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Old 05-04-2014, 03:05 PM   #1
bgeiser286
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Dead Roamio Plus; need stored data

I purchased the Roamio Plus, transferred recordings to it from an old unit I knew was dying and have the capacity used at 85%. Yesterday, while watching a show, the unit stopped working. What had been playing froze. Finally a screen appeared that advised me to unplug and restart the unit. I did that and it has stayed at the startup screen since.

My question is getting the data. I so seldom have time to watch tv and now, although I could get another unit, I want the data on the existing drive. I'm sure it is a hard drive failure but since we have no way to backup what we record, another unit does not help me if I can't watch what I have already recorded.

I am very computer literate and wondered if anyone has ever removed the drive, tried to bypass the boot sector, and transfer the data to another drive. I did email weaknees and they advised that for $100 they would run a diagnosis on the unit but any parts, including a new drive is extra AND they would try to retrieve my data.

I am simply frustrated that a new machine would crash so fast AND that ,as a proponent of Backing up data, we have no way of doing this easily on the TIVO equipment.

All ideas are appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
squint
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The videos are encrypted so they can only be played by the unit that recorded them. No Tivo after Series 3 have been hacked and made public so there's really no way of retrieving your shows.

What was the old unit? Was it another Roamio or was it a unit you've had for awhile? It would be odd for two new Tivos to fail in quick succession.
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:21 PM   #3
bgeiser286
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old unit was not Roamio; Roamio replaced a series 3.

It is just frustrating to know that I spent $400 less that 6 mos ago, and now have to invest more money with a third party (min $100) to have it diagnosed, a drive replaced and a "maybe" the data could be recovered.

That's why I buy TiVos... so that I am able to watch the shows I like when I have time. If the data cannot be retrieved (and I couldn't back it up originally), what's the benefit?!I've been a long time TiVo subscriber and supporter but I am not finding the newer equipment to be as reliable as the older units. JMHO!

Thanks for your response.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:07 PM   #4
HerronScott
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Do you still have the old series 3 and could transfer the shows at least from it again? Also, depending on what cable system you have and what stations you primarily record from, you can always transfer your shows off to a PC or Windows media server using TiVo Desktop as a "backup". You can even set it up for auto transfers. Luckily for us Comcast only blocks the pay movie channels from transfers.

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Old 05-08-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
eboydog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgeiser286 View Post
I purchased the Roamio Plus, transferred recordings to it from an old unit I knew was dying and have the capacity used at 85%. Yesterday, while watching a show, the unit stopped working. What had been playing froze. Finally a screen appeared that advised me to unplug and restart the unit. I did that and it has stayed at the startup screen since.

My question is getting the data. I so seldom have time to watch tv and now, although I could get another unit, I want the data on the existing drive. I'm sure it is a hard drive failure but since we have no way to backup what we record, another unit does not help me if I can't watch what I have already recorded.

I am very computer literate and wondered if anyone has ever removed the drive, tried to bypass the boot sector, and transfer the data to another drive. I did email weaknees and they advised that for $100 they would run a diagnosis on the unit but any parts, including a new drive is extra AND they would try to retrieve my data.

I am simply frustrated that a new machine would crash so fast AND that ,as a proponent of Backing up data, we have no way of doing this easily on the TIVO equipment.

All ideas are appreciated! Thanks.
I suspect all Weaknees can do for $100 is run a nondestructive diagnostic test on the drive, there is no way to retrieve the recorded shows on the drive.

Do you still have the orginal Tivo that you transferred the recordings on the new Plus? For a little more than $100 you can buy a new Western digital 3tb drive that you can drop in and unfortunately, start over with.

Is the Plus still under warranty?

All weakness can do is run a few nondestructive diagnostics on the drive, if the drive recovers enough to work, then you might be able to transfer the recordings off to another Tivo. There is no way other than a full sector backup to Backup or restore a Roamio drive.


(edit) - You do know there is no prep necessary for the Roamio? Roughly speaking any SATA hard drive can be put I the Tivo and it will format and prepare the drive to use, paying Weaknees to replace the drive may not be the best option if you can handle the physical install of internal hard drive.

Does your Roamio work at all right now? If if does, install Tivo desktop or pyTivo and get all the recordings off that you can, that's your only option if your old series 3 is totally dead or gone.
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Last edited by eboydog : 05-08-2014 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:05 PM   #6
squint
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If WK can't recover the shows (and the only way to do this would be to get the unit running again) then you might as well have it replaced/repaired under warranty. The outcome would be the same (lose shows) but shouldn't cost you $100.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:30 PM   #7
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$100?, I'll do it for half that, but you might as well just test it yourself before shipping it anywhere.

Stick the drive in the PC and see if the drive is readable.
Edit: only do this if you know how to do this correctly.

Stick a blank drive in the Roamio and see if it boots.
Edit: this drive will be wiped if it boots.
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Last edited by telemark : 05-27-2014 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telemark View Post
$100?, I'll do it for half that, but you might as well just test it yourself before shipping it anywhere.

Stick the drive in the PC and see if the drive is readable.

