2013/04/14: Version 22.214.171.124 Patched for DeviceIoControl error reading SD cards.
2013/04/15: Version 126.96.36.199 Patched for yet another DeviceIoControl error during restore on some computers.
2014/11/27: Version 188.8.131.52 Added the ability to restore VHD images that it doesn't recognize.
1. This software is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty of any kind.
2. Opening your TiVo will void the manufacturer's warranty.
3. While every effort has been made to prevent data loss, the ultimate responsibility is yours.
This is a Windows program designed to backup and restore TiVo DVRs. It will run on XP or later, and it should work on anything from a Series 1 to a Premiere. It is not intended as a recovery tool for corrupt or failing drives, and it will not expand or "supersize" your drive (yet).
1. Download DvrBARS
and unzip it to somewhere on your drive.
2. Connect a TiVo drive to your computer. USB adapters will work, but are generally much slower than a SATA or PATA direct connection.
3. Read step 2 again. DvrBARS only scans the drives once when it first starts up. If you add, remove or change your drive configuration while it's running you will confuse the poor thing. I also strongly recommend that you do not run Windows Disk Manager while a TiVo drive is connected, because it will try to "initialize" it, which will damage the boot sector.
4. Run DvrBARS with an account that's a member of the Administrators group or right-click it and choose Run as Administrator.
5. If you like it and want to help support future development, find the donate option in the System Information screen.
There are three backup options (Full, Modified Full, and Truncated).
Full is perfect if you have a drive that's straight from the factory because most of the drive is all zeroes. A Full backup "xeroxes" the entire drive, but due to the way dynamic VHD files work you'll get a byte-for-byte copy of the entire drive in a relatively small file. For Premieres that's usually about 2.5GB and you can zip it down even further.
Modified Full backups selectively copy all of the sectors that are in use, including your recordings. You'll need a lot of disk space if you have a lot of recordings.
Truncated backups are like Modified backups, but your recordings are excluded. The final backup file will be about the same size as a Full backup of a factory drive that has never been booted, especially if you exclude the alternate Root partition (see the Settings screen).
All three backup methods will preserve your settings, CableCARD pairing, Season Passes, guide data etc.
There are two restore options (Full and Quick).
Full restores write all of the information in the backup image to the target drive, including the sectors that weren't backed up. They get zeroes.
Quick restores only write the sectors that contain data. The rest of the target drive is untouched.
There's a roughly 2.2TB limit inherent in the VHD file format. If you try to do a Full backup of a 2TB drive that has been in use for a while it will probably run for about 10 hours and die.
You cannot make a Modified or Truncated backup of a dual drive TiVo unless both drives are connected. It has to be able to scan the entire MFS file system to figure out what sectors to include.
For adventurous souls, you can use the VHD files with VMWare or Windows Virtual PC. Use the VHD as the source drive, boot the virtual computer with the mfstools or jmfs ISO file and you can expand, supersize, etc to another drive.
If you have Vista or later you can also mount a VHD file in Disk Manager and use it as the source drive for further operations like turning a Full or Modified backup into a Truncated backup, but be careful to check the Read Only box.
I have a perfect image of a TCD748000 Premiere XL straight from the factory. I also have a nearly pristine TCD746320 Premiere image, but it's larger because it came from a drive that had already been through one upgrade. If you have a "virgin" drive laying around somewhere, run a full backup and send me a PM. Someday I hope to have clean images of every recent model available to the community.
Donate if you can. An awful lot of time and money has gone into this project so far, and the 100GB Dropbox account I set up for the images wasn't free either.
Two members here (retiredqwest and jmbach) deserve a LOT of thanks and a big chunk of the credit. Their support and patience made it possible.
The pioneers who developed mfstools and jmfs also have my deepest thanks. DvrBARS is an entirely new work, but the basic knowledge of the MFS file system came from them.
I'll shut up now. If you have any problems (and there are bound to be some) post the details here.