How-To Upgrade your TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by hinsdale, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. Jul 10, 2002 #321 of 1590

    NateF New Member

    Aug 28, 2001


    One more thank you to add to the bunch. The whole primary/slave/secondary thing threw me a bit at first, but I really just needed to step back a second and think about it. Upgraded AT&TiVo from 40 to 197 hours. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in creating the upgrade manual. It's a lot easier than it looks at first.
  2. Jul 10, 2002 #322 of 1590

    llogan New Member

    Oct 11, 2000
    Reston, VA...
    Don't know how I did it, but I killed a 120GB drive. I couldn't find (nor did I have the patience to deal with the Maxtor diagnostic utilities at the time) but it just wouldn't spin up. I had tested it successfully in the standalone Tivo and was in the process of 'blessing' it and the other drive and it just won't power up. Anyway, Maxtor's going to send me a refurb'd one, so I'm out the cost of shipping and fortunately I had a spare 120GB lying around. Other than that, my second successful, sort of, upgrade. First one was a DirecTivo 35 hours to 225 hours. This one was an upgrade to a 14 hour standalone unit to 245 hours basic (1x120gb and 1x80gb). Thanks!
  3. Jul 11, 2002 #323 of 1590

    olav New Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    It worked, finally.... I found out that even though under windows my hda shows as one partition in order to get the command : # mount /dev/had1 /mnt/dos to work i had to go to hda2.
    and obviously the mfstoools i copied onto c: wasn't helpful so i copied it to a floppy and after mounting the floppy everything came together.
    so it took me about six hours, of which only less than one was actually needed for the backup etc. the other five where a walk in linux land. i might take acourse in linux after all ;-)

    thanks a lot to the hinsdale guide, to all the software makers and testers, strugling with just one command line makes me shudder if i were to do something really complicated, and thanks to the tivo community.
    even as a dutchman, whose countrymen don't even know what a tivo is i think that televisionwise this is the ninth wonder of the world.

    now the tired but proud owner of a tivo with 54 hours at best quality
  4. Jul 12, 2002 #324 of 1590

    Agrajag Member

    Sep 8, 2001
    Sewell, NJ, USA
    Okay, I have two systems in my house and a 100gb drive just waiting to into a Hughes DirecTivo.

    I have the cable. I have the interface cable.

    What I'm lacking is an understanding of how I'm supposed to get around the Windows XP issue.

    What are the exact steps I can take to bless this drive without XP screwing it up with its little stub file? I can format a floppy and boot from that, but that's going to have some form of XP on it, correct?
  5. Jul 14, 2002 #325 of 1590

    altobeeper New Member

    Apr 27, 2002


    Thanks Hinsdale! Your intructions were extremely easy to use and worked flawlessly.
  6. Jul 15, 2002 #326 of 1590

    tivoupgrade Sponsor

    Sep 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL...
    We've put together a new bootable CD that has latest MFStools, Turbonet/TiVoNet drivers, BlessTiVo and a bunch of the other popular stuff. In time, we'll get our scripts and utilities on there, as well. We've not released this to the 'general public' yet (ie you can only get to it from the specific link, below) so if any folks out there can download it, give it a whirl, and send me feedback, I'd appreciate it - there was definitely some booting quirkiness with my initial builds of the CD and I'd like to see it tested on as many platforms as possible.

    Here's the link:

  7. Jul 20, 2002 #327 of 1590

    MrB! New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    Another Thanks to all for their hard work on creating/documenting the upgrade process. New (1wk) 40hr AT&T Tivo took less than 30min to add a Maxtor 160Gb B-drive! (It took me longer to check-out at CompUSA last night!) My first Tivo and first upgrade so am very pleased (and proud). Your instructions and software could not be easier to use! Reported 216Hrs on first boot! If only I could afford to replace the A drive with a 160 as well! Unfortunately this is only going to give my wife more room to fill with Bob Villa re-runs <sigh>.

    Only "catch" was that the IDE cables I have (all high density / fast) had that one pin "plugged" whereas the IDE connector on the Tivo and it's factory cable did not (ie: all pins present on connector on main board so cables would not fit). I used a clothes pin over an open flame to take care of that. Worked like a charm!

    Next is the USB-Ethernet to connect over my cable connection.

    Question#1: Can anyone tell me what other USB-Ethernet dongles they have used sucessfully? I saw a Linksys one at Frys for under $30. Are the drivers for these built-in to the Tivo?

    Question#2: What is the device (possibly Sony) that will allow me to remote control my Tivo and "pipe" content throughout the house? We have 2x Coax runs to each room in the house - maybe that will help too.

    Thanks again to all.
    Mr B!
  8. Jul 21, 2002 #328 of 1590

    RoscoePColtrane New Member

    Jul 6, 2002
    I finished upgrading my Tivo yesterday and I am now the proud owner of a ~198 hour AT&TiVo!

