Add a Second Drive to Original TiVo drive using BlessTiVo

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This page describes how to add a second hard drive to your existing, unmodified single-drive TiVo using BlessTiVo. A "blessed" drive can only be added to an original TiVo drive that has never been expanded or restored from backup. If your TiVo drive has been expanded or restored from backup, see instructions for using MFSTools because BlessTiVo will not be able to add a second drive to these types of primary drives.

The advantage of BlessTiVo versus MFSTools is that the original TiVo drive does not have to be removed from the TiVo and installed in a PC. BlessTiVo will format a blank hard drive so that it can be installed in and automatically married with a single drive (original) TiVo drive. The shortcomings of BlessTiVo is that it only works with single-drive TiVos that are not restored from a backup and have never been expanded. MFSTools can be used to make a backup of the original TiVo drive image in conjunction with BlessTiVo; BlessTiVo does not have any backup capability built-in.

Applies To

  • All Series 1 TiVos
  • All Series 2 TiVos

Previous Steps that Must Be Completed

  • Create TiVo Linux Boot CD that contains BlessTiVo
  • Acquire a Drive Bracket, IDE cable, and power cable splitter (only if you are adding an additional drive to a Series 2 TiVo)
  • Remove Drives from TiVo (only if you want to make a backup first - recommended)
  • Install original TiVo drive and FAT32 drives in your PC (only if you want to make a backup first - recommended)
  • Install the drive that will be Blessed (added to your TiVo) into the PC

Getting Ready to Boot to the Linux Boot CD

  • Make sure your main Windows drive is disconnected from your computer (see warnings elsewhere on this site)
  • Place the Linux Boot CD in the CD Drive
  • Turn on the computer
  • Check to make sure all of the drives show-up on the initial boot screen
    • Hit the key required to enter BIOS setup to see more information (usually Del, F1, or F10; it will say on the screen)
    • If you see a logo during boot and there are no details, either hit the required key to enter setup or try hitting ESC.
    • If this does not work, you can check drive connections after the computer boots to the Linux CD (instructions below)
  • The computer should boot to the Linux CD
    • If it does not boot to the Linux CD, you will need to enter the BIOS setup screen and change the boot device priority. The BIOS setup screen is the screen that first displays when your computer boots.
    • Find the "Boot Device Priority" setting; move the CD-ROM device to the top of the list.

Using the Linux Boot CD

After your PC has booted to the Linux boot CD, you are ready to begin the backup and Blessing process. Check that the drives were detected properly by hitting Shift+Page Up about 6 times. You will see info for hda, hdb, etc. If everything looks OK and all of the drives are showing up as expected, hit the Enter key at the boot: prompt. You are now ready to run one of the procedures listed below.

Create a Backup image to a FAT32 drive (does not keep recordings)

Note: this step is not required when adding a new drive with BlessTiVo but is recommended. One of the advantages to using BlessTiVo is that the original drive does not have to be removed from the TiVo. However, if something goes wrong when the new drive is added, it's nice to have a backup image of the TiVo installation.

Mount the FAT / FAT32 drive that will hold the backup. This command allows Linux to read from and write to the FAT/FAT32 hard drive on which the backup will be stored:

mkdir /mnt/dos
mount /dev/hdc1 /mnt/dos

This assumes that your FAT or FAT32 drive is installed as /dev/hdc (Secondary Master) and the partition 1 on that drive (/dev/hdc1) is the FAT or FAT32 partition.

Now that the drive is mounted, perform the backup from the TiVo drive to the FAT/FAT32 drive:

mfsbackup  -f 9999  -6so  /mnt/dos/tivo.bak  /dev/hda

The backup images will be require about 1.5GB of free space.

Once this command is complete, you are finished with the backup. You can now unmount the DOS drive:

umount -f -a -r

It's probably a good idea to shutdown your PC and remove the DOS and original TiVo drives so that you don't accidentally run the Bless command on them. If you do this, reboot the PC as described above and then skip to the section below describing how to run BlessTiVo.

For info on restoring a backup image using MFSTools, see Backup, Upgrade, Add, or Replace TiVo drive using MFSTools

Adding a second drive to a TiVo that has an original drive

This procedure is different from other drive upgrade procedures (that use MFSTools) because it does not require the original TiVo drive to be removed from the TiVo. This procedure works only on TiVos that have never been expanded. If the capacity of your TiVo has ever been increased, this procedure will not work. Run the following command on the hard drive that will be added to your TiVo. Note that everything on that drive will be erased, so don't run this command on the wrong drive!

BlessTiVo /dev/hdd
  • The drive is now "blessed" and ready to be installed in the TiVo
  • Shut down your PC (see info at the bottom)
  • Make sure the jumper is set to Slave on the new drive
  • Install the new drive in your TiVo (using new brackets if necessary - Series 2 only).
  • Boot the TiVo and go to the System Info screen. The two drives will be "married" together and the new increased capacity should now be available.

Shut down the PC

Type the following command to unmount all drives.

umount -f -a -r

Then press CTRL+ALT+DEL to reboot the PC. Turn off the computer as soon as the PC is finished shutting down and starts to reboot.