Originally Posted by Sturmie
Definitely...I built those 3 HTPCs and am a systems administrator/engineer as my profession. The fact that it passes all SMART tests would lead me to believe that the TiVo OS got hosed somehow since everything was working fine before that. The first TiVo CSR I spoke did mention that he has seen the "Clear & Delete" option bork up an S3 before...so, it seems like it's sort of a semi-known issue there.
Do I void the warranty if I open the box (like with the older ReplayTVs)? Just curious. If not, I'm willing to try a few things for sure.
At this point I don't think there's any warranty left on an original S3, or even an S3 HD or S3 HD XL, and there's no sticker that gets broken if you open the case (I think the Series 1 was the last time they did that), so if you don't tell them you opened it, neither will I.
After I talk about the hard drive a lot, I'll tell you what you should check first instead.
If you don't use a GigaByte brand motherboard for what I'm going to suggest, you won't have to worry about preventing the creation of a Host Protected Area on the TiVo's drive.
Go to mfslive.org and get WinMFS (you should also download the zip of the .iso of the MFS Live cd v1.4 and burn yourself a copy, but you should do that even if you don't own a TiVo and don't plan on getting one, it's just handy to have around). While you're there, read the instructions for WinMFS.
Install WinMFS on a Windows XP or newer PC.
Hook up the TiVo drive to a spare SATA port on that PC and boot it.
On Win7 and maybe Vista you'll need to be running with administrator privileges for WinMFS to see your TiVo drive.
Don't try to look at the TiVo drive in Windows Disk Management, don't open any programs except WinMFS.
When you open it, click on "Select Drive", you should get a screen with the TiVo drive showing, but not any PC formatted drives.
Select the TiVo drive, close that window, and click on "mfsinfo".
It should show you something about the boot partitions being 3 and 4 and the alternates being 6 and 7, although it might say 6 and 7 and alternates being 3 and 4. There's another thing on the main menu about fix boot or bootfix or something like that and it has two options.
Option 1 sets the drive to boot from partitions 3 and 4, and makes 6 and 7 the alternates, no matter how the bootpage is set beforehand, and option 2 sets it for 6 and 7, alternates 3 and 4, no matter how it's set before.
Make a note of what partitions mfsinfo says it's set for.
It's not impossible that it will give you a "wrong" answer, like partitions 1 and 4 or 2 and 3, or something. It happened to me once on an S2 which is how I discovered this trick.
While you're in mfsinfo check all three of its sub-pages to make sure everything looks kosher, then close it.
Then find swap fix and click on that, might not help but won't hurt.
Then go to boot fix or whatever it's called and select the option that reverses whatever your current main and alternate selections are, so, for instance, if it's 6 and 7, choose option 1.
If you got an answer earlier where one of the numbers was wrong, use the one that was right to indicate the pair you want to swap from primary to alternate, so if it was like 1 and 3, select option 2 to make it 6 and 7, alternate 3 and 4.
Then check it in mfsinfo again to make sure all went well, back out of that, shut down the program, shut down the computer, and try the drive in the TiVo again.
If it doesn't work, go back to WinMFS and choose whichever bootfix option you didn't choose the first time and try it in the TiVo again.
Now that I've told you all of that, here's the first thing you should do when you open the TiVo.
Check the power supply for capacitor disease.
Wikipedia has a good page on "capacitor plague", which is the same thing and has illustrations.
You want to look for capacitors in the power supply's output circuitry with even the slightest hint of a bulge or leakage. If the top of even one of them is anything other than absolutely, positively flat, that's where at least one of your problems is.
You should also get the drive manufacturer's diagnostic software and run the long test.
Report back here and tell us how it goes. We need feedback.
Did I mention that you could just sell me that lifetimed S3 real cheap instead and make it my problem instead of yours?