Hard Drive Failure? (Video Inside)

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Noggin, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    For the last few months my Tivo has been occasionally freezing up on me while playing back recorded shows. It seems to only happen to HD shows (but 80% of what I watch is HD so that could easily be inaccurate). I captured some video with my phone to demonstrate exactly what the problem is. I will have to place the link to the video in the next post, I only have 4 posts right now and the requirement is 5.
     
  2. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    [media]http://nogginjunk.com/video/tivo_freeze.mov[/media]
    direct link, right click to download
    Please be aware that the video is quite large and will take a while to load.

    While watching the video through the first time, there is a very slight hesitation just after the character says, "it may not sound like a lot, but it is." The hesitation is difficult to hear without knowing it is there.

    Shortly after that, I attempt to rewind the video and it gets stuck. Eventually it rewinds past the bad spot.

    I then allowed it to play forward, and it gets stuck for a much longer period of time this time though.

    I then attempt to open the menu. It opens, but its a little bit funky in the fact that the background isn't updated for a while and for a short time the menu options are missing.

    I continued trying to watch the show, but it had multiple bad spots and it was too much to handle. Other shows give me the same troubles.

    So, is this indicative of a bad hard drive? If so, do I need to replace the internal hard drive or would using an external drive fix the issues? I would assume that even if an external drive were used, the internal drive would still be used for the operating system and Tivo application.
     
  3. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    1,660
    0
    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    What model do you have? S3(648x) or Tivo HD(652x)? Original hard drive, or newer upgraded hard drive? External drive involved? Does it ever happen while watching Live tv(HD).

    My Tivo HD had similar issues for a while, but it cleared up and has been running perfectly for about 3 months since.

    First thing I suggest is to check for overheating issues. Make sure the fan is clean(clear of dust and debris) and properly spinning. Make sure the Tivo is well ventilated. Check the temperature in "System Info", especially immediately when it is acting up.

    If the unit is out of warranty, and you feel comfortable doing so, open the Tivo up to see if dust has collected, and gently blow it out.

    In the same vein, the drive could be going bad and (if comfortable) consider getting a back up truncated image saved on your computer. This could save you quite a few bucks and/or frustration if the drive does eventually fail. You can read up on this at www.mfslive.org . The Winmfs options are very easy to learn and institute with just a little basic computer skill.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    I believe it is an HD, it has the original drive, no external drive involved. System info reports 43C, which seems a bit warm to me though the Tivo states that it is fine. I'll try to see if there is any dust that may be blocking airflow. The unit is just under 3 years old. Someone at work told me that the Tivo has lifetime warranty, but i checked Tivo's website and it looks like the warranty is at most 1 year. The reason I suspect the hard drive is at fault is because if a video freezes, it will always freeze in the same place.

    I'll look into the link you provided, thanks.
     
  5. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    1,660
    0
    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    There is a very good chance that it is the hard drive(in most cases that is the issue). Drives do fail. Some sooner than others.

    43C is fine(for Tivo HD). Pretty sure mine has been reading a little higher than that for years(it's in a cabinet).

    Read up and get the image as soon as you can(before complete failure), but be sure to read upon the typical caveats(don't try to read the drive with Windows utilities, etc).

    ps: The guy "at work" was probably confusing lifetime subscription with lifetime warranty.

    Do learn your precise model, to avoid confusion and mistakes. The S3 has the time and digital readout displays on the front facing. The Tivo HD has no readouts; only indicator lights.
     
  6. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    I just wanted to come back in here and give my experiences over the last few days just in case someone stumbles upon this thread and wanted to know my resolution.

