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Old 09-19-2012, 08:06 AM   #1
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A different kind of reboot loop

Ok, this is a first for me through many years and quite a few different TiVos. Premiere XL, stock. Woke up this morning and noticed I could hear the fan on high power. Turned on the TV, saw Welcome screen, figured it was just rebooting so I dozed back off. A few minutes later, my ears tell me I'm still hearing the fan at full which isn't normal. Sure enough it's stuck. So, I pull the power, wait a few minutes and plug back in, then the reboot loop begins. Thing is, it honestly doesn't even look like it's passing POST. 4 LEDs flash, Welcome screen, 2-3 seconds, 4 LEDs flash, goes black, Welcome screen, repeat ad-nauseum. Can't get anywhere close to a kickstart prompt.

I've tried pulling HDMI cable, cable card, and network cable to no avail. Every once in a while it will hang at the Welcome screen, but usually it's just the instant reboot loop. It doesn't sound like HDD failure to me, or at least I've never seen a response quite like this with it. Any thoughts on the best candidates to check for?
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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If it's a series 3 or tivo hd check the power supply for signs of capacitor failure. Check this thread for a picture of what you are looking for.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...33#post8824333
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:35 AM   #3
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It's a Premiere, so not S3, but I checked the power supply and all the caps look normal. I can hear the drive spin up initially before it reboots, and I noticed that with the drive disconnected, the LED Flash/reboot is similar (just quicker), so it may be the drive after all. I seem to remember that even connecting an S4 drive to a windows box will corrupt it for TiVo, is that accurate? Trying to think of a way to run a check on this (can't remember if the MSF tools disc I have has any kind of test utility).
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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It's a Premiere, so not S3, but I checked the power supply and all the caps look normal. I can hear the drive spin up initially before it reboots, and I noticed that with the drive disconnected, the LED Flash/reboot is similar (just quicker), so it may be the drive after all. I seem to remember that even connecting an S4 drive to a windows box will corrupt it for TiVo, is that accurate? Trying to think of a way to run a check on this (can't remember if the MSF tools disc I have has any kind of test utility).
I'm not convinced your drive is at fault (older models with the drive disconnected just put up the welcome screen and hang there), but the only test I'd recommend is the WD diagnostic software.

Apparently people using the bootable cd version have trouble if using a SATA cd or dvd drive on some computers, so you could burn yourself a copy of the latest verison of the Ultimate Boot CD, which has the WD program on it, as well as other nifty stuff.

And disconnect your Windows drive to be on the safe side.

Meanwhile, how are you with a Voltmeter?
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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Meanwhile, how are you with a Voltmeter?
Good question. Haven't messed with it in quite some time, but I still have multimeter sitting in the toolbox I think. I was once a good and proper geek, but I haven't touched a soldering iron in 20 years, and probably haven't used the meter other than testing for hot wire when installing a ceiling fan in about the same.

Meanwhile, WD Diag is running, though I did end up booting into Win 7 after I had the drive hooked up (wireless keyboard didn't connect before I could get to boot menu and SSD was too fast for me). So, figured as long as I had done that I'd just download WDDiag and run from there. SMART test passed, running extended test now. This of course begs the question. Can you still fix the MBR on the S4 drives (I seem to remember MakeTiVoBootable back in the day)?
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Good question. Haven't messed with it in quite some time, but I still have multimeter sitting in the toolbox I think. I was once a good and proper geek, but I haven't touched a soldering iron in 20 years, and probably haven't used the meter other than testing for hot wire when installing a ceiling fan in about the same.

Meanwhile, WD Diag is running, though I did end up booting into Win 7 after I had the drive hooked up (wireless keyboard didn't connect before I could get to boot menu and SSD was too fast for me). So, figured as long as I had done that I'd just download WDDiag and run from there. SMART test passed, running extended test now.
Judging by pictures of the Premiere power supply, you can check the +12 V output (yellow wires) and the +5 V output (red wires) at the plug that goes to the motherboard. Black wires are ground, but if your meter has an alligator clip on the negative lead you can ground it on the metal chassis.

Just stay as far away from the power supply as possible.

There doesn't seem to be an orange wire, but if there is it'll be +3.3 V.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:17 PM   #7
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Judging by pictures of the Premiere power supply, you can check the +12 V output (yellow wires) and the +5 V output (red wires) at the plug that goes to the motherboard. Black wires are ground, but if your meter has an alligator clip on the negative lead you can ground it on the metal chassis.

Just stay as far away from the power supply as possible.

