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MFS Reformatter (mfsr)

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by ggieseke, May 10, 2015.

  1. May 10, 2015 #1 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    **WARNING**

    1. This software is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty of any kind.

    2. It is copyrighted and may NOT be used commercially.

    3. Opening your TiVo will void the manufacturer's warranty.

    4. While every effort has been made to prevent data loss, the ultimate responsibility is yours.

    OVERVIEW:

    This is a Windows program designed to reformat large (4TB - 6TB) Roamio drives. I call it a reformatter because it depends on some variables from the original auto-format process even though it throws most of them out the window. It should run on XPSP3, but I have only tested it on Windows 7 and 8.1 so far.

    Edit: Support for Bolts and drives up to 8TB has been added. See post #2 for the latest version.

    THE BASICS:

    Your Roamio must running 20.4.6 or later. Earlier versions go into an endless boot loop trying to format anything over 3TB.

    1. Put the drive in your Roamio and power it on. It will take about four minutes to auto-format the drive. When it gets to the first Guided Setup screen, power it off. The resulting drive will only use a fraction of the total capacity, but we will fix that in the next steps.

    2. Download mfsr and unzip it to somewhere on your computer.

    3. Connect the drive to your computer. USB 2.0 adapters will work, but are much slower than USB 3.0 or a SATA direct connection.

    4. Run mfsr with an account that's a member of the Administrators group or right-click it and choose Run as Administrator. Follow the instructions from there to reformat the drive to use its full capacity.

    5. Put the drive back in the TiVo and enjoy.

    NOTES:

    If you run this program on an existing drive you will lose all of your settings and recordings.

    It aligns the MFS file (application) and inode "zones" correctly for Advanced Format (4K) drives. That should improve performance and reduce wear & tear on the drive. This is something that I don't think has ever been addressed before.

    It works on 3TB drives as well. It will not run on 2TB or smaller drives. If there's enough interest in creating smaller drives that are fully AF aligned that can be addressed later.

    It only works on Roamios. If there is enough interest in a version for Premieres that can also be addressed in a later version.

    SPECIAL THANKS GO TO...

    jmbach, telemark, nooneuknow, and the original pioneers of MFS like Spike and comer.

    FINAL NOTE:

    It took over 400 hours of development time, a new WD 6TB Red drive, and a new copy of Visual Studio 2013 Pro to get this far. If you save a few hundred dollars by using this program instead of buying a prepared drive, PLEASE donate to the cause.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Roamios running 20.5.6 or later should use version 1.0.0.2 from post #2.
     

    Attached Files:

    • mfsr.zip
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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
  2. May 10, 2015 #2 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    Here's version 1.0.0.2. I added support for Bolts and hopefully fixed the bug in post #184.

    Early Bolts get a red screen error message when trying to format drives over 3TB. If it has already updated to 20.5.4a it will act like a Roamio running 20.4.6 or later and make it to Guided Setup. Either way, that's the time to hook the drive up to your PC and run mfsr.

    Profs to telemark for providing disk images for me to work on and aaronwt for testing it.

    2016-02-21: Added version 1.0.0.3. It fixes a bug that ONLY affects Bolt drives over 4TB.

    2016-04-29: Version 1.0.0.4 works on 8TB drives. :eek:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  3. May 10, 2015 #3 of 923
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Wow, this is great addition to the community. I don't have a Roamio yet but will certainly plan on using this and donating when I do get one.

    Scott
     
  4. May 10, 2015 #4 of 923
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    Clarifications known, and request for further clarifications:
    IIRC, even though most running still running XP (even if just on a properly isolated from the internet "TiVo wrangling" machine), are likely to have XP SP3, didn't the pre-release run-up say it should (theoretically) work with XP SP2?

    I ask, since some might not have a XP SP3 install DVD, as slipstreaming Service Packs (as most knew how to) ended with XP SP2, and no official XP SP3 install CD was ever released by MS. Even the default compatibility settings in Win 7/8.x default to XP SP2.

    That minor detail aside, the part about the TiVo being on software version 20.4.6, or later, means this:

    You must have had a stock, or other supported size drive, already installed in the Roamio, and have had completed Guided Setup, all the way through to the point of the System Information screen stating a version of 20.4.6 (or later), BEFORE attempting to complete this upgrade process with a 4-6TB drive, or it will not work.

    EDIT/ADD: An easy way to find the current software version on your Roamio, is to press the info button on your remote, on the very first screen of Guided Setup.

    @Greg: Please feel free to integrate any of this into your OP#1, if deemed correct, or to publicly flog me for posting a clarification post as my first public comment.

