TiVo Roamio Hard Drive Upgrade, PART 1

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by TiVoEvan74, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    TiVo Roamio Hard Drive Upgrade, PART 1

    While there have been other threads on this, I wanted to post a new one from the perspective of someone who is a klutz about such stuff.

    I also report on several key tips — including restoring a real 30-second JUMP — that were either missing or buried in other threads about the upgrade.

    I know it's been said before, but believe them when they say:


    If you can use a screwdriver, or an Allen wrench, you can do this. (The tool in this case is a Torx wrench, much the same thing.)

    I'm absolutely not a DIY. While I once years ago added RAM to a computer, that’s about all I've ever done in the tech realm.

    So, if I can upgrade a Roamio, you can, too!

    This is definitely a long post. But it's one that I wish I had seen ages ago. I wouldn't have held off the upgrade as long we did!


    Basically, you disconnect everything from the Roamio. Then, all you do is pop the top case off, unscrew the old drive, take it out, move its brackets to the new drive, screw the new drive-bracket assembly back into the Roamio, and pop the case back on. Easy-peasy! TiVo then returns you to the initial guided set up and takes care of everything for you. That's it!

    But read through the following!​


    First thing we did was to watch and delete most of the shows on the Roamio before upgrading its drive. We got it down to about 4%.

    Next, I used the marvelous PyTivo program and transferred the about 10GBs of shows to my laptop wirelessly. Didn't take that long. We also knew that if we lost the shows it wasn't that big a deal, anyway. It's just TV!

    TIP: Before transferring the remaining shows to your computer, you may want to check whether they are on the TV schedule as it could be easier to simply re-record them than spend time transferring them from the Roamio to the computer and back again. If you spot shows that are coming up, make note of them, delete the corresponding ones you have recorded, and simply re-record them after doing the upgrade.

    Next, be sure to take digital camera photos of your One Passes (what used to be known as Season Passes). You will have to restore them manually. In fact, PyTivo will show you your season passes, so you can simply screenshot those!​


    I was worried about the power supply biz. Horror stories from the old days about shocks and warnings about being careful. Well, I needn't have been concerned. Just don't touch anything on the left side of the Roamio and you'll be fine. Everything you need to do is on the right side of the unit (looking from the back) where the hard drive is. And, it's easy to remove the drive.

    Note: One concern I had was that the upgrade would install the new OS, which I definitely did not want. It didn't do that. Same old OS it came with, speedy and efficient (albeit it with the same dumb, space-wasting Discovery Window across the top and the time irritatingly always showing!)​


    Use this YouTube video for your actual upgrade. It has good narration.

    It's better than this one with the banjo music and no narration:

    However, watch *both* of them ALL the way through before starting! It'll give you a clear picture of what to do. (The second one even shows an error in installing the brackets!)​


    The absolute consensus here is to get the Red Western Digital hard drive: WD30EFRX. I did and it works fabulously.

    Got it from Amazon. WD30EFRX Red 3TB NAS Hard Disk Drive - 5400 RPM Class SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch



    Q-tip, Rocket blaster, and Kleenex. These are important as you will likely find dust inside, especially on the fan itself, and as long as you are there you might as well remove it.

    NOTE THE WARNING IN REPLIES. FOIL IS NOT RECOMMENDED! Sheet of aluminum foil. Touch the foil every now and then to ground yourself, especially if you walk elsewhere and come back. UPDATE: Touch the OUTSIDE frame of the TiVo to ground yourself. But do NOT touch the INSIDE. Put the drives on top of the anti-static plastic bag the new drive came in. Avoid putting them on anything metallic!

    Torx set with T8, T9, T10, and T15.

    Note: you may need only two or three of them for *your* Roamio, but there have apparently been changes, so it's best to be prepared! Also, even if you already have a set, spending $9 on a spare set could be a good idea as some cheaper ones can warp and be rendered useless. However, it was easy to unscrew things, so an extra set may be unnecessary. In any event, if the worst happens, you should be able to find a set at a local hardware store.

    I bought this Torx set off of Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078RLVMSK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    However, it'd be better to get one with a screwdriver handle. The little ratchets can be hard to turn.

    Here's what I used for my Roamio:

    T9 for back screw

    T8 I think (not T10) for removing drive with brackets.

    T15 for removing the brackets from the drive. As to the brackets, see the tip below.​
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
    topangajack and skypros like this.
  2. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    TiVo Roamio Hard Drive Upgrade, PART 2


    As you remove a screw put it on the rug or table in the same relative position it was when you took it out. And, put the Torx wrench you just used right next to it, so you'll know which one to use when putting things back together.

    CRUCIAL: Remove one bracket at a time and reattach it to the new drive, making sure to orient it correctly each time! They are positioned upside down from each other.​


    If you follow the video directions, you'll have no trouble replacing the hard drive! It was really no harder than turning a screwdriver to remove several screws and then screw them back in.

