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Old 07-15-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
Marconi
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PeeCee Advice Needed

I'm a Mac user. I have had WinTel hardware in the past but I recycled my Win 95 and XP boxes some years ago.

I have a stable of TiVos, mostly THD models (nothing newer, currently) but a few S2 boxes as well. I have the original drives for all and being able to copy those drives or backups to a new drive is the only reason some of these are still functioning.

For some years I have been using the MFSLive DVD to copy TiVo drives. I have a first gen Intel iMac that boots to the MFSLive DVD. I connect my TiVo drives via SATA-to-USB adapters. It's slow but reliable and gets the job done. The iMac is now nine years old and isn't going to last forever. So I'm planning to build a PC just for the purpose of copying and backing up TiVo drives. Also, the latest copy job was a 1 TB drive with 770 GB of recordings and it took over 15 hours getting just 14 MB/second overall. I want to copy at SATA II speeds or better.

The future of TiVo drive copy/backup seems to be WinMFS, which I cannot currently run, having no Windows machines. So I'm going to build one specifically for this one job. As a bonus, I'll finally have something that can run WDIdle. Here's what I envision:

Inexpensive PC, Dual boot, OEM Windows, Linux

Probably mid-tower case to accommodate the needed drive bays.

Built-in video (HDMI out?)

Enough RAM to run Windows and facilitate drive copying.

One fixed (internal) drive with Windows/Linux.

Optical drive, bootable, read-only is fine, no need to burn

Two or more trayless drive bays to allow hot swap of bare SATA drives.

Example trayless bays: two 5.25 inch bays accommodate three 3.5 inch drives...
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215243>

Does this seem adequate? How might it be improved?

How common is SATA III on new motherboards? Although TiVo may not use SATA III drives yet, it couldn't hurt to plan for the future.

What's the minimum Windows version that can run WinMFS?

Any and all advice and comments will be appreciated.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
mr.unnatural
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What's a PeeCee? Have you checked the WinMFS website to see what the minimum requirements are to run WinMFS? That might be a good place to start. Google works just as well on a Mac as it does on a "PeeCee."
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi View Post
The future of TiVo drive copy/backup seems to be WinMFS, which I cannot currently run, having no Windows machines. So I'm going to build one specifically for this one job. As a bonus, I'll finally have something that can run WDIdle. Here's what I envision:
Really? The JMFS tool is the only one that works with the future of Tivo itself, the premiere. It also works with THD to get 2TB drives...
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jrtroo View Post
Really? The JMFS tool is the only one that works with the future of Tivo itself, the premiere. It also works with THD to get 2TB drives...
Unless I'm mistaken (quite possible), that tool just runs dd or some other block-copy utility, copying every block on a disk, whether it contains anything or not. Hardly an efficient tool. I tried it once but went back to MFSLive because it knows a thing or two about MFS.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:51 PM   #5
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WinMFS and DvrBARS will run on XP or later. jmfs is a linux boot CD like MFSLive. WinMFS doesn't work on Premieres and jmfs won't work on anything earlier than a Series 3. DvrBARS will work on all models but it's strictly backup to an image file and restore from there. It doesn't do drive-to-drive copies or drive expansion yet.

Personally, I'd try to get something with Windows 7 instead of 8 but that's just me. Don't forget to check out refurbs.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:50 AM   #6
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If you have a recent enough Mac, you can either use VM software and Windows installed on it with mapped USB adapters, or you can Boot Camp it and install Windows on your Mac.

No need to buy a whole new PC.

If you must buy a new PC for WinMFS, anything will do. Even the lowest of the low end of what's available now is more than adequate.

Just go to your local whitebox dealer and pick up something that works for you. Even the cheapest of the lot is more than sufficient.

And yes, anything really would do. There's no specialized requirements there. Hell, even USB adapters work just fine (they're slower, but they're definitely faster than 14MB/sec, which is probably because the MFSLive CD doesn't have DMA drivers).
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:05 AM   #7
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I tried it once but went back to MFSLive because it knows a thing or two about MFS.
I don't know HOW it works, I'm just commenting upon the "future" of drive copy operations that you said was MFS. How can it be the future if it cannot work on three-year old present generation Tivos? Use whatever tool you are happiest with, no issues here.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jrtroo View Post
I don't know HOW it works, I'm just commenting upon the "future" of drive copy operations that you said was MFS. How can it be the future if it cannot work on three-year old present generation Tivos?
Given that I have nothing newer than a THD and have been using MFSLive for years, and given that the developer has turned his efforts to WinMFS, it would seem to me that WinMFS is more likely to see continued development than the (apparently) abandoned MFSLive.