    That aside, thank you for all the hard work, and putting up with me throughout the 400+ hours you slaved over a hot computer, cooking up this beautiful program. I sure hope the community appreciates you releasing it completely free of charge, and pays it forward by contributing to your beer fund (since developers run on beer, with the exception of the alternative fuel ones).
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  5. May 10, 2015 #5 of 923
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Paradise...
    Wow, Happy Mod'ers Day! :up:

    Great job guys!
     
  6. May 10, 2015 #6 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    XPSP2 should work, but I don't have anything that old to test it with. Slipstreaming SP3 into all of my XP installations is something that I dealt with back in the late '90s.

    The 20.4.6 part comes from the minimum version that won't boot-loop on a drive over 3TB. It may work even on earlier versions, but (once again) I have no way to test it.
     
  7. May 10, 2015 #7 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    Moms, enjoy!
     
  8. May 10, 2015 #8 of 923
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Staunton, VA
    Wait a second, XP didn't come out until 2001 and sp3 in 2008! :)

    Scott
     
  9. May 10, 2015 #9 of 923
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    My super-technical version, for true alignment purists, or those who would like to be:

    Aligning the partition boundaries by AF/4K/512e rules alone, was not aligning the data within some partitions. For this data, this meant no benefit from only aligning the boundaries. This gross oversight by TiVo (and possibly any other sources of prepared drives, even if advertised as aligned and/or optimized), meant the drives were still subject to unnecessary Read-Modify-Write operations of whole adjacent physical 4K sectors, when only one operation to one sector should be required. The effect of this can become a chain-reaction, as each unaligned operation overlaps to an adjacent sector.

    Due to TiVo partitions being in zones, in a sandwich-like layout, to try and optimally position them for seeking operations, the same excessive operations caused in one zone, also lead to unnecessary seek operations, as the heads move between zones and back again.

    The additional alignment and optimization added beyond only boundaries, and to the data within, should (theoretically) increase the lifespan / life expectancy of the AF (Advanced Format) drives that have come to replace the 512-byte native sector drives, which used to be the standard for sector size.

    Of course, a drive that comes DOA, suffers "infant mortality", or just has manufacturing defects, is going to fail, no matter what, and all drives eventually fail. But, a drive without defects exceeding mfg quality standards, should (theoretically) hold its operational performance for longer, as well as gain extended longevity.

    Modern TiVos, recording 4-6 streams in HD bitrates, work hard drives past what even some enterprise drives are designed to handle in TB/yr (Terabytes per year) workload ratings, which are rapidly becoming the rating standard for modern, high platter data density, hard drives, replacing MTBF & MTTF ratings. The reason why TiVo drives have such extreme workloads (beyond more HD content, and more tuners), is due to there only being one drive to handle all this data, rather than a RAID array, like enterprise class workloads are intended to be distributed across (multiple drives), reducing the workload of each drive in the array.

    Now, quit drooling, and get upgrading. If you fail to donate to the cause, I will hunt you down, and bombard you with tech-speak, until you submit your donation (don't forget PayPal takes a cut), or your brain liquefies.

    It was an honor, and a pleasure, to work with the other parties (see OP #1) who played such an important role in not just this, but also all those TiVos that are working today, because of DVRBARS, which has been provided and supported for free, but provided at a loss, due to hosting costs and fees. Yet, after over a year of losses, the same author has chosen to provide this to you at no cost, and only hopes to break-even, at best.

    While he is too modest to say so, a $2 donation costs more in PayPal fees, than the donation itself. So, please, let's not insult him with more losses.

    This might be the last TiVo project I get to be a part of (albeit a very small part), and I sure hope some of those who said 3TB wasn't enough, then 4TB wasn't enough, asking if bigger drives would work, wake up and make some noise!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  10. May 10, 2015 #10 of 923
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    Thanks. If I give it a try I will send a donation. What 4TB, 5TB, or 6TB drives are best to use with this?
     
  11. May 10, 2015 #11 of 923
    jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    In my order of preferences: WD A/V Green, WD Red or Green, Seagate A/V.
     
  12. May 10, 2015 #12 of 923
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    Testing was done using the WD Red EFRX line.
    Almost literally any drive that should/would work in a TiVo, in the 4-6TB range, should work with the software.
    Reliability/longevity for these drive capacities, used in a TiVo: It is too early in these sizes, and technology used, to even guess.

