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Old 03-05-2013, 07:12 PM   #1
mickeyangel98
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Question Need Advice on Replacing a Failing Drive without Losing Existing Data

I have read many posts about cloning drives, failed or otherwise, to try and preserve the data (aka recordings) on the existing drive. I don't want people to think I am starting a thread without reading existing advice, I have, but the problem I have is that for those who are new to the process involving TiVos (not technically novice, but TiVo novice) that the steps provided lack a certain degree of specificity that would allow for a more reliable and confident attempt.

What is my situation:
  1. I have a Series 2 DVR (Humax T2500)
  2. It has an upgraded drive (larger drive)
  3. The OS and all functions are fine, but the drive hits sectors which result in the system rebooting or stalling (suggests drive is dying)
  4. I have lots of recordings which I don't want to lose and want to carry over to the new drive (of the same size at the moment)

What do I need:
  1. What is the best drive to use as a replacement to reduce decay in the future
  2. Windows or Linux is not a problem, I can use both and I have the technical knowhow (25+ years) which allow me to use any setup without a problem - Linux seems to be preferred
  3. What application will most efficiently and without too much guess work or fuss make a copy of all the OS, data, settings and recordings to a new drive without killing both the source and/or new destination - have considered DD and MFS
  4. Any advice or specific steps would be appreciated, a sort of how-to or relative step-by-step if possible, would be greatly appreciated

I will gladly post my experiences, discoveries and suggestions after completing this to assist others and leave a more beginner friendly DIY in the future, so any help and details will not be a waste and can possibly serve as a manual for others in the future.

Thank you all in advance and I look forward to hearing from all you great people to help me accomplish this and learn something new in the process.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:12 PM   #2
unitron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyangel98 View Post
I have read many posts about cloning drives, failed or otherwise, to try and preserve the data (aka recordings) on the existing drive. I don't want people to think I am starting a thread without reading existing advice, I have, but the problem I have is that for those who are new to the process involving TiVos (not technically novice, but TiVo novice) that the steps provided lack a certain degree of specificity that would allow for a more reliable and confident attempt.

What is my situation:
  1. I have a Series 2 DVR (Humax T2500)
  2. It has an upgraded drive (larger drive)
  3. The OS and all functions are fine, but the drive hits sectors which result in the system rebooting or stalling (suggests drive is dying)
  4. I have lots of recordings which I don't want to lose and want to carry over to the new drive (of the same size at the moment)

What do I need:
  1. What is the best drive to use as a replacement to reduce decay in the future
  2. Windows or Linux is not a problem, I can use both and I have the technical knowhow (25+ years) which allow me to use any setup without a problem - Linux seems to be preferred
  3. What application will most efficiently and without too much guess work or fuss make a copy of all the OS, data, settings and recordings to a new drive without killing both the source and/or new destination - have considered DD and MFS
  4. Any advice or specific steps would be appreciated, a sort of how-to or relative step-by-step if possible, would be greatly appreciated

I will gladly post my experiences, discoveries and suggestions after completing this to assist others and leave a more beginner friendly DIY in the future, so any help and details will not be a waste and can possibly serve as a manual for others in the future.

Thank you all in advance and I look forward to hearing from all you great people to help me accomplish this and learn something new in the process.
Boot with the MFS Live cd v1.4 and use

dd_rescue

with the maximum size set to 512 bytes and the minimum set to 1.

It will take forever, but that's your best bet.

Might not hurt to wrap some paper towels around the "bad" drive and stick it in the freezer overnight first and keep a fan on it during the copy.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:52 AM   #3
mickeyangel98
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by unitron View Post
Boot with the MFS Live cd v1.4 and use

dd_rescue

with the maximum size set to 512 bytes and the minimum set to 1.

It will take forever, but that's your best bet.

Might not hurt to wrap some paper towels around the "bad" drive and stick it in the freezer overnight first and keep a fan on it during the copy.
Thank you, that is right to the point and I like it. I will give it a go this weekend and keep you all posted on how it goes. As far as keeping the drive alive by freezing and cooling it, I know exactly what you mean. Thankfully the drive is not that far gone but I will be sure to keep an eye on the temp and keep it cool.

Now couple of followup questions:
  1. Any suggestions of the brand, speed or type of drive?
  2. Do I need to have the drive mounted natively using the internal system or can I mount it using an IDE/SATA bridge to USB? I guess I am wondering if the MFS will see it mounted that way or not?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyangel98 View Post
Thank you, that is right to the point and I like it. I will give it a go this weekend and keep you all posted on how it goes. As far as keeping the drive alive by freezing and cooling it, I know exactly what you mean. Thankfully the drive is not that far gone but I will be sure to keep an eye on the temp and keep it cool.

Now couple of followup questions:
  1. Any suggestions of the brand, speed or type of drive?
  2. Do I need to have the drive mounted natively using the internal system or can I mount it using an IDE/SATA bridge to USB? I guess I am wondering if the MFS will see it mounted that way or not?

