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External Hard Drive Failing in my Tivo Series 3 - can I save data

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by lynnalexandra, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Thanks to the wonderful folks here (esp. thanks to Rich), in June 2009, I upgraded my series 3 Tivo - to a 1TB internal hard drive (WD 10EVVS, I believe) and an external 1tb Hard drive (same WE 10EVVS hard drive - in an Antec enclosure). AFter a 2 days power outage, when we returned home last night, the Tivo was stuck on powering up. Called Tivo - and it seems it's the external hard drive that is failing. (Unfortunately, I have loads of recordings I don't want to lose - and wonder if there's a way to save them.)

    Here's more background. My daughter turned the tv on - and it was stuck on powering up for over 1/2 hour. When my husband saw this, he went to repower it. He unplugged the Tivo - waited 60 seconds - plugged it back in. (he did not turn off the external hard drive, so it remained on during this.) When he plugged the Tivo back in, the same thing happened. Stuck on powering up. Then I stepped in (and might have made things worse - or perhaps I had no effect). I recalled that the external hard drive should be off too. So I unplugged the power adapter from the external drive - and the power from the Tivo. I can't recall which I plugged on first - maybe the Tivo.

    This is the first time I had looked at the external hard drive - and noticed the blue light was blinking. I don't know if the blue light was blinking before I entered the situation - or if I caused it.

    Tivo walked me through steps of disconnecting power - reconnecting power. If the external hard drive is off, the Tivo gets past the powering up screen. It goes to "almost there" - and then reports that it is looking for the missing external hard drive. Tivo concluded that this suggested the external drive was the one failing. We tried doing the kickstart 54 but we never got a blinking green light. We tried holding the pause button anyway - but never got the green light to blink nor did we get an amber or red light. Tivo concluded that we couldn't even test the hard drives given that the external drive didn't seem to be working. Tivo did suggest I power off and repower the external hard drive a few times (only turning on the Tivo after) to see if I could get the external hard drive to stop flashing blue - in other words, to spin and work properly so that I could start the Tivo and transfer recordings to my PC (I do have a 2TB external hard drive connected to my pc - that I just recently bought just to back up this Tivo).

    I tried a few times to power off - then power on the external hard drive - no luck. I can try again - but at this point, I'm not hopeful and am looking for whether there is a way to save my video's. I know I don't want to unmarry the Tivo and external hard drive bc. my video's will be permanently lost.

    Is there anything I can do to try to save these video's? Whether that's a DIY project - or a place I can send the Tivo and external drive which can save the data for me?

    FWIW - I had Western Digital green caviar 1.5TB second internal hard drive that I installed in my pc for this purpose (but hadn't gotten that far with it) - and that drive died in December. I still have the drive - just got a replacement from WD - and was going to see if I could save the data from that 1.5TB drive. I am not wary of Western Digital - having 2 hard drives fail after 1 1/2 years (the one in the PC was rarely used - the one attached to the Tivo was heavily used).

    Anyway to save my data?

    Thank you.
    Lynn.
     
  2. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    So after my last post, I decided to try again. I unplugged and plugged in my external drive - hoping that one of the times blue light would stop flashing - but after a few tries, no luck.

    Then I decided to try the kickstart 54 again. A couple of times, nothing happened. Then one time, I started by pressing the pause immediately and holding it. Soon I got the green, amber and red lights on. I let go of the pause button - and hit kickstart 57 (despite Tivo recommending kickstart 54, I saw Rich's post to start with 57 - so I did). It did reboot, said warming up, almost there.... then the following screen:

    EXTERNAL STorage Missing

    The external storage device was not detected. Your tivo digital media recorder will not operate without it.

    Please make sure that the external storage device is turned on and securely connected to the dVR. Then restart the DVR by unplugging it an dplugging it back in.

    If you no longer wish to use the external storage device with this dvr, press clear.
    -----------------------------------
    At this point, the blue light on the hard drive had become solid - no blinking. And I think I hear it spinning (it was silent while it was flashing). But the Tivo doesn't see it's there. I don't want to press CLEAR. Doesn't presssing clear unmarry them - thereby losing all my recordings?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Then I decided to try kickstart 54 - in case that was the more appropriate one for my Tivo 3. Same result - and again the external drive's light is staying on.

    So I'm perplexed - it seems that in order for the Tivo to diagnose or repair itself, it has to be working. There's the rub. I can get past the powering up screen - but only to get the message that the external storage is missing. With the blue light on, I had hoped to be up and running at least a little while so I could pull the recordings I most care about up to my pc.

