Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Upgrading the TiVO series 3 Hard drive

This article has been updated to reflect changes in the Tivo Product range (In Australia) 

Tivo in Australia have a great product with the (Australian) TiVO.

This story was originally about upgrading the 160GB version of TiVO to 1TB. If you have an older model with a small hard drive, then this is the article you want.

As of now (sep 2012) , there are 2 versions available, the TiVO XL ($699) with 1Terrabyte Hard Drive, and the TiVO 320 ($499). Truth is 1TB is enough to get alot done, but you could want more.. in my opinion, 320GB is not enough, depending on how much stuff you want to keep on it.

The TiVO software is streets ahead of any other media centre software, the ease of use and extra features are way ahead of the nearest competitor.

The free to air reception is among the best out of the units (around 10) I have tested.

The picture looks great, and it is able to deal different resolutions and simultaneous outputs with ease. One caveat, it will only go as high as 1080i, but I never had a problem with that, even on the big projector.

It runs more or less immediately out of the box, it updates itself, no viruses, no mucking around with drivers or firmware.

Best of all, once you have bought it, it has free support forever, ie no monthly fees.
Long story short, for around $700, it kicks the competitions arse (In my humble opinion).

There is no way to legitimately upgrade the Hard Drive in the TiVO, There used to be an external expansion available, but that is no longer on sale

Otherwise read on...
Don't do this at all.
If you do it, you could wreck your TiVO, destroy the PC you are preparing the drive on, and wreck the new Hard drive.
Knowing the way the the crazy laws are going around these days, its probably illegal somewhere (or will be), and worst of all, if you screw it up, you will be the laughing stock of other techos, because it's not really that hard.
I totally disown any responsibility for whatever the heck you may do your TiVO after reading this, and I seriously do not care if you do or don't lose all your recorded episodes of whatever the hell you watch.

What you will need:
A TiVO series 3

A New (big) 3.5" Sata 2 Hard drive.

Like all Media Centres, I recommend the WD Greenpower range.
They rotate at a slower 5400rpm instead of standard 7200 rpm 3.5" Hard Drives, although you, (and more importantly the TiVO) won't notice, because they rotate slower, they run cooler and quieter, and have a longer life span. They actually run faster than older 160 or 320GB drives because of increased data density on the platters.
you can pick up a 2TB model for around $105, and a 3TB one for $155

A PC running windows with a spare SATA port and enough free space to (at least temporarily) copy all your existing data to. (Assuming you dont want to lose your existing data)

Rather than make an inferior version of the step by step instructions, I suggest you visit

And follow the instructions there...

In a nutshell you will;
 - Install mfslive on your PC
 - Remove the original drive from the tivo and connect it to a SATA port on your PC
 - From the PC use the "Backup Tivo Drive option to take a backup/image of the original Tivo Disk
 - Shutdown the Computer, remove the original TiVo drive and connect the new one.
 - Start up the computer.. DO NOT attempt to format or partition the new drive, mfslive will take care of all that)
 - Use "Restore Tivo Drive" and point to the image you took of the original.
 - winfs will notice any changes in the size to the new disk, and will update the image to take care of that (it may ask you to confirm).
 - when that is successful, shutdown the computer, plug the new drive into the Tivo, and you are good to go.

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