Managed to fix my ailing TIVO with my Mac

My TIVO Premiere XL had started having issues, it was pixelating and randomly pausing, which are signs that the hard drive is failing. My TIVO is way out of warranty, and last time I called TIVO for this issue with my previous Series 3 TIVO, they told me to buy a new one. Well right now we can't afford a new TIVO, and especially not a TIVO and moving over my lifetime service (which they don't offer on their site, but I was certainly going to call them and get it), plus since I have the XL if I got a new TIVO I would really like a PRO model, and there is no Pro Model of the TIVO Bolt, only of the previous generation ROMIO.

So I decided to try and repair my TIVO by replacing the drive, and doing it with a bigger capacity. I did this with the help of two sites, Ross Walker's excellent guide to Upgrading or Rescuing a TIVO, and the Tivo Community forum thread on the awesome JMFS Live CD that Walker tells you to use.

Now it was not without issues, firstly because I have a Mac, and it would not boot off the JMFS Live CD, and to get around this I used Parallels to run the JMFS Live CD in emultation, though this meant I had to connect the drives externally so I could get them to mount in Parallels (i have a Sonnet SATA card, but the drives show up as internals so I couldn't get them to mount). At first I tried to use 2 external drive housings, that the drives just plug into, but one was USB 3 (and my USB 3 card no longer works with OS X EL Captian) so it was really slow and kept failing after 24 hours.

After this I tried using the Ubuntu method to just do the copy, but couldn't get that to work as the drives would not show up in it in parallels, so I gave up and went back to the JMFS live CD in Parallels.

So I put one drive in an OWC housing and tried that, but still I got failures. So I put both drives in OWC housings, with a lot of space around them and pointed a Vornado at them to cool them down. On my fifth try it succeeded.

This is after it succeeded and trying to fix failed blocks, which it changed from 469K to only 29K, nice job JMFS!

This it almost completed showing the higher errors.

And with JMFS, after the copy I was able to expand, and supersize the drive. The commands to activate the Accoustic and Sound management (got errors) but it is a brand new drive, and a 3TB WD Green Drive, so I am not worried.

I put the new drive in and started my TIVO and it did 2 restarts with noise, and then did it's full startup and all my shows and record settings made it over, and it works great!

Amazing how painful it was having no TV for a week, but at least it is up and working now, and now I have higher capacity! WOOHOO!

Thanks for the help people on the boards.

Comments (1)
See Older Posts...
Jonah Lee .com