There doesn't seem to be an orange wire, but if there is it'll be +3.3 V.
Power coming out at the plug seems clean. +12 V off the yellow and +5 V off the red.

I was debating on yanking the drive out of my other unit (also Premiere xl) and trying it, but I'm wary of it on the off chance there's something wrong with the MB that might corrupt the drive. Though I suppose if I went the opposite and put the "suspect" drive in the other unit, we could at least eliminate that possibility.

The wddiag extended test has been going for a couple hours without finding any errors so far. Of course that brings me back around to does the MakeTiVoBootable utility work for S4 drives question.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:46 PM   #8
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Ok, so I took the suspect drive and put it in the other unit and saw the same symptom. LED Flash/Reboot. So it looks like we're definitely looking at a bad drive. The strange thing is that you'd think at that level it wouldn't have even passed the SMART test on WDDiag. I suppose if the MBR had become corrupted (without the help of Win7) perhaps, but I wouldn't think a bad sector would trigger that (again unless it's in the boot sector). Now to see what options I have to attempt to bring this puppy back to life or hopefully be able to do a bit level copy to a new drive. Any suggestions? It's been a few years since I've done any drive swaps or upgrades, not sure which tools are best for it these days.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moebius View Post
Power coming out at the plug seems clean. +12 V off the yellow and +5 V off the red.

I was debating on yanking the drive out of my other unit (also Premiere xl) and trying it, but I'm wary of it on the off chance there's something wrong with the MB that might corrupt the drive. Though I suppose if I went the opposite and put the "suspect" drive in the other unit, we could at least eliminate that possibility.

The wddiag extended test has been going for a couple hours without finding any errors so far. Of course that brings me back around to does the MakeTiVoBootable utility work for S4 drives question.
I'm not sure if any of the TiVo specific utilities can be safely used with S4 platform machines.

Except jmfs, but it won't tell you anything you need to know.

I think

pdisk -l

on the MFS Live cd v1.4 could be safely used to check the partition map, but I'd avoid

mfsinfo



Swapping drives between units which are identical except for their TiVo Service Numbers means losing all your recordings.

You could, if you know what you're doing, use something like

dd_rescue

or the original

dd

to copy just the first 512 bytes (or is it bits?) from the working drive to the other one to re-write the bootpage.

I'd make that a very last resort, though.

You could put the "bad" TiVo's power supply in the "good" TiVo, and see if it still acted "good", or if the load of a good motherboard and good drive revealed a previously hidden weakness.

And you could, once wddiag finishes, try the good TiVo's power supply in the bad TiVo with the bad drive to see what happens.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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Ok, so I took the suspect drive and put it in the other unit and saw the same symptom. LED Flash/Reboot. So it looks like we're definitely looking at a bad drive. The strange thing is that you'd think at that level it wouldn't have even passed the SMART test on WDDiag. I suppose if the MBR had become corrupted (without the help of Win7) perhaps, but I wouldn't think a bad sector would trigger that (again unless it's in the boot sector). Now to see what options I have to attempt to bring this puppy back to life or hopefully be able to do a bit level copy to a new drive. Any suggestions? It's been a few years since I've done any drive swaps or upgrades, not sure which tools are best for it these days.
Looks like we passed each other like ships in the night.

Did you run the long test on the suspect drive?

What report?
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Looks like we passed each other like ships in the night.

Did you run the long test on the suspect drive?

What report?
I knew the recording loss risk would be there, but I just wanted to see if it'd get past post or show the same loop. Plus, only did it with the suspect drive, so at best it'd be a rescue operation anyway.

I'm aborted the long test at 2 hours, but I guess my next option is to attempt to either try some manner of repair, let the long test run to completion, or just buy a new drive and either try a bit level copy or get a fresh image.

On this note. Never messed with the S4 drives. Can we even do that these days or are they pretty well locked down?

On the power supply swaps, I'll probably save that as a last resort as well. I'd rather not risk breaking a solder joint or something doing the swap unless I absolutely have to.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:44 PM   #12
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I knew the recording loss risk would be there, but I just wanted to see if it'd get past post or show the same loop. Plus, only did it with the suspect drive, so at best it'd be a rescue operation anyway.

I'm aborted the long test at 2 hours, but I guess my next option is to attempt to either try some manner of repair, let the long test run to completion, or just buy a new drive and either try a bit level copy or get a fresh image.

On this note. Never messed with the S4 drives. Can we even do that these days or are they pretty well locked down?

On the power supply swaps, I'll probably save that as a last resort as well. I'd rather not risk breaking a solder joint or something doing the swap unless I absolutely have to.
The only fresh image for a Premiere is a drive from another of the same model.

