The last couple of nights my TiVo has become noisier and noisier. There are only two moving parts in a TiVo, the fan and the hard disk, but you can bet it’s always the more expensive item, the hard disk, that’s failing.
After disassembling the box and removing the hard disk, my first thought was to clone the disk using a freeware program from MFSLive. Eight hours later, the new drive was installed and the TiVo went into a continuous rebooting process. Not good. So I reinstalled the old hard disk to see if I could couch *another* clone out of it. No such luck – I think the cloning process had worn it out.
Into my bag of tricks to dig up an old copy of the ultimate disk restorer, Spinrite. Spinrite works by reading and writing every sector and refreshing the disk. After an overnight run, Spinrite announced all sectors readable, but I still had a boot problem. Let’s face it, the disk data was corrupted.
My TiVo box is out of warranty as I had voided it by upgrading the hard disk to a larger size. Additionally, what TiVo wanted for repair wasn’t much less than a new TiVo would have cost.
Plan C was to do a clean install with DVRUpgrade’s InstantCake software. $40 later I found out the software only worked with PATA CD-ROM drives. Guess what, both of my PCs are SATA only. So what follows is a patch to get InstantCake to work with SATA CD-ROMs:
- Create an InstantCake CD-ROM from the ISO and boot from it.
- After it finishes the boot process, type Ctrl-C and drop into the Linux shell.
- Type the following:
# mknod /dev/sr0 b 11 0
# vi /usr/sbin/PTVbake3
- Scroll down to line 232, type “i” to enter insert mode and change lines 232 and 234 as shown:
echo ” other ——> other”
prompt_in ” Please select from the following:” “sda” “sdb” “sdc” “sdd” “other”
echo ” other ——> sr0”
prompt_in ” Please select from the following:” “sda” “sdb” “sdc” “sdd” “sr0“
- Type “esc”, “:” and then “x”
- Restart the script by typing “PTVBake3″
When the prompt asks for your CD-ROM’s address, tell it sr0 and it should execute perfectly!
Obviously you lose all your saved programs and season passes, and have to perform another 30 minute self-guided install. And it will also take a day or two for all the EPG and OS updates that had been collected to be re-installed, but after that, you’ll be back up and running for a lot less than TiVo wanted!
(Oh, and since I had a huge hard drive in my inventory, I used the opportunity to upgrade to a 1TB drive – Now I have 140+ HD hours of recording space. Voila!)