    (and in the meantime, I can't seem to be able to get the tv to work at all - even if the Tivo is off. I tried running the coax cable straight into the tv - but nothing. ).

    Thank you.
    Lynn.
     
  3. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Oops. Sorry for a third post. In looking over other threads, I realize that I miswrote - I have a TivoHD (TCD652160) - not a series 3. In case that makes a difference.

    If my external hard drive is failing (or completely bit the dust), I notice mention in several threads that having an external hard drive is just another vulnerability to failure - it seems these drives are dying quicker than the internal ones - or at least adding a second potential source of failure (not sure that was the wisdom when I upgraded 1 1/2 years ago). If my drive has failed, and I'm starting from scratch, can I put a single 2TB hard drive inside my tivo hd? thus reducing the possibility of future failure?

    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  4. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Hi Lynn. About your only hope is to run TiVo's built-in diagnostic and repair programs called "Kickstarts":

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showpost.php?p=5643823&postcount=2

    I'd run them in this order: KS 57, KS58 and finally (if neither of those work) you could run KS54 which is a basic SMART diagnostic which can sometimes tell you if there is a serious problem.

    If the Kickstarts don't work, and from the sound of it they didn't, there's about a 50/50 chance that the actual hard drive in your external drive is okay and that the problem is with the enclosure. If you really want to save your recordings you could pull the hard drive out of the enclosure and install it in a new one like the Antec MX-1 or something similar. Some folks have had success that way, others not.

    Otherwise there's really not much you can do but divorce it. Any recordings made before you attached the external drive will still be there, but anything recorded afterward will be lost.

    Yes, you can upgrade your TiVo HD to a 2TB internal hard drive:

    http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=462179

    Hope that helps and best of luck!
     
  5. Feb 1, 2011 #5 of 40
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Thank you Rich. I was not able to run any kickstarts - just kept getting "external device missing." Weaknees says they may be able to recover the data ($250) - plus buying a new 1TB ext. hard drive from them for $299 (which is a healthy profit for them). DVupgrade doesn't repair these Tivo's. I also asked dvr_dude - bc. if he can recover the data at least he has 2TB upgrades for Tivo's - so I could put the data on a better solution single internal 2TB hard drive. I haven't heard back from him yet.

    My reluctance with the weaknees solution is that I'm buying an ext. hard drive for $299 - and I don't want another external hard drive as my solution. And I certainly don't want to spend money on that drive - just to then upgrade to a 2TB internal drive.

    I am hoping it's the enclosure and not the drive. Could I test this by putting the drive in an esata dock (and connecting that to the Tivo) - just to test it. And if it works, I can either 1) buy another antec enclosure or 2) transfer everything to my pc - then do the 2TB upgrade.

    Thank you.
    Lynn.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2011 #6 of 40
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Understood. So when you are trying to run the Kickstarts, are you actually power-cycling TiVo (unplugging it, waiting about 10 seconds and then plugging it back in)? If so the very first thing you should see would be the "Welcome! Powering up" screen. The KS codes are entered between the time that screen goes away and just before the "Almost there..." screen appears. I can't recall exactly but you should at least see the welcome screen before the missing external drive screen and you should be able to run the Kickstarts. Let me know if that's not the case though.

    There's one other solution that might work and that's using a program called "SpinRite". It's spendy at $90 but it claims to be able to recover data (even TiVo specific). You'd have to remove your external drive, connect it to a PC and run SpinRite to see if it works. There's no guarantee of course but it's worked for some folks here.

    Your question about an eSATA dock is a good one. I don't know how TiVo would handle a dock versus an actual enclosure. eSATA enclosures have a bridge and certain chips that TiVo would use to communicate with the external hard drive and vice-versa. I don't know that a dock would have the same thing. My guess is no and I have a vague recollection that someone may have tried it without success. It's worth a try if it's an option for you.
     
  7. Feb 1, 2011 #7 of 40
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Hi, Rich. I have power-cycled the Tivo - numerous times. Tivo tech told me to hit the pause button as soon as I plug in the power cord. Then on the Tivo HD, all three lights light up - and then I release the pause button and enter the kickstart code. The Tivo has seemed unresponsive to my hitting the code (whether it's 54 or 57). It doesn't seem to shift course - as those no command was received. It just continues powering up. Then I do get the almost there sign. Then the "external device is missing" message.

