Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ressurecting a TiVo

Last month, I upgraded one of my TiVos when the hard drive was failing. During that process, my backup TiVo had a drive failure and died completely. I was finally able to grab a replacement drive to see if I could get it going again. I tried using the upgrade method I used last month, but the old drive was shot. It registered in the BIOS, but any attempt to access data failed.

I searched TiVo's site to see if they had any info on replacing a completely failed drive, and I couldn't find anything. I searched on Google and found a reference to a program called InstantCake. For a $20 download, it said it could take an off-the-shelf drive and after answering a few questions, it would be able to create a new drive for your TiVo. I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the ISO image for ImageCake and burned it to a CD. After configuring my desktop computer with the new drive and setting it to boot from the ImageCake CD, I booted my computer. The ImageCake software started up, asked couple questions, and then kicked off the drive making process. About 1/2 hour later, the process finished successfully.

I removed the drive from the computer and put it back into the TiVo unit. I fired it up, and the TiVo started normally. I got a message about a service update being applied and that it might take up to an hour. I let it sit and when I came back, it was booted up. A message on the screen said it's account wasn't activated. I checked that the TiVo serial number was right, and it was. I logged onto and verified the SN was activated. I did a manual connection to TiVo and it finished and showed "Account in Good Standing" in the system information. I finally restarted the TiVo again. When it was up, it said it was applying a servicie update again so I waited again. This time when it came up, I got a message that the guide info was empty, but no account activation errors. I went through the Guided Setup and when it finished, everything was working fine. The TiVo now has up to 402 hours of recording capacity (up from 80hrs) and it is back in it's home in the back bedroom.

No comments: