There seems to be a lot of upgrade procedures for single drives and dual drive systems. However, I always seem to be updating my RTV with a new OS at least twice a year. Since I have 3 RTVs, that’s a whopping 6 OS reloads a year! (And all my ReplayTVs are on UPSes.)

Here are reasons that I have had to perform a ReplayTV operating system reload:

  1. Your ReplayTV won’t boot
  2. Your ReplayTV hangs (could be intermittent hangs too) usually during boot
  3. Your ReplayTV runs REALLY slow and doesn’t seem to get better over time
  4. Your ReplayTV doesn’t show the correct channels
  5. Your ReplayTV doesn’t download channel guide
  6. Your ReplayTV loses shows unexpectedly
  7. Your ReplayTV hard drive died and has to be replaced
  8. Basically, if you have a problem and can’t figure out the solution, reload the OS

HOWEVER, following these instructions WILL result in a Replay Guide absent of any shows. Most of the time, I have been able to offload shows to DVArchive or another RTV before performing these procedures. Let me repeat, FOLLOWING THESE PROCEDURES WILL CAUSE YOU TO LOSE ALL SHOWS IN THE REPLAY GUIDE.

This procedure can be used on any PC, regardless of what operating system you have installed.

  • Be VERY careful not to touch any of the exposed power supply components.
  • Be sure to observe proper static protection procedures. At minimum you should keep your body connected to the metal chassis of your PC at all times while operating on them. When connecting something up, make sure your body is grounded to the chassis before you make any connections. In other words, connect a ground strap between your body and the computer chassis before you plug in a disk drive. Also, keep your computer plugged in but POWERED OFF; disconnecting the power cord also disconnects your chassis’ ground. Failure to do this will result in static electricity discharge through the disk drive connector, which will significantly shorten its lifetime.
  1. Download the linux-cd-image file and extract the files to your PC’s hard drive
  2. Put a blank floppy disk in your A: drive
  3. From a DOS prompt, run the makeboot.bat script. Answer the prompts and it will write the boot disk image to your blank floppy
  4. Find the proper ReplayTV OS Image for your RTV from ReplayTV Upgrade site
    • Please read over this page carefully as you could damage your RTV by using the wrong operating system ReplayTV Disk Image.
    • Take note of the ReplayTV Image you download as I will refer it later in step 22 as replayXXXos.rtv
  5. (Optional) It is highly recommended that you low-level format and zero-fill your hard drive. The easiest way to do this is by downloading the hard drive manufacturer’s tools disk. The two most popular hard drives are:
  6. Shut down your PC
  7. Stop any recording on your ReplayTV, and turn it off
  8. Wait until you hear the disk spin down (typically about 10 seconds)
  9. Unplug your ReplayTV
  10. Remove the cover from the ReplayTV unit. There are 7 screws to remove from the rear and bottom of the unit.
  11. Remove the hard drive from the ReplayTV. There are 5 screws holding the top cover down. Be very careful, especially when removing the screws near the power supply.
  12. Set the master/slave jumpers properly on your hard drives. Typically you would set your computer’s hard drive to master and the ReplayTV drive to slave.
  13. Connect both hard drives to your PC.
  14. (Optional) If you are going to low-level and zero-fill your hard drive, now is the time to do that by booting from the manufacturer’s tools disk downloaded in step 5 above.
  15. Boot or reboot your PC from the floppy disk created in steps 1-3
  16. At the login: prompt, enter “root” and press . If prompted for a password, just press again.
  17. From the command prompt, enter “RTVPatch” and press . Note that “RTVPatch” is case-sensitive.
  18. At the RTVPatch prompt, hit “i” to display the info about the hard drives connected to your computer.
    • Look at the lines that begin with “/dev/hda”, “/dev/hdb”, “/dev/hdc”, etc. The information following any one of these lines should indicate the size of the hard drive connected. If any of the drive sizes do not look correct (like an 80GB drive showing up as 33GB), then exit from the RTVPatch program, do not attempt the upgrade on that computer, and consult with a knowledgeable source.
