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Old 10-09-2007, 10:53 AM   #1
demon
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TiVo, eSATA death, redemption...

and everything in between.

Unfortunately the eSATA drive I've been using for about the past 5 months has developed too many bad sectors. I think I may know why (it's been knocked over a couple times, and the move and all)... fortunately I was able to recover all my recorded content (amazingly) and the TiVo itself is now back online.

The discovery:

This past Sunday morning, I was catching up on a large number of recorded shows I had floating around on my TiVo. About 2/3 of the way through an episode of Prison Break, the TiVo started pausing and stuttering during playback. I pressed the TiVo button, thinking "oh, bad recording?" - it sat there for a really long time with the video still showing through, while showing the menu. Tried another show - same thing. Tried an older recording, one I'd already watched and knew was good - same thing. Pulled the CableCARDs, the cable, the ethernet - no change, same thing. Restarted. Cleared Thumbs/Suggestions - then the trouble started. "Cannot play this recording, possibly there was no signal"... uh oh. Found something old, that I'd recorded prior to adding the eSATA drive (Planet Earth off Discovery HD Theater) - it played perfectly. So, I shut the TiVo down, and plugged the drive into my MacBook.

The recovery:

I immediately started a 'dd' from the drive to /dev/null, and not long later - "Input/output error". Ruh roh, media problems. My favorite. So, off to Best Lie with me. Got another 500 GB eSATA drive (this one with FireWire as well as eSATA and USB - turns out this is helpful). I downloaded dd_rescue, and built it (the current version builds cleanly on MacOS X, fortunately). I then ran "dd_rescue -v -A /dev/rdisk2 /dev/rdisk3", and crossed my fingers. (If you can avoid putting both drives on the USB bus, it'll be about 50% faster - it was for me, at least, after I decided to try it and restarted the whole thing, resuming from the break point.)

The (near) miracle:

30+ hours later, everything retrievable copied from the old drive to the new one, I took it out to my living room, plugged in the eSATA cable, and started up the TiVo. I did kickstart-57 (force MFS repair) for good measure, hoping it would come back up. 20-30 minutes later, it had rebooted, and all my shows were still there - I tried playing them, and they did in fact work.

So, you can in fact recover from a dying drive on your TiVo - it's time consuming, but it can be done. Just keep your fingers crossed.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:42 PM   #2
fred2
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Sorry but I may be tired....

Which drive did you recover - an EXTERNAL esata drive? Or the internal Tivo drive?

And if it was an EXTERNAL drive, you were able to "marry" or just reconnect the new drive with the recovered data back to your Tivo and view the recorded content?
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:50 PM   #3
demon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2
Which drive did you recover - an EXTERNAL esata drive? Or the internal Tivo drive?
This was the external drive, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2
And if it was an EXTERNAL drive, you were able to "marry" or just reconnect the new drive with the recovered data back to your Tivo and view the recorded content?
I didn't re-marry the drive; I just left the TiVo off until I finished pulling all the good sectors to the new drive. Upon rebooting it, after kickstart-57, it just went right on like nothing was wrong. I really didn't want to lose the content on there (many shows and movies I wanted to see). Wasn't sure if the drive marriage somehow paired the drive based on its serial number or something - obviously that wasn't the case.

Edit: Divorcing and re-marrying would have rendered that 30+ hours of raw copying moot...
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demon
I immediately started a 'dd' from the drive to /dev/null, and not long later - "Input/output error". Ruh roh, media problems.
Scooby, you don't need dd_rescue. (I admittedly only skimmed the page, and it very well may be better.. but what is one of the main bullet points:
dd_rescue does not abort on errors on the input file

is easily doable with dd, and I in fact used it in the past to make images of I believe a failing Tivo drive and definitely tried it for my iPod (though those images mostly ended up hosed).

dd if=/dev/disk1 of=dev/disk2 conv=noerror

not being nitpicky, trying to be informative.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:14 PM   #5
demon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack
Scooby, you don't need dd_rescue. (I admittedly only skimmed the page, and it very well may be better.. but what is one of the main bullet points:
dd_rescue does not abort on errors on the input file

Sure, but then you'll either (a) lose a lot more data (due to turning up your bs= to where the speed isn't deplorable), or (b) it'll take an age (due to reading 512-byte blocks over, oh, 500 GB). There were > 1000 bad sectors, but it lost around 700 KB of data total (only those blocks that were bad) and finished fairly fast, given the circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack
is easily doable with dd, and I in fact used it in the past to make images of I believe a failing Tivo drive and definitely tried it for my iPod (though those images mostly ended up hosed).
Probably depends on the read error timeout behavior of the drive. I guess these drives were "good", in that respect... or I was just lucky. Anyway, I was just amazed I didn't have to divorce.
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:23 AM   #6
fred2
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I think you might want to repost this in the STICKY Esata thread. It might be very helpful to folks who run into problems with their external drives.

The fact that the external "recoupled" with the tivo as if it were the original drive is quite interesting. You think it was that "drive kickstart" routine that you also employed (I've never done any kickstart other than the esata one for my fap750)

I will admit I don't know much about the tools you used - some linux recovery utility, I'd gather. I briefly used a version of Knopix a year or so ago for some recovery from my xp drive failure.

Again, very interesting and thanks for posting.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:39 AM   #7
richsadams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2
I think you might want to repost this in the STICKY Esata thread. It might be very helpful to folks who run into problems with their external drives.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2
The fact that the external "recoupled" with the tivo as if it were the original drive is quite interesting. You think it was that "drive kickstart" routine that you also employed (I've never done any kickstart other than the esata one for my fap750)
As the OP mentioned, as long as you don't fire up TiVo while the eSATA drive is disconnected, it will never know that it "went missing". As long as the replacement drive had the same content (and kudos to him for being able to copy it all over!) it should continue to work just fine. KS57 is TiVo's diagnostic/clean up program. It was good insurance to run it and make sure everything was okay on both the "A" and eSATA drives.

Also agree that this is valuable info!
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