Bad hard drive. (reboot loop) Best approach to fix?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by pjw73nh, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. pjw73nh

    pjw73nh New Member

    Sep 23, 2010



    I have an older Tivo (649) DT cable model. It is stuck in in infinite reboot. Upon power up, it displays the normal tivo bootup screen but never makes it to the tivo menu. And keeps rebooting (looping) until I power it off.

    This unit has single drive unit that has a hard drive that I added as an upgrade (more space) a few years ago. It's a Seagate ST3500841ACE. 500 GB. I bought it pre configured (the drive) from weaknees.

    In an effort to troubleshoot the issue, I replaced it with the old one I took out for the upgrade. (Western Digital WD800BB-55JKC) 80 gb. It boots up fine.

    So I know that either hard drive is physically bad, or the data is corrupt. My IT intuition tells me it's the latter. What is the best way to go about repairing this?

    Is there an ISO image I can try and if so, can I use any standard ISO burner to create the drive?

    Can I use something like clonezilla and clone the 80 gb drive to the 500 gb drive and then use something like part-ed magic to expand the partition that I just copied? Thus yielding me a usable image, AND the added space?

    Any help much appreciated. Thanks.
  2. GBL

    GBL covert opiniative

    Apr 20, 2000
    Twin Cities, MN
  3. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    ISO images and standard partition tools won't really work because TiVos use a proprietary filesystem for the recordings but there are very simple free tools that will.

    Take your working 80GB drive and make a "truncated" image of it using MFSLive or WinMFS. Do it NOW so that you have a working image and don't have to buy InstantCake for $40. I use WinMFS and a USB to PATA adapter because that way I don't have to burn the MFSLive CD, open the case, or even reboot my PC. Both tools will allow you to expand the backup image to fit whatever drive you end up restoring it to.

    Your Seagate is probably a goner if it won't boot, but once you take it out of the TiVo you can hook it up to a computer and run the manufacturer's diagnostics to be sure. If it's okay you can just restore the image, put it back in the TiVo, and boot it up. If the drive is bad almost any PATA drive will work. My personal favorite for my 649s is the Western Digital Caviar Blue. It's whisper quiet, cool, and available almost anywhere. If you want to go over 500GB there's a long thread in the Upgrade forum listing PATA-SATA adapters that may work.

    If you restore the backup image to any TiVo other than the one it was made from you will have to run Clear & Delete Everything on the TiVo to marry the drive to the crypto chip on the motherboard.
  4. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Parted Magic will not do Tivo partitions, at least not the way you want, and not in a way that the TiVo will be able to deal with (although it's still a good idea to download the most recent version, 5.5 I think, and burn a copy just to have it on hand).

    Go ahead and plan to replace that Seagate with a 1TB SATA and appropriate adapter.

    Here's the which adapter for which drive on which TiVo thread

    read it all carefully.

    Also see the drive expansion and upgrade thread

    It says Series 3, but there's info on drives for S2s in there as well, and good info in general for anyone upgrading drives.

    WinMFS ( will run under Windows XP or higher and you might be able to get it running again with one of the "Fix bootpage" options.

    While you're there, download MFS Live v1.4 and burn yourself a cd of it as well, just to have handy.

    There's a Seagate diagnostic program you can download and burn to cd that might be able to find and fix problems.

    Look for


    The free version of TiVo Desktop will, if your TiVo uses your home network, and you have an XP or higher computer on that network with some spare harddrive space, let you copy your recorded shows, including all the metadata, and you can copy them back to that TiVo or perhaps another on your account and network if you prefer, later, when you've got things straightened out.

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