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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to create this summary in case anyone else needs to do what I needed. The info and tools are all available within these forums, due to the incredible work and support of many whose posts generally hold the answers. I hope this is the right place - a lot of the useful threads are in the Underground forum.

But, if you're brand-new to this, and don't "live" the TiVo community, cobbling together the right steps from all the "just use X" or "run command Y" posts you will find in searches can be a challenge to know you're doing it right.

So, I don't know if I did it "right", but here's what I did to completely replace my dead stock hard drive from my TiVo Premiere (320GB). I used:
Windows 7 Laptop
External SATA Bay with USB connection

First, I confirmed said drive was in fact "dead" by acquiring the Western Digital tools for Windows WinDlg_v1_36. "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows" on this page: Software and Firmware Downloads | WD Support

You install and run right on Windows (make sure no other disk utilities or programs are running when you plug in your USB connector to your TiVo drive.) The quick test wouldn't even detect the "dead" drive so I knew I was toast.

So, get a new drive based on these recommendations: Hard Drive Recommendation

I ended up with this one, a 1TB, same day from Amazon:

Then, what to do? This thread likely has most of the answers (but again, not in ways my brain could convert into execution): Replacing the hard drive on a Premiere XL4.

My "dummies" guide to making the new drive work goes as follows (again, nothing new here, just rehashing what others have provided in the forums).

  1. Confirm new drive is good - Did a full scan using WinDlg. Took about 9 hours. All systems go.
  2. Hit up ggieseke for your stock image (send model number, mine was TCD746320.
  3. Download and run DvrBARS in Windows (Dvr Backup And Restore Software for Windows (DvrBARS))
  4. Select a full restore, use the image that you received for the drive, and let it run.
  5. Don't forget, from in DvrBARS select "System Infomation" and find the donate link - use it!
  6. Hopefully everything seems complete & successful, so now safely disconnect USB, pop drive in your Tivo.
  7. Boot your Tivo, and if it gets to guided setup, so far so good. Shut it down and extract drive once again.
  8. Get MFSTools after reviewing this thread (still not sure if I got the right version.) MFS Tools 3.2 Specifically this post has links and general background: MFS Tools 3.2
  9. Use your fave burn program to burn the MFS ISO onto a DVD-R.
  10. Boot your computer from the DVD by hitting F12 on computer restart. TiVo Drive is still connected via USB in dock.
  11. Get a linux prompt... now what!? Login!

linux login: root
Password: tivo
  1. Find the disk mount:
    1. fdisk -l | more (since this might scroll off screen).
    2. Find the right drive mount based on size? My output showed this one: /dev/sdb: 931.5GiB, 1000204886016 bytes
  2. You can also confirm that the TiVo "info" is there by getting the MFS info:
    mfstool info /dev/sdb
    I see stuff that says My volume size is 301004 MiB, so I think all is good (the original Premiere image was for a 320GB drive.) Also, "Estimated hours" is listed as 360.
  3. Per this post, we need to "mfsadd":
    JMFS V1.04 Trouble after new motherboard was installed
    mfsadd -x /dev/sdb
    It returned immediately! messages included:
    Adding pair /dev/sdb15-/dev/sdb16...
    New estimated standalone size: 1175 hours

    (I don't know who records and keeps so much stuff, but obviously everyone on this forum! I won't - but at least it's there.)
  4. Finally, we're told to run the apmfix program:
    apmfix /dev/sdb
    Click "y" then <enter>
    Again, pretty quickly finishes what it does, and tells me I can boot the TiVo!
  5. Shut down linux w/ shutdown now, put drive back in Tivo, and hook it all back up.

When booting, TiVo tells me external storage service not detected. I hit clear on remote, then the 3x thumbs down-enter sequence.

Wait about 10 minutes for a reboot. Almost there, just a few minutes more (I've always found TiVo's definition of "few" peculiar.)

And it's time to guided setup.

I hope this helps someone else save the 8-10 hours of forum searching I did, if even just for this single Premiere use case.

Oh, and don't forget to donate - these guys did (and continue to do) a lot of work to make this stuff essentially "easy". You just saved yourself almost $100 vs. paying for the repair!

Premium Member
6,307 Posts
Nice summary! If you use the "Quick Restore" mode in DvrBARS it should save some time, especially since you already tested the drive with WinDLG. The only difference is that the "Full Restore" mode writes zeros to sectors that the original backup ignored.

Premium Member
6,307 Posts
Thanks, that was another "I'm too scared to know which one will work" so I figured "full" would be safest. Please correct anything I botched for sure since you know how the guts really work!
They both work, so no big deal. Back then a lot of people used it to restore to an identical drive without testing it first, so I left that option in. These days you probably couldn't even find a 320GB drive.

1 Posts
This was very helpful and it got me back up and running. For those of us (like me) that don't have a CD drive/burner anymore, you can boot from a USB thumb drive. The ISO I found of MFSTool was a little tricky. It took me a few tries to boot without error. Here are the steps that worked:

1) Download RUFUS (Rufus). I used the portable version but full install should be the same.
2) Put a USB Drive into your PC.
3) Open RUFUS.
4) Select the USB drive in the "Device" drop down.
5) For "Boot Selection", Make sure "Disk or ISO image (Please Select)" is selected and click the "SELECT" drop down to the right.
6) Select the MFSTools ISO.
7) Click START.
8) Select "Write in DD Image Mode"
9) Click OK.
10) Confirm the overwrite by clicking OK. MAKE SURE THIS IS THE THUMBDRIVE YOU WILL USE TO BOOT.
11) Once done, reboot PC and boot to USB.
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