    I have another enclosure but I'm not sure it is meant for 24/7 running - but maybe that would be a better test just to see if the Tivo runs and recognizes the external drive. Would this be a safe enclosure to use? and if so, could I use this to transfer all the video - or would it overheat pretty soon? I suppose if this enclosure worked when testing, and it isn't suitable for longer term use, I could then buy another antec enclosure. It's this enclosure:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015LURY2/ref=oss_product
    ---------------------------------
    In case this information is useful, the docking station is this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001A4HAFS/ref=oss_product
    -------------------------
    On the idea of using spinrite, I have 2 concerns. One is that if I connect the drive to my pc - will spinrite copy it to somewhere? and if so, isn't my Tivo internal drive married to the current specific external drive? If I could clone the external drive, I'm not sure Tivo would recognize it (at least the Tivo tech told me that each hard drive has it's own number/signature - and that Tivo would be looking for it and probably wouldn't accept a clone on another drive).

    Other thing is that I'm not very good with software. Using Winmfs to create this set up originally took me most of a weekend (although I think my snafu's were not with the software per se). I'll take a quick search here and see if I can find any posts from someone who used spinrite.

    Thank you.
    Lynn.
     
  8. Feb 2, 2011 #8 of 40
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Okay, I see where the problem lies. Carefully follow the instructions here:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showpost.php?p=5643823&postcount=2

    By your description you're releasing the pause button and trying to enter the Kickstart code too early. You need to hold the TiVo remote's pause button down until only the amber light appears...that is after the three lights come on together. The amber light will only come on by itself for a few seconds. (It happens after the "Welcome! Powering up" screen goes out and before the "Almost there..." screen appears - but ignore the screens and watch the lights.) It's when the amber/yellow light comes on all by itself that TiVo will accept a KS command. That's when you release the pause button and enter the KS code 5 and 7 or 5 and 4, etc. It's a very short window of time, but it will appear and you can only enter it then, not before (as it sounds like your doing) and not after. Otherwise TiVo will boot up normally. Give it another try and it should work.

    That enclosure should work fine to determine if it's the hard drive itself or the MX-1 that's giving you problems. Assuming your external hard drive did work in that enclosure and you were just going to use it to transfer recordings, etc. it s/b fine. WD GP drives run pretty cool, but one could get hot in an non-fan cooled enclosure. However heat becomes a hard drive's enemy over time. It shouldn't heat up enough over a few days or however long it would take to transfer your recordings to cause any problems...and it might work fine long-term if it's in a well ventilated area. You'd just need to touch it once in a while to see how hot it's getting. If it ever feels like it's almost too hot to touch, then you should go back to a fan cooled enclosure like the MX-1.
    ---------------------------------
    I have that exact same dock. My guess is that it won't work to test your external drive but you could try it, no harm could be done.
    -------------------------
    No, it just attempts to correct data corruption...but I'd run the Kickstarts first.

    Again, cloning probably won't get you anywhere. If there's data corruption you would just clone the corruption. If there is something physically wrong with the drive you could get another one like it (http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-AV-GP-Intellipower-WD10EVVS/dp/B001PYDMC8) and run dd to copy it over. TiVo does recognize the drive by the model number...only.

    You probably won't find many folks that have used SpinRite unless you ask outright. Because it costs more than a new hard drive, about the only folks that use it are in the business of repairing hard drives for a hobby or living.

    My advice is to run the Kickstarts and see what happens and what the SMART diagnostic (KS54) says. Post it here and we can go from there.
     
  9. Feb 4, 2011 #9 of 40
    Pete327

    Pete327 New Member

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    Aug 13, 2007
    Washington, MI
    Lynn,

    I had a similar problem as you. The Tivo (I have a Series 3) kept rebooting and would usually report that the external drive was missing or another similar error message. I have terrible luck getting the kickstart codes to work as well (but i have successfully done it in the past). So I bought a new enclosure since I figured this was the safest bet in not losing my recordings. After I put the drive in the new enclosure, the Tivo rebooted and has worked fine since then. Its been about two weeks with no problems. Hopefully that will fix your issue as well.

    Pete
     
  10. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Rich - How long do I have to hold the pause button before the light goes amber? I did it several times that way - and held the button up to 10 minutes (2 or 3 attempts) - and the amber light never came on by itself. I will certainly try again if there's a chance I just didn't do it right. After 10 minutes, it seemed not to be working. Maybe I have to wait longer.

    Glad to hear I can test the drive also in the other enclosure - which I'll do if kickstart doesn't work.

    Also good to know that Tivo just recognizes the model number - not serial number so that cloning is a possibility. (Then we're back into software - but with the wonderful help here I might be able to pull that off - if the data is saveable.)

