2019 TiVo HD Step-by-Step Drive Expansion

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by V7Goose, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...


    There is not any new information in this post, but since these old boxes have been around so long, all the relevant threads are either very old and/or very LONG. It is easier to find info on how to expand a drive for a newer TiVo than it is for a Series 3. So when my 10+ year old S3 hard drive died, I could not remember all of what I had done that long ago when I did the original expansion. I had to start all over again trying to find details on how to set up a new drive, so I thought I'd post the concise simple steps here now that I just finished it.

    Since I had an original stock and working drive for the same model, that is what I used (a copy+expand from the 160 GB drive to a 2 TB drive). This post does not address using a saved image to restore.

    The process of setting up a new bigger drive is potentially as simple as
    A) Boot a computer with the MFSTools disc.
    B) Type in just one or two simple commands to copy everything from the original disk to the new one.
    C) Put the new disk in your TiVo and plug it back in!​

    This process not only sets up a new larger hard drive, but it also saves everything that is already on the original drive. The actual detailed steps I took for the drive expansion were:
    1. Downloaded the MFSTools 3.3 .iso disc image.
      (This is a bootable disc with all the necessary software, and other than the need to create a CD or bootable USB stick, it does not require Windows or any other operating system.)
    2. On a Windows 10 computer, I right-clicked on the downloaded .iso file and selected "Burn disc image" to create a bootable CD.
    3. I connected the source and target drives with a USB docking station to a computer and booted it with the CD from Step 2.
      (Note that I used a 2-bay USB dock for simplicity, and it worked fine on the computer I used. I cannot guarantee that any computer that you might use would recognize a USB connected drive.)
    4. The computer booted to a Linux welcome screen with the option to select "MFSTools 3.3".
    5. After selecting MFSTools, you wait through bunch of scrolling boot messages and eventually see "linux login:". I used user root, password tivo.
    6. After logging in, enter "lsblk -o name,size,vendor" (exactly like that, but without the "").
      This will allow you to identify the exact locations for the source and target drives to use with the copy command. In my case, the source WD16 drive was sdb, and the target WD20 drive was sdc.
    7. Next, enter "mfscopy -ai /dev/sdb /dev/sdc" (without the "").
      (Note that in the above command, "sdb" was MY source disk - yours may be different. Same for the target disk.)
    8. That is it - your expanded disk is ready to put in the THD and boot. OPTIONALLY, you can run Supersize on the expanded disk and get even more space. After step 7 completed, my 2TB drive had 287 HD hours capacity, and Supersize added 32, for a total 319 HD hours.

      To run Supersize, just enter "supersize /dev/sdc".
    Finally, just a couple of additional comments:
    If you are using an older drive that has Western Digital's Intellipark feature enabled (generally their "green" series), you will want to use something like WDIdle3 to check and make sure the idle time is either disabled or set to 300 seconds. Many of those older drives have a default idle time of only 8 seconds, and in a DVR, that creates a lot of extra wear and tear on the drive. I do not think this is an issue with newer drives, such as their "red" series.

    Secondly, if you start with a working drive from the same TiVo that the new drive is going back into, you do NOT need to do a Clear and Delete Everything on the new drive.

    Thirdly, I have seen reports that some folks have had to run Kickstart 58 after they install the new drive. So far, I have not needed to do that.​
    Sbmocp likes this.
  2. SuziQ777

    SuziQ777 New Member

    Aug 22, 2019
    I have a TiVo Roamio OTA Vox series 5 firmware 21.9.1v14-846-6-846. I know I can do the the hard drive installation, but not confident in the software transfer and expand the disk. I can purchase a 2 bay docking station but found many models. I will be using a windows 10 laptop with 1TB SSD. Also, I found many threads that say buy the WD red and you say green. Could you please clear all this up so I can feel a little more confident in doing this. So...
    1) instructions for using 2 bay docking station using MFSTools 3.3. (Using 4,5, or 6 TB WD drive-not sure what size I’m upgrading to. Preferably the largest. Will depend on limitations and I’m getting different threads on that too). Do I install the new drive and let the box start the formatting before doing the transfer?
    2) Which drive - red or green, and which size is appropriate for my series?
    3) Which docking station is best? Do the appropriate USB cord for transfer come with it or do I need to purchase one?
    4). Will I need to purchase a new hard drive cable to connect the new hard drive to the box. I saw in one video that larger drives would need a different cable to handle it.
    5) Will I need to do anything to ensure that my TiVo minis will still communicate after the upgrade?
    Sorry for so many questions. I just don’t want to mess it up and end up with nothing to use and as you found most of the posts are 2 or more years old and may not be appropriate for the newer model.
    Thank you, God bless.
  3. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    I posted this thread specifically for expanding an old Series 3 HD box. Although much of it probably applies to newer units also, it is not intended to be a step-by-step instruction for a Series 5 Roamio. There are several excellent threads on expanding that model in the upgrade forum. I will attempt to answer your other questions as best I can.

    The WD Green drives are a very old series of drives that are no longer made (but they were the drive of choice for expanding the Series 3 boxes 10 years ago). I had an old 2TB Green drive just laying around, so that is what I used. You should be looking at a WD Red or WD Purple drive now.

    Your Roamio will accept and auto-format a 3TB drive without your needing to use a computer at all: Just open the box, replace the drive, and turn it back on. If you want something bigger, it is fairly easy to put in an 8TB drive using the available computer ustilites - again, refer to the Roamio Upgrade threads in the Upgrade Forum.

    I doubt if there is a "best" docking station. Buy one and try it. I tend to buy the cheapest I can find, and I have not had any problems. If you are going to copy a LOT of data (like a terabyte or more) from one drive to another, a USB3 docking station will do that much faster, but ONLY IF your computer also has a USB3 port (unless you are using only the cloning feature of a two-bay dock, ALL the data has to be copied from one drive through the computer and written back to the other drive, so the USB speed makes a big difference). A USB2 docking station will also work just fine, only slower.

    You do NOT need a special drive cable for a larger drive - that is just total BS. All SATA drives use the same cables. Any 3.5" drive will fit in your Roamio and connect with the existing cables.

    Your Minis are not affected in any way by upgrading the drive size in your Roamio.
  4. silentguy

    silentguy Member

    Nov 29, 2004
    Thanks for the guide.
    I can’t find my original 160gb Tivo HD drive. So I guess I need an image for the TCD652160 and instructions ?
    My forum search didn’t find a guide.
    Maybe there’s some posts and I didn’t find them.
  5. turbo327

    turbo327 Retired Network Janitor

    Dec 16, 2002
    Norfolk, VA


    One of my largest difficulties over the last 10 years with this is finding the correct link to download the MFSTools iso file. I have the current link handy, but want to make sure there is not something incorrect about me posting it here. This is an AWESOME forum and never ceases to come to my rescue.
  6. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    Or link to the post that has the download links in the MFSTools 3.2 thread. :)

    MFS Tools 3.2

  7. turbo327

    turbo327 Retired Network Janitor

    Dec 16, 2002
    Norfolk, VA
    Thanks Scott!! Much better solution. :) -Gerry
    HerronScott likes this.
  8. locomo

    locomo New Member

    Oct 16, 2019
    Excellent thread V7 Goose.
    I had an old 2TB Hitachi drive dying. The "lsblk -o name,size,vendor" command
    showed ATA as the vendor, for Hitachi and the "new" Western Digital 2TB drive.
    The command "lsblk -S" showed the actual vendor. Has to be a capitol "S".

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