    I installed a battery-operated smoke detector the other day which was harder to do as I had my arms over my head to screw in the base plate. As I mentioned:



    Getting the top off the Roamio is one of the hardest parts of the entire operation. Contrary to the video, don't use a screwdriver to pry it off — You will scratch the edges and deform the plastic. The clips are on the left and right sides near the corners and about 4” in on the sides. You can, with some gentle prying, pushing, and lifting, manually pop it off. You will feel as if you're going to break something, so just be careful and gentle.

    Putting the case back ON after you've installed the drive is also tricky. There's a tab at the front of the top case below the logo that needs to go UNDER a tab on the base of the unit. Otherwise, it won’t fit right. After that's done, popping it back on is easy.

    One of the hardest things of all for me, in fact, was reconnecting HDMI cable! I was trying to put it into the SATA external hard drive port, which obviously doesn't work.

    Also, reattaching OTA antenna was a bear— I was trying to attach the wrong cable — the defunct cable connector, whereas the OTA antenna's connector was an easy to screw on thingie.

    Having to reconnect all these cables to the back side of the Roamio was tricky, too. In other words, the hardest part of all this was the typical stuff you wrestle with anyway!​


    One big plus was that redoing it all, the Roamio now found my 5G connection to the router whereas before it had only done the 2.4.​


    It wasn’t obvious how to do this. One expected a restore to TiVo or upload to Roamio function WITHIN PyTivo itself. That's not how it works!

    Instead, at your computer, connect to the wireless network your TiVo is on, then launch PyTivo Desktop. Go to the Roamio! Look under Now Playing, at the bottom, will be the folder you set up on your computer for the TiVo shows! You just select them and transfer them back to the Roamio. It seems to go even faster than the downloading from Roamio to laptop!

    Ran into one glitch. While PyTivo fetched the two episodes of Cybil, the Roamio would NOT fetch them back. Oh, well! They're broadcasting re-runs of Cybil OTA, so we'll catch up that way...​


    What threw me was that the out of the box default 30-second skip is actually a slow-motion, 30-second fast forward. You end up seeing all sorts of frames!

    To restore the real 30-second JUMP, not a slo-mo slide through, do the following that Weaknees reports:

    During playback press:

    Select - Play - Select - 3 - 0 - Select
    That is preserved even through restarts! It's been so long since I’d done it, I had forgotten it was necessary with the Roamios!​


    Could never get the Input button working before, but delved into the menus —Setring and Messages, scroll down to Remote, Cable Card, & Devices, then to Remote Control Setup. Use Set TV Input.​


    Massive amount of space. My Roamio was one of the 500GB; I now have a 3 TB drive in it — so, about SIX TIMES AS MUCH SPACE! Likely it's closer to 6 1/2 once you take into account overhead for the OS.​


    I explored TiVo's search function and found a bunch of new shows to record. I also set up wish lists for several movies, shows, and actors that we hope to catch. However, it had been so long since I used wishlists that things were confusing. (Or, they've changed their operation.). I found the entry or editing of keywords and titles baffling. Turns out you have to scroll over and down and select the word you've entered — it doesn't show up automatically in the entry field. You'll need to put in * after words to catch variations, too. The default now is Auto-record which produces its own set of problems (search the forums for a thread on that).

    One thing about setting up wish list searches. Unlike most TiVo menus where pressing select confirms your choice and takes you out of the menu, wish lists figure you want to keep refining your search, so you end up in a labyrinth, going deeper. It's all too easy to hit a wrong button, add an extra letter or keyword, and have to delete the wish list and start over. It can be baffling until you figure out how to escape the menu!​


    In any case, if the message hasn’t gotten through:

    Any ten-year-old could do this. As Groucho would say,

    “Quick! Get me a 10-year-old!”
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  3. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Thanks for the refresher course and the how-to for the common folk here! :)
  4. Unbeliever

    Unbeliever Random Nobody

    Feb 3, 2001
    Nowhere Special
    Bad idea.

    And I say this as a practicing Electrical Engineer with an active NASA Electrostatic Discharge Prevention Certification down to 50V (ESD bunny-suit level).

    You don't want to put anything ESD sensitive directly on metal. You want to dissipate charge, not dump charge. (slow, not fast). ESD stations have a static mat that's grounded. And you have an ESD wrist strap grounded to the same point. Place the drive on the mat, let it equalize. Place the Roamio on the case, let it dissapate, then you can put them together. Static mats are designed to drain excess charge slowly, below the damage limit. Placing it on metal is an insta-charge dump

    However, for home stuff on consumer level parts, when you don't have all that, you can get safer by leaving the drive resting on the static bag. Stay away from the drive connectors or other electronic components. Grab the metal parts. Open the Roamio, put your hand on the metal parts of the Roamio frame. Wait a few seconds. Then grab the drive by the metal parts, again avoiding the connector. Wait a few seconds. Now you can connect stuff together. I usually lean a forearm (bare skin) on the frame to stay equalized, but if you don't move around much, you don't have to be continuously touching. Wear cotton, that helps.