    New Drive: Western Digital 2 TB WD20EARS

    1. I connected the original 160 GB drive and the 2 TB drive to my PC's motherboard
    2. I used WinMFS 9.3 to make a truncated backup of the drive, backup of the bootpage, and backup of the kernel. My OS is Windows 7 x64 and I had to right click the WinMFS executable and run it as an admin to get my drives to show up.
    3. I burned jmfs 1.04 to a DVD and booted from it
    4. I began a copy operation using jmfs. The copy operation reached the 90% mark in about 1 hour or so, the 95% mark in another 2 hours, and the 99% mark in another 3 hours, and the 99.5% mark in another 12 hours. This strongly supports the theory that the drive is failing.
    5. I reset the PC and booted into Windows 7.
    6. Since my drive hadn't finished the copy operation, I had assumed that the image on the drive was toast. I used WinMFS to restore the truncated backup I made previously to my new drive.
    7. I rebooted back into jmfs and attempted to use the expansion option so that I could utilize the full 2 TB of the drive. This failed.
    8. I then used jmfs to perform another copy operation from the original 160 GB drive to the new 2 TB drive.
    9. After about 5 hours or so, the copy operation was around the 99% mark. I hit the reset button and booted back into jmfs again.
    10. I used the expansion option successfully
    11. I exited to command prompt and used hdparm -M /dev/sdb and confirmed that my drive was at an AAM setting of 256. I read up on the man pages (man hdparm) to figure out if I could use hdparm to change the AAM setting. I was please to find that all I had to do was change the command to hdparm -M128 /dev/sdb to change the setting
    12. I booted back into Win7 and used WinMFS to supersize the drive.

    Thanks dwit!

    Edit: I just read that changing settings via hdparm are not persistant and that it'll go back to the default value upon rebooting. I haven't heard the drive in the TiVo yet though so I have no reason to pull it apart and attempt to change it again.
     
  7. MeInDallas

    MeInDallas Member

    924
    4
    Jul 31, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
    I used the same drive in mine WD20EARS and didnt change the AAM setting and the drive is completely silent. I wouldnt worry about it. Im curious though did you use the WDIDLE to disable the Intellipower, and have you tried rebooting your Tivo? I didnt do this and had to remove the drive and go back and WDIDLE mine to get it to work again. It gets stuck on the Welcome screen if you dont :eek:
     
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,883
    702
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Is the jmfs process expected to be successful if you never get past 99%? Or does he have trouble lurking somewhere in the future?
     
  9. MeInDallas

    MeInDallas Member

    924
    4
    Jul 31, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
    I cant be sure but I have a feeling that the majority of that process was the transfer of programs that were on the old drive to the new drive, and I'm thinking that one of the programs that are on the new disc now will be corrupted.

    When I did this it didnt take but maybe 20 minutes to do the whole thing and I didnt transfer any shows, just the Tivo software.
     
  10. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    I did not use the WIDDLE command, but it hasn't gotten stuck anywhere yet. If I get boot failures, I'll keep this in mind. Thanks.

    I didn't expect it to work if it never made it to 100% completion, which is why I fell back to the WinMFS solution. However, the image that WinMFS places on the drive is for some reason incompatible with jfms as jfms could not successfully expand it.

    Beyond that, even after my first jmfs attempt (the one where I decided to WinMFS to restore to the drive) did get far enough along that WinMFS recognized the drive as a TiVo drive instead of an unformatted drive. I had two shows on the drive that were occupying space containing bad sectors; Masterchef and Breaking Bad. Masterchef played normally for the first 30 minutes, hit a bad spot and froze, and eventually began playing again. At the 45 minute mark, the show cut off and the TiVo stopped recording. In step #4 of my process above, it took 2 hours to go from about 90% jmfs copy to 95%. I suspect that the data it was copying at this point was Masterchef. Around the 99% mark, I think it was attempting to copy the section of the hard drive that contained Breaking Bad as it had many more points in which it would freeze. After installing the drive in the TiVo, Masterchef was available and Breaking Bad was not.

    Another point to consider is that the expansion option in jmfs takes a couple of seconds to expand the drive from 160 GB to 2 TB. This means that it does not go through the drive and format sectors or prepare them in any way.

