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Old 03-13-2014, 06:34 PM   #1
tarheelblue32
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What is the safest way to power down a TiVo?

There is a "stand-by" mode and a "restart" function, but there is no "power down" option (at least none I can find in the menus). So just what is the safest way to power down a TiVo?

Option 1: Put the TiVo into stand-by mode, then yank the power cord out.

Option 2: Tell the TiVo to "restart", then yank the power cord out at the moment the power seems to cut off

Option 3: Put all tuners on a non-existent channel so the hard drive stops spinning, then yank the power cord out

Option 4: To hell with it, just yank the power cord out.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:37 PM   #2
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I haven't found it makes any difference, learned by accident. But if I am doing it on purpose I stop any recordings. But when you think about it, it is always recording the 1/2 hour on each tuner, so why bother?
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:51 PM   #3
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It's been debated (in some form) since Series 1 days, and so far nobody has come up with any evidence that Option 4 is not as safe as any of the others. (IMO, option 2 is less safe than the others, but that's just my opinion.)
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:25 PM   #4
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I always choose option 2 when I can, but I'm not fanatical about it. I disagree with Crispy about option 2 - this method makes sure that all disk writes have completed and the OS has shut down cleanly.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:28 PM   #5
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I just yank the cord. Never had a problem doing that.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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I always choose option 2 when I can, but I'm not fanatical about it. I disagree with Crispy about option 2 - this method makes sure that all disk writes have completed and the OS has shut down cleanly.
If there's a way to screw up a TiVo by unplugging the power cord, option 2 seems to me to do the best job of reducing the chance of that happening.

Which is why that's the way I always do it.



(If smoke or sparks should suddenly start coming out of a TiVo, I'd change that to "the way I almost always do it." )
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:34 PM   #7
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Option 3 is not an option. The hard drive is always spinning no matter what you do.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:10 PM   #8
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Option 5: Use NetFlix App, wait 3 minutes for the TiVo to freeze; pull cord.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:24 AM   #9
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Option 2, all the way,

Even though I now use WD Red NAS drives in my TiVos, which are advertised as being able to finish pending operations upon sensing a power loss, and I have UPS battery backup power on all things TiVo and network, pulling the power is the only power loss my TiVos ever see.

We'll never know if the LiveTV buffers get turned off in that moment you menu-reboot, so I used to park my tuners on invalid channel numbers, before I became a WD Red NAS drive fan.

While TiVos are designed to deal with power losses, at any time, they can't be 100% immune to a bad-timing (just the right moment) power-loss, and data corruption resulting from it, which they might not always be able to recover from, via boot-time drive integrity checks.

I dare anybody who thinks yanking the cord, without initiating a reboot first, is perfectly safe, to do it repeatedly, allowing the TiVo to fully boot and be ready for use, then keep repeating doing so, making sure to do it under differing operational states.

I'll still pull power with my tuners active, if I can't initiate a menu reboot first. But, I enjoy not religiously "tuner parking", like I used to...

Option 1 doesn't really have any benefits (IMO), while Option 4 is just asking for something to go wrong. If you always do Option 4, and it hasn't ever "hurt anything", I feel you should just feel "lucky".

I'd want a TiVo treated that way, as much as I'd want to buy an overclocked & over-volted CPU (or along the lines of those who compare a re-certified hard drive with a used jock strap).

To each their own, YMMV, and good luck with however you choose to use/abuse your TiVos.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:44 AM   #10
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Option 3 is not an option. The hard drive is always spinning no matter what you do.
If you tune all of the tuners to non-existent channels, I think the hard drive does stop turning as there are no active buffers at that point. But I could be wrong.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:47 AM   #11
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Option 5: Use NetFlix App, wait 3 minutes for the TiVo to freeze; pull cord.
Sad, but that was very true, for a very long time, for very many people...

I haven't had any Netflix lockups on any TiVos for a couple years now. They just reboot, instead of locking up (I guess that's called a "bug fix").

I'm sure if I say any more (or just leave this as-is), I'll be hearing from those who say there's nothing wrong with TiVo's Netflix implementation(s)...

I'd rather go without "TiVo-rebooting-during-primetime-while-watching Netflix Anxiety". To each their own, YMMV, etc...