    Tiger, thank you for the incredible job you did putting together MFS Tools 2.0. I used the floppy version and they worked flawlessly.

    Hinsdale, thank you very much for the clear, concise instructions. I edited them down to just the parts germane to my install and used them as a checklist when I upgraded my box.

    I also want to thank all the folks at TiVo who put together such a fantastic product. This has really changed the way I watch TV.

    My upgrade of my 10-day-old AT&TiVo went very well. My only issues were pre-upgrade and involved setting up a computer that would work nicely. I am detailing the issues here, hoping I can help someone else who may face the same issue. My only available Win9x PC did not have an IDE drive, it only had SCSI. I ended up finding an old IDE drive, adding it to the machine, and formatting it with FAT 16. I then disconnected the SCSI drives and the CD drives (there were three). So for my upgrade the C: drive was a completely blank 2GB drive formatted with FAT 16. I wasn't sure whether or not this would work but the MFS tools reported a successful backup (without recordings) and when I restored my backup to the 'B' drive {120 GB Maxtor 5400 RPM (4G120J6)} the TiVo unit worked flawlessly. When the PC was powered back up with the SCSI drive connected I was able to see the tivo.bak file on the IDE drive and burn it to CD for archiving (total compressed size 101 MB).

    I now have a ridiculous number of season passes and wishlists and I never have to look at Basic or Medium quality again!

    Thanks again everyone!

    p.s. MrB!, I purchased my USB to Ethernet adapter (and my IDE cable and power splitter) from 9th Tee. They shipped out promptly. You can find them here
  9. Jul 23, 2002 #329 of 1590

    rick_indy New Member

    Jul 19, 2002

    More thanks!!! I wish everyone could write Linux how to's as easy as you do. I have successfully upgraded my Tivo HDR 212 with two Maxtor 120 GB following your instructions. So many "Linux Gods" write perplexing documentation that just assumes you were "born knowing" Your simple step by step can permit any computer novice to upgrade their Tivo. I have a hard copy of your documentation ready to go for my next upgrade. Thanks again for all your efforts

  10. Jul 26, 2002 #330 of 1590
    Bill Reeves

    Bill Reeves Lurker

    Jul 17, 2002
    San Carlos, CA
    Two weeks ago, I discovered this site. Last week, I read in detail all about the upgrade process. Monday, I ordered my hard drives (2x120GB IBM DeskStar). Tuesday, I went to Home Depot to buy a Torx screwdriver. Wednesday, the hard drives arrived.

    Tonight (Thursday): my Sony SAT-T60 DirecTiVo now reports 232 hours.

    A huge thank you to everyone who made it possible - Tiger for the tools, Hinsdale for the how-to, and everyone who has posted here with additional information.

    -- Bill
  11. Jul 27, 2002 #331 of 1590

    MrLatte Member

    Oct 11, 2000
    Silverdale, WA
    I guess I just need some encouragement!

    I have an almost 2 year old Philips DSR6000 bone-stock at 35 hours. It has a really low S/N so I'm pretty sure it's a two drive model.

    I've been thinking about upgrading by replacing the 2 drives with a couple of 120GB 5400 drives by following Hinsdale's new steps and using MFSTools 2.0. This all seems straightforward but I keep hearing people have booting problems and such.

    Are people that are having more problems doing a 2nd upgrade or perhaps standalones have more potential problems with the swapfile and all that?

    I hate to screw up my machine that's been rock-steady for this long. Not sure if I'm going to try and save my recordings or not. This time of year I don't have that many critical things on there that it's worth the extra time.
  12. Jul 27, 2002 #332 of 1590
    Robert S

    Robert S New Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    MFS Tools 2.0 only seems to screw up swap partitions it creates, so if you use dd to copy your drives onto the new media and then use mfsadd to expand you should be fine.

    It's not all that hard to fix your swap, anyway.

    There are also concerns that MFS Tools 2.0 prevents TiVo recovering from a 'green screen' file system corruption problem. But I think MFSTools 2 is the only option for you anyway, so you'll either have to use it or wait for a fixed version of MFS Tools.
  13. Jul 29, 2002 #333 of 1590

    mao64 New Member

    Jul 29, 2002
    Columbus, Ohio
    I was watching The Screen Savers the other day and heard them talking about upgrading Tivo. I didn't know this could be done. I have one of the original Tivo's, the one with the 14 hour recording time. I have just read a little bit of the instructions on how to upgrade and some of the comments from other people. I would love to do this if I can. But it still seems awfully complicated, though. Could someone please help me on this? I would like to do this if someone can convince me that it's not that complicated.


