What Happens If I Upgrade My Bolt With a Drive Greater than 3 TB?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by TIVOSciolist, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. TIVOSciolist

    TIVOSciolist Bye to High Society

    Oct 13, 2003


    I want to upgrade my 500GB Bolt (which, unfortunately, was the only size available during TiVo's sale 2+ years ago) and understand that the software limit is 3TB. However, I see references to people putting in a 4TB 2.5" drive.

    If I use a 4TB drive, does the Bolt see it as a 3TB drive and just ignores the extra capacity? Are there any problems with sticking in a drive that is greater than 3TB?

    It's not worth it to me to pay $100+ extra to get a true 3TB drive that will come with no manufacturer's warranty. I would prefer to buy either a 4TB or even a 2TB 2.5" drive in that case. Thank you for any advice.

    JOSHSKORN Active Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    I tried that a few years go. It worked fine, until at got to a certain percent or so (not sure what percent that was or if that has anything to do with anything), but basically, the drive died and I ended up with 4 Flashing Lights. I made a topic on it awhile ago. At the time, I was still new to TiVo so I was still on a, I think it was a 90 day service trial. My TiVo died before that service ended, and I ended up just buying another Bolt, but actually it was the Bolt+. So, the new service, they put on my new device.

    There was one user that had two Bolts and it magically worked on at least one of his devices, had it working on both but eventually he said one of them got the 4 flashing lights.

    I don't know exactly what causes the 4 flashing lights, whether if it's using a drive that is larger than what a 32-bit OS can address, or if it's something to do with the drive type. I've been told it's because of the drive type, for the most part. SMR vs PMR, if I remember correctly. Whichever TiVo's is, that's what's hard to come by.

    Just throwing this out there, but I have zero experience with the new Edge device. I've heard the 6 tuner version only comes with a 2 TB HD. But I've also heard that the whole system in general is more forgiving for hard drive upgrades.

    Anyways, I wouldn't bother upgrading. Again, I tried multiple solutions, replacing the hard drive, and then also I tried purchasing a SATA cable that would feed out of the box to an External HDD Enclosure. With both solutions, I still ended up with the 4 flashing lights. So, I wouldn't bother. See if TiVo runs a service transfer special to another device and wait for that.
    TIVOSciolist likes this.
  3. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    I've been running this drive in my white bolt since July of 2017

    Seagate 3TB Laptop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 128MB Cache 2.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST3000LM016)

    I've been running this drive in my Bolt Vox since February of 2019.

    2TB WD20NPVX
  4. shamilian

    shamilian Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    try reading the "Tivo Upgrade Center" for help beyond 3TB .....
    UCLABB likes this.
  5. waterandland

    waterandland New Member

    Mar 2, 2020


    I just upgraded a Tivo Bolt 6 tuner from a 1TB to a 4TB drive. I did not need to format the drive. The Tivo Bolt DVR did it all on its own. The caveat though is you need to have the latest Tivo OS Hydra. Plus, I've found Tivo systems prefer Toshiba HDD Sata III 6gps 5400 RPM
  6. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    If an external did not work I'm going to guess you used a SMR drive and/or connected to the Esata port on the enclosure. If you go Sata to Sata with a CMR drive I see no way it would NOT work.
  7. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Much depends if you are running TE4 or TE3. It appears the latest version of TE4 will self format over 3TB. It has been reported a Bolt with latest version of TE4 self formatted a 4TB drive entirely. Edge which is TE4 only has formatted up to 14TB itself. And the Edge seems to be formatting ANY drive, CMR, SMR, any size. Could very well be Bolt and/or Roamio is the same now (if you have the LATEST version of TE4 on the flash drive).

    That being said, I still do not recommend SMR drives. And I WAY prefer external enclosure with 3.5 CMR drive. And recommend connecting Sata to Sata, skip the Esata port on the enclosure. While it's possible most any drive will format now (again must have LATEST version of TE4 already on the flash drive), why not do it "right"? Far as I know there are no 2.5" CMR drives 3TB and up currently manufactured. Which is why you would be paying so much for the "recommended" 2.5" 3TB drive, it is CMR and not being made anymore so price is marked up a lot. Your 4TB would be SMR, it may work, for how long who knows.

    TE3 will NOT format greater than 3TB drives itself (in fact it won't even format 3TB if drive is over 3TB, will do something under 2TB). Will still format a 3TB fully itself. The upgrade pros in the upgrade thread can explain this. Greater than 3TB with TE3 have to use MFSR or MFST to get full capacity.

    My recommendation, external enclosure, CMR drive, Sata to Sata. It's easy and cheap if done right (under $40 not counting the drive). Some of the parts needed can be specific so if interested I will point out the thread that explains it.

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    I wonder if one could format a drive with >3tb using TE4 and then revert to TE3?
  9. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    That is a question I asked myself. So far no one has tested, far as I know.
  10. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    One other interesting test that could be made with the "new" TE4. Since it seems to accept any drive, CMR or SMR, and any size, perhaps now an SSD would work too. Unfortunately I cannot test, my TE3 devices are staying that way, my one TE4 is a Bolt and cannot swap drives around without losing everything on current drive. Don't really recommend an SSD, just curious if will work.
  11. waterandland

    waterandland New Member

    Mar 2, 2020
    You need TE4. Your Tivo Bolt will work as well. It must have the latest updates and be using Hydra OS TE4
  12. elorimer

    elorimer Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Wait, what?

    I have a 4TB 2.5 inch in my Bolt from several years ago. As of then, it would fail to boot on TE4. I thought everything over 3TB (setting aside the external) was a no-go on TE4. If you tried it, you would need to put in the original disk, let it reformat, then downgrade to TE3, and then put in the big disk formated with the tools. Losing everything in the process, too, but then you couldn't (still can't?) reliably transfer any shows from to TE4 TiVo is working on a fix for transferred shows that freeze while playing.

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