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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2013/04/14: Version 1.0.0.2 Patched for DeviceIoControl error reading SD cards.
2013/04/15: Version 1.0.0.3 Patched for yet another DeviceIoControl error during restore on some computers.
2014/11/27: Version 1.0.0.6 Added the ability to restore VHD images that it doesn't recognize.
2017/11/09: Version 1.0.0.7 patched for SquashFS partitions.

**WARNING**

1. This software is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty of any kind.
2. Opening your TiVo will void the manufacturer's warranty.
3. While every effort has been made to prevent data loss, the ultimate responsibility is yours.

OVERVIEW:

This is a Windows program designed to backup and restore TiVo DVRs. It will run on XP or later, and it should work on anything from a Series 1 to a Premiere. It is not intended as a recovery tool for corrupt or failing drives, and it will not expand or "supersize" your drive (yet).

THE BASICS:

1. Download DvrBARS and unzip it to somewhere on your drive.
2. Connect a TiVo drive to your computer. USB adapters will work, but are generally much slower than a SATA or PATA direct connection.
3. Read step 2 again. DvrBARS only scans the drives once when it first starts up. If you add, remove or change your drive configuration while it's running you will confuse the poor thing. I also strongly recommend that you do not run Windows Disk Manager while a TiVo drive is connected, because it will try to "initialize" it, which will damage the boot sector.
4. Run DvrBARS with an account that's a member of the Administrators group or right-click it and choose Run as Administrator.
5. If you like it and want to help support future development, find the donate option in the System Information screen.

NOW WHAT?

There are three backup options (Full, Modified Full, and Truncated).

Full is perfect if you have a drive that's straight from the factory because most of the drive is all zeroes. A Full backup "xeroxes" the entire drive, but due to the way dynamic VHD files work you'll get a byte-for-byte copy of the entire drive in a relatively small file. For Premieres that's usually about 2.5GB and you can zip it down even further.

Modified Full backups selectively copy all of the sectors that are in use, including your recordings. You'll need a lot of disk space if you have a lot of recordings.

Truncated backups are like Modified backups, but your recordings are excluded. The final backup file will be about the same size as a Full backup of a factory drive that has never been booted, especially if you exclude the alternate Root partition (see the Settings screen).

All three backup methods will preserve your settings, CableCARD pairing, Season Passes, guide data etc.

There are two restore options (Full and Quick).

Full restores write all of the information in the backup image to the target drive, including the sectors that weren't backed up. They get zeroes.

Quick restores only write the sectors that contain data. The rest of the target drive is untouched.

NOTES:

There's a roughly 2.2TB limit inherent in the VHD file format. If you try to do a Full backup of a 2TB drive that has been in use for a while it will probably run for about 10 hours and die.

You cannot make a Modified or Truncated backup of a dual drive TiVo unless both drives are connected. It has to be able to scan the entire MFS file system to figure out what sectors to include.

For adventurous souls, you can use the VHD files with VMWare or Windows Virtual PC. Use the VHD as the source drive, boot the virtual computer with the mfstools or jmfs ISO file and you can expand, supersize, etc to another drive.

If you have Vista or later you can also mount a VHD file in Disk Manager and use it as the source drive for further operations like turning a Full or Modified backup into a Truncated backup, but be careful to check the Read Only box.

PLEASE HELP!!!!

I have a perfect image of a TCD748000 Premiere XL straight from the factory. I also have a nearly pristine TCD746320 Premiere image, but it's larger because it came from a drive that had already been through one upgrade. If you have a "virgin" drive laying around somewhere, run a full backup and send me a PM. Someday I hope to have clean images of every recent model available to the community.

Donate if you can. An awful lot of time and money has gone into this project so far, and the 100GB Dropbox account I set up for the images wasn't free either.

KUDOS:

Two members here (retiredqwest and jmbach) deserve a LOT of thanks and a big chunk of the credit. Their support and patience made it possible.

The pioneers who developed mfstools and jmfs also have my deepest thanks. DvrBARS is an entirely new work, but the basic knowledge of the MFS file system came from them.

AND FINALLY:

I'll shut up now. If you have any problems (and there are bound to be some) post the details here.

Enjoy!
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does this do an actual backup of Premieres and has it been fully tested, as in restoring to a bigger drive, like a 746320 to a 1tb/2tb?

This is a first I heard of backup/restore for Premieres since WinMFS.
That 746 image has been through the mill. It's running on at least 5 TiVos now that I know of, including 1TB and 2TB drives. For now the expansion is still achieved with jmfs, but I hope to change that in the future.

