Installing TiVo hard drives into your PC

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When you install a TiVo hard drive in a computer, it is necessary to set the jumpers correctly and connect the drive to the proper IDE channel. Some connection options can cause issues when installed in some computers. This connection method is the most robust for eliminating potential problems.

Order of IDE drive connection

IDE is the most common standard for connecting hard drives and CD-ROM drives to a computer or TiVo. All Parallel ATA drives use the IDE standard. IDE allows a maximum of two devices on a single cable. Most computers have two IDE controllers, allowing for a maximum of 4 IDE devices.

The first IDE channel will have earlier drive letters assigned to it (drive C and D under Windows; hda and hdb in Linux). The first IDE channel is also known as the Primary IDE and as IDE 0 (zero).

The second IDE channel will have later drive letters assigned to it (drive E and F under Windows; hdc and hdd in Linux). The second IDE channel is also knows at the Secondary IDE and as IDE 1.

Setting the Jumpers (for Master or Slave or Cable Select)

There are jumper locations on the back of every IDE hard drive, CD-ROM drive, and DVD-ROM drive. These jumpers determine how the drive configures itself when it is connected to computer (or TiVo). If the jumpers are not configured properly, the drive may not be visible to the computer and/or it may conflict with other drives. Here are the basic ways in which a drive can be connected to a computer:

  • Master
  • Slave
  • Master with no Slave
  • Cable Select

The combination of the IDE channel and the jumper setting will result in the following drive assignemnts:

  • Primary IDE (IDE 0) + Master gives (hda in Linux)
  • Primary IDE (IDE 0) + Slave gives (hdb in Linux)
  • Secondary IDE (IDE 1) + Master gives (hdc in Linux)
  • Secondary IDE (IDE 1) + Slave gives (hdd in Linux)

Connecting TiVo Drives to a PC

  • Disconnect the Power and the IDE cable from the Windows hard drive in your computer.
  • Warning: If your computer boots to Windows with a TiVo drive attached, Windows will write to the drive and destroy the boot information, which will keep the drive from booting when installed back into a TiVo.
  • Locate the Primary IDE connector on the computer motherbaord
  • Connect the Main TiVo hard drive to the


  • PC Primary IDE Main: TiVo Main Drive - TiVo Drive A
  • PC Primary IDE Slave: CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Drive
  • PC Secondary IDE Main: Backup Drive (FAT or FAT32 formatted drive for saving/restoring TiVo backup files; or original TiVo drive if you are transferring everything including recordings to a new drive)
  • PC Secondary IDE Slave: TiVo Secondary Drive - TiVo Drive B (only if you have or are going to have a 2-Drive TiVo)
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