I’ll start things off with a “it now works,” but getting there was a might big pain in the arse.

On Tuesday I took my TiVo apart to swap drives.

Of course nothing goes as planned.

I started the copy of the old, semi-functional 750GB drive to the new 2TB drive. I hit the “go” button right around noon that day.

Both drives were hooked up with USB adapters to my iMac running Win7 in an VM. It was kind of kludgey but it worked. It started off with a healthy 10-12MB/s.

When I came home after work it was somewhere around 250GB through the drive — but it started to slow down.

After dinner it dripped to around .25MB/s. (!)

Ok. Time to move to plan B. Let’s just pull the OS off the 750MB drive and call it a night.

I was able to do the copy of the OS partitions and ditch the data in just a few minutes. Great, let’s slap the bad boy into to TiVo and boot ‘er up.

Booting was uneventful. It came right up. Around 60s after it came up it restarted — but hung. A power cycle restarted the boot process but quickly hung in the green screen of doom. :-(

Let’s try that again — the second time played out exactly like the first.

I read that sometimes the head parking of the drive can cause problems. WDIdle3 to the rescue.

Except it needs to be run from DOS — native, not in a VM.

Shit.

Thankfully I have a few old PCs hanging around. The first one had some janky SATA port that needed special drivers (i.e. it wouldn’t work with the stupid DOS-only program). Of course I couldn’t find my SATA PCI board. Another PC came to be the savior of the situation. I was able to boot off a burnt CD and run the program.

Lather, rinse repeat.

Dead.

Still.

One good thing about voiding the warrantee of the TiVo early on is that I still had the original drive that it came with sitting on my desk. Let’s copy the OS off the original drive.

This time it booted just fine.

The problem is that it was running a 4-year-old version of the TiVo software.

After two hours of futzing with it things were finally up to date. (I’m sure the TiVo mothership had a WTF moment as the old software called it up.)

Of course the old software didn’t know about the Cablecard that was installed since it had been paired with the single-stream cards that Time Warner originally put in there. The new multi-stream wasn’t paired correctly so I couldn’t get any of the digital channels.

At 4:30 AM I called it a night.

In the morning I game Time Warner a call. I could have called the CableCard support number directly but I didn’t feel like getting bitched out by the techs there since I’m not an installer. I called up the normal support but that did no good — of course I knew they couldn’t because they didn’t ask for the CableCard ID and Host ID. Sigh. But they could roll a truck out to me that day.

If I couldn’t get a tech in that day or the next I would have taken my lumps and called the internal support number myself.

The tech came and worked on things. Techs like to swap things. He installed a different CableCard even though the other one was working just fine.

Eventually he called the dedicated support number and within 2 minutes things were working.

Sigh. If I called (or they let me call) they wouldn’t have had to roll a truck.

Oh well.

In the end though everything seems to be working splendidly.

It took a bunch of frustration, but in the end it was worth it… I have a properly working TiVo and have it not reboot randomly and no pixillation. What I’m going to do in the next couple of days is pull the drive again and make a backup copy of the current drive that’s already paired with the CableCard so if it ever decides to break again I’ll be able to restore a good and, just as important, current drive.