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Old 08-25-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
Mark Guan
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Help needed: fit Tivo HD into a 512G SSD

Hi!

I am trying to replace my Tivo HD XL's 1TB HD with a 512G SSD. I understand that there are many reasons not to do it (such as 24/7 writes will wear SSD down quickly, and this does not provide performance enhancement, etc) but the HD is too noisy and I cannot sleep with it on.

I tried instantcake, but it tells me "backup target not large enough for entire backup by itself"

Also tried WinMFS v9.3f, MFSLive v1.4 ISO, and both give me similar error saying target drive is too small.

I tried upgrade my Tivo Premiere using JMFS Linux Boot CD, that did not work either.

But I can see someone did it before (tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=454580)

I checked my hd partition by cat /proc/partitions, and it shows there are two partitions with size > 400G.

My question is, is there a way fit Tivo HD or Premiere software into a 512G SSD? Or a way to delete/shrink some of the Tivo partiton? How to do it?


Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:24 PM   #2
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Won't a straight up TivoHD image fit? those were only 160GB (and findable in threads)
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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When you're restoring a truncated backup like I presume Instantcake is, the target drive needs to be at least as large as the original one (which is 1 TB in your case).

dianebrat's suggestion would work as long as the software version doesn't confuse the TiVo servers and have your TiVo try to download a new software version every time it calls into the mothership. The latest TiVo HD non-XL software version is 11.0K-01-2-652, so if yours is the same you'll probably be fine.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:15 PM   #4
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Thanks dianebrat and sbourgeo. I think this is a good idea and am still trying to find a Tivo HD 160GB image.

In the same time, here is what I have been trying:

I plugged both my 512G SSD and my original Tivo Hard drive into my pc, and used Instantcake to restore a 2-disk Tivo configuration into the two disks. Then I connected my SSD as the internal drive and the original Tivo Harddisk as an external drive. This works, as long as I have both SSD and external hd connected.

I was hoping to be able to unplug the external drive and still have the Tivo working. It turned no such luck. When I removed the external hd and rebooted Tivo, it first asks me if I want to permanently remove the external storage. I followed the on-screen instructions to do that. Then Tivo would not start. It will go to "Powering up" -> "Almost there, just a few minutes more". Then it will restart again.

Ok let me try to find a 160G HD image, Any pointer to that would be greatly appreciated.

Mark
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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When you're restoring a truncated backup like I presume Instantcake is, the target drive needs to be at least as large as the original one (which is 1 TB in your case).

dianebrat's suggestion would work as long as the software version doesn't confuse the TiVo servers and have your TiVo try to download a new software version every time it calls into the mothership. The latest TiVo HD non-XL software version is 11.0K-01-2-652, so if yours is the same you'll probably be fine.
In all probability TiVo HD s/w is the same as TiVo HD XL. Presumably the only difference was hard drive size and THX certification.

Of course, you will loose all of your recordings, settings (including CableCARD pairing) and Season passes.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:39 PM   #6
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Thanks lpwcomp. I checked my Tivo instantcake CD for Tivo HD XL, and the version is
Tivo HD TCD658 11.0b-01-2-658
sbourgeo said the Tivo HD is 11.0K-01-2-652. But it is possible the software is the same.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:03 PM   #7
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Hi dianebrat,

I am not able to sent PM until I make 10 posts (my current count is 4, including this one). Yes please do so and I will do the same some day. Thanks
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone especially dianebrat for the help. I was able to install Tivo HD on my SSD. The version number is 11.0K-01-2-652 now.

There was some Tivo message initially about hardware error. But it is gone after I reset and restart the system.

One minor problem is after restarting the Tivo, during the initial splash screen (when the Tivo figure jumps on the sofa), the screen freezes. But I am able to use remote control to go to Tivo Central.

So far, everything else seems working fine. I will keep my finger crossed it will not try to upgrade to Tivo HD XL.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:07 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone especially dianebrat for the help. I was able to install Tivo HD on my SSD. The version number is 11.0K-01-2-652 now.

