Bolt Can Still Play Programs From Old Drive

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by V7Goose, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    I am experiencing something with a Bolt that is contrary to everything we have been saying about swapping drives. I am reporting it here just for general knowledge to help us all understand a little more about how this box works.

    In short, I have had a new (cloned) drive in this Bolt for over a month. I just now put the old drive back in and booted it up, and IT DID NOT WIPE THE DRIVE I can still see and play any program that was on the drive when I swapped it out. Details follow.

    My 3TB Toshiba 2.5" drive was bad (verified by having it fail the WD Diagnostics long test with "Too many bad sectors"). Although the drive was definitely bad, and I was getting a lot of very strange errors while trying to watch recorded programs, the Bolt was still booting fine with the bad drive. Because I wanted to try and save as many of the recordings as possible (there were more than 1,000 on the drive), I decided to try and do a ddrescue clone of the drive to a new 3.5" external drive. That process worked (and ddrescue did show it found some unreadable parts of the drive). The Bolt booted perfectly with the cloned drive, and MOST of the old problems were gone. Oddly enough, I still ran into occasional playback problems with trick play, even on newly recorded programs that were not there from the clone. I can only assume that some internal system file or buffer on the drive was damaged on the original drive and copied over in the clone. None of the KS codes fixed the problem, so I decided my only option was to wipe the drive and start from scratch.

    I put the original drive back in just to do a boot and cause it to wipe the drive when I re-installed the new external drive. Of course, I expected it to wipe the old Toshiba drive on the first boot, since it was NOT the last drive that was active in this box. But this is where it gets really strange. The Bolt, running TE3, booted up just fine with the old Toshiba drive, and the My Shows screen has ALL OF THE PROGRAMS EXACTLY LIKE THERE ARE ON THE EXTERNAL DRIVE I JUST REMOVED! So the index of My Shows is not maintained on the drive, but in internal flash. Obviously it could not play any of the shows that were recorded on the other drive over the past month (it just reported that the program had not been recorded due to loss of signal), but when I rolled down far enough to find programs that were originally recorded on the Toshiba drive and then copied to the external drive by ddrescue, they all play perfectly!

    One other passing note - this Bolt is not connected to the internet at the moment, so maybe there is a slight chance that booting it without connectivity stopped it from wiping the drive? I'll test that with another reboot before I wipe the new drive on my computer and put this all behind me.
     
  2. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Nope - booting the Bolt with internet connection makes no difference at all (except it made my strange problems come back with the old drive). I have verified that I can freely swap the old drive and the new drive back and forth and still see/watch programs from either one. As I said above, the My Shows list of programs does not change when I swap back to the old drive that has been out of the box for over a month, but that does not stop me from still accessing any older recordings that were there before the clone was taken.

    I do not know what specific thing has caused this to not wipe the drive after a good boot from a different drive, but it seems logical to think that it must be related to using ddrescure to clone the old drive.

    I always assumed that trying to clone a Bolt drive was a one-shot chance, since any good boot with the new drive would prevent you from ever being able to use another copy of the old drive. But now I have to wonder if you can use ddrescure to copy it over and over again, trying different parameters to get a better copy, and any of the clone copies will boot while retaining all recordings?

    I also noted that the system settings are clearly maintained on the hard drive. While the new drive was in the Bolt, I had changed the remote address code, but when I put the old Toshiba drive back in, the original remote code was active again, and it changes when the drive is swapped.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  3. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    3rd Update to this saga:

    I have now connected a brand new 3TB drive to the Bolt (one that has never before been installed in any TiVo), and the Bolt set up the drive and took me to Guided Setup, just as expected. Once this setup is complete, I will switch back to one of the other drives and verify that the Bolt does also wipe it on boot as we expect it to do. I will update this post when I have the results of that final test.
     
  4. keithg1964

    keithg1964 Ragonk

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    I am thinking that since you cloned the drive, TiVo did not know that it was two different drives.
     
  5. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Yes, but in the past we have seen that people have lost all recordings by switching back to the old drive after a good boot with a clone. The common belief has been that the Bolt is maintaining something like an index or time stamp for the drive, so it does not accept the original drive as the same drive that was last in there. I think this is the first time we have a report of a Bolt that allows switching between two drives multiple time without wiping either one of them.

    If I had more interest in spending the extended hours necessary, I would perform the same tests with a drive cloned via a cloning dock, and again with a drive copied using MFSTools, just to see if ddrescue is really doing something special here. But I will let someone else go through all that effort!

    The only other possibility that I can think of is that one of the damaged files on my old Toshiba drive is actually critical to this process, so it is somehow preventing the Bolt from seeing that the drive has been switched. Of course, that is only a WAG, and I know of no reasonable way to ever find out if it is true.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  6. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    What you describe is known behavior of the Bolt.

    If the Bolt formats a drive for use it will also format the sqlite partition in the on-board flash drive thus wiping out the database of recorded programs.

    You can always put back a working clone in the Bolt and it will not reformat it. (Otherwise we could never copy and expand the original image while keeping the recordings) The only issue is that you can really cause havoc by putting in different cloned images and do a few recordings on each. The program list will show all programs recorded on the Bolt but you will only be able to view the recordings that were recorded on that cloned image.

    I do this all the time on my test Bolt so I do not lose my cableCARD pairings when I am testing MFSTools modifications and when I am testing which drive will boot in TE4 on the Bolt.

    Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk
     

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