Dealing with the 6.3 Reboot/Freeze Issue

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by juliedrys, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004

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    Okay, here's what I've experienced, and learned from reading this forum extensively over the past few weeks:

    1) Ever since the release of 6.3a, my HR-10 has been unstable. We had audio dropouts, but more annoying were the reboots. We hoped for a quick fix with 6.3b.

    2) 6.3b came along, maybe it fixed the audio dropouts (I haven't watched enough TV to notice, with the holidays here), but it DEFINITELY didn't fix the freeze/reboot issues, in fact it might be worse.

    3) We did a Clear & Delete Program Data and our system was stable for about 2-3 days. No evidence of reboots, we thought we were so smart and home free. But after about 3 days we started having reboots and freezes again, and now it's a daily problem.

    4) It's highly unlikely that this is a hard disk problem; our drive is relatively new, and shows no other signs of problems that one would expect with a dying drive. More importantly, so many other people are experiencing reboots and freezes with 6.3 a/b that it would just be too much of a coincidence. I'm not willing to spend $$ on a new drive only to have the same crappy software running on it.

    5) If I call DTV, I am most likely to have someone tell me that my drive is failing and after spending several hours on the phone I might convince them to give me a "free" HR-20, which based on what I've read, isn't any better and is possibly worse. That sounds like a lousy option.

    6) The only people on this forum reporting a real fix for this problem are those who set their machines back to the 3.1.5f software, using IC or whatever. I would do this if it were easy (please don't tell me how easy it is -- my home computer setup would inevitably make this much more complicated than it needs to be), or if I could send my box off somewhere and have them do it, but I am uncomfortable opening the TiVo box and taking out the drive, much less putting new software on it. I'm not a computer idiot, but I'm just not comfortable with this -- anyone want to come to my house and do it for me? :)

    So...what are my options? I could quit DTV and Tivo altogether, but I do prefer DTV to Dish or Comcast (NFL stuff). The alternatives seem vastly inferior.

    This is so frustrating. I think DTV should be all over this problem, and send us a new software release, but I'm not holding my breath. Are there too few of us to make a difference? I realize that these forums are mostly full of people reporting problems, and maybe those of us with reboots/freezes are the minority, but I doubt it. I bet there are a lot of people with HR-10s who have no idea why their TiVo is rebooting but don't come to this forum.

    I also think there should be an option to return to 3.1.5f without having to open your box and hook it up to a computer. I'd gladly live without folders to not have constant reboots.

    The only silver lining is that it's rerun season, and we haven't lost or missed anything important. YET. But that's all going to change soon, and I want a solution.

    Anyone have any advice for this frustrated Tivo addict? Is there anyone on here who has a good idea of what's causing the problem and how we can possibly work around it? If the C&D Program Data seemed to be a temporary respite from it, maybe I should be doing that every night? But then I'm faced with having to reenter my shows to record (incl Season Passes) every day, which means I lose the main benefit of Tivo and have something much closer to a VCR.

    Help!
     
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
  3. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    Thanks...I read your thread, and am heartened to see that you are trying to contact some people.

    This is so frustrating.
     
  4. jcricket

    jcricket New Member

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    Sep 11, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Good to hear that someone is looking into it... it's really frustrating to think that I have zero options if I want a stable HD DVR at this point, with the exception of taking out the hard drive and using a PC to revert to an old version of software.

    Yes, the HR20 is unstable, imho, at this point. The HR10 was at least stable, which is the most important thing. It's too bad something in 6.3 has caused these problems to start surfacing.
     
  5. videojanitor

    videojanitor Member

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    Dec 21, 2001

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    What's really difficult to understand is, since we are basically dealing with a very "closed" system here (ie: it's not like a PC, which can have an infinite variety of hardware and software), why does this problem not affect every single HR10 that is running 6.3x software? I have one machine running 6.3a, and one running 6.3b, and neither one has frozen or rebooted -- at least not while I was watching. I'm not suggesting that *I* did anything to cause this wonderful behavior, because I didn't -- I'm just really wondering why so many units would have problems, while others cruise along as though nothing ever happened.

    Could there be differences in these machines that we don't know about? Different firmware or different chip manufacturers? There's got to be a reason for this. I wish I knew the answer ...
     
  6. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    I agree, this is interesting, that it doesn't affect everyone who has a Hughes box. Is the software just exposing some flaw in the hardware or firmware, and that hardware/firmware isn't the same in every box?

    Or is it possible that some downloads of the software slices were corrupt in some way?

    On another note, can you send me one of those non-rebooting DVRs you've got? After all, you have TWO. :)
     
  7. videojanitor

    videojanitor Member

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    Dec 21, 2001
    Oddly enough, I just sold one of 'em on eBay, so now I only have one -- and I'm keeping it. :)
     
  8. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Mill Creek,...
    I have also noticed that many reports of the hanging/freezing problems are from the Seattle area. I wonder if it's only affecting certain cities? Perhaps it's related the problems with Guide Data? Who knows. I'll keep you posted if I hear anything from DirecTV.
     
  9. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    I'm not in the Seattle area, and this problem for us started right after 6.3a.

    Also, I think there's a clue in the fact that after we did a Clear & Delete Program Data (not Everything), it didn't freeze or reboot for almost 3 days. What does that tell us?
     
  10. jcricket

    jcricket New Member

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    Sep 11, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Let's hope it's some kind of problem with corrupt guide data and just goes away on its own. The fact that several people have reverted to 3.1.5 or used InstantCake to go re-install 3.15 makes simultaneous collective hard drive failure all that less likely.