My 748 has been wiped and rebuilt so many times that it probably cringes every time I get near. It's for real. I have personally tested it on a dual drive SVR-2000 Series 1, a 649 Series 2, and the 748. We also built a 648 Series 3 successfully by taking a WinMFS backup, converting it to a VHD file, and restoring it.

The minimum file size for a Premiere seems to be around 2.5GB, but that will compress to about 1.5GB if you zip it or make a .rar file with 7-Zip. It's just a honkin' big piece of software once you add the SQLite partition and the HD menus. I also preserve the Welcome video if you haven't deleted it, the showroom demo video, and the THX certification video even on a Truncated backup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I tried running this on Windows 8 x64 and I get the following attached error screen.

I did a quick bit of testing and discovered that if I put an SD card in my memory card reader, the program starts fine.

My guess is that you are enumerating all the physical drives and trying to get their geometry. However, this call fails on the card reader when nothing is inserted. Should be an easy enough fix, you can either check to see if media is inserted or just assume the drive is offline if the call fails.
Thanks!!!! It does indeed enumerate the physical drives on startup and that screenshot will help me tremendously. I never even considered SD drives. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
With my readers the drive letter is present as long as the device is plugged in, but the drive is greyed out with a no media indication.

Not all media readers do it this way. Some will only show a drive when media is inserted. The one on my laptop works this way.

This problem happened with both the built in reader on my Dell U2410 and a Kingston USB 3.0 reader.
My Lenovo D20 has the same kind of setup but I always leave the card readers disabled in BIOS. I was able to replicate the problem and version 1.0.0.2 is now available. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you for providing this utility! I accidently ran WinMFS on a premiere drive and while it recognized it, it said it wasn't a Tivo drive so I did the fix swap and fixboot page (tried both option 1 and option 2) and it just causes my original drive to reboot after "Wait... Starting up". It's like I nuked the partition table. Wish I knew how to restore it back to the original.

I was able to use this utility to see all the partitions and make a backup and restore to a new drive, and as expected magically didn't fix the partition table since this is just a byte-for-byte copy, but it does work :))

Anyone know how to fix a "I've WinMFS'd my Premiere drive boopage" :)
What model is it? I may be able to write a "fixboot" type option into the program if I have an appropriate image to start from. It was on my ToDoList anyway, but I didn't expect anyone to need it this soon.

I don't know what the WinMFS fix swap might have done, but as long as it didn't modify the partition table we should be good. The actual contents of the swap partition are meaningless anyway. There seems to be a lot of leeway on Premieres - jmbach dumped the 746 image on a 748 and it repaired itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tell me more about expanding an OLED S3 to a 2TB drive - I have a couple that are at 1TB that I wouldn't mind expanding.
I'll let jmbach answer that one in more detail, but I think that in your case WinMFS, mfstools or jmfs would all work as long as you haven't already maxed out the partition table limit. Your best bet is probably jmfs since it only adds one partition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have the TCD750500 Premiere with the 500GB drive.
I don't have a P4 image yet, but a standard Premiere boot sector may work. Let me see what I can do.

It may take a few days since I have to go back to work tomorrow. There are only 24 hours in a day and I've been living on scraps of sleep for months now getting this beast written.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Sorry Dan, but that's way beyond what anyone can do. We may be able to recover your recordings by fixing the boot sector but that's about it.

The recordings are encrypted by the hardware and only the box that recorded them can decrypt them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I thank you for your time on doing this.

I backed up a TP-320 TiVo and got a file of about 2.8Gb worked great, took very little time.
I went to restore and after the software finding the correct drive to restore (quick restore) to I hit the right arrow and got an error message deviceIoControl Error 0x0000001F (31)

I am using an P4 3.2Ghz old HP computer with XP prof. SP3 and direct connection to the SATA port on the motherboard. I get the same error trying to restore to a 320Gb drive or a 2Tb drive.
Les, I have only seen that error once before and that was with a computer that had been rebuilt with Norton Ghost. We never found the root cause.

Error 31 is ERROR_GEN_FAILURE or "A device attached to the system is not functioning" in Microsoft terms. Can you provide any more details that might help me figure it out? Is there a 3rd party partition manager or drive compression software installed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I tried your program out on my I7 Windows 7 computer and it worked great, I restored to a 2Tb drive and all was good and boy was it fast. I will be testing the program on a TP-4 in the next day or two.

The HP computer was not a restored computer, I had installed Windows XP professional from the original retail Windows disk, than loaded the HP drivers. The system is on a 160Gb drive without any partitions (except the main one). There is no compression or any other programs of note on the system. The system does have Norton security software from Comcast, could that be the problem?? If you want I can remove Norton if it will help you find the problem. I have been using this computer for many years upgrading/fixing bad hard drives on TiVo Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3 using MFtools without problems. I have been using jmfs on this computer for the Series 4 TiVos, but I have to keep an original drive for each Series 4 I want to work on, I have images for the rest.

