Salvage recorded TV programs from a drive that won’t boot.

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Sep 1, 2020 #1 of 20
    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    I have two Roamios. Each upgraded to 8TB. Earlier this year, Tivo released a software upgrade which rendered both unusable. (Infinite reboots.) On one of them I erased the drive and it works fine. On the other I removed the drive in the hope of somehow later salvaging the recorded programs on it. So far I’ve been unable to find a way to do that. Any realistic suggestions?

    My understanding is the drive’s data wouldn’t be accessible if connected externally to a bootable Tivo, and that doing so could even wipe out the data on an external drive.

    I have extensive PC & Mac knowledge, and even some Unix experience. But none of that seems helpful to my current dilemma.

    Again, the objective is to extract/restore the recorded TV programs. Even if they can’t be restored onto a Tivo, they could potentially be converted to other formats on another device. PC, Mac, whatever. I’m easy! (flexible)
     
  2. Sep 1, 2020 #2 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Not Bootable = Can't download shows from it.
     
  3. Sep 1, 2020 #3 of 20
    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    Excuse me for saying so, but it doesn’t seem you put much thought into this.
    It’s been my experience that most problems are solvable, given sufficient knowledge, effort and commitment to the issue. For the more unusual and perplexing problems, it often requires thinking way outside the box.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2020 #4 of 20
    jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo Member

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    When you say "infinite reboots" do you mean it never completes a start up or that it immediately (or shortly thereafter) reboots as soon as the start up completes? If it's the latter, I am currently in that situation with my Roamio. I have discovered that if I leave it disconnected from the internet it will boot up and not reboot.

    I would suggest checking out the thread on how to upgrade a Roamio to use a large hard drive. I am hoping to be able to copy mine once a replacement (non SMR) drive arrives later this week. Since I can still play and record shows while disconnected from the internet I don't think the current drive is complete toast.

    If yours won't boot at all, maybe research the use of SpinRite. I have never used it but have read about it here throughout my research of how to address my current problem. I may end up checking it out myself if it turns out I cannot clone my current drive.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2020 #5 of 20
    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    Thanks very much. I’ll definitely research your suggestions. Starting with disconnecting from the Internet. It would be so cool if the problem could be resolved so easily! If not, you’ve given me other good tips. Thanks again!
     
  6. Sep 1, 2020 #6 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Not so. Each Tivo is encrypted. If its working in the Tivo, you can transfer shows, etc. from there. There is no thinking out of the box (or Tivo.)

    Plugging the Tivo into a computer will only yield the computer unable to read it and assume its new and blank, will attempt to format it if you let it.
     
  7. Sep 2, 2020 #7 of 20
    shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you may have accidentally pressed the button to upgrade to the new tivo experience, TE4. I don't think there is anyway to recover the shows.
     
  8. Sep 2, 2020 #8 of 20
    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    It’s encrypted? I don’t believe that’s true. There is no reason to encrypt OTA programming. Programs are stored in a proprietary database, however. But since the OS is Unix based, the company was required to provide all technical information to the public. That’s how iTiVo and cTiVo were able to be created.

    You remind me of the many people who proclaimed the Golden Gate Bridge couldn’t be built. The tide was too strong to pour a foundation. No suspension bridge that large had ever been built. Etc. etc.
     
  9. Sep 2, 2020 #9 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Its true. Encrypted with its own Tivo service number base. Try putting the drive into another Tivo (even the same model) and try to play the shows there and you get error 51, plus you cannot record on it until you do Clear & Delete Everything (which marries the drive to that Tivo, wiping everything already on it.) Its been done! Get over it!
     
  10. Wil

    Wil Unknown Member

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    Excuse me for saying so, but it doesn't seem to me you put much thought into insulting the person who gave you the correct answer, a person with a lot more Tivo chops than you have.

    No boot, no shows. The data is encrypted and it is not practical to create an external access situation whereby that data can be read and the files reconstructed. If you haven't totally wiped out too much from the drive and can use standard low level disk repair tools to get the drive bootable again (without having wiped out too much in that process), you have a shot. I'd say your probability is maybe 10%.
     
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  11. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Why are you so hardnosed to accept the fact that the Tivo hard drive is encrypted.

