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Cloning docks

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by tommage1, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Someone mentioned if I am just copying a Tivo drive, not copy and expand, cloning docks are much faster than copying on a computer. I ordered one this weekend, I'm going to be cloning all my Tivo drives since I've had some "problems" lately. Any tips on these cloning docks? A bit scary for me, I'm used to copying on computer using MFS Tools or whatever, where I can see and verify drive letters etc, feel safe. With a dock it's pretty much push a button I guess, no feedback, better make sure you have the right drives in the right slots ;) I hope the dock I bought is decent, a UNITEK. Also hope it can handle up to 4TB drives, some docks I've bought in the past had limitations on drive size. We shall see, will probably test on a non essential drive first to see how it goes. Oh, the description of the dock says you can copy as long as the destination drive is the same or LARGER than the source. I assume this would not work for a Tivo drive (larger destination drive) or would it? Would it copy to the larger drive but only use the size of the current drive? And then maybe could use some Tivo related software to expand? One final question, even if cloning to the same size drive any problems if the drives are not the same model? Some drives that are supposedly the same size I've noticed small differences in actual reported capacity. If my original 4 TB drive is a hair larger than the 4TB destination drive may not work?
     
  2. m.s

    m.s Active Member

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    There's no reason a dedicated dock would be faster than a PC. I've cloned lots of TiVo drives. Hook 'em up, boot Linux (even a CD bootable distro), and dd from old to new (make sure you know which is which!).

    Cloning to a larger drive won't expand the size seen by the TiVo. AFAIK, there are currently no tools available to expand a Bolt drive without losing the recordings.
     
    tommage1 likes this.
  3. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    I don't know, someone here said the dock is much faster. We shall see I guess. On my PC cloning a full 2TB drive takes almost a day (MFS Tools). And yes, forget about backing up, copying or expanding a Bolt drive, everytime you put in a new drive you are starting from scratch. Plus the original gets wiped if you put it back in. I'm going to be cloning Roamio, Premiere and S3 drives. Don't know much about Linux, I will look into it. I usually use MFS Tools but for a straight clone what you say about dd could be the way to go. I'll research that too. I'll test the times it takes to do the clones, maybe do one on dock, MFS Tools and DD just to see what the difference is. Thanks.
     
  4. m.s

    m.s Active Member

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    MFS tools doesn't clone, it copies. It can be faster or slower than cloning (raw block copy to new drive), depending on how full the drive is. If you have few shows, it can be faster because it doesn't copy blank space. If the drive is near full, it will be slower because it's doing a lot more work to copy show-by-show. AFAIK, MFS Tools won't copy a Bolt drive.
     
  5. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Ok thanks. Most of the drives I will be copying or cloning are nearly full, 2TB-4TB. No Bolt drives, if I decide to upgrade my Bolt again it will be fresh, just put it in and let it format. Upgrading Bolts, well it stinks ;)
     
  6. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    I got the cloning dock. Tried it out with a nearly full backup of a 2TB S3 drive. Seems it worked well, I have the drive in the corresponding S3 now, no issues. Took about 6.5 hours for the full 2TB drive. That seems pretty fast. I like the dock as I don't have to tie up my computer for hours or even days at a time. The 4TB Roamio will be interesting. Got 20TB+ of Tivo drives to copy/clone.

    About using Linux DD for straight copies to same size drive, is the DD command available off the MFS Tools CD? Or do I need to download a regular Linux release? I'd like to test the speed of copies/clones, the dock, MFS Tools, DD, WinMFS for the S2/S3s.
     
    kpeters59 likes this.
  7. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    There is one thing you have to be careful of with a cloning dock. Make SURE the drive you are cloning TO is new or at least checked for bad sectors. If it has bad sectors the dock will keep trying to copy, can overheat and burn out (according to instructions). There is no feedback. On a computer if a problem you will most likely see some error messages as the copy progresses. So be careful with that, I have mostly new drives I'm going to use for my clones, the others I am checking with diagnostic programs first.
     
    Mikeguy likes this.
  8. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    dd along with ddrescue is on the latest MFSTools 3.2 iso.

    This is something I have been trying to verify with the Bolt series. I know with the original MFSTools it would not create the correct APM for a Bolt because of the zero byte partitions so the Bolt would reformat the drive because of the malformed APM. And when it reformats a drive, the original drive is now no longer valid in the unit. But I was under the impression that a clone of the drive would work. And if a clone works, then if MFSTools could create a proper APM for the Bolt, the copy and expand as well as backup and restore feature of MFSTools would work as well. So, have you personally cloned a Bolt drive and have it fail or know people who have. If you have, please have them contact me so I can get more detailed information.
     