There was some Tivo message initially about hardware error. But it is gone after I reset and restart the system.

One minor problem is after restarting the Tivo, during the initial splash screen (when the Tivo figure jumps on the sofa), the screen freezes. But I am able to use remote control to go to Tivo Central.

So far, everything else seems working fine. I will keep my finger crossed it will not try to upgrade to Tivo HD XL.
That freeze on restart concerns me as it may be an indicator of s/w incompatibility. Also, like you, I do not know what will happen if/when it installs the 658 s/w. However, this was the only known way of doing what you wanted to do that had any possibility of working.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:03 AM   #10
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I'm curious as to why you want to use an SSD in your Tivo. Sure, the Tivo will boot a little faster and it may speed up navigation while in the menus, but you won't gain any advantage with respect to recording performance. OTOH, you won't have to listen to the drive clacking 24/7 as it constantly buffers whatever channel each tuner is recording.

FYI - There can be issues with SSDs if the partitions are not properly aligned. I know this to be the case with Windows PCs but I have no idea if it holds true for Linux. Here's a link that might interest you on the subject.

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Old 08-26-2012, 08:02 AM   #11
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I'm curious as to why you want to use an SSD in your Tivo.
OP said sound in the bedroom.
I would have used a quiet 2.5" HD in a 3.5" noise reducing tray to avoid the potential SSD issues with compatibility and a life of constant rewrites. (and it's a lot cheaper)
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #12
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OP said sound in the bedroom.
I would have used a quiet 2.5" HD in a 3.5" noise reducing tray to avoid the potential SSD issues with compatibility and a life of constant rewrites. (and it's a lot cheaper)
I wholeheartedly agree. Based on the 652/658 software discrepancy Mark Guan could be veering into the infamous "Don't be a MORON!" territory. One would think that over time TiVo would have built in some server-side logic to insure against that happening these days though.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:30 AM   #13
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The SW part number for the HD is not the same as for the HD XL. The issues could well be arising from that fact. As for the original issue, it is a well known fact that a truncated WinMFS image must go back into a drive that is at least as large as the drive it came from. 512GB is too small.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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I wholeheartedly agree. Based on the 652/658 software discrepancy Mark Guan could be veering into the infamous "Don't be a MORON!" territory. One would think that over time TiVo would have built in some server-side logic to insure against that happening these days though.
oh I disagree that it's that far, there was a definite difference in intent there.

From my side I was surprised to hear that the THD and THDXL have different software builds, that's a surprise since they're so close.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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So far so good:
- I have not seen the hardware error message again.
- For the splash scree freeze problem, I tried restart my Tivo again several times, and found out if I waited for a few minutes then Tivo will go out of it automatically and start showing the tv shows. My guess is that the splash video was encoded in a codec that is not compatible with the XL decoder.

@lpwcomp: Yes agree with you "this was the only known way of doing what you wanted to do that had any possibility of working". @lillevig However I am curious if it is possible to shrink the MFS partition. I will do some investigation when I get free time.

@mr.unnatural @dianebrat: yes this is because I want to reduce noise in my bedroom. A quite disk with noise reducing tray will be cheaper, but still give some noise + heat. My plan is to use SSD and eventually remove the fan if possible because SSD won't give off that much heat. I want to sleep with absolute quiteness LOL

For the partition alignment issue - I am not sure how it applies here since Tivo has its own file system MFS. I tried GParted/fdisk, and none can read Tivo's partition.

@sbourgeo: thanks for the info and I totally agree it is not ethical if someone made his own change and then call Tivo for support.
I hope Tivo won't have a server side logic to guard this. If I were a product manager at Tivo I would not spend engineering efforts to do it unless this has become a huge issue for Tivo. However I do want to log it so I know what's going on.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:29 PM   #16
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...

