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Old 03-04-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Page, AZ USA
Posts: 444
Copy TiVo Software Drive-to-drive Using dd?

This may sound like a wacky idea, but has anyone ever tried copying a good, working copy of the TiVo software from one disk to another? By this, I mean copying just the TiVo s/w partitions. (partitions s7 & s9?)

Here's the deal. In the nine years I've owned TiVos, I have lost lots of recordings because a drive went bad. It was always possible to get the DVR working again using a backup of the original disk.

Currently, I have two 500 GB drives from a Series 2 box with lots of recordings but these drives will not boot the box.

Now, it occurs to me that the reason that the TiVo won't boot is that the s/w is corrupted in some way. Likely, some of the recordings are too, but likely not all of them.

I used dd to copy the master drive, where the TiVo s/w lives, to a spare drive with "conv=noerror, sync" so that I now have two drives with no bad blocks but which do not boot the box they were in. Testing of the former "A" drive shows that it does have bad blocks. Presumably, these bad blocks prevented booting. Presumably too, the new "A" drive could boot the box if it had good s/w. It doesn't now because dd could not copy the bad blocks.

It seems to me that this set of drives can be made to boot the S2 TiVo if I could replace the TiVo s/w with a known good, working copy. I have a known good, working copy on the drive that's in that same DVR now.

So... Is it possible, using dd, to copy only the partitions containing the TiVo software from the currently working drive to the copy I made of the old "A" drive?

Before I spend a lot of time trying this, might anyone know if this even can be done? Is there anything else besides the TiVo s/w on the particular partitions where the s/w resides? Are there any technical reasons why this would not work?

If I can make the drive pair bootable, I'd rescue all the recordings -- transferring them to another DVR -- and then put the current single drive back into this S2 box.

So, all you Really Smart Folks, who know much more about the inner workings of these boxes than I do, does this sound do-able?

Roamio Plus, Four HDs, Two DTs, One S2. (Yeah, I have a TiVo 'problem.') Mac Nut too.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Ontario Canada.
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I have done it.

Series 2 234 Hr Lifetime.
Window XP and Ubuntu Linux on my PCs.
Watching more and more in HD direct now.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:23 PM   #3
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I used to do it all the time.

But I wouldn't bet on a reinstallation of the software partitions doing the trick. There's a bunch of stuff in the MFS partitions that needs to be intact, too.

You should probably consult the Underground if you want to pursue this.


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