P.S. I'm not talking about the recent random rebooting TiVos issue that was going around for a few weeks, which didn't require using Netflix to experience.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tarheelblue32 View Post
If you tune all of the tuners to non-existent channels, I think the hard drive does stop turning as there are no active buffers at that point. But I could be wrong.
Pretty sure you're wrong about this. I used to tune non-existent channels to speed up my TTG transfer to my PC. The HDs are still spinning, they just aren't writing.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:51 AM   #13
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Option 4 should be fine.

I don't recall anybody here on TCF ever reporting a problem being caused by just pulling the plug.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:53 AM   #14
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If you tune all of the tuners to non-existent channels, I think the hard drive does stop turning as there are no active buffers at that point. But I could be wrong.
Yes, you are "mistaken" (nicer word than "wrong").

While you can reduce the amount of read/write operations by tuner-parking, the drive in a TiVo NEVER stops spinning, doesn't go into standby, park heads, etc.

As long as the TiVo, drive, and power supply are operating correctly, the only way it won't be spinning, is if there is no power to the TiVo, or something is wrong with some part of it. This applies to all models/platforms of TiVo ever made.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:59 AM   #15
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Yes, you are "mistaken" (nicer word than "wrong").

While you can reduce the amount of read/write operations by tuner-parking, the drive in a TiVo NEVER stops spinning, doesn't go into standby, park heads, etc.

As long as the TiVo, drive, and power supply are operating correctly, the only way it won't be spinning, is if there is no power to the TiVo, or something is wrong with some part of it. This applies to all models/platforms of TiVo ever made.
Hmm, okay well assuming I am wrong...er, I mean "mistaken", even if the hard drive is technically still spinning when tuner parked, wouldn't it still theoretically be better to pull the plug when there is no read or write activity going on?
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:09 AM   #16
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Hmm, okay well assuming I am wrong...er, I mean "mistaken", even if the hard drive is technically still spinning when tuner parked, wouldn't it still theoretically be better to pull the plug when there is no read or write activity going on?
Yes, I thought I pretty much covered that in a prior post here, but I could be wrong/mistaken about that.

A drive always has a better chance of escaping corruption (or suffering less corruption, making it easier for integrity restoration), if it is less busy at the time power is lost (or deliberately removed).

TiVos still can be quite busy and thrashing the drive while indexing data and performing routine operations, even with the tuners "parked". I respect people who actually think enough to take the time to reduce the drive's load before pulling the power. It has never been proven to hurt to park the tuners. Any pre-Roamio TiVo will gain network speed by parking the tuners. It's even an option built into the KMTTG software to park the tuners (when possible) before starting any transfers (for the network transfer speed increase).

My notes on the WD Red NAS drives being able to sense a loss of power and complete pending operations may have cluttered up that part. TiVo doesn't use WD Red NAS drives, however. Some of us just choose to use them.

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Old 03-14-2014, 06:54 AM   #17
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Option 2 with the emphasis on pulling the plug at the power outlet rather than yanking it out of the back of tivo.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:05 AM   #18
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I've always pulled gently and never yanked anything.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:50 AM   #19
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Option 5: Use NetFlix App, wait 3 minutes for the TiVo to freeze; pull cord.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
I've always pulled gently and never yanked anything.


Considering many users don't have their boxes on a UPS and that power outages and/or dropouts occur everywhere, sooner or later, can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if Tivo did not design for survival after pulling the plug?
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #20
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Clearly, the TiVo software is designed to resist problems, but over the years I have seen too many cases where a power interruption, especially one where the power dropped for a fraction of a second (as might happen if you pull the plug "gently") has corrupted disk drives or even caused the drive to fail electronically. The power supplies in TiVos are not robust.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:31 PM   #21
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Clearly, the TiVo software is designed to resist problems, but over the years I have seen too many cases where a power interruption, especially one where the power dropped for a fraction of a second (as might happen if you pull the plug "gently") has corrupted disk drives or even caused the drive to fail electronically. The power supplies in TiVos are not robust.
So you're saying that my TiVo doesn't like it gently, she likes it hard and fast?

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Old 03-14-2014, 02:14 PM   #22
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I've always pulled gently and never yanked anything.
Are you sure
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:38 PM   #23
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Option 4 should be fine.

I don't recall anybody here on TCF ever reporting a problem being caused by just pulling the plug.
How often does anybody advertise, publicly, that they just pulled-power, rather than initiating a reboot first, and corrupted their drive? I've seen people actually post that they did (an indication they didn't know better, or know they did anything wrong). But, if I were a gambling man, I'd bet on many more instances where that detail was left-out (or just called a "power loss").

