Hacking at Home

Well maybe not technically hacking, but nevertheless. Last week for some inexplicable region out Tivo died...or at least became critically ill. It was continuously rebooting and when it did appear to be working the video would pixelate and freeze. On the scale of important things in the house, Tivo is probably up there in the top three for daily living (especially with the kids). So this had to get fixed and fixed fast.

After spelunking the Web for a while I found the Hinsdale How-To which outlines a process for upgrading the Tivo harddrive for something bigger. Not really for me, since the HDD currently appears to be the source of the problem. A little more digging leads me to InstantCake, this looks like my solution, so I spend the $20.

Now, following the instructions to install your new harddrive and configure the CD drive as the primary slave. My shiny new HP desktop uses SATA drives, so I turned to my 12 year old Pentium III desktop (I use it as a print server for an equally old inkjet printer). Of course I have no idea what the jumper settings should be on the CD/DVD drive so I make my best guess. Figure out how to change the BIOS settings to boot from the CD, which took a couple of tries to set the jumpers correctly between the HDD and the CD. Boot from the CD, select advanced mode, specify the correct harddrive (it turns out I didn't have it configured exactly like the instructions recommend), and let it rip. About 15 minutes later, I'm reinstalling into Tivo. Plug it in, reconnect everything, power it up, go through the guided setup again, reboot a couple of times to apply updates downloaded from the Tivo service, and everything is golden!!!

In the process, I ended up almost doubling the size of the Tivo HDD since that is what I had at my disposal. BTW, one false start I had was needing to do a low-level disk format sicne I had previously used this harddrive in a USB enclosure and formatted it with NTFS...this takes forever on a 250 GB harddrive, so plan on going shopping, cutting the grass, painting a room, etc.

But all is well, and I'm inspired to explore additional Tivo "feature enhancements." ;)