You have to "Xerox" the source drive to the target.

All the stuff that let you make truncated backups on S3s and older? No good on an S4.

The power supply swap shouldn't be particularly dangerous as long as you're gently removing the cord from the AC jack on the back of the TiVo, and put your fingertips under the edge of the motherboard to support it when plugging the plug from the power supply back onto the motherboard.

(always unplug the power cord from the wall socket first, and don't unplug it from the back of the TiVo more than necessary, and always know where both ends of the power cord are)


You may not have a bad drive.

You may have a good drive with software that's gotten screwed up somehow.

TiVo drives don't have an MBR, they have a bootpage and a partition map.

There's a risk of a Windows machine trying to put an MBR on them, and if it's a GigaByte brand motherboard there's a risk of it trying to put a Host Protected Area on a hard drive, and not just a TiVo drive.

Have you ever messed with MFS Live or MFS Tools or any Linux/Unix command line stuff?

We might be able to overwrite just the bootpage with the one from the good drive (which should be indentical, sort of), and see if that fixes things or gets it to the point where it can fix itself.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:08 PM   #13
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Have you ever messed with MFS Live or MFS Tools or any Linux/Unix command line stuff?

We might be able to overwrite just the bootpage with the one from the good drive (which should be indentical, sort of), and see if that fixes things or gets it to the point where it can fix itself.
I have in the past, though it's been about 3 or 4 years since I did anything with TiVo drives using MFS Live. I've used WinMFS for the last few operations I had to do (dropping a clean image after my HD's drive failed).

If you know the commands quick enough to type 'em up, I'll snag a copy of MFS Live (can it handle booting from SATA cd?) and get it burned. Maybe it'll be nice and easy like that. While I have to consider it could still be the power supply, the "good" unit showing the exact same reboot gives me hope it's not.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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I have in the past, though it's been about 3 or 4 years since I did anything with TiVo drives using MFS Live. I've used WinMFS for the last few operations I had to do (dropping a clean image after my HD's drive failed).

If you know the commands quick enough to type 'em up, I'll snag a copy of MFS Live (can it handle booting from SATA cd?) and get it burned. Maybe it'll be nice and easy like that. While I have to consider it could still be the power supply, the "good" unit showing the exact same reboot gives me hope it's not.
I'll need to search some old posts over on the other site, the one we can't name here, and that will mean you'll have to wait until tomorrow 'cause I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard, but I'll find it.

It'll be using

dd

or dd_rescue

to copy over the bootpage, I just have to be sure of the numbers to use to avoid copying too little or too much.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:28 PM   #15
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I'll need to search some old posts over on the other site, the one we can't name here, and that will mean you'll have to wait until tomorrow 'cause I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard, but I'll find it.

It'll be using

dd

or dd_rescue

to copy over the bootpage, I just have to be sure of the numbers to use to avoid copying too little or too much.
Got it. Thanks muchly. I may take a trip over there myself tonight (if I can actually remember the URL, it's been a REALLY long time) and see what I can find. I have all these faint memories running around in the back of my brain, but I can't quite put it all together.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #16
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Got it. Thanks muchly. I may take a trip over there myself tonight (if I can actually remember the URL, it's been a REALLY long time) and see what I can find. I have all these faint memories running around in the back of my brain, but I can't quite put it all together.
You'll just have to learn to DEAL with the fact that your cranial DATABASE ain't what it used to be now that you're sliding towards geezerhood.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:50 PM   #17
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Got it. Thanks muchly. I may take a trip over there myself tonight (if I can actually remember the URL, it's been a REALLY long time) and see what I can find. I have all these faint memories running around in the back of my brain, but I can't quite put it all together.
Apparrently I already looked into this

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...03#post8994503

although if you read the whole thread you'll see the guy never actually tried it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:01 PM   #18
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Big Grin May I interject?

Is the object here to try to save the shows already recorded on the "bad" hard drive?

If not, I think it would be easier to just use the good Premiere hard drive with JMFS and be done with it.
Might as well upgrade the recording hours while your at it.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=455968
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:42 PM   #19
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Is the object here to try to save the shows already recorded on the "bad" hard drive?