I've also seen posts where brown-outs, and power black-outs, resulted in a boot-looping, and unrecoverable drive (other than "recovery" by re-imaging a drive that tests without any actual drive issues, leaving just corrupted data/file-system structures/databases).

It has happened to me, and I learned my lesson (back in the TiVo HD days). I didn't come on here and publicly post exactly what I did, as I knew that I should have initiated a reboot, then pulled power, as opposed to just going straight to the power cord. It just makes sense to do so, when possible.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:16 PM   #24
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Clearly, the TiVo software is designed to resist problems, but over the years I have seen too many cases where a power interruption, especially one where the power dropped for a fraction of a second (as might happen if you pull the plug "gently") has corrupted disk drives or even caused the drive to fail electronically. The power supplies in TiVos are not robust.
Quite right, sir.

Slow and gentle pulling (especially on the end that goes into the TiVo), has a very observable (if you are paying attention) tendency to result in several momentary, extremely rapid, power on/off/on/off cycles, which is worse than any complete/abrupt power loss (or intentional complete/abrupt disconnect).

On some other posts I've read, here's what I have to say:

I don't fully agree with those saying "make sure it's the wall-outlet end of the cord you pull". It can be hard to know which cord in a power-strip is the one that leads to the TiVo, and is often (YMMV) a lot less accessible than the TiVo end.

Sure, if you use the TiVo end of the cord, you can stress/crack the solder joints where the connector attaches to the PCB, especially if you wiggle it, to do it slowly, and/or then wiggle, or ram, the cord back in without taking care. I've seen very few posts about these connections failing, in all my time on here (and I focus on the DIY and repair threads). I'm not even 100% sure I recall any specifying this ever happened on a TiVo.

Wiggling and/or ramming the wall-outlet end is still not perfect procedure, but those dangerous/deadly (to electronics) rapid power bursts/cycles are a lot less likely at that end. So, there is some validity to recommending that end. I'll also concede that the more connect/disconnect cycles the TiVo end sees, the more likely the contacts of the connectors will lose their tight fit (especially if you do a slow-wiggle pull).

If you have easy access to the wall-outlet end, and it's labeled, or easily identifiable, then that is the better end to insure rapid disconnect/connect, without any momentary bursts of power while unplugging/replugging.

The one thing that applies to all devices and all cables/cords, is that you are supposed to grip the molded end, and not the cord itself. There's still plenty of people who know better, but still don't do this (and it is in the "safety" section of every CE device manual).

This subject matter is destined to wind up like all the threads on Standby Mode, and certain other subjects, where once a "special" few people find this thread, there will be no end to arguing, and the whole spirit of the thread is lost, as well as anybody finding it useful to them, once it gets to 12 pages of troll-incited bickering...

Quick Summary: It's best to quickly pull power, without wiggling the connection, and you should make sure you are gripping the molded end, and not pulling on the actual cord. The wall-outlet end is (technically-speaking) the better end to use, if it is identifiable, and accessible. It's even better to initiate a menu reboot, before removing power (when possible). That's my opinion, based on facts, and experience, and I'm sticking to it.

It would have been nice to start the thread as a poll thread, just to be able to see the raw numbers, and skip the inevitable fate of the subject... But, so far, it's been nice...

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Old 03-14-2014, 03:53 PM   #25
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Quick Summary: It's best to quickly pull power, without wiggling the connection, and you should make sure you are gripping the molded end, and not pulling on the actual cord. The wall-outlet end is (technically-speaking) the better end to use, if it is identifiable, and accessible. It's even better to initiate a menu reboot, before removing power (when possible).
One more wrinkle. What if you have the TiVo plugged into a surge protector/UPS that has a "kill power" button on it. Would it be better to use this button to kill the power, or would it still be better to just pull the plug out of the socket?
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:57 PM   #26
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What would be really nice is if TiVo would do a software update to add a "shut down"/delayed restart option. It could be just like the regular "restart" feature, only there could be a built-in 10 or 15 second delay before the TiVo begins to reboot. That would give you ample time to pull the plug at the right moment rather than having to just take a stab in the dark hoping that you manage to unplug at just the right moment with the current restart function.