  14. Jul 29, 2002 #334 of 1590

    Cpen CPenRun

    Jul 12, 2002
    Cambridge, MA

    If you have a PC at home, and have ever opened it up to replace a hard drive or add a second hard drive, this should be a breeze.

    You need to follow Hinsdale's instructions (link at beginning of this thread).

    You basically remove and attach your tivo's hard drive to your PC and make a backup of it. Then you plug your new larger hard drive(s) into your PC and restore the backup to the larger drive(s). Then simply put the larger hard drive(s) into your Tivo - viola!

    Because TiVo uses a Linux-based opperating system, you need to boot up your PC into Linux (using Tiger's MFS Tools 2.0). MFS Tools provides you with the proper copy tools to make a backup and restore it to a larger drive.

    Spend some time reading and re-reading the Hisndale guide - then surf around here for a week or so, and you'll get the gist of it. I learned a lot by surfing this site to see where others ran into problems. If you have any questions, post them here.

    If all of this seems too scary for you, you can either:

    1. Order an upgrade kit - search google for "TiVo Upgrade". You'll get a larger hard drive(s) with the Tivo software already installed (you still crack open the TiVo to remove the current hard drive and plug in the replacement/upgrade hard drive).

    2. You send your Tivo out to have someone else upgrade it for you (again, search google).

    These two options will cost you more, but you still end up with MUCH more storage.

    If you can do it yourself, I'd recommend removing your current 14Hr drive and keeping it as your backup (it's so comapratively small it won't add much, and gives you a VERY secure backup)

  15. Jul 31, 2002 #335 of 1590

    grecorj Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2002

    Upgraded my Philips DTiVo last night & I'm now the proud owner of a 106 HR DTiVo!

    Thanks to Hinsdale, Kazymyr, Tiger,,, TiVo Community Upgrade Center Forum, and everyone else! Even a "shout out" to Leo on ScreenSavers for showing me that even if ya screw it up the first time, it ain't no big thing!

    Upgrade was very quick -- minus making a backup (35 minutes), it was a 25 minute process. Within 1 hr I went from 35 HR ---> 106 HR. Nice!

  16. Jul 31, 2002 #336 of 1590

    ttb New Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    read ,read and more read the howto guide, here is a tip ,check and see if there is a local linux users group,maybe some of the members have tivos and have upgraded them,after all it is running linux.and if not linux users tend to be more savey than windows users,and would be glad to help you
  17. Aug 6, 2002 #337 of 1590

    WB New Member

    Aug 5, 2002
    Miami Beach, FL
    Thank you all! After several days of lurking, I have finally decided on an upgrade path for my single drive SAT-60.

    After much concern over swap issues, and more importantly GSOD recovery with the new MFS 2.0 tools, and with a desire to keep all my saved recordings, and not have to loose them in the future due to failure (GSOD) or deal with another upgrade, I have decided to plow down and install two 120 Gigs in one shot. I will be using a method that has worked successfully for many here.

    I plan to copy the image of my existing A drive using dd, then putting in back in and testing it. If all is OK, expanding it with DTivomad, blessing the second drive, then installing the pair and powering up. This upgrade has been reported by several as successfully producing a 230 hour SAT-60 box.

    Good luck to all you upgraders out there. I know upgrading is a fun and challenging project for most of us, and serious too! I mean, I cannot live without my Tivo for even one day. :) I will report back after my upgrade is complete.

    I recently posted the following information in another thread, but it may be of interest to some here:

    Circuit City has a decent rebate on Western Digital's 120 Gig 7200RPM (WD1200BBRTL), good 8/04-8/10.
    Retail price is $249.00, - rebate $80.00 = 169.00 (+ Tax)

    Another good deal is at <> The same drive WD1200BB in the non retail package without the mounting screws, cable, and software. This is not a biggie for me, since I will get all that when I purchase the one above.
    Their price is $159.00 + .50 , yes only 50 cents extra for FedEx 2nd day.

    This is the drive with the 2MB buffer, not the special edition 8MB. I have 2 of the special editions in my server, and they are not too loud. The original Quantum 40G in my SAT-60 is definitely a wiener. Two of these WD's should not be any worse. I have seen many posts on installed 7200's without much heating issues, and some claim better performance.

    I will re-use the mounting screws from my existing A drive, and the retail kit will give me a new cable, and mounting hardware for the second B drive.

    I wanted to get this out for those interested in the rebate and pricing info.
  18. Aug 7, 2002 #338 of 1590

    WB New Member

    Aug 5, 2002
    Miami Beach, FL
    Here's my update:

    After much lurking, and getting clues to some stumbling blocks along the way from many here, I successfully completed my SAT-60 Upgrade.