If not, I think it would be easier to just use the good Premiere hard drive with JMFS and be done with it.
Might as well upgrade the recording hours while your at it.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=455968
The first hope is to save the shows (there were a few hard to find items on there). Barring that failing, next up would be using the "good" drive to make a copy from.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:43 PM   #20
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Apparrently I already looked into this

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...03#post8994503

although if you read the whole thread you'll see the guy never actually tried it.
Thanks! I'll give it a look. On the interesting note, while the quick test in Win7 passed, I tried it from the DOS version (UBCD) and it failed. Have a full scan running now just to see what returns.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:38 AM   #21
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Ok, last time I did anything close to an operation like this was using IDE where it was easy to know which drive was on which port. Is there a good tip, especially since these are going to be identical drive models and such, to tell which is hda vs. hdb once I get them connected? The port labeling on my MB (also new) is a bit hard to decipher.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:58 AM   #22
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Ok, last time I did anything close to an operation like this was using IDE where it was easy to know which drive was on which port. Is there a good tip, especially since these are going to be identical drive models and such, to tell which is hda vs. hdb once I get them connected? The port labeling on my MB (also new) is a bit hard to decipher.
When you boot with the MFS Live cd, once it gets to the command line, you can use CTRL+PageUp (or else it's SHIFT+PageUp) to scroll back up and see which drive got assigned /dev/sd?

If you can't tell from that because both drives are the same model, then carefull

hdparm -I /dev/sda

should show you the serial number for the drive and

hdparm -I /dev/sdb

should show the serial number for the other, so you can see which is which.

hdparm


has a lot of other options which can wreak all kinds of havoc with a hard drive if one does not know exactly what one is doing and exactly what that particular option is, so type carefully, but the -I for information option is read-only.



Sometimes Linux flavor boot disks assign drive letters according to to which SATA port the drive is connected, regardless of "empty slots" ahead of it, so that

/dev/sdb

goes to the drive connected to the second SATA port even if there's no drive connected to the first one which would have gotten

/dev/sda

if there had been a drive attached.

But sometimes they assign in order of port numbering, regardless of which are empty, so if there's nothing on the first port, a drive on the second port will be called

/dev/sda

You just have to know that's possible and watch out for it.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:10 AM   #23
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When you boot with the MFS Live cd, once it gets to the command line, you can use CTRL+PageUp (or else it's SHIFT+PageUp) to scroll back up and see which drive got assigned /dev/sd?

If you can't tell from that because both drives are the same model, then carefull

hdparm -I /dev/sda

should show you the serial number for the drive and

hdparm -I /dev/sdb

should show the serial number for the other, so you can see which is which.

hdparm


has a lot of other options which can wreak all kinds of havoc with a hard drive if one does not know exactly what one is doing and exactly what that particular option is, so type carefully, but the -I for information option is read-only.



Sometimes Linux flavor boot disks assign drive letters according to to which SATA port the drive is connected, regardless of "empty slots" ahead of it, so that

/dev/sdb

goes to the drive connected to the second SATA port even if there's no drive connected to the first one which would have gotten

/dev/sda

if there had been a drive attached.

But sometimes they assign in order of port numbering, regardless of which are empty, so if there's nothing on the first port, a drive on the second port will be called

/dev/sda

You just have to know that's possible and watch out for it.
Perfect, thanks! I can see the serial numbers which gives me the details. sda is the bad one and sdb is the good. Now for the fun part...

Ok, just to confirm (sanity check). In the other thread you have:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=446 count=1

where sda is the good drive and sdb is the one you have now.

so in my case, since sda is bad and sdb is good, the command would be

dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda bs=446 count=1

correct?
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:30 AM   #24
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Trusted my instincts and read the help file on dd to make sure I had it right. No joy with either 446 or 512 block size. So I guess the next trip is to Best Buy to pick up a new drive (can't wait for shipping, too many fall shows starting up ). Still trying to figure out if there's any way to salvage the data off the old drive. I'm considering trying to dd_rescue from that drive to the new one. Worst that should happen is that it doesn't work and I use the Other TiVo's drive as the source instead.

The thing that really irks me is I saw it coming. I noticed the bad behavior and made a mental note to pull any shows I wanted off to the other unit or PC, then never got around to it. Damn you TiVo for making life so convenient!!!
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #25
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Perfect, thanks! I can see the serial numbers which gives me the details. sda is the bad one and sdb is the good. Now for the fun part...

Ok, just to confirm (sanity check). In the other thread you have:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=446 count=1

where sda is the good drive and sdb is the one you have now.

so in my case, since sda is bad and sdb is good, the command would be

dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda bs=446 count=1

correct?
If you're absolutely sure the drive you DO NOT want to risk messing up is connected as sdb, then that is correct.

Of course you could type

poweroff


and once it shuts down switch the drives, power back up, confirm with

hdparm -I

which is which, and then you'll know that your flow from source to target is in alphabetical order.