I can live with using my bigger computer if for no other reason the system is fast, It will be great if you can get expansion and super size in the same program as I had to re-boot (using a jmfs CD boot disk) after the restore to do the expansion.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you.
I still don't have any idea why that was happening to you, but I patched around it and version 1.0.0.3 is now available. It was using DeviceIoControl at that point to remove the Windows boot signature (if any). It was more of a courtesy gesture to Windows than anything else. Now it only makes that call if the drive already has a boot signature and it will continue even if it fails.

Quick restores should be about the same on the HP as the i7 since you're directly connecting to the motherboard. The processor is barely idling at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
As a note some TP drives that were already set up gave me a backup size of 1.7Gb without any ZIP and the TP-4 size was about 1.9Gb.
Wow. I've gotten close to 2TB before, but only by using the Truncated mode, excluding the alternate Root partition, and deleting the factory demo videos first. Pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Hey thanks for your link im just having trouble downloading the image it startes but after awhile it fails idk if u can help me with that?
I'd try a different browser, make sure that you have enough disk space, and possibly even disable your antivirus during the download. The image is on Dropbox and they're very stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
What happens if we need to restore the software and the new drive is (slightly) smaller then the original drive. It may be ancient history but MFSTools had an issue if the new drive was (different mfg) smaller but by a difference that would otherwise be insignificant. Never had that problem in the past, always upgrading to a bigger drive.
Right now the new drive has to be at least as big as the source of the image, and not one sector less. Any drive that's too small won't have a right arrow in the target selection screen and if you try anyway it will just "bonk" you (assuming sound effects are turned on).

Resizing the media partitions at will and moving partitions is my next major goal, but I wouldn't even begin to put an ETA on that.

I doubt that it will become much of an issue. If memory serves that problem was mostly with one specific Maxtor model that they used for a while in some of the S2s. WD drives tend to be pretty consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
How long will this take with USB vs SA? Obviously no recordings.
On my PC USB 2.0 was almost exactly 3 times slower than eSATA. 10 hours for a 1TB drive vs 3 hours, 20 minutes for a Full backup or restore. The chipset on my motherboard can't hack anything over 2.5Mbps anyway, so some folks with the right hardware should be able to cut that in half again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
It just ensures that every last byte on the source drive has been read and recorded to the backup image in some way. I don't THINK that there would be any difference between a Full and a Modified Full backup when it comes to a drive straight from the factory, but without a lot more testing on various models it's impossible to be sure.

In the early testing phase retiredqwest, jmbach and I ran a lot of really tedious backups and restores. For the average person I doubt that they will ever use anything but one of the much faster methods.

At one point each of the 120GB drives in my Series 1 took about 8 hours for a truncated backup due to the byte swapping and some poorly thought out programming on my part. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Just to clarify (ignore this if tech bores you), Full reads every byte from alpha to omega in 2MB chunks. If it happens to stumble across a chunk that's all zeroes it makes a 4 byte note in the header and moves on. That's all. It will happily backup a garbage drive, a Windows drive, or anything else. Think dd with some compression.

Modified and Truncated backups depend on my ability to read all of the the Ext2 and MFS partitions, then decide which sectors to back up and which ones to ignore.

A Full backup of a "dirty" drive will probably be bigger than the source. If you delete all your recordings or even run C&DE it won't help.

On the other hand, the drives that TiVo's using right now come from the factory with all zeroes and they only overwrite parts of it or their build process gives the same result. Either way you get giant chunks of naughts that result in a small image.

End of the Mythbusters "science" lecture. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
I'm curious as to what led to the concept of this.
Back in November I was virtualizing some servers at work, stumbled across yet another "you can't backup a Premiere" post and got curious. I cooked up a POS command-line app that would only run on Windows 7 and suckered retiredqwest into trying it. When he got something that would easily fit on a DVD or flash drive the obsession kicked in and almost 1000 hours of programming later...

Next time I get curious I may try beer instead, but thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Perhaps part of the challenge of the project could be to determine what areas of a never-booted "virgin" drive can be once again returned to zeros on a non-virgin drive, thus reducing the final size of a truncated & compressed backup?
In Modified Full or Truncated mode it only backs up the parts of the drive that are actually in use. I may be able to squeeze a bit more compression out of a zipped image by taking that process down to the sector level instead of just marking 2MB blocks for inclusion in the backup, but probably not much.
 
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