Well, here's the story with what's going on with one of my lifetime S2s. I actually currently own 5 TiVos, all lifetimed:
- a 2 tuner Premier, in good working order
- a 2 tuner TiVo HD, in good working order
- a single tuner S2, in good working order
- 2 single tuner S2's, neither of them working.
One of the broken S2's, IIRC, has a frozen screen, and the other, the one I'm trying to fix right now, always errors out during guided setup with error S03. I'm guessing that both might be due to bad hard drives, so I removed the hard drive, which is a Samsung SV4012H 40 GB drive, and I went to test it on a spare computer, when all kinds of bad things happened.
In my house, we have actually have 4 computers:
- 2 laptops, one of which is my wife's computer. The other sits next to our family room TV, for those times we want to watch shows off the internet, piped to the TV.
- 1 Emachines computer with Windows Vista, which is my main computer that I do all my house work on, and sometimes company work on.
- 1 older Emachines with Windows XP
The XP box is the only computer I have with an IDE mother board, and all my S2s also have IDE motherboards and IDE hard drives, so I've been relying on this XP box to help me make TiVo repairs.
My only other use I've been making of this XP box besides that, is that it runs pyTiVo, so I always have it on. I also have 2 NAS's, and one of them is dedicated to storing shows that my wife moves onto it via pyTiVo.
Well here's what happened.
1) I shutdown the computer normally
2) I installed the Samsung drive as a slave drive
3) I suddenly realized that I forgot to put my hard drive utility CD into the CD drive, and apparently I can't eject the drive with the power off, so I went ahead and turned it on, booting it to Windows XP.
4) I still couldn't open the CD drive! I even tried going into Windows Explorer, but it wasn't there. I went into device manager, and it wasn't there either. I tried unplugging and replugging the power cord and IDE cable to the CD drive a few times, but that didn't resurrect it either.
5) I googled the problem, and one person suggested to see if I made any hardware changes recently, and also to try system restore. Well of course I had made a hardware change (described above), so I reverted to before, by putting the original slave drive back in there. Didn't work. Tried a system restore, but while doing the restore, after rebooting it said the restore was unsuccessful, and that it couldn't do it.
6) I tried seeing if by chance any other IDE cables were loose, but they weren't, and while doing that, my display started getting wavy, then the brightness slowly but surely got dimmer. So I powered off the PC
7) Now, every time I try to power it on, the video is blank/black. The PC seems completely dead now, and I can't get anything to show up on the monitor, though the fan does spin when I power it on.
At this point, I'm starting to think that my PC is truly dead, that I should go ahead and accept that, and hold a funeral or something. I've owned this PC for many years, by the way, and it's given us lots of service.
So at this point, I'm trying to think what I should do. One idea is I could buy another IDE machine. A quick check on Craiglist shows somebody in my area selling an old XP working machine for $25, so that's one idea. Though I don't really like hanging on that OS, being as it's no longer being supported by Microsoft.
Another idea is that I could install pyTiVo on my Vista machine. But I wonder how much would that slow it down, as it's my main computer. Would it slow it down noticeably? All the movies are getting stored on the NAS, not the local hard drive. But I figure part of the CPU will be always working on pyTiVo, a thought I don't relish.
Plus that idea doesn't address my lack of an IDE motherboard, which brings up my next question. Is there such a thing a SATA-to-IDE adapter I could plug into my Vista machine, thus enabling me to use it to work on IDE hard drives, including running utilities to test their health, and also for installing TiVo images? If so, I guess I should consider that.
Still, if it's going to slow down my computer, maybe I should consider just buying another computer. If I go that route, I assume it would need to be an older computer if I want it to have an IDE motherboard, but I wonder if all computers that old are going to have XP or earlier on it, which I might not like.
Or, maybe I could buy a newer, more modern computer with something more recent than Vista, and let that become my new main computer, and then convert my Vista box into a pyTiVo / TiVo repair box. But that assumes that a Sata motherboard could be used for that purpose, hence my question above.
So basically, I'm not sure what best options are. I guess the good thing is, I don't think there's anything on the XP box, filewise, that I need preserved - not that that's an issue, as for all I know, the internal hard drives are fine, and it's just a motherboard malfunction. So if I need to retire the computer, I'll hold on to the two hard drives it contains.