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TiVo Hard Drive Upgrade Guide
A picture illustrated installation guide for swapping out the hard drive in your TiVo brand digital video recorder.

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The TiVo Box

Model # TCD540040

DVR Inputs & Outputs

The base model TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) only holds 40 hours of low quality TV due to it's small 40GB (gigabyte) hard drive.

This picture illustrated install guide will show you how to swap out the hard drive and put in a larger one to create a super TiVo with many more hours of television recording time.

Above you'll see my new 40 hour TiVo, model # TCD540040, which cost me $49.95 after a $150.00 mail in rebate. It took about 6 weeks for me to receive the rebate check.

I wanted to store movies on my TiVo so that tiny 40 gig drive was going to have to go. I went online and bought a cheap OEM white box 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax hard drive.


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To remove the TiVo's case cover you'll need a small Torx screwdriver or socket.

There are 5 Torx screws that hold the case on. The hardest part of this hard drive upgrade was popping off the TiVo's case.

I had to pull back the cover about half an inch, grab both sides of the DVR and pry up the case.

In the process I bent a few of the clips under the front of the case cover, which wasn't a big deal. I just bent them back into place.

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Above you'll see the TiVo case removed, and the electrical components inside are revealed.

The original hard drive in the TCD540040 is a Maxtor Quickview 3.5" ATA 133 8mb cache 40GB.

The motherboard of the DVR had a few computer chips made by Broadcom KFir-II and Etrontech and a standard CR2032 CMOS battery.

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Maxtor QuickView 40GB

Be sure to discharge any static electricity by touching your hands to a metal appliance or the TiVo's case cover before you touch any of the components in the DVR.

First, wiggle the power connector out of the back of the old hard drive (it's the multicolored set of wires).

Then gently wiggle out the 80 pin IDE cable and place it out of the way.

Once that's done, grab the Torx screwdriver or socket that you used to remove the case.

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The TiVo hard drive is held down by two Torx screws that are the same size as the ones that secure the case cover.

These screws are at the front of the unit along the side of the hard drive.

Once you remove those screws, gently slide the hard drive back towards the rear of the TiVo and lift it out.

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To remove the 40GB hard drive from its bracket, you will need a slightly larger Torx screwdriver or socket.

Take note of how the hard drive is positioned in the bracket and remove the 4 screws.

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Maxtor DiamondMax 250GB
As you can imagine, you can't just throw in a new hard drive and expect your TiVo to work.

You have to prepare the drive and load the TiVo software.

I used a CD-Rom product named "Instant Cake" to prepare my new 250GB hard drive.

I had to attach the drive to my computer and run an executable file on the CD.

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LinkSys USB100TX
I reversed all the steps above and inserted my Instant Cake prepared 250GB drive into the TiVo.

There was no way that I was going to hook up my DVR to an old school telephone line, so I bought a Linksys Etherfast 10/100 USB network adapter and plugged it into my high speed internet router.

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283 Hour TiVo!
Once I had the new specially prepared hard drive installed, I plugged in the RCA, power, and IR transmitter wires.

A "Welcome! Powering Up." screen appeared on my TV screen. I navigated the TiVo menu as fast as I could to check the results of my upgrade.

The last two pictures show that I now had up to 283 hours of recording time!

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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