Thanks again.
MFS Live can generally see USB connected drives.

A 5400RPM or 5900RPM drive is plenty fast enough rotation-wise for a TiVo and you wouldn't gain anything from using a 7200RPM one instead.

But it would run hotter and perhaps more noisily.

Do you have a non-GigaByte brand PC motherboard with at least one IDE port? What about SATA ports?

It'll go faster if both drives are hooked directly to the motherboard, more slowly if at least one has to go through USB and even more slowly than that if both have to.

It'll also go much more slowly if both are on the same IDE/PATA 40 connector ribbon cable, one master, one slave, than if for instance one of them is on the same cable as the cd drive and the other is on a second IDE port, or if the cd is on a SATA port and each drive gets its own IDE port.

As far as I know, that model TiVo can't use anything bigger than a 1TB drive, but I don't know of any current models that size or smaller that I'd feel comfortable in recommending.

If you have something old I could Google the model number and tell you what I think.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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Might need to consider a PATA-SATA adapter if having hard time finding a PATA drive for your unit. Might need to search the thread http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=416883 to see what adapters to consider trying. WDC still makes a readily available PATA drives up to 320GB ( http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=770 ). They are desktop drives and with a small cache, they are probably not ideal. If you did not want to save shows then one of the upgrade kits from a couple of the DVR upgrade advertisers that advertise on TCF might be easier. Otherwise have to consider used drives, but the longevity and reliability of the drive would be unknown.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmbach View Post
Might need to consider a PATA-SATA adapter if having hard time finding a PATA drive for your unit. Might need to search the thread http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=416883 to see what adapters to consider trying. WDC still makes a readily available PATA drives up to 320GB ( http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=770 ). They are desktop drives and with a small cache, they are probably not ideal. If you did not want to save shows then one of the upgrade kits from a couple of the DVR upgrade advertisers that advertise on TCF might be easier. Otherwise have to consider used drives, but the longevity and reliability of the drive would be unknown.
My objection wouldn't be the small cache but the large (Gb/$ wise) outlay of cash.

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Old 03-10-2013, 10:11 PM   #7
mickeyangel98
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Thumbs up thank you for your help, greatly appreciated

Quote:
Originally Posted by unitron View Post
MFS Live can generally see USB connected drives.
Ok, thank you for that. I have not used it before, so although from a technical stand point I can work with anything, it helps to get heads up from people who actually have used it. Thank you for that.

Quote:
A 5400RPM or 5900RPM drive is plenty fast enough rotation-wise for a TiVo and you wouldn't gain anything from using a 7200RPM one instead.

But it would run hotter and perhaps more noisily.
Yeah that's what I figured, I certainly wasn't going to put a racehorse or anything near 7200 in there, the more moving parts, the faster it goes, the more likely it would die faster, so I was aiming for something relatively stable, slow and steady like a 5400, just wondering what brand you prefer, Seagate tends to be my goto at work, much less Western Digital, some IBM and Fugitsu, but not a big fan of those.


Quote:
Do you have a non-GigaByte brand PC motherboard with at least one IDE port? What about SATA ports?
Not readily but I can work something up, I have enough gear around to take apart and make a temporary chassis.

Quote:
It'll go faster if both drives are hooked directly to the motherboard, more slowly if at least one has to go through USB and even more slowly than that if both have to.
Makes sense and of course avoiding the logical bridge will make it go faster. I was just hoping that I could use an existing machine, toss in the new drive in there on the secondary channel, boot up with MFS, have the old drive mounted via USB and go with that. But I will consider your advice to make it internal all the way.

Quote:
It'll also go much more slowly if both are on the same IDE/PATA 40 connector ribbon cable, one master, one slave, than if for instance one of them is on the same cable as the cd drive and the other is on a second IDE port, or if the cd is on a SATA port and each drive gets its own IDE port.
I see what you mean, I will try and make it as suggested to speed it up. I will try to build the chassis by ripping out the guts and disconnect all non-necessary components and then put these all in there.

What do you think about this:
Put the old drive and the CD-ROM on one cable and then put the new drive alone on the second, how is that? Would that be good and work; or put the CD with the new drive and keep the old drive alone? What do you think?

Quote:
As far as I know, that model TiVo can't use anything bigger than a 1TB drive, but I don't know of any current models that size or smaller that I'd feel comfortable in recommending.

