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Dec 29 2004

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Tivo Upgrade

The other day our Tivo started making some odd thunking noises … and the picture started going weird periodically.

I did some research and determined that this is the sign of a failing hard drive.

I discussed the options with Steve and determined that the best thing to do would be to replace the hard drive. Due to the heat dissipation requirements I needed to get a 5400 rpm drive. Unfortunately, such slow drives are pretty hard to find. Luckily CDW had a 160gb Maxtor 5400rpm drive in stock.

Of course Tivo can’t deal with 160gb … so I’ll only get 137gb out of the drive.

Steve offered to help with the upgrade, so I met him for lunch and then we went over to CDW to pick up the drive.


While upgrading the Tivo isn’t trivial … the technique has been perfected quite well. Detailed instructions can be found at http://tivo.upgrade-instructions.com.

The hardest part (for me at least) was cracking the case. Once the case was opened, the rest was pretty easy. As I type this, the old drive is being duplicated to the new drive. It’s pretty slow going … it started duplicating at around 5:30 and at 8:45pm it was only 50% done. I think it will be done around 11pm tonight.

5 comments

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  1. David Gibbs

    Not counting the copy, it took about 30 minutes to extract the old drive, install the new & old drives in my PC, remove the new drivefrom the PC, and install it in the Tivo. You’ll need two Torx screwdrivers, that’s it. Really good instructions are available at the link I originally posted.

  2. Mike Wills

    I bought mine a little over a year ago and am considering doing this myself (not beacuse of a crash). How long (short of the copy) did it take to upgrade?

  3. David Gibbs

    Just to add insult to injury … I looked up the warranty expiration on the old drive … it expired 11/27/2004.

  4. David Gibbs

    Yeah, the data replication did chew some time. The copy probably ended around 1am. I just finished putting the new drive in the box and hooked it back up. 165 hours now.

    Good idea on creating another copy of the drive. I’m going to try and find a cheap 40gb drive to copy it to.

    Sure would be nice if there was a way to backup the drive over the net 🙂

  5. Mitch

    David – Actually you probably could have gotten by with a 7200 RPM drive. When my Replay drive crashed, I had just gotten a deal on a 120GB 7200 RPM drive and thought I’d try it and just monitor the situation. It’s been about 2 years now and it’s been working just fine. I think the Tivo has a similar EasyBake Oven approach to heat management. During the couple of upgrades I’ve done on my Replay I’ve never actually transferred the recordings over. I’m sure that’s the big time eater for you. I don’t know if there are any issues like this for Tivo, but it might be a good idea to grab an old smaller hard drive and make an extra backup of your Tivo. After a crash, making sure you’ve got exactly the right image can be a hassel (at least for my ancient ReplayTV box).

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