    Dave - good to hear a fellow sufferer finally got kickstart to work - and had luck with a new enclosure (although from what Rich says, the antec mx-1 is very good and less likely to be the source of failure than folks with the dvr expanders).

    Hopefully I can get to some more tests later.
    Lynn.
     
  11. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    I sold my TiVo HD, so don't have one here to test anymore, but it does work. You shouldn't have to hold the pause button for more than a couple of minutes before you can enter the code. Here's sfdukester's instructions specifically for the THD (after unplugging it and plugging it back in)...

    I know they changed the procedure slightly at some point, so it depends on the "year model" of the THD...yours may work using those instructions.

    Whatever the case, I'd certainly see if you can't get the Kickstarts to run before doing anything else. There's a good chance it might fix things.
     
  12. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Thanks, Rich. I just reconnected the Tivo HD and external drive to a television in my computer room (that way the family can still watch tv in the living room while I"m working on this - and if it does work, I've got days worth of transferring to do).

    So far, it's been on Powering Up for about 20 minutes. I know that's too long - but I've been going over these threads and the Tivo instructions which say this:

    TiVo HD
    TiVo HD XL

    1. As the DVR restarts, the green LED light on the front bezel DVR will be lit.

    2. As soon as it blinks, immediately (within 2 seconds) press and hold down the PAUSE button on the remote.

    3. Within a few moments, the yellow and red LED lights will turn on.(If you are unable to catch the timing, you may also hold the PAUSE button down continuously during the restart until the yellow and red LEDs come on.)

    4. When the yellow and red LEDs come on, release the PAUSE button and then press 54 on the remote control. (You will have approximately 10 seconds to do this.)

    As you can see, this seems to all occur very quickly. In my experience, all 3 lights get lit when the Tivo is powered back on. And I'm holding the Pause button the whole time - but nothing happens. Once - I think - I got a change in lights (maybe the amber and red came on). I released the pause button and hit 54. Nothing happened.

    I'm going to power cycle the Tivo and try kickstart again.
    -------------------------------------------------

    Okay - just tried it three times. I'm holding the pause button - for way more than two minutes - the amber and red lights just do not come on. After two times, I did notice that the red light on my Tivo Glo remote is on while I'm holding the pause button. And it goes out after about two minutes as I am continuing to hold the pause button. So I decided that I'd try that as my cue to release the pause button and press 54. Still nothing. The Welcome Powering Up screen stays on - no change at all.

    This is even less response than I got last weekend - when it seemed to respond/change course after hitting 54 a couple of times - but still no kickstarting is happening.

    Now the three times I tried this tonight, the blue led light on the external drive has continued to flash and isn't going solid. last weekend, it flashed most of the time - but for a couple of tries of running kickstart, it did remain solid.

    My main concern is that my initial Tivo lighting just doesn't conform to any instructions I've seen. At least not the way it's playing out today. When I first plugged it in last weekend, all three lights would light up. Now - as best as I can see, there's also a blue light. I am really confused and not sure what to try next.

    I read some threads where some people thought nothing was happening with the kickstarts. Turned the tv off for the night - only to discover it ran over night. So I'm leaving it for now - stuck on the WPU screen. At least until I may hear other advice here about what to try next.

    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  13. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    So I changed my mind. didn't just leave the Tivo at the third test. Decided to try a fourth test - bc. I think I'm getting all the lights lit up within moments (seconds) of powering up the Tivo (as the Tivo instructions suggest). So I power cycled again - holding the pause button as I powered up. Within seconds I got the other lights. Released the pause button. Hit 54. After a minute, it went to almost there screen. Then it went blank (grey screen - might have had a letter or two flash for an instant I couldn't catch) for a few seconds. Then said "external device missing."

    FWIW - some posters mention needing to display kickstart menu with composite cables - or 480resolution. last weekend the Tivo was connected to an HD TV - via hdmi. But now it's connected via composite cables to a standard definition television. Same results.

    PS - this time, after hitting 54 very early, and getting the almost there screen, the blue light on the external drive was solid. This happened last weekend as well.

    Help.
    Lynn.

    So this is what was happening last weekend.
     
  14. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Boy, without actually being there it's really hard to tell why it's not working.

    I guess for now I'd pull the external drive out of the MX-1 and slip it into your other enclosure, connect it to TiVo, turn the external drive on and then plug TiVo back in and see what happens.
     