@mr.unnatural @dianebrat: yes this is because I want to reduce noise in my bedroom. A quite disk with noise reducing tray will be cheaper, but still give some noise + heat. My plan is to use SSD and eventually remove the fan if possible because SSD won't give off that much heat. I want to sleep with absolute quiteness LOL...
perhaps easier/cheaper to put the box in another room/closer/cabinet and then just by a the slide remote? The slide remotes are bluetooth so don't require line of site. Just a thought.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:47 PM   #17
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I get the logic of the " I want the bedroom quiet" but I live in the city, even quiet just means I don't hear fire engines, I can leave my PC on in the other 1/2 of the bedroom with 3HDs and 4 fans and still get a good nights rest, I'd never hear a TivoHD with an AV drive in it.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:20 PM   #18
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@lpwcomp: Yes agree with you "this was the only known way of doing what you wanted to do that had any possibility of working". @lillevig However I am curious if it is possible to shrink the MFS partition.
Not while maintaining the data. I don't think anyone knows enough about MFS to do this and still maintain data. Creating an MFS partition of whatever size is easy, and there are utilities that can re-create the MFS format.

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@mr.unnatural @dianebrat: yes this is because I want to reduce noise in my bedroom. A quite disk with noise reducing tray will be cheaper, but still give some noise + heat. My plan is to use SSD and eventually remove the fan if possible because SSD won't give off that much heat. I want to sleep with absolute quiteness LOL
So does a TiVo without a hard drive and fan, just at a lower level than the human ear can detect from more than a few inches away. The point is, with a quiet hard drive, a quiet fan, and a noise deadening enclosure, the human ear will not be able to hear a TiVo with a hard drive and fan from more than a few feet away. The amount of heat dissipated by a TiVo is not very significant. The human body generates a lot more.

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For the partition alignment issue - I am not sure how it applies here since Tivo has its own file system MFS. I tried GParted/fdisk, and none can read Tivo's partition.
Hang on. Those are two different things. TiVo's partition map is just an Apple partition map - easily readable and writable by pdisk. Before an external PC can access the partition, however, it needs to be able understand a byte-swapped partition table. Obviously Win_MFS is able to do this under Windows, and under Linux one may either employ a kernel that natively understands byte swapped partition tables such as that provided on the MFS_Live CD, or else one may run tivopart with the "r" switch which causes the kernel to re-scan the partition table via an ioctl command. The partitions with standard Linux file systems ( 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 and sometimes 2 and 5) can then be mounted directly and read and written by whatever Linux utilities one likes. This does not allow one to read or write the data in the MFS partitions via common utilities, however.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #19
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I get the logic of the " I want the bedroom quiet" but I live in the city, even quiet just means I don't hear fire engines
Although not plagued by blasting sirens from ambulances, police, and firetrucks, the country is not quiet, either. The night is full of the sounds of frogs, crickets, owls, nightingales, whippoorwills, coyotes, wolves, babbling brooks, and myriad other sounds. The difference is those sounds are restful. I spent a significant fraction of the summers of my youth living in the country with no electricity and no running water, sleeping with the windows open to catch the summer breeze. I fell asleep immediately, lulled away from consciousness by the sounds outside. In the city I sometimes toss and turn.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #20
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I used to live in a big city and there was a road outside of my apartment building but I was never bothered by the traffic sound. But when I moved to a suburban area I would wake up with the slightest sound at night. I can sleep with "restful sounds" without any problem. It is the electrical noise that drives me crazy.

@lrhorer: thanks for the information on the Tivo partition as I did not know. Now I realized there is a tivopart tool, here is what I am thinking to shrink the tivo partition:

1. create the tivo partitions 1-9 and mfs application partitions manually on the SSD using tivopart. Make them the same size as the original Tivo HD XL partitions
2. create the mfs media partitions on SSD but with smaller size. My original HD media partitions are over 400GB each. I will create partitions with 200GB each.
3. copy data from original Tivo hd to SSD for partitions 1-9 and mfs application partitons.
Ignore the media partiton. I plan to use this command to do the copy:
dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1
dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/sdb2
...