  19. Note on paper which device (hda, hdb, hdc, etc.) equates to a “PC Disk,” “May be a PC Disk”, or “ReplayTV Disk”
  20. Exit the RTVPatch program by entering “x”
  21. It is now time to copy the operating system downloaded from step 4 above to your soon-to-be ReplayTV drive
  22. Mount your PC’s C: drive, the place where you stored the replayXXXos.rtv file downloaded in step 4 above. Use the hda/hdb/etc. device which corresponds to “PC Disk” noted in step 19 in this command: “mount /dev/hdx1 /mnt” where x represents a, b, c, etc.
  23. Restore the ReplayTV’s operating system using the appropriate command:
    • RTV20xx or RTV30xx or ShowStopper: “dd if=/mnt/replayXXXos.rtv of=/dev/hdx bs=1M count=310″
RTV4xxx or RTV5xxx: “dd if=/mnt/replayXXXos.rtv of=/dev/hdx bs=1M count=510”
    • Replace a, b, c, etc, in the above command /dev/hdx which corresponds to “ReplayTV Disk” or “May be a PC Disk.” “ReplayTV Disk” will be used if you did not low-level format your RTV drive; “May be a PC Disk” will be used if you did low-level format your drive or have a new drive.
  24. Depending on the speed of your computer, you should get an output similar this in less than 5 minutes:
    • 505+1 records in
    • 505+1 records out
    • #
  25. Unmount your PC’s C: drive: “umount /mnt”
  26. Again, from the command prompt, enter “RTVPatch”
  27. At the RTVPatch prompt, hit “i” to display the info about the hard drives
    • Verify that the device, which you copied the operating system to in step 23, states “ReplayTV Disk (x000 series) , NEEDS TO BE PATCHED”
    • If not, go back to step 5 and definitely low-level format and zero-fillyour hard drive.
  28. Select the ReplayTV drive as the target disk by entering “t” and then selecting the ReplayTV drive’s number
  29. Patch the target drive by entering “p”. You will be asked the following questions.
    • You are about to patch disk TARGET
Compare the disk name and size shown in the prompt. Answer “Yes” only if this describes your new disk drive.
    • Old version asks: Do you want to reset the partition table?
Answer “YES” to this question.
    • Do you want to format the MPEG partition?
Answer appropriately for the type of ReplayTV you have.
    • Do you want to format the MPEG partition?
Answer appropriately for the type of ReplayTV you have.
    • Do you want to reformat the Photo partition?
(Note: this option is only available when patching RTV4xxx or RTV5xxx units)
Answer “Yes” to this question so that the Photo partition is sized and formatted as you selected.
  30. Exit the RTVPatch program by entering “x”
  31. Turn off your computer’s power
  32. Remove the ReplayTV drive from your computer and set thejumper to the “Master” position (Note: some drives, notable Western Digital, have a special “Single” setting for masters without slaves. Check your drive’s documentation for details)
  33. Connect the new drive to your ReplayTV unit.
  34. Screw the unit back together.
  35. Test the system out by plugging in the ReplayTV unit. It should power up, show the “Please wait a few moments” screen for about a minute, and then the screen will go blank and the power light will turn off.
  36. Push the power button on the front of the ReplayTV unit to turn the power back on
  37. You will probably be confronted with a screen saying you must activate your ReplayTV by calling some non-working number; also, pushing any function will probably lead back to this screen; if this occurs, you must force a Net Connect to the ReplayTV backend system across the Internet. Do this by:
    • Entering 243 and then push the Replay Zones button
    • Move down to option #7, Net Connect, and press Select; your ReplayTV will begin talking to the backend system across the Internet
  38. Once this is complete, verify that the proper available space is shown in the ReplayGuide. If not, then you either need to low-level format and zero-fill your hard drive or get help from a knowledgable source.
  39. Otherwise, reconfigure your connection method, zip-code, inputs, etc.
  40. Your ReplayTV should be ready to use
First, I wrote this copying most of the instructions from I don’t know who owns this site so I don’t have copyright permission… yet. To whomever handles the site, please contact me.
Second, I wrote this having access to only the ReplayTV 4000 series. If you try these instructions and they don’t work for your different RTV, please tell me.
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