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Old 02-04-2013, 07:28 PM   #1
Bruzer
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Performing TiVo Hard-Drive work with a Gigabyte Motherboard PC

I'm the (un)fortunate owner of a PC which has a Gigabyte motherboard (GA-EX58-UD4P to be exact). I need to perform some tasks with the hard drives in both of my TiVos:

1. Series 2 (Toshiba RS-TX20), with a Seagate 750GB DB35 hard drive. It is showing symptoms of picture freezing, followed by rebooting. I'll check for bad caps, but I suspect the hard drive, since I can get it to freeze and reboot at the exact same spot in a recording. I was planning to use SeaTools to run diagnostics on the drive.

2. Series 4 Premiere, with the stock 500GB drive. I've purchased a 2TB WD20EURS drive to increase the recording capacity. The procedure looks pretty straight-forward using the jmfs tools.

Before diving in to these tasks, I need to know what precautions to take due to the Gigabyte motherboard. I've done some reading about the HPA issue, but I think I need some specific instructions on how to prevent the possibility of messing up my TiVo hard drives.

Thanks for any helpful information (or a pointer to the information).
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruzer View Post
I'm the (un)fortunate owner of a PC which has a Gigabyte motherboard (GA-EX58-UD4P to be exact). I need to perform some tasks with the hard drives in both of my TiVos:

1. Series 2 (Toshiba RS-TX20), with a Seagate 750GB DB35 hard drive. It is showing symptoms of picture freezing, followed by rebooting. I'll check for bad caps, but I suspect the hard drive, since I can get it to freeze and reboot at the exact same spot in a recording. I was planning to use SeaTools to run diagnostics on the drive.

2. Series 4 Premiere, with the stock 500GB drive. I've purchased a 2TB WD20EURS drive to increase the recording capacity. The procedure looks pretty straight-forward using the jmfs tools.

Before diving in to these tasks, I need to know what precautions to take due to the Gigabyte motherboard. I've done some reading about the HPA issue, but I think I need some specific instructions on how to prevent the possibility of messing up my TiVo hard drives.

Thanks for any helpful information (or a pointer to the information).

In some gigabyte motherboards there is a setting in the BIOS that disables the feature of storing a copy of the BIOS on a portion of the hard drive for recovery purposes. From what I have read on this, on some motherboards this does not work. (bug in the BIOS) If there is an update for your motherboard, it has been recommended to update the BIOS and disable the feature.

The motherboard seems to use the SATA drive that is plugged into SATA0 port. (or SATA1 depending on how you count). Your computer OS drive is usually plugged into this port so keep it plugged in when working the the TiVo drive so the motherboard does not look for another drive to put the recovery BIOS on.

This is mainly what I have seen posted in various forms on the forums. Unitron seems to have the most experience with this matter and I believe this is what I have inferred from his advice to members. Maybe he will read this and provide any corrections on confirmations on what I wrote.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:49 PM   #3
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HPA shouldn't be an issue if you're already using a hard drive with an OS installed. Chances are if your board has an issue with HPA then it's probably flagged the OS drive and won't affect your Tivo drives. The HPA is used to create a backup of your BIOS and the motherboard will place it on the first drive it sees. Just make sure that drive isn't a Tivo drive and you should be fine.

I'm not familiar with your model Gigabyte board, but HPA was only an issue with older boards IIRC. If it's a fairly recent model it may not even be an issue. As indicated, you may have the option to turn it off in BIOS so that's the first thing I'd check.

FWIW, I have an unRAID server set up in my home. There's lots of information about HPA in the unRAID forums.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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Bruzer,

I faced a similar dilemma a couple of weeks ago when I wanted to upgrade my TP4 with a WD20EURS using a Gigabyte motherboard. Unitron and jmbach were both very helpful in guiding me through a successful upgrade. The conversation is interleaved in that big JMFS upgrade thread, but I've pulled out a few direct links to some of the more relevant posts to hopefully help you follow the conversation a little easier.
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...31#post9484431
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...31#post9491731
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...97#post9494197
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...65#post9495065
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...21#post9495721

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Old 02-05-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the replies, especially the detailed replies from MapleLeaf.

I'm running the most current BIOS for my MB. When I check the settings, I see that there is one for "Saving settings to disk", and it is disabled. I'll run the "hdparm" commands on my current drives to make sure that HPA isn't being written out.

