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External drive expander died. Now what?

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by MacBrian, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. MacBrian

    MacBrian Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    My WD MyBook 1TB external drive expander has died. "Click of Death".

    The good news is that it died under warranty and the replacement drive is on it's way!

    The sad news is that I had nearly the entire fall season of all our favorite TV shows on my Premiere, and it was 95% full. :eek: I moved to a new house last fall so there wasn't much time to watch TV and I was counting on catching up now that the move is done. Oh well! :rolleyes:

    When the replacement drive arrives and I swap the failed drive for a new one, what happens when the Tivo boots? What's the best plan to pick up the pieces and continue on?

    Can I retain all my Season Passes and channel lineup or do I have to start over from scratch and do a new guided setup? I understand I've probably lost all the recordings. Do I just need to go through and delete any existing programs, or is there a chance some of them were entirely on the internal hard drive and are still watchable? Or will any of the broken recordings just disappear from the My Shows list once the new hard drive is married to the system?

    Just trying to get some ideas so I'm ready when the replacement drive arrives...
  2. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    Oct 14, 2004
    You might as well boot the Premiere now and divorce the failed drive, since you'll have to do that before you can marry the new one to it. Your season passes should remain intact. You might still have some shows left. It's different for each case.

    Plan to repeat this all again, since those WD expanders all fail.

    You'd be better off with an internal drive upgrade.
  3. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    You could take the internal drive out of the MyBook external case and try cloning it with ddrescue as found on the Ubuntu Rescue Remix CD (or something similar), but if it has the "Click of Death" it's probably time to kiss it goodbye. If it won't even become ready so that the BIOS can see it, it's a goner (barring extraordinary measures, probably at great expense).
  4. MacBrian

    MacBrian Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    For $7.99/month, this might be a good opportunity to re-subscribe to Hulu Plus to catch up on what I lost when the drive died!

    I've been nervous about the external drive failing ever since I got it. But hey, it's a hard drive and we all know it's never "if" they fail, but "when". The only important thing about "when" is that it needs to die within the warranty period, and it did, so that's about the best case scenario one could hope for...

    I didn't know I need to "divorce" the hard drive before I plug in the new one. Is that a menu option somewhere? Or is it something that pops up when the Tivo boots up and can't find the old hard drive?
  5. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    One more thought: I think the "Click of Death" pretty much proves that the problem is internal to the drive inside your external case, but if you have any other eSATA cables available, you could try them. They probably won't make any difference. Your best diagnostic move would still be to open the external case and work (non-destructively) with the drive inside as noted above.
  6. Teeps

    Teeps Active Member

    Aug 16, 2001
    Good advice.
    You might get the failing drive to run, long enough, to copy the contents by putting it in the freezer overnight or longer. (could even set it on a brick of dry ice after initial freezing to keep it cold.)
    Could make the drive work long enough to do the DD rescue procedure.
    Otherwise, you are back to square one far as saved programs.
  7. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I asks you "where is the old drive"? Then you can say it's gone. That's a very final act. You can still try to use a PC to test it, but the TiVo flags it as dead until you clear the flag with a PC reformat, if possible. Go for an internal drive upgrade. After two externals I learned my lesson.

    Better yet, off load the internal drive to a PC. That's virtually free with TiVo Desktop.
  8. MacBrian

    MacBrian Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    Well, it's done. All the recorded shows I lost when the Expander died are available on Hulu Plus or otherwise, so I decided the simplest was to just divorce the failed expander and put the new one on in it's place. The Tivo performed MULTIPLE restarts after removing the expander. I thought it was stuck in a loop...."Starting Up...." then black screen, the "Just a few minutes more..." then black screen, then "Starting Up..." over and over and over. I had my iPad in my lap during this process and I was reading other threads here at the forum and I learned I should just be patient and let Tivo do it's magic. Sure enough, much to my relief, it finally ended it's rebooting tasks and played the little welcome cartoon. Hooray!

    After the successful bootup, there was only ONE recording left in My Shows that would still play...and that happened to be a recording that I'd made before I added the original extender. (Makes sense, huh?) Probably about 50% of the original recordings were now gone from My Shows, and all the rest that were listed there failed to play with a message saying that the Tivo must've tried to record from a channel that had no signal or something like that. I wonder why all the bad recordings didn't just disappear after the divorce? Oh well...I methodically deleted everything (except for that one show previously mentioned) and made some test recordings. Everything seemed fine, and a couple of downloaded podcasts (Tekzilla, CNet) showed up and they worked OK, so I dod a reboot just for drill, and then added the new expander drive.

    Now I'm back to 400-some hours of capacity with only 1% used.

    Divorcing the old drive took 2-3 hours (!!) and all told getting everything going again took about 4-5 hours. Glad I didn't have to start from scratch with a guided setup. My Season Passes are still there, so I'll pick up from here and continue on.

    I should probably consider an internal hard drive upgrade and skip the expander idea, but once an internal drive fails that seems like it'd be a MUCH more time consuming process than this was, and this certainly wasn't quick! I used to have a fully tricked-out Series 1 with huge capacity and an Ethernet board and I also added a 2nd internal drive to my Humax Series 2 so I'm no stranger to imaging drives and poking around inside a Tivo. But I gotta say Tivo's expander idea was certainly a lot less hassle than the internal upgrades. Just wish Tivo had included some time estimates with their instructions to reassure me that everything was going as planned and not to panic after a dozen or so reboots!

    This gave me a chance to fully explore Hulu Plus. I'm blown away with how well the app worked and OMG, the picture quality was (to my eye) just as good as if I were watching one of my OTA HD recordings from my antenna! I'm thinking the monthly cost for Hulu Plus is a pretty darn good deal considering what you get for that $7.99.

    Thanks everyone for all your assistance. I'd have loved to have had the time to poke around in the failed hard drive and see if I could save any of the shows, but having just moved to a new house I've got 2 years worth of honey-dos on my list that take priority. :)
  9. HockeyFan

    HockeyFan Guest

    Oct 9, 2010
    My reccomendation is to replace the internal
    drive with a 2tb drive.

    "click of death" can usually be rescued by
    Replacing the controller card on the HD from
    a working one from same mfr, model, and size.
    at work I have successfully done this many times.
    At home it's not that easy to find the right one.
    It depends how important the shows on the external
    are worth to you.

    Spend extra and get the wd av-gp.
    In the end, they all die eventually.
  10. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood New Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    Clovis, CA
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just ordered a permiere and WD expander (instead of opting for the internal HD replacement).

    I think the WD give a sign that they are going bad. I had an expander on my series 3. I noticed before it died that things would hiccup...for example while watching live tv a few minutes behind the tivo would freeze momentarily. Eventually the drive inside the tivo died so I replaced that drive and have no space worries.

    In both cases, I noticed an deep crust of dust that probably led to overheating and then subsequent failure so I have plans for the future to dust those with a can of air.

    I just ordered my Premiere box and went with the WD expander because the deal TIVO gave me was only for the Premiere 4 (not the XL) and I dont wanna void my TIVO warranty by "opening the box". I figure between ON Demand, Netflix, Hulu Plus, the Expander I should be good to go.

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