Is it dying?!?!?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by DCDivenut, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. DCDivenut

    DCDivenut New Member

    Sep 16, 2003


    Oh please, I hope not, I have a huge backlog of stuff to watch...

    Over the last couple of days I have noticed that when I am watching a previously recorded show on Tivo the picture will sort of pause and then take a second or two to come back to normal. During this time there is no audio output. I was worried but didn't do anything. Now my girlfriend told me that she was watching live TV through Tivo and it did the same thing.

    Is my hard drive dying? The unit is a series 2, but older, about 4-5 years old. I decided to check here before calling Tivo but will they replace the unit or am I pretty much screwed? I am going to be bummed if I am since I was planning on getting one the fancy Series 3 sometime this year!
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    This could be the classic symptom of hard disk failure, or soon-to-be failure. Can you still get it to restart when you disconnect/reconnect AC power? If so, and you value the recordings on your Tivo, you may want to act fast to replace or upgrade that hard drive. But try these tips first:

    *** Note that problems like this can also be caused by AC power spikes or fluctuations. Your Tivo is essentially a computer inside, so you should seriously consider powering it with an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Good quality 350VA UPS's are available for well below $50 and will power your Tivo for nearly an hour, plus they provide much better powerline isolation and protection than a surge protector.

    *** Check your Tivo's internal temperature. If it's running too hot you'll sometimes see problems like this. Look in "Messages & Setup" -> "System Information" and scroll down a couple of pages to see the internal temperature. Anything under 50-deg C is usually OK. If it's higher than that, make sure you have good airflow under and around your Tivo. It's a good idea to raise your Tivo up an inch or so for better airflow. Some folks use pop bottle caps under each corner.

    *** If your Tivo is a combination DirecTV+Tivo receiver, you should try re-seating your access card. Remove power, remove the access card, wait a few minutes, re-insert the access card, and reconnect power.

    *** If you're comfortable opening up your Tivo (which will void your warranty if you still have one), then disconnect and reconnect all the cables leading to the hard drive(s). Sometimes connections can work loose, or tarnish, and re-seating them will help.

    *** If these steps don't help, then it's likely a hard drive problem. You can try a "Clear and Delete Everything" (in the Tivo's "Messages & Setup" menu). That might help the drive repair itself, but you will lose your recordings, Season Passes, and other settings.

    *** Finally, if all else fails, then you might want to try connecting your Tivo drive(s) to your PC and run the disk manufacturer's DOS-based diagnostic utilities. These are usually available for download from their web site. Unfortunately they don't always detect all of the failures that can disrupt your Tivo. Some folks have reported success using the SpinRite disk repair utility available from Gibson Research at or HDD Regenerator at

    Also check out these sources of information, much of which you'll find in the Tivo Underground Upgrade Center forum:
  3. RonDawg

    RonDawg Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    The hard disk on my Series I Sony SVR2000 did just what you were describing before it died too.

    My suggestion is to get all of your unwatched recordings, and ones you want to keep, transferred to either VHS or recordable DVD immediately.

    I had about a month's warning before my Sony's hard disk died, and I lost a lot of stuff I was hoping to keep.

    While it's a bummer to have your TiVo's hard disk die on you, the good news is that they are easily replaceable, using kits from many vendors like 9th tee, weakness, ptv, DigitalRecorder, etc. If your unit has Lifetime Service it's even more worth it to swap out the hard disk for a larger unit.
  4. cconk01

    cconk01 New Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    I was wondering, say your hard drive in a normal tivo series 2 unit failed, could you goto one of these sites and get a standalone hard drive such as ones on weeknees that say they keep your lifetime subcription in tact? so in shorter maybe less confusing, your hard drive fails, buy one from weekknees and install it in replace of current failed drive and still have life time tivo?
  5. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...


    Yes, you'll keep your Lifetime subscription.

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