@MapleLeaf, when you did your TiVo HD upgrade, it sounds like you left both of your Windows drives attached to the PC, plus the two TiVo drives (source and destination), is that right? Is the general consensus to take that approach, as opposed to only having the two TiVo drives attached? I guess the concern is that if an HPA was going to get written out, it would do so to one of the Windows drives instead of one of the TiVo drives?
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruzer View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies, especially the detailed replies from MapleLeaf.

I'm running the most current BIOS for my MB. When I check the settings, I see that there is one for "Saving settings to disk", and it is disabled. I'll run the "hdparm" commands on my current drives to make sure that HPA isn't being written out.

@MapleLeaf, when you did your TiVo HD upgrade, it sounds like you left both of your Windows drives attached to the PC, plus the two TiVo drives (source and destination), is that right? Is the general consensus to take that approach, as opposed to only having the two TiVo drives attached? I guess the concern is that if an HPA was going to get written out, it would do so to one of the Windows drives instead of one of the TiVo drives?
Why not just buy a pair of cheap USB to SATA/PATA adapter cables and forget about cracking open your PC? You could even use a laptop then. That's the way I go and I've imaged several generations of Tivos.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bruzer View Post
@MapleLeaf, when you did your TiVo HD upgrade, it sounds like you left both of your Windows drives attached to the PC, plus the two TiVo drives (source and destination), is that right? Is the general consensus to take that approach, as opposed to only having the two TiVo drives attached? I guess the concern is that if an HPA was going to get written out, it would do so to one of the Windows drives instead of one of the TiVo drives?
Yes, I left both my Windows drives hooked up, in addition to the two Tivo drives (and I hooked up the source Tivo drive to the highest-numbered SATA port). My thinking was that I wanted as many things as possible hooked up before the source Tivo drive in the hopes that if an HPA did get placed on a drive, it would be done to one of the other drives. This is because if the HPA hoarked one of the Windows drives, I could always reinstall Windows and restore from backup (albeit with some non-trivial effort). But if the HPA hosed the source Tivo drive, it would render my TP4 useless.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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FWIW:

2 years ago I did quite a bit of testing JMFS and THD. Unbeknownst to me I didn't know about Gigabyte and HPA, because I used an EP35 and EP45 for all copy and expand operations on a spare computer without a 3rd drive hooked up to the MB.

The THD has a 1.5TB with HPA enabled that has worked flawlessly for over 2 years.

The EP45 is now used for a home server with 12TB of drives. Some have HPA enabled. Never had a problem losing any data.

My current computer has a GA-X58A-UD3R and none of the 4 drives in that do not have HPA enabled.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:16 AM   #9
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Yes, I left both my Windows drives hooked up, in addition to the two Tivo drives (and I hooked up the source Tivo drive to the highest-numbered SATA port). My thinking was that I wanted as many things as possible hooked up before the source Tivo drive in the hopes that if an HPA did get placed on a drive, it would be done to one of the other drives. This is because if the HPA hoarked one of the Windows drives, I could always reinstall Windows and restore from backup (albeit with some non-trivial effort). But if the HPA hosed the source Tivo drive, it would render my TP4 useless.
I just checked my drives (WD 300GB Raptor, WD 1TB, Samsung 2TB) with the "hdparm -N /dev/sd[a-c]" command. The first two had an HPA partition, the third did not. Even though I have this disabled in my BIOS, I first built the system in 2009, so it's entirely possible that earlier versions of the BIOS did not disable writing HPA (or I may have unintentionally created them when I first started playing with the BIOS settings after the build).

Right or wrong, I decided to delete the HPA on both drives using HDAT2. I'll check the drives after a few days to see whether the BIOS setting truly disables writing the HPA or not.

I'll do the same approach that you did and place as much distance between the Windows drives and the TiVo drives as possible, although I expect my outcome will be as smooth as yours was
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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Here's the deal.

They've had this feature going back I'm not sure how long.

If your owner's manual says something about express recovery or something that sounds kinda like that, assume you've got it.

At first it was just there and there was nowhere in BIOS to disable it.

Later, apparently, they did provide a BIOS setting where you could choose, but apparently the early versions of that had a bug and setting it not to got ignored and it did it anyway.

So assume your board has it and it can't be turned off, but must be worked around.