You mentioned that "This does not allow one to read or write the data in the MFS partitions via common utilities, however" - will dd work? If not can you tell me which command will be able to copy the data? thanks

Another way of shrinking the partition is simply delete all the media partitons (or leave only one) on the original Tivo HD hard drive, and use mfs live to backup/restore it to the SSD. Then recreate the media partitions on the SSD. Not sure if any of these will work though.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:40 PM   #21
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I think I would just replace the HD XL with a regular HD, given that you've paid close to $400 for the drive. This topic has come up before and I think the consensus was that the software wasn't compatible.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:05 AM   #22
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This won't help with shrinking the HD XL image to fit on a 512 GB SSD, but thought it would be appropriate for this thread.

Another forum member who installed a SSD in his TivoHD:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=454580
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:38 AM   #23
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Although not plagued by blasting sirens from ambulances, police, and firetrucks, the country is not quiet, either. The night is full of the sounds of frogs, crickets, owls, nightingales, whippoorwills, coyotes, wolves, babbling brooks, and myriad other sounds. The difference is those sounds are restful. I spent a significant fraction of the summers of my youth living in the country with no electricity and no running water, sleeping with the windows open to catch the summer breeze. I fell asleep immediately, lulled away from consciousness by the sounds outside. In the city I sometimes toss and turn.
The country is more noisy than the city. I always have a hard time sleeping in the country since it is so noisy.
It's bad enough trying to sleep in a house in the country with all the noise, but camping was always the worst when I was growing up. Out there in just a tent, there was just too much noise coming from everywhere.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #24
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This won't help with shrinking the HD XL image to fit on a 512 GB SSD, but thought it would be appropriate for this thread.

Another forum member who installed a SSD in his TivoHD:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=454580
Right, The OP is running the regular HD software on the HD XL. Why not just put the SSD in a regular Tivo HD and use that instead?

If the OP is paying a monthly subscription, they can just swap the TSN on their account. If it's a lifetime subscription, they can sell the HD XL to cover the cost of a regular HD.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:30 AM   #25
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I would say that the OP should hpe that the s/w is automatically updated to the latest version for the HD XL. If written correctly, it should just use the drive configuration as is. However, I have no confidence that the s/w is correctly written nor even that the update would go smoothly.

If the TiVo starts behaving weirdly to the point that it isn't really usable, you might try a kickstart 56 and see what happens.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:49 AM   #26
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@lrhorer: thanks for the information on the Tivo partition as I did not know. Now I realized there is a tivopart tool, here is what I am thinking to shrink the tivo partition:

1. create the tivo partitions 1-9 and mfs application partitions manually on the SSD using tivopart. Make them the same size as the original Tivo HD XL partitions
No, use tivopart to allow Linux to read and write byteswapped partition tables. Use pdisk to create the partition table. It's not difficult, but it is tedious, and if you are anything like me, you'll make a ton of mistakes. I never had to wipe an entire partition and start again, but when creating 13 or 14 partitions, I usually have to redo at least 4 or 5 of them at least 3 or 4 times. Dual windows really help a lot, and indeed are absolutely essential, if you ask me.

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2. create the mfs media partitions on SSD but with smaller size. My original HD media partitions are over 400GB each. I will create partitions with 200GB each.
Creating the partitions is easy (although as I said, tedious). Creating the file systems is a bit trickier. I know there is a mkmfs utility out there, but I do not know if it will work on a Series III. You might have to tinker with a tool like MFS_Live or Win_MFS. I recommend a trip to the support forum for those utilities, and perhaps to the "other" TiVo forum.

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3. copy data from original Tivo hd to SSD for partitions 1-9 and mfs application partitons.
Ignore the media partiton. I plan to use this command to do the copy:
dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1
dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/sdb2
...
That will work fine, although I suggest you increase the size of the swap partition and use mkswap for partition 8.

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You mentioned that "This does not allow one to read or write the data in the MFS partitions via common utilities, however" - will dd work?
Absolutely. Dd operates below the level of any file system and indeed below the level of the OS. It merely copies byte-for-byte from the source to the target. As long as the OS can tell DD at which sector to start, it does its thing without caring about how the data is organized.