  9. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Thanks for the info on DD being on the MFSTools ISO, I am definitely going to try it while doing my "time to copy/clone" tests using various methods. As for the Bolt, I was wondering about that myself (straight copy or clone). That is one thing I was unable to test as I did not have another 500GB drive to clone to. Would be very interesting to find out. Also if it would have to be the same make/model drive along with same capacity. I "downgraded" the drive in my Bolt from 1.5TB to the original 500GB. When I put in the original 500GB (which had been used somewhat, I used it to test/record/attempt copy back when I put in the 1.5TB) It had one recording on it along with some settings when I put it back in. So did not completely reformat it I guess as there would have been NO recordings? Some of the settings could have been on the flash drive?
     
  10. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    I have a modified version of MFSTools that now creates the correct APM for the Bolt series. It works on all the virtual images I tested it on. I just do not know if a Bolt will boot off of it without reformatting the drive. If you want to test it out, send me a PM and I'll send you a link.

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  11. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Another update, I used the dock to clone a nearly full 4TB Roamio drive. Only took 8.5 hours, that seems VERY fast. Drive is working well in the Roamio (I used a new drive), since the other nearly full I set it aside as a backup. Will probably do this for all my Tivos since so fast.
     
    kpeters59 likes this.
  12. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    I mentioned I cloned the 4TB full Roamio drive to another 4TB drive using the cloning dock in 8.5 hours. Both Seagate PMR drives. I decided to try cloning the same original to one of those 2.5 Seagate 4TB drives that were pulled from an enclosure (some were trying to use in Bolts with limited success). It was determined the 4TB 2.5 was SMR. Well, in the dock it took about 35 hours to clone, same drive that took 8.5 hours to clone to another 3.5. I thought something was wrong, actually restarted it once. The clone (the 2.5) did not work in the Roamio when completed either, just got stuck on the "few more minutes" screen, did not work or reformat. I decided to try copying the original to the 2.5 using MFSTools. It is still in process, according to estimate should be 37 hours or so total. Weird, 8.5 hours compared to 35-37 hours? I wonder if that is strictly because the 2.5 is SMR, both drives are around the same RPM. For SURE will be staying away from SMR drives for ANY Tivo, seems to me the only thing they are good for is maybe backups of data, even then I would not be very confident. I ran a read check on the 2.5 using HDDScan, the majority of the reads were under 5ms but there were also 500ms reads at regular intervals, a lot of them. Pretty much the reads were under 5ms or the under 500ms, nothing in between. Wonder if that is a function of SMR also? The 2.5 is a new drive by the way, had zero hours on it when I started.
     
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  13. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    SMR drives are slow to write because the write head cannot be made small enough for the SMR sectors and still have stability so they use a larger write head and read extra sectors before they can write.
     
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  14. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Boy, compared to a PMR drive REALLY slow I guess, based on what I was doing at least, copying a Tivo drive. 37 hours compared to 8.5 hours copying the same original.

    My 4TB copy from the original PMR drive to the SMR 2.5 drive took 37 hours and 5 minutes. Speed seemed to be 28 mbs according to MFS Tools. I put the SMR drive into my Roamio, it booted up fine. Also SEEMED to connect but I keep getting an error. The guide data does update. I am able to see the guide for about 12 days which is normal. Can record and do most things normally. BUT the actual connection does not fully complete, gets to 99%, then an error, something like "series info could not load". Weird. Says to restart the Tivo but I tried that a couple times (even power down then reboot) but still gets the error. I'm not going to actually use the SMR drive in the Roamio but was going to keep it as a backup I could copy to a PMR drive if ever need be. However since it is getting that error might still get it if I copied the SMR back to PMR. Could test but I don't really feel like doing another 37 hour copy right now ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  15. Thumbmaster

    Thumbmaster New Member

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    I recently cloned a 1TB Series3/HD drive onto a blank 1TB drive using a standard cloning dock. It took about 2-3 hours. The clone drive works fine. The only thing to remember to do is that if the source drive is from a different Tivo unit, that you have to do a "erase all content" to regain the service number et al. Thanks for the idea!
     
  16. AndWhi

    AndWhi New Member

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    So this may be a dumb question but I'll ask it anyway. I have a brand new 2TB Drive and a cloning dock. Does the new HDD need to be formatted/initialized before it will work on a clone dock? This is just far enough outside my comfort zone that I want to ask first.
     
  17. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    No, at least as far as I know. HOWEVER, you may want to test the new 2TB drive in your computer first. Also the drive you will be cloning. Smart test etc, even new drives can be faulty. The reason to test is cloning docks are not "smart" enough to stop if there are sector errors, they keep trying to read or write. So can overheat and burn out. My dock specifically said to make sure there are no sectors errors on either drive before attempting a clone or it could overheat.
     
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  18. tommage1

    tommage1 Active Member

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    Hmm, old post but someone just asked a question here and I saw this. Seems the error I was getting back then can possibly be fixed by running a kickstart 58, the series info cannot load error. I used it to fix another drive that was having series info "problems". Unfortunately I don't think I still have the 4TB SMR drive intact to test in the Roamio so may never know. Was never going to use the SMR drive in the Roamio as a main drive anyway, just keep as a backup if it had worked.
     

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