenkavalier Call 1-600-DOCTORB!

    Nov 9, 2001
    D/FW area,...
    There is a review of the new-ish 1TB WD My Book expander on Amazon indicating that it did not work on their TiVoHD, and that supposedly 'tech support' confirmed that it was not supported for the TiVoHD. Amazon comment here: http://www.amazon.com/review/RRY2MNAGWC7GX/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    I was curious to see if anyone here had the 1TB version working on a TiVoHD...
  6. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Most (but not all...including the rest of WD's My Book Series) eSATA drives work with the Series3, but I'm surprised that the new drive would work with a Premiere but not a TiVo HD/HDXL. The description notes TiVo Series3 and Premiere, but they should clearly state that it does NOT work with TiVo HD's. Since TiVo recognizes external drives by the specific drive number I'm still at a loss as to why it isn't TiVo HD friendly yet plays nice with the others...really makes no sense. :confused:

    If anyone gets one of these drives for an S3 or Premiere, can you please post the hard drive number listed in the System Information screen? TIA.
  7. nn2g2bT

    nn2g2bT We R All Individuals

    Jul 11, 2010
    Long Island, NY
  8. KINetics

    KINetics New Member

    Jun 30, 2010
    Probably a bad eSATA cable that was included with the Expander.

    Read the newegg review here from a guy who got it working with a TivoHD.

    [Sorry, I can't post links yet]
  9. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the post. Here's the link with a review about the new Western Digital My Book AV drive working with a TiVo HD...


    A bad cable makes more sense. I couldn't figure out why or really how WD would release a unit that works with the Premiere but wouldn't be backward compatible to the more prevalent TiVo HD/HDXL (as well as the original Series3).

    It seems that WD is repeating history. The original WD My DVR Expander had all sorts of problems with the included eSATA cable. There where many, many complaints here and elsewhere about them. More often than not the connectors were too short for some reason. When some industrious folks trimmed the plastic back away from the connector, the cable worked. WD cleaned things up later but it was pretty ugly for several months.

    So if it's just a matter of a lousy eSATA cable, the recommended SIIG Serial ATA external cable is about $10.


    If anyone gives this drive a try with their TiVo HD, please let us know how it goes. TIA!
  10. pilotbob

    pilotbob New Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    Just want to say thanks very much for the FAQ.

    Recently my TiVo has been acting up.. I was getting pixelation and audio dropouts that didn't happen all the time. All of Verizon's testing showed fine and internet is working without problems.

    So, I figured the Hd was starting to go... getting bad spots.

    I ordered a new one based on the FAQ list... followed the directions to upgrade using WinMFS and it went perfectly.

    Thanks again,


    (I wish getting an OTA antenna up and working were as easy.)
  11. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Congrats Bob and enjoy your "new" TiVo!
  12. rxrepli

    rxrepli New Member

    Sep 5, 2008
    I wanted to provide you with additional information regarding the WDxxEVDS drives, the soft reboot issue, and the need to run wdidle. Recently, I used the Mr. B image to upgrade my second TiVo HD with the WD20EVDS. I am on a Mac Pro so I can't run wdidle.

    The upgrade went as smoothly as my previous upgrades have. However, the Mr. B image contains the 11.0d build. On the first boot, the TiVo hung. I unplugged and rebooted and everything was fine. After completing Guided Setup I attempted a soft reboot. Again the TiVo hung on the Welcome Powering Up screen. I unplugged and rebooted and all was fine.

    About 48 hours later I received the 11.0g service update. The TiVo restarted itself and booted normally. Just to be certain, I again did a soft reboot and the TiVo restarted normally. NO MORE getting stuck on the Welcome... screen. About a day later I received the 11.0h service update and the TiVo restarted itself successfully. As I write this it is working flawlessly without getting hung at the Welcome... screen and I did not run wdidle on this drive.