But either way, the syntax with

dd

is the source drive is the input file (in Unix, everything's a file) and the target is the output file, if= and of=
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #26
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Thanks again for clarifying. So no joy on the boot page/partition table attempt. Next step is picking up a new drive. I thought I had seen one but can't find it searching now. Is there a good "which drive for Premiere upgrades" thread? The only AV-GP model I see in stock at BB is a 1.5 tb, which would work, but I'd just assume go to 2tb for the same price if the drive is one that plays nice with TiVos.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moebius View Post
Trusted my instincts and read the help file on dd to make sure I had it right. No joy with either 446 or 512 block size. So I guess the next trip is to Best Buy to pick up a new drive (can't wait for shipping, too many fall shows starting up ). Still trying to figure out if there's any way to salvage the data off the old drive. I'm considering trying to dd_rescue from that drive to the new one. Worst that should happen is that it doesn't work and I use the Other TiVo's drive as the source instead.

The thing that really irks me is I saw it coming. I noticed the bad behavior and made a mental note to pull any shows I wanted off to the other unit or PC, then never got around to it. Damn you TiVo for making life so convenient!!!
Did you happen to use

pdisk -l

to compare the partition maps of the good and bad drives before the

dd

bootpage writing?


Assuming both drives were the same factory installed model, the partition map (and the actual partition sizes and layout) should be the same, but now you've got the partition map of the "good" drive written to the "bad" drive, so we'll just have to hope.


What I was thinking was that you could "Xerox" the good drive to the blank new drive, this time using

dd_rescue -v /dev/sda /dev/sdb

where sda is the "good" drive and sdb is the new blank drive.

The dd_rescue syntax is different from that for dd

The -v (for verbose) will let you see what's going on while it's doing the copying, and if the screen blanks after a while, just hit the spacebar.

dd shows nothing 'til it's finished, which will drive you nuts.

Then, after copying the good drive to the new drive, you could hook up the bad drive as the source with the new drive as the target and overwrite specific partitions to try to save your recordings.

But first copy the good to the new, put the new in the bad TiVo, see if it boots up far enough to complain about being in the wrong TiVo with the wrong TiVo Service Number, although it'll call it something like error 51 or hardware problem, and it'll want to spend some time straightening that out.

But that's just to make sure the new drive works in the bad TiVo.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:55 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Moebius View Post
Thanks again for clarifying. So no joy on the boot page/partition table attempt. Next step is picking up a new drive. I thought I had seen one but can't find it searching now. Is there a good "which drive for Premiere upgrades" thread? The only AV-GP model I see in stock at BB is a 1.5 tb, which would work, but I'd just assume go to 2tb for the same price if the drive is one that plays nice with TiVos.
When you say see in stock at BB, do you mean looking online at their website or standing there in the store seeing exactly what they do and don't have on the shelf?
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:57 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitron View Post
Did you happen to use

pdisk -l

to compare the partition maps of the good and bad drives before the

dd

bootpage writing?


Assuming both drives were the same factory installed model, the partition map (and the actual partition sizes and layout) should be the same, but now you've got the partition map of the "good" drive written to the "bad" drive, so we'll just have to hope.


What I was thinking was that you could "Xerox" the good drive to the blank new drive, this time using

dd_rescue -v /dev/sda /dev/sdb

where sda is the "good" drive and sdb is the new blank drive.

The dd_rescue syntax is different from that for dd

The -v (for verbose) will let you see what's going on while it's doing the copying, and if the screen blanks after a while, just hit the spacebar.

dd shows nothing 'til it's finished, which will drive you nuts.

Then, after copying the good drive to the new drive, you could hook up the bad drive as the source with the new drive as the target and overwrite specific partitions to try to save your recordings.

But first copy the good to the new, put the new in the bad TiVo, see if it boots up far enough to complain about being in the wrong TiVo with the wrong TiVo Service Number, although it'll call it something like error 51 or hardware problem, and it'll want to spend some time straightening that out.

But that's just to make sure the new drive works in the bad TiVo.
Ahh, good point. I hadn't thought about copying the partition data over. In the meantime, I didn't try a partition map compare before, but I'll try a post one just to see. Maybe it didn't copy right anyway.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #30
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I should add, I think it may be a rather interesting hardware failure for the drive. Examples. Quick test failed using the dos version from UBCD. Extended test ran overnight, reported errors that were corrected and status code displayed matched that on WDC's support site (drive repaired and in working order). BUT, the quick test still failed after that. Gotta admit, in my years back in the tech support world, I never saw a failure quite like this one.
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