    My order of preferences list (starting with best WDs @5400RPM, all technically in the "green" class):

    WD AV Green EURX - Currently only available up to 4TB - 3yr warranty.
    WD Red EFRX (is an AV drive, but has TLER, and is meant for use with a proper RAID controller) - 3yr warranty.
    WD Green EZRX (non-AV) - 2yr warranty. If it had 3yr, would be bumped up one line in list.
    Seagate AV (5900RPM)
    Other brands, as long as they are low-RPM "green" power profile 5400-5900RPM

    For more details, click spoiler show button.
    Any drive used should have the lowest possible cold-start/spin-up/peak power requirements.
    Be wary of drives not clear on actual peak power requirements.
    WD's "Intellipower" is all about requiring the least amount of power, to get spun-up to 5400 RPM.

    WD Purple PURX - Nobody involved in the 4-6TB free/community projects recommends these, although they will "work" - 3yr warranty.
    These are also AV drives, but have TLER, and only a 60 TB/yr workload rating. Exceeding it can kill the drive, void your warranty, and WD can find out if you have. Use at your own risk. Even a 2-tuner TiVo, buffering/recording HD 24x7 can push TB/yr to the limits.

    To the best of my knowledge, this reflects a consensus among everybody involved with "mfsr" (although, posts by others others may vary slightly).

    *** In the larger sizes, it is best to come to make your own educated decisions, through profile/spec caparisons, and knowing the limits of each TiVo's power supply/adapter, especially when it comes the the Base/OTA Roamio. An upgrade to a higher rated-capacity power "brick", to replace the Base/OTA's "wall-wart", may be required in some cases. I prefer to advise being proactive, but also to use caution, on this matter.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  13. May 10, 2015 #13 of 923
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    Do you need to do anything to the red drives like is needed with the green drives. Where you change some setting to 5 minutes.
     
  14. May 10, 2015 #14 of 923
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    - Not in a Roamio. With the OS moved into flash. The boot sequence doesn't have that older TiVo issue.
    - If you are OCD, then the Red has (essentially) that same Idle Mode 3, but currently shipping drives on NASware 3.0 have it already set to 5 minutes (but not disabled).
    - Really old stock, still on NASware 2.0, has it set to the shortest time, and has a designated Red utility that runs under any OS, even Windows, to update it to be 5 minutes.
    - I haven't even messed with the default short time on my Red NW2.0 ones.
    - The wdidle3.exe tool reports it will disable the mode, if you want to go that way. I'd have faith in the newer tool, if you got an old stock Red drive.
    - IIRC, past a certain size, no Red drives shipped with the older NW 2.0. I just don't recall what size. It was >3TB for sure.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  15. May 10, 2015 #15 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    I'd use AV Green if possible (and it's not after 4TB).

    I used a 4TB Red (EFRX) drive for testing because it was the only 4TB drive handy, and a 6TB Red because it could serve as an emergency backup for the 24TB RAID on my latest PC. YMMV and I could be wrong, but I wouldn't touch a Purple drive with a gun to my head.

    After reviewing endless drive specs and reviews (and making my own choices), all I can say is stick to low RPM drives. Your Tivo is going to treat it as a 1.5Mbps drive no matter how fast it really is, and anything beyond that is just more noise, heat, and power consumption.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  16. May 11, 2015 #16 of 923
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Staunton, VA
    Greg,

    Any chance you could create a program that would do this alignment for a non-Roamio TiVo drive?

    Scott
     
  17. May 11, 2015 #17 of 923
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    Any model in particular? Premieres should be fairly easy, but I'm hesitant to go back any further than that.
     
  18. May 11, 2015 #18 of 923
    Am_I_Evil

    Am_I_Evil Member

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    just ordered a 6TB drive...we'll see how this goes lol

    *yes i will also be donating :)
     
  19. May 11, 2015 #19 of 923
    BruinGuy

    BruinGuy Member

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    SoCal
    One quick question:

    I know how to move all of recorded shows from my existing drive via third party software. However, I don't know how to move my One Pass or Wish List selections. Is there a way? Or do I have to re-enter them by hand?
     
  20. May 11, 2015 #20 of 923
    nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    If you want basic & simple, via web browser:
    TiVo's online SPM: Season Pass manager - TiVo
    TiVo's instructions: How to use the Season Pass manager

    If you want the best swiss army knife to run from your PC, this is it:
    Download here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/kmttg/
    Introduction here: http://sourceforge.net/p/kmttg/wiki/Home/
    Some find the interface a bit unfriendly/overwhelming. But, it's worth learning how to use, lets you save local backups of all your TiVo Passes, on all your TiVos, and restore them to another.

    As long as you take them time to read the introduction/instructions, KMTTG is supported in its own thread, right on TCF, if you have an issue.
    New program for 1 step TTG downloads, decryption, encoding - kmttg

    If this helps you, please bookmark this post, and pass it along, the next time you see somebody asking similar questions.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015

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