It's funny, when I was renting Time Warner's crappy DVR, I didn't give a darn about yanking the plug any old time when I wanted to restart the box. Now that I own a TiVo, I'm treating it like a fragile baby.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:18 PM   #27
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One more wrinkle. What if you have the TiVo plugged into a surge protector/UPS that has a "kill power" button on it. Would it be better to use this button to kill the power, or would it still be better to just pull the plug out of the socket?
I don't see any major (typical use) downsides to either way.

A few minor potential issues to think about:

I prefer to keep my other UPS connected equipment running, rather than killing power to everything. My UPS units have half/half "battery backup" & "surge protection only" outlets. If I power-down with the UPS button, everything has to come back up, and some of it requires that I turn each item back on.

You save some wear-tear on the plug(s), but only if you do this a lot (which leads to more questions, if you have to do so).

You make it easy to accidentally power your TiVo back up, if you have powered-down to open the case and work on it.

If you are just looking for the "cleanest" connect/disconnect, the UPS button is the way to go, excluding all the other things mentioned (or which I may not have thought of).

Quote:
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What would be really nice is if TiVo would do a software update to add a "shut down"/delayed restart option. It could be just like the regular "restart" feature, only there could be a built-in 10 or 15 second delay before the TiVo begins to reboot. That would give you ample time to pull the plug at the right moment rather than having to just take a stab in the dark hoping that you manage to unplug at just the right moment with the current restart function.

It's funny, when I was renting Time Warner's crappy DVR, I didn't give a darn about yanking the plug any old time when I wanted to restart the box. Now that I own a TiVo, I'm treating it like a fragile baby.
The "right moment" is any time before the amber light starts flickering during startup, or even just before it gets to the second stage screen (almost there...). There is no need for what you bring up.

I wouldn't care about rented cableco equipment either. If I kill it, it costs me nothing to get it repaired/replaced.

It's kind of like how you treat a rental car, as opposed to one you bought.
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:03 PM   #28
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I can't remember the last time I powered down my TiVo. Probably the last time the power went out. So, it really isn't an issue for me.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:25 PM   #29
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#4. The issues with a power loss are hardware damage, and software damage.

There's no difference in hardware damage (mainly to the power supply and hard drive) because it's always powered, whether you do a restart or not.

For software damage, the TiVo is designed to prevent corruption due to failed writes. The main software partitions are always* mounted read-only, and the writable /var partition can be wiped and recreated if corrupt. The video filesystems (MFS) are designed to recover from incomplete writes. The worst you get is a truncated program.

And I don't see any evidence that a "restart" actually does a clean shutdown. The startup takes a long time and there's a lot of activity in the system logs. A restart is more or less instant and there are no messages about processes exiting and filesystems unmounting. I'm certain it just does reset... like pulling the plug.


*Execpt when doing a software upgrade. And even then, it writes to a backup partition and switches to it only after the upgrade is successful.
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:32 PM   #30
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#4. The issues with a power loss are hardware damage, and software damage.

There's no difference in hardware damage (mainly to the power supply and hard drive) because it's always powered, whether you do a restart or not.

For software damage, the TiVo is designed to prevent corruption due to failed writes. The main software partitions are always* mounted read-only, and the writable /var partition can be wiped and recreated if corrupt. The video filesystems (MFS) are designed to recover from incomplete writes. The worst you get is a truncated program.

And I don't see any evidence that a "restart" actually does a clean shutdown. The startup takes a long time and there's a lot of activity in the system logs. A restart is more or less instant and there are no messages about processes exiting and filesystems unmounting. I'm certain it just does reset... like pulling the plug.


*Execpt when doing a software upgrade. And even then, it writes to a backup partition and switches to it only after the upgrade is successful.
Tell that to the people who have experienced unrecoverable file system/database corruption, with no damage to their hard drive, but lose everything when they have to re-image and start-over.

Just because TiVos *are* designed to be able to deal with power loss/fluctuations and/or reckless disregard for common sense, doesn't mean they will *always* be able to recover.

There's *always* a chance of the "perfect storm", where a TiVo is most vulnerable to damage. This is true to the point of simply rebooting your TiVo over and over trying to clear a "there is a problem with the TiVo service" error, can result is unrecoverable database corruption.

I've never had any stock TiVo hard drive actually fail, in the hardware sense. It's always been a file system/database corruption, in the software sense.

Just because a vest says "bulletproof", doesn't mean it's a good idea to intentionally jump into the path of flying bullets. I think that's a darn good analogy. Even bulletproof vests can't cover everything, from every angle. Factor in armour-piercing bullets, and you are just asking to go down.
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