Whining hard drive: Better to keep running, or unplug & plug in to watch?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by BobbyWDC, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. BobbyWDC

    BobbyWDC Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    Washington, DC


    I have a TiVo Series 2 with an upgraded drive that's now 5 years old. It recently started whining loudly--not airplane engine loud, but enough to hear across the room. It still plays back and records fine. But the noise is definitely abnormal. I assume it'll be dying for good soon.

    I've stopped all recordings on it and added them to my other TiVo. But there are dozens of hours of programming I'd like to watch before I replace the drive. There are only a few hours during the day that I can watch these. I'm trying to figure out whether it's better to leave the TiVo on as usual, whining away, or whether I should unplug it to save it the wear & tear, and just plug it in when I'm watching something. The downside to option #2 is that the rebooting process might put more stress on it than just letting it run. But it seems wrong to have it on all that time when I'm not using it, when I want it to last long enough to allow me to watch what I have on it.

    Any experience, opinions, or theories on this? Thanks in advance.
  2. HomeUser

    HomeUser Active Member

    Jan 12, 2003
    A2 Michigan
    If the whining is bearing noise then the drive will probably fail soon the next power cycle should be to make a backup/copy. Are you sure it is not coming from the cooling fan(s)?

    Option #3: Use TiVoDesktop and backup your recordings to a PC.

    Option #4: As you are going to replace the drive anyway if you are comfortable working with the innards of a PC, Get a un-formatted replacement drive the same size or larger then make a sector - sector copy using use dd_rescue or MFSLIVE. See the "Underground Playground" --> "TiVo Upgrade Center" for more info.
  3. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    May 25, 2006
    Since you believe the drive is going to fail, I would replace it now. Why wait til you are in the middle of a must record program for it to fail.
  4. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    HomeUser has, IMO, the right ideas, except for the one for which I'm going to suggest an alternative.

    While it's running ('cause you shouldn't count on it starting back up if you shut it down) it should be transferring shows via (the free version of) TiVo Desktop to a hard drive hooked up to the computer running TiVo Desktop.

    You can set up a long list of them and it'll do one right after the other, in the order you check the boxes, while you're off earning the price of a new hard drive.

    Once you get everything transferred (it's really a copy, but includes the accompanying info that gets lost if you MRV to another TiVo), you should shut it down, wrap a couple of thicknesses of paper towel around it (the drive) and put it in the freezer overnight.

    Then hook it up to the computer and do a truncated backup. That's faster than a dd or dd_rescue copy of the drive.

    Then set it aside while you test the backup on a known good drive of any size as large as or larger than the original (which was probably a 40 or an 80).

    You don't need to expand that drive if it isn't going to be your eventual replacement, you just want to be sure you have a good backup.

    When you decide on a replacement drive (might as well get a 1TB and adapter, read the adapter thread), you restore to it from the backup image, test it, and then expand, and that way you don't have the "already used all 3 pairs allowed of MFS partitions, still got unpartitioned drive space left" problem.

    Once you get your new spacious drive installed and working, you can point it at that computer running TiVo Desktop, and start copying your shows back over.
  5. True Colors

    True Colors Member

    Oct 18, 2006


    Are you sure that it is the hard drive that is making the noise?

    A lot of times when a Tivo(or computer) are making noise people assume that it is the hard drive but it is actually a cooling fan which is making the noise.

    A simple way to test.......put a pencil in the cooling fan and see if the noise stops. If it does then you know that your problem is the fan -- not the hard drive.


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