    In summary, it appears that the soft reboot issue is resolved by the 11.0g service update. I'd say using the WDxxEVDS drives without running wdidle will operate properly and quietly if one starts with the 11.0g or 11.0h image. The build date of the drive I used is 28 APR 2010.
  13. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Excellent feedback for everyone here. Thanks for that. :up: There have been a few other posts mentioning that v11.0g resolved the soft reboot issue for some, but perhaps not all drives. It's a big ask, but having folks install new drives w/o running wdidle initially to see how it goes is about the only way to confirm it completely...and then only for that particular drive.

    In any case, it's good to know that the WDXXEVDS series' soft reboot issue seems to have been resolved with TiVo v11.0g and later. Good news indeed!
  14. JLK62

    JLK62 New Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    I just added a WD My Book AV 1TB to my Tivo HD. I'm using the eSATA cable that came with it & so far so good. I'm really happy about the extra space. Those 21 hours of HD can get used up pretty easily!
  15. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Sweet! Thanks very much for the post. This basically confirms that the drive does indeed work with all HD TiVo's (Series3, TiVo HD/HDXL and Premiere).

    Thanks again and enjoy all of the new real estate!
  16. atlr

    atlr New Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    bkdtv and contributors, Thank you for maintaining this FAQ about replacing TIVO hard drives. I upgraded to a WD10EARS today because my Comcast plan now has a bunch more HD channels which just overwhelmed the stock 160 GB drive.
  17. rmstone

    rmstone New Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    I have a TivoHD and an 1TB WD myDVR expander drive. If I unplug the external from the power supply will I lose all of my recordings?

    We're going out of town for a few weeks and I want to unplug a few things. While away I want to make sure my tivo does its recording.

    Thanks in advance!
  18. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    The short answer is if you want to save your existing recordings, don't unplug the external drive. It takes about as much power to run it as a couple of light bulbs so you wouldn't gain much anyway.

    All recordings are striped across both the internal and external hard drives. If you were to unplug the external hard drive and wanted to continue to have TiVo operating you would need to properly divorce the external hard drive...which would lose all of the recordings left on your TiVo from the moment the external drive was connected.

    If you decide to remove the eSATA drive, be sure to follow the proper divorce procedure:


    Enjoy your time away!
  19. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    Just a comment about the new 4K format drives. All these new drives appear to the OS exactly the same as the previous generation drives because they all emulate the old 512 sector format by default. The internal overhead for the drive controller is more efficient, though, and ultimately will allow larger drive sizes.

    The actual sector size is really the province of the drive controller so should not concern us much. 4K is actually an ideal size since it matches up with memory block size and most importantly cluster size and strikes a good balance for space use efficiency. 4K is the default cluster size for most operating systems. A cluster is the smallest piece of data the that will be written to the disk by the operating system.

    As has been mentioned, the only problem is when a particular operating does its partitioning without any awareness of 4K boundaries and the 8 to 1 mapping gets skewed by 512 bytes, let's say. Since the operating system is writing out 4K clusters that data will now have to span 2 of the 4K sectors. The operating system is happily writing out the 4K cluster 512 bytes at a time as usual (via the emulation) and when the harddrive controller gets the final 512 it goes oops, have to start on an entire new 4K sector. That is when you get the Read-Modify-Write bottleneck mentioned earlier in what should have been a single write by the drive controller. Addtionally, you get the space usage inefficiency of what is in effect a 8K sector. Every 4K cluster of data will take 2 4K sectors. Bad on both counts.

    This partition alignment problem only occurs with Windows XP and earlier (and its server cousin Server 2003). It is not a concern for TiVo (and Linux and Mac) users and it is not even a serious problem for XP users since there are utilities to fix it. As users have testified, there are no problems using 4K sector drives with the TiVo since the Tivo has no partition alignment issues and by the end of this year there will be no new 512 sector drive models anyway.

    There was a good article at anandtech.com about all this sometime last year if interested. The point here is that this needs to be a dead issue as far as the TiVo is concerned.
  20. richsadams

    richsadams New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Wow...excellent summary. So simple even a caveman (me for instance) can get it. Thanks for that. :up:

    Hopefully bkdtv can modify the FAQ, removing the reference to the possible 4K sector "problem" and adding Western Digital's WDXXEARS series to the recommended drive list. (I haven't seen him around here of late and will send him a PM.)

    Thanks again!

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