When the board first boots up, it goes looking for the first hard drive, to check for the presence of the HPA, and write one if it doesn't find on.

And it'll ignore other formatting and partitions. They won't discourage it.

It's like The Terminator.

This would be the primary master PATA/IDE drive if you have PATA headers on the board.

If it doesn't find one there it checks the primary slave and then the secondary master and secondary slave.

Then it moves on to the SATA ports, starting with the lowest numbered one, which might be 0 and not 1.

What it's doing is looking for what's going to be the boot drive.

So you either have to have a boot drive "upstream" of the drive positions to which you intend to attach the TiVo and upgrade drives, and you have to leave it attached, or you have to install a sacrificial drive to intercept the HPA.

The problem isn't so much the HPA itself as it is letting one get written to a drive which has already been in use and doesn't have any unpartitioned space on the end to spare, or in a case where you're going to need all of the space on the drive for what you're going to use the drive for, like putting a 40GB TiVo image on a 40GB drive.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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Just wanted to update this thread with the results of my S2 HD issue and my Premiere HD upgrade:

1. I ran SeaTools (from the UBCD) on my S2 Seagate 750GB HD. The quick test found no issues, but the long test identified 32 bad sectors. I had it "repair" all of them, then put it back in my S2. Fortunately it booted correctly and appears to be running OK. I'm guessing that the bad sectors are either in some of the recorded shows I still have or in unrecorded areas. I'm just glad that it booted. It's being used as a secondary DVR, but I'll probably buy a new HD at some point down the road.

2. I used the jmfs tools to go from the stock 500GB HD to a 2TB HD. No issues at all, even though I have a Gigabyte MB and was concerned about the possible HPA issue. I left my Windows boot drive in place, connected the 500GB and 2TB drives, and kicked off the copy. After the expand and supersize operations, I put it in the Premiere, booted it up, and saw the "318 Hours HD recording" on the System Information screen

Thanks for all the help and support from the TiVo Community.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:34 AM   #12
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FWIW, HPA should only be an issue if you're trying to restore an image from the exact same size drive it was taken from. If you're upgrading to a larger drive, the HPA just won't be made available when you expand the image to fill the new drive. The area occupied by the HPA is relatively small (at most it's only a few hundred kilobytes, IIRC) and is essentially irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Since most Tivo imaging utilities require that you have the OS drive as primary master (for IDE) or on an SATA port higher than the Tivo drive, it's pretty much a non-issue anyway.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:41 AM   #13
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FWIW, HPA should only be an issue if you're trying to restore an image from the exact same size drive it was taken from. If you're upgrading to a larger drive, the HPA just won't be made available when you expand the image to fill the new drive. The area occupied by the HPA is relatively small (at most it's only a few hundred kilobytes, IIRC) and is essentially irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Since most Tivo imaging utilities require that you have the OS drive as primary master (for IDE) or on an SATA port higher than the Tivo drive, it's pretty much a non-issue anyway.
Nevertheless, better to be aware of the issue beforehand.

I discovered it running the MFS Live cd on a motherboard that I had not yet case mounted or set up with a boot hard drive and operating system.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #14
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Nevertheless, better to be aware of the issue beforehand.

I discovered it running the MFS Live cd on a motherboard that I had not yet case mounted or set up with a boot hard drive and operating system.
But, does it really make any difference to the end user? The amount of storage it uses is virtually negligible and it has no impact on the performance of the Tivo. This is a case where what you don't know won't hurt you. I can't see any scenario where knowing about the HPA issue would make a bit of difference other than a same-size drive swapout. Then, and only then, would it become an issue.

I discovered it on my unRAID server when I tried to upgrade to a newer version of unRAID. The software boots from a USB thumb drive so all of my data drives are connected to the motherboard and SATA controllers. One of the drives was given a HPA by my Gigabyte motherboard. The older version of unRAID simply ignored it and used the available space. However, the newer version discovered a mismatch between the available space and the actual capacity of the drive and wouldn't let me start the array until I got rid of the HPA. Replacing the drive wouldn't work because the new drive would then get the HPA and I'd be back to square one. I ended up having to replace the motherboard and CPU since there was no option to disable it in the BIOS.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #15
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The issue is not having the target drive altered but the source drive altered.

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:43 PM   #16
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The issue is not having the target drive altered but the source drive altered.

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Gotcha. That makes more sense.
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