If you have something old I could Google the model number and tell you what I think.
Yes, mine are all IDE at the moment, I was planning to go with a 1 TB drive using a SATA/IDE bridge card to upgrade in the future, but for the time being, I am going to just stick with the 750 GB matching drive that it has already in there. Currently it has a Seagate in there (I think, don't quote me on it, I have not looked in a long while), very good chance its a WD, but either way I was hoping to go with a Seagate (the low voltage 5400 - I think they call it green line or something) or if necessary something similar with WD. Just wondering which brands you thought would hold up better in the aggressive DVR writing, deleting, caching that we know the drive will be put through.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmbach View Post
Might need to consider a PATA-SATA adapter if having hard time finding a PATA drive for your unit. Might need to search the thread http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=416883 to see what adapters to consider trying. WDC still makes a readily available PATA drives up to 320GB ( http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=770 ). They are desktop drives and with a small cache, they are probably not ideal. If you did not want to save shows then one of the upgrade kits from a couple of the DVR upgrade advertisers that advertise on TCF might be easier. Otherwise have to consider used drives, but the longevity and reliability of the drive would be unknown.
Thank you, appreciate that, looking.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:13 PM   #9
mickeyangel98
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Originally Posted by unitron View Post
My objection wouldn't be the small cache but the large (Gb/$ wise) outlay of cash.
Completely with you on that. I want something that will work, but the GB/$ is worth the fact that you know the abuse the DVR puts on the drive will inevitably make it go bad and replacements are more frequent. I mean the first drive lasted a bit around 2 years, the replacement lasted about 1.5 and now I am here trying to replace it again, so thinking about the average of 1.5-2 years per drive, GB/$ and you want to make sure the investment is worth it. Certainly something to consider, thanks for that.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:28 PM   #10
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It will be slower if USB is involved, but not enough to make it worth going to a lot of trouble setting up a separate chassis just for this one job.

The thing about an older TiVo like a Series 2 is the question of whether a newer SATA drive (with proper adapter) which will likely be advanced format and be rated for 6Gb/s will be able to autonegotiate down to 3Gb/s or 1.5 to work in a TiVo expecting whatever was state of the art in IDE/PATA drives some 6 to 10 years ago, and whether it can pretend to be non-advanced format sufficiently.

Which is why I don't know of any current models that I'm sure will work.

I'm not saying there aren't any, I just don't know for sure one way or the other.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:37 PM   #11
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The Seagate Pipeline HD models are internally advanced format but present externally standard 512 byte blocks. They are made for DVR usage and I currently have a 2TB one in my Premiere XL. Have to be careful buying OEM drives of these Seagates as some have firmware for particular brand DVR and won't work in TiVos. Bought a new one for my Premiere XL that is working well. Went to by one from an auction site for my other TiVo and went through two OEM ones that would not spin up in the Tivo. Talked with Seagate at length about it and they said it is probably due to the custom firmware. Reason my first one worked because it was not an OEM drive. Bought a WD20EURS to finish the job because the same size Seagate was about $40 more at the time.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:03 AM   #12
mickeyangel98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitron View Post
It will be slower if USB is involved, but not enough to make it worth going to a lot of trouble setting up a separate chassis just for this one job.

The thing about an older TiVo like a Series 2 is the question of whether a newer SATA drive (with proper adapter) which will likely be advanced format and be rated for 6Gb/s will be able to autonegotiate down to 3Gb/s or 1.5 to work in a TiVo expecting whatever was state of the art in IDE/PATA drives some 6 to 10 years ago, and whether it can pretend to be non-advanced format sufficiently.

Which is why I don't know of any current models that I'm sure will work.

I'm not saying there aren't any, I just don't know for sure one way or the other.
Ok, gotcha. Well as for the chassis, I have a relatively old Dell XPS 420 (about 5-8 years old not sure) and its SATA capability onboard, so currently has two SATA drives in there, so what I was going to do is shut it down, take out the two existing hard drives, and one of the optical (probably the CDROM, since DVD is more stable on this and newer) and then put the old drive on the primary, put the new drive on the secondary, and run it.

Since this setup can be done by removing the side panel and pretty much hard rigging it by getting in its gut, then it shouldn't be TOO much trouble unless things go really wrong. Also given the device is relatively older, it might solve our speed problem as it would have been made around the same time as the hardware for the Humax DVR, and I can only cross my fingers and hope that its internals would run pretty close to the S2 DVR. I know, a huge assumption, but at the moment all I got.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmbach View Post
The Seagate Pipeline HD models are internally advanced format but present externally standard 512 byte blocks. They are made for DVR usage and I currently have a 2TB one in my Premiere XL. Have to be careful buying OEM drives of these Seagates as some have firmware for particular brand DVR and won't work in TiVos. Bought a new one for my Premiere XL that is working well. Went to by one from an auction site for my other TiVo and went through two OEM ones that would not spin up in the Tivo. Talked with Seagate at length about it and they said it is probably due to the custom firmware. Reason my first one worked because it was not an OEM drive. Bought a WD20EURS to finish the job because the same size Seagate was about $40 more at the time.
Awesome, thanks for sharing. I like your signature as it says I prefer to do things right than to rush it half cocked, so I am going to postpone from doing it this weekend, to maybe next week so give myself some time to research new drives properly and check out my setup as I described below in the other post and make sure all my ducks are in a proverbial row before I go hunting. Thank you all, any other feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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