  15. MeStinkBAD

    MeStinkBAD New Member

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    Jul 16, 2003
    Tucson, Az
    Lynn, you've spent all this time trying to get the kickstart to work... and came close to success but I really think that external drive is dead and unless you are willing to pay thousands of dollars to *attempt* to get some of data back you likely won't get all of it. Even if you did, it would take weeks to transfer a full 2GB of recordings to say an computer.

    It's sad when this happens. But it happens. And I really think you'd be happier with a working TiVo that can you can use. Don't worry about loosing the recordings. Everything you lost can be obtained again, it just may take some time. But you gotta drop the remote, replace the external HDD and start over so you can record new shows. Trust me I believe you'll be a lot happier.

    If you don't want to give up you don't have too... I just think that you need to stop a second, sit down on your couch, and watch some TV.
     
  16. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Mestinkbad - you are so right. I need to be able to actually sit down and watch tv. I have an old Tivo hooked up to the living room tv now - but with Comcast having gone digital, I only get a few channnels - and most of the last few days, there wasn't much on the regular channels we were interested in.

    I am not sure about obtaining those recordings again. Sure - the movies I can get again - either wait for them to be played again and record them - buy or rent them. Even some tv shows could be gotten from amazon on demand. But there are shows I don't think I can get. We love American Idol and So You Think You can Dance. I have the last 2 1/2 years recorded. The first year is up on my computer -safe - and backed up. But everything since June 2009 is not. Watching the dance performances and singing performances is something my family loves to go back to (the audition portions don't matter). One of the reasons for upgrading my Tivo was when I tried to find So You Think You can Dance online - and had no luck (beyond an occasional clip - no full episodes). I do want to ask what you mean by "you gotta drop the remote" - if you just mean stop holding the remote and pause, entering 54 - and not having a life, I completely agree. (Just in case you meant something else, let me know - I don't think you're saying my remote has anything to do with the problem.)

    Kickstart isn't working - and I do think it's time to give on that. I'll change enclosures in case that's the problem.

    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  17. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Okay - I opened up my Enclosure to switch enclosures in case it's just the enclosure that's failed. And turns out I was wrong about the drives I had chosen. I got the WD 10EVCS (manufacturing date 1-24-2009). If I did attempt to clone onto another WD 10EVCS drive, are they available any more? Are these drives that are not problematic (bc. of Intellipark)? Rich - you had provided a link for the drive replacement when I thought it was the WD 10EVVS - could you provide a link for the appropriate replacement for the WD 10EVCS - if there is one? please?

    I know I can find the model number but I think there are more than one choice (rpm, cache, etc).

    I know dd rescue is a long shot, but just want to be prepared in case that's my next step.

    Thank you.
    Lynn.
     
  18. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    1,588
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    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    I used a WD10EVCS to upgrade the internal drive in my TiVo HD quite a while ago. It's probably discontinued, but I think the WD10EVDS is the same except for cache size (C=16MB, D=32MB). I didn't do anything to change IntelliPark back then because I didn't know about it. I suppose if I replaced the drive today I would run WDidle3 and see what it reports at least.
     
  19. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    No luck on the putting the drive in a new enclosure. Turns out the new enclosure is does not offer esata connection. It is USB to a different kind of esata - and doesn't fit in the Tivo esata port.

    Not sure it's worth buying an enclosure just to test this out. I did clean the dustbunnies from the Antec enclosure. Not sure it's worth it to retest with that enclosure.

    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  20. lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    L David - I hadn't seen your post when I posted. The only reason I'd buy another drive is if it might work to clone the failing external drive. I believe Tivo will only continue the marriage if it's the same model of hard drive. So my only purpose is to still try and save my data. A different model wouldn't work.

    I am awaiting on word from DVR-dude - who can attempt to recover my videos - and get them on to an upgraded 2TB internal drive. I'd much prefer than to the solution offered by weaknees - which is that if they recover the data, it would have to go on another 1TB external drive (married to the Tivo already upgraded to 1TB). I am done with external hard drives. This is something I don't want to go through again.

    First choice - 2TB single internal upgraded hard drive (with vidoes and cable card pairings transferred if possible).

    Second choice - keep the Tivo with 1TB internal hard drive. Mourn the loss of my videos which would be destroyed in the unmarrying process. But the Tivo drive is fine - and would have my cable card pairings. From now on, work harder to transfer extra recordings up to my pc's external 2TB drive. Don't rely on an external drive married to the Tivo

    3rd choice - maintain 1TB external drive married to Tivo. REally only worth it to me if it saves my recordings.

    Lynn.
     

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