    --Carlos V.
  5. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    Appreciate the update. I had read the aluminum foil tip elsewhere, so obviously that's not a good approach. I can remember directions of touching a PC's frame to discharge static before installing memory. I wanted to avoid recommending that as one could inadvertently hit the power supply.

    I have updated the post to reflect your well-grounded reply!

    Most of us don't have wrist bands, anti-static mats, etc., so what do you recommend using as a grounding surface? If I get what you wrote, one should use the plastic bag that the drive came in and sit the drive on that. But one needs two bags, so what would be an alternative, something one would find in a house?! Would any old plastic bag work?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  6. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    One unexpected thing happened after doing the upgrade and transfer back of shows. We watched and deleted one of the transferred shows. What then showed up was the overall list of shows, not the folder with the shows. We had to back out of that to get back to the real top list of folders. When we went back into the right folder, it showed our transferred shows, but there was no longer any options to use the B or C buttons to change was displayed! It showed the shows, but only by date. The same thing happened to all the other folders, too!

    We ended up having to restart the Roamio to restore usual behavior. Whether the glitch was due to the transfer of shows or simply a bug that happened to appear at the moment, I have no way of telling!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  7. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    Another follow up. Had the same glitches again — the vanishing sorting buttons and the issue of looking within a folder and seeing the top level list of folders rather than the shows!

    This happened after deleting a recent freshly recorded show!

    Anyone else had such a problem?*

    Is it a known Roamio bug? A hard drive upgrade bug? A bug introduced by transferring back shows from the hard drive (although it's also affecting folders of non-transferred shows).

    * Turns out that I have, but had forgotten it. See

    Lost sort options in My Shows

    It seems to be related to having Energy Saving Standby turned on! Hope they fix this soon!



    1. However, short of restarting, the reset HD Interface trick mentioned there seems to work quite well and happens very quickly!

    In the TiVo Central screen, simply press Thumbs Down, then Thumbs Up, and tap the Play button twice. (That saves you from having to restart the device, which takes a while and can interfere with recording of shows!)​

    2. Otherwise, one can turn off Energy Saving Mode:

    Look under "Settings & Messages", then "Remote, CableCard, & Devices", and scroll down to "Power Saving Settings", select it, and change it to "Manual". That will stop the dysfunction, but means losing Energy Savings!​
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  8. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    The Roamio has an external power supply. So no issues.
    I've upgraded many dozens of Tivos going back to 2001. And I've never run into any static issues. And have never used a grounding wrist strap with any of those dozens of TiVos.
    alyssa likes this.
  9. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    Roamio Plus and Pro models have internal power supplies.
  10. LarryAtHome

    LarryAtHome Active Member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Also don't believe that just because you place something on an anti-static mat that it is grounded and does not have a charge. For example, a plastic pen has a charge on it. It is placed on an anti-static mat. Don't assume it is now grounded. The part of the pen that is touching the mat may have the charge drained off, but the rest of the pen may still hold a charge or take some time for the charge to drain. The plastic can act as an insulator for the charge does not flow to the mat very quickly.
  11. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    You can do this with kmttg, you don't need to do it your low tech way!
  12. TiVoEvan74

    TiVoEvan74 Active Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    OMW! Using a digital camera is now "low tech"! :)

    From what I've read, kmttg is a bear to set up and use. That may be wrong, but the "low tech" method is surefire and easy to use!
  13. TivoJD

    TivoJD Active Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Polk Co,...
    You will be much happier if you install kmttg, I thought the same. After setting up a new bolt, just getting the channel list alone via kmttg and my Roamio was sooo worth it. Not to mention, you can transfer season passes in seconds as well. Those two features alone make it very worthwhile.
  14. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I'm definitely technically proficient, but kmttg is just a Java app.. as long as you can run Java apps, you can run it..

    it will even search for tivos on your network.

    You can configure a lot of stuff, but especially just to download RAW files (and not reconvert them to something else), it's relatively easy to use.. Since it is Java, it does have a lowest common denominator UI..
  15. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    of course it is. That's just one step above writing them down on paper manually.
  16. Drpepr

    Drpepr New Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Also not so skilled but attempting this. My roamio top is metal not plastic.

    Other than the case is the inside the same?
  17. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    You mention in another thread that you have a Roamio Plus which is more like the old TiVo's. The inside layout will be different than the Roamio Basic/OTA but the general steps will be the same with the differences being in the details (screws and method to remove cover for example).

  18. Drpepr

    Drpepr New Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Thanks ....just completed it. So easy!!
  19. skypros

    skypros Ex satellite dealer

    May 18, 2015
    Bend, Oregon
    Thank You for the informative thread..... It answered my questions.... So I did not have to ask them ! :)
  20. CodeButcher

    CodeButcher New Member

    Sep 14, 2018
    If you don't want to markup the seams of the cover, Use a guitar pick or if you have plastic pry tools from a cell phone tool kit, they work well.

    I've read somewhere a WD30PURX (purple) drive also works well.

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