    Due to the points in the previous two paragraphs, I remain optimistic in my hopes that cancelling the copy has no side effects other than making the video files that were not fully copied to be unavailable.

    I really wish TiVo had the ability to mark sectors as bad so that they wouldn't be used in the future. But I suppose that would simply extend the life of the drives. I wonder if someone could work this function into a program suite such as jmfs.
     
  11. Gregavi

    Gregavi Member

    30
    1
    Jan 19, 2003
    Santa...
    When a TiVo starts to work intermittently, time to start backing everything up and create a disc image because there's a very good chance the drive(s) is about to die. I know this from experience. Twice it happen to me. One time I did create a disc image, once I did not. Now I wish I had on both occasions.

    Cheers
     
  12. PaulRuby

    PaulRuby New Member

    22
    0
    Jul 27, 2005
    Just wanted to post my experience for others.... I've owned 5 tivos over the years, have two series 3 running and just ordered a premiere. The HDD in all of them has gone bad at some point and here's how I manage my machines now...

    With any new tivo, once it is fully set up, paired with cable cards, etc... Make a back up. Hard drives are cheap. Get an HDD of the same size and clone your existing Tivo drive. Repeat this process every few months or so if you always want a back up of your latest shows. This process has become especially important with the series 3 because cable card pairing is a giant PITA with comcast and usually takes three trips from three different comcast folks to get it going. Once paired, back it up!!

    I use a free EaseUS boot disk to copy my hard drives.

    http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Disk-Copy/3000-2242_4-10867157.html

    The key thing here is that it's dirt simple and has a check box to ignore read or write errors. Ignoring read errors is important if you're in disaster recovery mode just trying to get your data off a dieing HDD onto a new one. If this is the situation you are in, get a THIRD hdd. Don't attempt disaster recovery onto your known-good back up HDD. That back up is GOLD.

    My latest experience is my primary S3 started acting up badly and I had been lazy for about a year not doing regular back up. The symptoms were much like described in this thread and others with freezing and rebooting. This was a familiar event so I ordered a new hdd: WD10EARS and then did a clone from the dieing drive with EaseUS (which had to ignore 71 read errors). But my Tivo would not boot with the new drive. Back up onto the forums and discoverd WDIDLE3. So, I grabbed an ultimate boot CD with WDIDLE3.

    http://www.jzab.de/content/ultimate-boot-cd-wdidle3-util-included

    This did the trick and my S3 is fully recovered and is actually working much better than it did before. Very responsive and snappy. It never worked this well before. So, BIG thumbs up for the WD10EARS drive (after doing WDIDLE3).

    Also during this process, I got the itch to upgrade so ordered a premiere and a pair of WD20EARS drives yesterday. One is the upgrade and the other is for backups.

    My process for the premiere will be to get the stock box paired to a cable card up and running and add my season passes and such. Once it's all fully working, burned in for a couple weeks, then I'll do a drive upgrade.

    I'll first WDIDLE3 both the new WD20EARS drives. Then will follow the premiere upgrade plans.

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=455968

    After using the new 2TB drive for a while (several months), then I'll back it up to the other 2TB drive...

    Anyway... WD10EARS after WDIDLE3 /d is the best drive I've ever used in a tivo. I'm loving my S3 again.
     
  13. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    What does WDIDLE do? Does that just keep it from spinning down or something?
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    google "intellipark western digital "
     
  15. Noggin

    Noggin New Member

    17
    0
    Jul 11, 2009
    But isn't the TiVo in a mode where it is ALWAYS saving to the hard drive and reading from it? I guess I can search on the forums for more information. I gotta go to work.
     
  16. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Sure it is, until it tries to do a warm boot, and the drive gets a long enough break for the intellipark thingie to kick in and it spins down and about that time the TiVo is ready to talk to it again and doesn't get a response as quickly as it expects and interprets that as hard drive failure.
     

Share This Page