Stick a blank drive in and see if it boots.
If there is any possibility of recovering the drive, be careful if you install the drive in a PC. If you do it won't be recognized if you run disk manger, Windows will attempt to serialize it and it will never work in a Tivo. Other than running the manufacturer 's disk utility against it, there is nothing you can do for it in a Windows PC.

You can find the the disk manufacturer' s disk utility and run non destructive diagnostics against it, this might flag bad sectors and allow the drive to be functional again but you will never be able to read any file structure or see the drive in traditional window file view.

If the drive is bad, your best bet is get the Tivo exchanged by warranty. If there is no warranty then buy a new new drive, there is nothing that weakness can do that you can't. (with a Roamio drive).
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eboydog View Post
If there is any possibility of recovering the drive, be careful if you install the drive in a PC. If you do it won't be recognized if you run disk manger, Windows will attempt to serialize it and it will never work in a Tivo. Other than running the manufacturer 's disk utility against it, there is nothing you can do for it in a Windows PC.
You are prompted if you want to add a signature to the drive in Disk Manager so you just need to be sure to say no. And isn't this fixable with WinMFS and Fix Bootpage (see below)?

Mounting drives
There are numerous discussions on why connecting a TiVo drive to a Windows machine is bad because it will make the drive not boot. It's partly true. Older Windows OS versions like 2000 did auto mount a drive and assigned a letter if you booted the drive even though it's not mounted. This behavior is changed since Windows 2000 sp2 or later so rest assured. Even if that happens, all it does it overwrite TiVo bootpage which is on sector 0, or first 512 bytes of the hard drive with Windows version of MBR. You can easily fix that problem with the included "Fix Bootpage" tool. You can also backup your bootpage with the backup option.

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Old 05-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #10
nooneuknow
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Why are people talking about using incompatible tools/utilities to "fix" a Roamio bootpage, should somebody use a really old Windows, like 2000 (which doesn't prompt to "initialize the disk, or even when somebody goes into Disk Management, and make the mistake of allowing the prompted initialization?

The OP is asking about a "Dead Roamio Plus".

I don't wish for anybody to get a false sense of security about being able to quickly and easily fix the Roamio bootpage (if it's even really possible).

I'm not saying it has been ruled-out, as possible, done with a tool like a RAW-mode hex/disk editor, if they have used such a thing to "backup" to boot sector area of the drive, or if somebody who knows what belongs there gives a step-by-step on disk editing that area to undo the changes.

I'm actually interested in knowing if anybody has ever fixed a borked bootpage on a Roamio, or if the bootpage even actually exists on the drive, given the fact that the active OS, and likely boot page, would likely be on the flash, and not the drive (But, I can't confirm this, yet).
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:05 PM   #11
telemark
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You are right this type of work is very delicate and it's easy to blow away the data.

The OP said they were "SURE" it was a drive failure and they're "VERY" computer literate.

The right tool for that scenario is pulling the drive and dd or ddrescue to a good drive.
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:12 PM   #12
nooneuknow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telemark View Post
You are right this type of work is very delicate and it's easy to blow away the data.

The OP said they were "SURE" it was a drive failure and they're "VERY" computer literate.

The right tool for that scenario is pulling the drive and dd or ddrescue to a good drive.
Or SpinRite works to repair/certify the original drive, without any Windows-related dangers.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telemark View Post
You are right this type of work is very delicate and it's easy to blow away the data.

The OP said they were "SURE" it was a drive failure and they're "VERY" computer literate.

The right tool for that scenario is pulling the drive and dd or ddrescue to a good drive.
Or

dd_rescue
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:21 AM   #14
telemark
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If you want better advice without opening the case, report back the status of the LED's.

When turning it on it should go green, and after a few minutes watch for the kickstart flickering yellow / orange.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:34 AM   #15
ggieseke
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Roamios still use the first sector as Block0, but it's slightly different than earlier models. I don't know if WinMFS will back it up since it doesn't recognize a Roamio drive, but if that works it should be able to restore it. The "Fix Bootpage" tool wouldn't work.

The Linux bootstrap, kernel and root partitions that come later on the drive are just 4K empty placeholders and the OS is in flash memory.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:54 PM   #16
telemark
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There is a Block0 bootsector on Roamio drives, but it's not used for booting in the traditional sense...

Roamios will start to boot from flash, if there is no hard drive in it.
Roamios will start to boot from flash, if there is a blank drive in it.
Assumption: Regardless of what's on the hard drive, the Roamio will boot from flash.

Is there data in the drive's boot sector? Yes, but marginal and it might just be a signature. If true if you wipe it, the Roamio would probably wipe the drive.

I don't know what WK has at their disposal but a well equipped developer or hardware lab can repair a Roamio in a few ways a user can not. This is especially true for machines that don't boot at all.

A couple of the hard drive type problems are user serviceable, but beyond that I suggest sending it out. Which of those depends what's actually wrong, and until someone hears more diagnostic criteria it's impossible to tell if it's a flash or HD, user or expert problem.

Questions a user can answer from home:
Is the box booting from flash [with the Hard Drive plugged in]?
Does the board boot from flash with the Hard Drive unplugged?
Some users:
Does the Hard Drive have errors?
When-what are the last entries in /var/log?

Last edited by telemark : 05-11-2014 at 09:54 PM.
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