    My original configuration was a single drive Quantum 40 Gig. I decided to go with two Western Digital 7200 RPM drives. Together, they are quieter than the original drive which had a nasty whine, however, they are definitely hotter. I went with the 7200's because there were some deals on them, and others had commented on a performance boost with the faster drives. Either way, I am already cooling the unit externally with a boxer fan, so I was not overly concerned about heat.

    I should point out that I wanted to keep my recordings, and originally just wanted to add a B drive or replace my A drive with a larger one, but after looking around an reading allot, I saw my best bet was just to go to the max now, keep my original A drive as a backup, and not worry about how to upgrade down the road. Currently, MFS 2.0, which allows you to do these upgrades has been reported to have problems with swap, and recovering from GSOD.

    After much debate over which tools to use, I went with the TiVomad CD image nuboot6.iso downloaded from the author's site at I had to change the extension to .nrg for Nero burning software to recognize it as an image, and then accepted the Nero defaults.

    My upgrade PC only had one IDE plug, (the CD is on a secondary, but with a funny smaller plug) so I had to make due. Here's what steps I did, mostly with info from Hinsdale's how to, and notes I gathered from readme files from the various tools, as well as posts on this forum.

    I Pulled my original A drive and put in in the Primary master slot, and put a new WD on the primary slave jumpered as slave. My original drive came jumpered as cable select. I left alone, since it came up fine as primary master.

    I read that the image copy using dd goes faster with the noswap option, and it's fine to go this route in my configuration only for dd. I booted the CD and typed noswap at boot:, verified my drive sizes by shift / page up, logged in as root and used dd.
    dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb bs=32k - In a little over four hours, I had a 1221528+0 records in and records out match.

    I jumpered my new WD back to master and put it in the TiVo to test the image copy, and it stuck on the powering up screen while rebooting every few minutes. I came back here and saw posts on a peculiarity of WD drives. I discovered that they should not to be jumpered at all if they are the only drive in the primary slot. I pulled the jumper and JOY. All is good! TiVo boots and works fine, still shows the original 35 hours.

    Next I used DTiVomad4 to expand my A, and BlessTiVo to add my B. I found out that DiTivomad4 will not let you use hda, so I jumpered my new A drive to slave and put it on the primary slave, booted to the CD this time with bysteswapping on by just hitting enter. It's the default on this CD.

    maddtb4/ - I originally just typed, and it was asking for a second disk, so if you're on the CD, it's

    I removed the newly expanded A drive, and jumpered it back to master. It now will need to be jumpered since it will be installed with a slave.

    I grabbed another new WD drive, jumpered as slave, put it in as primary slave and blessed it.
    BlessTiVo /dev/hdb - Capital letters count here so be sure to do it like it's typed.

    Installed both drives together into the SAT-60, and powered up.

    Note: Do not boot up the A drive alone at this point If you boot without both drives in the machine, you must start all over!

    I saw the reboot that is expected while the DTiVomad software does it thing. After that, it came up normal with 230 hours.

    The speed of all operations are certainly much faster than the original configuration. In all areas, performance has been improved dramatically. I can't say if this is attributed to 7200 RPM drives with 2MB buffer, but I am certainly smiling.

    I'm sure it will slow down when I load it up with more programs, but I'll have to wait and see.

    Cannot report on temperature yet, since the cover is off while I wait for a new Sunon fan My original fan bit the dust. Actually, that's what started all of this. I had to get in there to see what was up with the fan. :D

    I can't thank enough all of the posters that have helped me and so many others out here. It's the reason I'm posting my experience, as I feel I have to give back, and hopefully it will help someone.

    Specail thanks to: Trevor, Tiger, hinsdale, Robert S, stormsweeper, and klincoln - for some of his testing which convinced me to finally stay away from MFS 2.0 right now, and go with the full upgrade and old tools.

    Right now, I am very happy!
  19. Aug 8, 2002 #339 of 1590

    LuigiMarconi New Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    Just wanted to say that your latest upgrade guide (and links to necessary tools) worked out perfectly.........again.

    Thanks so much for your step by step how to!

    I tried to boot to the CD but I could never get past the ACPI section and finally get to a hash mark.

    So I downloaded the floppy instead and it worked fine.

    I now have two 120GB hard drives running in an original 30hr Phillips single drive unit. This is the second upgrade I've done on this machine.

    The system info says I now have 306+ hours of recording time. Amazing!!

    I went ahead and kept my shows and that took a wee bit of time......but they're all there!

    Thanks again!!

    Dave Cerreta
  20. Aug 13, 2002 #340 of 1590

    phone1 ?????????

    Mar 18, 2002
    I took the easy way out - ordered a pre-blessed 120 MgB drive from PTV - took about 20 minutes, even with an IDE controller cable confusion issue. (Never put the cover on and connect all the cables without booting first!)

    Thanks Lou!

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