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.
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.
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.