Best way to restore OS etc. without losing recordings

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by DuncanCorps, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. DuncanCorps

    DuncanCorps New Member

    17
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    Dec 24, 2004
    Knebworth,...
    Hi all,

    (apologies if this seems wordy, I want to get across all information which might help readers)

    My main TiVo's drives (original 40GB A and hacked-in 120GB B) failed in some way (stops at grey "Welcome. Powering up..." screen). I bought a spare TiVo some time ago and not used it. Thanks to TiVoHeaven's software product my spare TiVo is now alive and has a 250GB A and my subscription has been transferred.

    The spare's original 30GB A and 15GB B are unhacked and still work (they just aren't big enough :). The main's original A does seem to be alive when attached to a PC booted from a suitable CD, I can mount various partitions and edit files, so I guess it's in its death throes...

    I would like to get the main TiVo to boot again so I can see the recordings again, if only for a short time.

    I'm wondering if there's some procedure for restoring the operating system etc. from the spare's original A onto the main's original A, in case the fault is some corruption which can be worked around. Is it as simple as connecting both drives to a PC (as hdc and hdd), booting from, say, MFSLive, mounting the relevant partitions (where possible) and copying the files? Or is there something more to it, especially where the kernel and boot sectors are concerned?

    The only things I want to keep intact is the recordings. Hacks, configuration, season passes and so on can be lost. This TiVo will only be used for a last chance at watching (and, perhaps, archiving) the recordings on it.

    I know this is a long shot, and the problem is probably unfixable, but I'd like to exhaust all options first. Even if they involve two TiVos, Linux, more HDDs, and so on...

    Ideas, opinions, thoughts..? Am I just missing the information I need in the various HOWTOs and FAQs which talk about moving everything from an old HDD to a new one?
     
  2. DuncanCorps

    DuncanCorps New Member

    17
    0
    Dec 24, 2004
    Knebworth,...
    Perhaps I put in too much information..? :)

    OK, the core of the issue. I have main and spare TiVos. Main TiVo won't boot from its (hacked) 40GB A drive, spare will boot from its (unhacked) 30GB A drive. Both drives are visible and seem to work correctly when connected to a PC booted from a suitable CD (e.g. a TiVo hacking CD with byteswapping etc.).

    Is there a best procedure to restore the OS etc. from the spare's A drive to the main's A drive without disturbing the recordings on the main's A and B drives (everything else can go) to see if I can boot from main's A drive and get at the recordings again (before main's A drive dies completely). I expect there's a little more to it than mounting the partitions and copying the files, often there's tinkering with boot sectors when talking about Linux of this vintage.

    I've read the FAQs and HOWTOs and haven't spotted anything relevant, perhaps I just missed it?
     
  3. mikerr

    mikerr TiVoCentral.co.uk

    2,599
    0
    Jun 2, 2005
    Lancashire, UK
    The real issue is that if you "copied the OS" over, you would also remove the details of where the recordings were stored as well.

    The short answer is that if you can't get the original drives to boot, then you can't get the video off it either.(1)

    Your best best is to to transfer them in entirety including recordings over onto another driveset, and hope the transfer fixes some corruption, and the tivo will boot.


    (1) Well you can in theory, but its really long winded - and by that I mean more than a days work for a linux guru !
     
  4. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

    5,577
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    May 12, 2002
    Malmesbury, UK
    If the drive won't boot past Powering Up then you might be able to fix it using MakeTiVoBootable.

    As Mike says, getting recordings off a failed drive via the PC is theoretically possible but only for dedicated and advanced hackers with many, many spare hours/days to devote to the attempt.
     
  5. DuncanCorps

    DuncanCorps New Member

    17
    0
    Dec 24, 2004
    Knebworth,...
    So TiVo stores some part of the recordings database in the non-MFS partitions?

    Darn. I was hoping, in my ignorance, that it was all stored in the database in the MFS partitions 10 onwards, and might be left intact if I confined my tinkering to partitions 1 to 9...
     
  6. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

    5,577
    0
    May 12, 2002
    Malmesbury, UK
    You can copy over partition 4 (or 7) which contains the system files and startup scripts etc. without affecting the database AFAIK.

    However, if your TiVo is not getting past Powering Up then you probably have a boot problem. Does the green LED change from green to orange briefly about 5-10 seconds after applying power to the TiVo? If so, then you might be able to use the kickstart codes 57 or 58 to force a GSOD.
     
  7. nepatriots

    nepatriots New Member

    1
    0
    Sep 15, 2007
    Seems like many people are having the same problem lately. Just a few days ago I got the gray screen of death with the "Powering up". Have you tried the suggested MakeTivoBootable? I may try sometime this week but wanted to see if anyone had any success with it.
     
  8. DuncanCorps

    DuncanCorps New Member

    17
    0
    Dec 24, 2004
    Knebworth,...
    Apologies for the quietness... Guided by the excellent comments here I've tried a few ideas, gradually working my way along, when I've had the time. I seem to suddenly be quite busy with little time to dismantle my TiVo(s) and PC(s) :-/ .

    (I'm also trying to figure out which tpip option will "flip the primary and active boot partitions in the boot page"- source: http://www.gratisoft.us/tivo/tpip.html )

    When I've got a few hours spare to rewire one of my PCs I'm going to try a more daring approaching, use dd to do a byte-by-byte copy of the filesystems of partitions 2 to 7 inclusive and 9 from the spare to the main, then try MakeTivoBootable again. The drives have very similar geometries, so the partitions should be of identical sizes. Obviously don't want to copy the partition table in partition 1...

    It's frustrating. Main's original HDDs seem to be working, but obviously dying in some way...

    The moral of all this is to take a more preemptive approach to HDDs, and get in touch with TiVo Heaven while your TiVo's HDD(s) is still working :) !
     

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