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Another way of shrinking the partition is simply delete all the media partitons (or leave only one) on the original Tivo HD hard drive, and use mfs live to backup/restore it to the SSD. Then recreate the media partitions on the SSD. Not sure if any of these will work though.
I think it has a good chance. MFS_Live and Win_MFS both support doing a truncated backup - which looses the programs, and then restoring to a smaller drive, as long as the primary MFS partitions are not larger than can fit in the free space of the SSD. As long as this is the case, transferring the TiVo data from your hard drive to the SSD should be easy. Otherwise, you may have to do some digging. Again, I would check the support forum at http://www.mfslive.org/

Last edited by lrhorer : 08-27-2012 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:00 PM   #27
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The country is more noisy than the city. I always have a hard time sleeping in the country since it is so noisy.
It's bad enough trying to sleep in a house in the country with all the noise, but camping was always the worst when I was growing up. Out there in just a tent, there was just too much noise coming from everywhere.
The only time I ever had trouble sleeping when camping was during a sand storm in Gallup, NM, but the sound wasn't the main problem. Because of the storm, we had to sleep (or rather, try) in the cab and camper of the truck, rather than the tent, and with the truck sealed up tight, the heat was unbearable. Not only that, but despite having the doors and windows tightly shut, it still didn't keep out the dust.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:05 PM   #28
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I have a TiVo Premiere in my bedroom. It is more quiet than a TiVo HD. Way more quiet, to the point where I can't tell it's on or off without turning on the TV.

A Premiere is cheaper than a 512GB SSD.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:36 PM   #29
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I have a TiVo Premiere in my bedroom. It is more quiet than a TiVo HD. Way more quiet, to the point where I can't tell it's on or off without turning on the TV.
My experience is the exact opposite. I tried using a Premiere in my bedroom, but it was louder than the TivoHD I have in there now.
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steve614 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2012, 12:10 AM   #30
Mark Guan
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 10
Thanks everyone for the help. Unfortunately I am not able to shrink the partitions. Here is what I have tried:

1. I use the original Tivo HD hard disk, deleted the Partition 12 - mfs application region 2 and Partition 13 - mfs media region 2 with pdisk. No good. When I tried to use WinMFS to backup/restore, it still complains that the target disk is too small.

2. I also tried to put the original hard disk without partition 12/13 into Tivo and boot up. Everything looks fine until I tried to play some of the recordings. It crashed and showed GSOD.

3. I tried to copy the partitions my self. The good news is I did not need to create the partitions on SSD. It turned out that Tivo HD XL and Tivo HD both have the exact same partitions. So I just did restore Tivo HD to SSD, restore Tivo HD XL to the original hard disk and use dd to copy partition 2-9 to SSD. Copying partition 1 is going to mess up the disk since it is the partition map it self. When I use the SSD to restart, Tivo was able to show the Tivo HD splash screen with the little Tivo figure. But then it went to GSOD.

4. I then repeated step 3, plus copy partition 10 and 12 which are the application partitions. No luck. Tivo showed GSOD immediately after the "Just a few minutes more" screen.

BTW, in all the steps, the GSOD would result a continued reboot.

So I am currently back to running Tivo HD with my SSD. I also unplugged the fan (!). To help air circulation I have drilled 5 holes on each side of the Tivo cover close to the top.

Finally I am able to watch my shows in family room, and my wife is able to watch her shows in bed room, and we can be at peach with each other .

I have not investigated mkmfs utility yet - will do so when I get time. I consider upgrade to Tivo HD XL a nice to have feature, unless Tivo forces me to do so (I will try kickstart 56 this weekend). In that case if the upgrade breaks my Tivo I might follow @shwru980r's suggestion to trade in a Tivo HD. Not sure anyone want a Tivo HD XL with 5 holes on each side though

Last edited by Mark Guan : 08-28-2012 at 12:04 PM.
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