    It can't even be 6.3x by itself. We all got it at different times, use our Tivos in different ways, and didn't start experiencing the rebooting "en masse" until recently. I, for one, had 6.3a for almost a month with only the audio drop out bug, before I started getting hit with the rebooting issue.

    Again, I hope it's guide data because that seems easy to fix. If it requires another software release, we're probably screwed.
     
  11. tvl76

    tvl76 CUBS WIN !

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    Oct 5, 2005
    Peoria, AZ
    I'm in the Phoenix area. Running 6.3a, only problem I had was the audio drops on FOX. Never had a random reboot. This I know because the 30 sec skip always worked.

    Then last week, after a scheduled phone call the night before, I had the gray "powering up" screen, and could never get it booted up again. I assume my machine tried a reboot to install 6.3b.

    Since then I replaced HD. (Weaknees, came with 6.3a) I still get the audio drops, but no reboots.

    Can't *D just re-issue 3.1 software?
     
  12. JonR

    JonR Member

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    May 1, 2004
    Xenia, OH
    I had the same reboots / frozen screens you all have described and I believe the root of the problem lies with the database conversion process from 3.1.5x to 6.3x. In some units I believe during the database conversion process part of the HD became corrupt and is causing the reboots / frozen screens. I also believe the majority of HR10's were completely successful in the database conversion with NO corrupt areas on the HD.

    Last week I removed my original WD HD from my HR10 and placed it in a bare bones PC (only HD connected) and booted on a floppy disk, that I downloaded from the WD web site, which contained the WD diagnostic tools. I ran a "Quick Media" test which immediately returned an error about the HD containing errors which required a "Full Media Scan" which I allowed the software to perform. After an hour and a half the software reported it had completely scanned the HD and it had successfully repaired several areas of the HD. I immediately re-ran the "Quick Media" test and after several minutes the software finished and reported NO errors. I put the Tivo drive back into the HR10 and the unit has performed flawlessly ever since.

    I'm not saying this is your situation I'm just trying to show you that after the 6.3a update my HD had corrupt areas for whatever reason that caused the HR10 to Freeze / Reboot just like many of you have described above and after I corrected the corrupt areas on the HD everything was worked as it should. It only makes since if it were software related ALL the HR10's would exhibit the Freeze / Reboot problem and as we know there many units operating without issues.

    My '2' cents,
    John
     
  13. zach

    zach New Member

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    Feb 14, 2004
    I am in St. Louis and am also experiencing similar issues to those reported in the thread. I have 6.3a.
     
  14. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    This rings true with me, too, because we didn't have reboot issues until about a month after we got 6.3a. Of course 6.3b didn't fix them at all.

    Reading Jon's comments about how he removed the drive and ran a scandisk program on it made me think this might be the way to go. It's entirely possible that the software download caused some disk errors to manifest themselves.

    For you techies: how hard will it be for me to do the following, and would it make sense:

    1) Remove the drive from my HR-10 (eek, this part scares me, tell me it's easy!)
    2) Put the drive in an external drive enclosure that allows me to connect it to my laptop via USB or whatever. Question: will it boot up like a regular external drive, or do I need some software for this?
    3) Download and run the diagnostic for the drive, hopefully fixing whatever errors it finds.
    4) Reinstall the harddrive into my HR-10 and hopefully be done with reboots and freezes that the errors were causing.


    This is something I think I can do. I don't have a stable desktop system to connect the drive, so it makes the most sense to connect to my Win XP laptop using a USB drive enclosure.

    Am I missing anything here? It still sounds scary, but maybe worth a shot.

    Any advice?
     
  15. videojanitor

    videojanitor Member

    697
    6
    Dec 21, 2001
    Taking the drive out is easy -- just need the proper size Torx screwdriver -- unscrew two screws, remove the power and IDE connector and it's out.

    The rest of it though, not too sure about that. I've heard that it's unwise to connect a TiVo drive to a machine that's running XP. Apparently XP will write some kind of signature on the drive, thus hosing it. Whenever I have messed with TiVo drives, I've disconnected my XP drive, and either booted to a floppy, a CD, or a plain hard drive that's got DOS and nothing else.

    Hopefully someone else will have some clear cut answers for you.
     
  16. leesweet

    leesweet TC Special Member

    1,905
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    Mar 13, 2004
    Northern VA...
    You absolutely do NOT want to boot attached to a WinXP machines. There's a utility that can perhaps repair the drive if you do so by accident. From the Weeknees instructions at www.upgrade-instructions.com:
    My answer is to have an old POS PC I got from my company's annual sale of obsolete PCs they sell for $100 and use that for all TiVo work. :) Then I don't ever mess with any of my live desktops or laptops, and the cables are there ready to go. Of course, you may not have that luxury.
     
  17. temp357

    temp357 New Member

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    Feb 18, 2004
    If you are located in SoCal drop by and I'll downrev your hr10.
     
  18. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    Thanks, appreciate that, but I'm in NorCal.
     
  19. juliedrys

    juliedrys Member

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    Sep 7, 2004
    Based on the responses to my proposed solution for removing and repairing the drive (thanks everyone), I don't think it's something I want to attempt myself.

    I am going to ask WeaKnees if they can do this diagnostic for me. They should be able to, since it's their drive in my unit.

    Argh.
     
  20. leesweet

    leesweet TC Special Member

    1,905
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    Mar 13, 2004
    Northern VA...
    Oh, well, heck, if it's one you got from WK, they should be able to help you out. I thought it was a home-grown unit. :D
     

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