    The programs (itivo, ctivo, etc.) Are used to access the Tivo, while it is up and running, to allow you to transfer the shows. It's not a way for you to get access to the Tivo drive outside of the Tivo, even if it won't boot up.

    The way you access the Tivo is using the Media Access Key which is unique to your Tivo Account and connected devices.

    iTivo and cTivo may be too old to access Tivo due to expired security certificates.
     
  12. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Everything that the OP has been told in the replies is true; however, within the narrow parameters of the very limited and poorly articulated information in his original post, the IS a possibility that everything on his original drive could be salvaged.

    But frankly, given the attitude he has presented here, I am not going to waste my time trying to help him. The information is available in other old and very long threads, but he will have to do his own research.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  13. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    Do you have experience with Tivo other than the 2 Roamio's?
     
  14. Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    Yes, although I wasn't a big fan of their limited capacities and capabilities of earlier models. But what really irked me was paying a monthly fee just to get channel information. So I later built my own SageTV DVR. Before doing that, I upgrade my ex's TiVo to whatever the maximum was back then. (Probably 1 or 2TB). My own SageTV was doing great for years, up until Google bought them out and shelved the whole thing. Grrr...

    It was about that time I heard about TiVo offering lifetime units for reasonable prices. I just couldn't pass up a deal like that—and what with SageTV no longer supported—so I bought one and my ex bought one for herself. Then I added a couple Mini's and she bought one for herself. Then last year I bought a refurbed Roamio when I learned they were being discontinued and TiVo was charging outrageous prices for lifetime service for newer units.

    Stand-alone DVRs like TiVo are more reliable than DIY DVRs, as are most custom computers. That's one reason Apple computers have always been more stable than WinPCs.

    So the simple, tl;dr answer to your question is, "yes".
     
  15. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    then you should know Tivo encrypts everything if you don't you must have been living under a rock
     
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  16. Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy

    Moldy_Oldy_Computer_guy New Member

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    I'd agree with you if you were right. But clearly your knowledge of computers and data storage is limited. Encrypting and decrypting that much data would be a monumental (and unnecessary) task, especially for the little processors used in TiVos. Rather, the data is streamed directly into the database as its received. With the advent of digital replacing analog input streams, TiVos don't need to even convert the data anymore. It's just grabbed straight from the input stream and stored as is. Granted it's not stored as an mpeg file or other standardized file format. But such formats are merely envelopes anyway. It's actually easier for a TiVo to store the data in its database without putting it into a special mpeg envelope within a standard file system. Standard file systems weren't designed to store massive data streams, like the video files used in a DVR. That's why the folks at TiVo don't use them.

    This whole discussion is a reason I refrain from these "techie" forums in the first place. Too much misinformation and too many egos in play. But sometimes it's easier to simply ask—hoping for at least one good tip—and ignore posts from all the self-proclaimed experts, like you, who believe they know what they're talking about. Not that I expect you or anyone else to admit to their erroneous beliefs. Like I said, too many egos to risk bruising.

    Adios, you "experts". (But thanks for the ones who know what they're talking about and the ones with enough humility to admit when they don't.)


    P.S. I'm not following this thread anymore, so you needn't bother trying to "one-up" me.
     
  17. ClearToLand

    ClearToLand Old !*#$% Tinkerer!

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    Did disconnecting from the Internet stop the constant reboots?
     
  18. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Moldy, oldy and very stubborn.
     
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  19. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    If Tivo didn't restrict playback of the recordings to the Tivo it was recorded on, then individuals could freely distribute drives filled with premium cable content to others with a Tivo but without a cable or a Tivo subscription, since Tivo allows playback of existing content without a current subscription. There is no way this functionality could ever be permitted.
     
  20. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    To amplify shwru980r's remarks, the CableCard consortium required TiVo to encrypt the contents on disk before they would approve TiVo's entry to the ecosystem. People have been trying to break that encryption almost as soon as it appeared with no reported success. The best anyone was able to do was disable encryption on Series 3 devices by a hardware mod, but later models made this impossible in practice. Decrypting TiVo disks has never been possible, except by the original TiVo's hardware.

    My opinion of MOCG's remarks would get me another strike, so I'll refrain from giving it.
     

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