If one of these is to support Premiers, it will not be MFSLive.

if JMFS is the future of TiVo expansion/copy/backup tools, the future looks dim. It seems little more than a Java interface to a block copy routine, paired with a partition tool. It knows little about MFS.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
Have you checked the WinMFS website to see what the minimum requirements are to run WinMFS?
Yes, and it states it needs an i586 or better, which seems like a lot of processor just to copy drives. I was hoping people here might have a better insight into what's really required. Being unable to run WinMFS, there's no way for me to evaluate how it might perform with less than an i5 processor.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #10
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Spike (the developer of WinMFS) disappeared 4-5 years ago. It's still a great program for S3s or earlier. If your PC can run XP it will run WinMFS and any Pentium processor at 233MHz or later is fine.

The developer of jmfs (comer) did a lot more than put a Java front end on MFSLive. It can expand by adding a single partition instead of the pairs that were thought mandatory until that breakthrough, and even though it was designed for Premieres it still works on S3s.

Both developers gave us great tools for free and I'm starting to understand why both of them haven't bothered since. Use whatever you want and feel comfortable with.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi View Post
Yes, and it states it needs an i586 or better, which seems like a lot of processor just to copy drives. I was hoping people here might have a better insight into what's really required. Being unable to run WinMFS, there's no way for me to evaluate how it might perform with less than an i5 processor.
Marconi,

An i586 processor is not the same as the current Intel Core i5 processor. i586 was the original name for the Pentium family (following the tradition of 286. 386 and 486) which was released in 1993 and started out with a 60MHz processor speed.

So as Gieseke indicated any computer today that can run XP will work.

Scott
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:22 AM   #12
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Marconi,

An i586 processor is not the same as the current Intel Core i5 processor. i586 was the original name for the Pentium family (following the tradition of 286. 386 and 486) which was released in 1993 and started out with a 60MHz processor speed.

So as Gieseke indicated any computer today that can run XP will work.

Scott
I keep an old HP computer in the cellar for just that reason, it has a P4 and both PATA and SATA outputs on the motherboard, works great on TiVo upgrades.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggieseke View Post
Spike (the developer of WinMFS) disappeared 4-5 years ago. It's still a great program for S3s or earlier. If your PC can run XP it will run WinMFS and any Pentium processor at 233MHz or later is fine.

The developer of jmfs (comer) did a lot more than put a Java front end on MFSLive. It can expand by adding a single partition instead of the pairs that were thought mandatory until that breakthrough, and even though it was designed for Premieres it still works on S3s.

Both developers gave us great tools for free and I'm starting to understand why both of them haven't bothered since. Use whatever you want and feel comfortable with.

jmfs works on S3 HDs, but not the original OLED S3s.

However, as long as your S3 or S3 HD or S3 HD XL is running version 11.0k or later of the TiVo operating system software, you can upgrade it to a 2TB drive with just WinMFS.

Do the copy, then check the copy with mfsinfo, then exit the program, test the new drive in the TiVo, then put it back in the PC and expand with mfsadd.

But run the manufacturer's diagnostic long test on that new drive before doing any of that.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconi View Post
I'm a Mac user. I have had WinTel hardware in the past but I recycled my Win 95 and XP boxes some years ago.

I have a stable of TiVos, mostly THD models (nothing newer, currently) but a few S2 boxes as well. I have the original drives for all and being able to copy those drives or backups to a new drive is the only reason some of these are still functioning.

For some years I have been using the MFSLive DVD to copy TiVo drives. I have a first gen Intel iMac that boots to the MFSLive DVD. I connect my TiVo drives via SATA-to-USB adapters. It's slow but reliable and gets the job done. The iMac is now nine years old and isn't going to last forever. So I'm planning to build a PC just for the purpose of copying and backing up TiVo drives. Also, the latest copy job was a 1 TB drive with 770 GB of recordings and it took over 15 hours getting just 14 MB/second overall. I want to copy at SATA II speeds or better.

The future of TiVo drive copy/backup seems to be WinMFS, which I cannot currently run, having no Windows machines. So I'm going to build one specifically for this one job. As a bonus, I'll finally have something that can run WDIdle. Here's what I envision:

Inexpensive PC, Dual boot, OEM Windows, Linux

Probably mid-tower case to accommodate the needed drive bays.

Built-in video (HDMI out?)

Enough RAM to run Windows and facilitate drive copying.

One fixed (internal) drive with Windows/Linux.

Optical drive, bootable, read-only is fine, no need to burn

Two or more trayless drive bays to allow hot swap of bare SATA drives.

Example trayless bays: two 5.25 inch bays accommodate three 3.5 inch drives...
<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215243>

Does this seem adequate? How might it be improved?

How common is SATA III on new motherboards? Although TiVo may not use SATA III drives yet, it couldn't hurt to plan for the future.

What's the minimum Windows version that can run WinMFS?

Any and all advice and comments will be appreciated.

When they're in stock

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817993031

are great mobile racks for the money.
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