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How do I repurpose the HD DVR hard drive into a PC?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   jeffTHX

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:01 PM

Here's a slightly different question related to a DirecTV HD-DVR:

I have an old HD-DVR (HR20) that was swapped out by DirecTV last year, and they never asked for it back (it had reception issues--not hard drive issues). I'm rehabbing an old PC for my kids, and I'd like to take the 320GB hard drive out of the DVR (which I've already removed) and use it in the PC (which currently only has an 80GB drive). At the same time, I'm installing Windows7 with a clean install to start from scratch. Everything was fine until I began the Windows7 installation. I got a message saying that the disk capacity was 0MB, with 0MB available space (there are no recordings on the disc, as I used an external drive exclusively for recording shows).

I want to format this disc, but I don't know how to do so. I still have the original hard drive from the old PC. Is there a way to format this new hard drive if I put the old WindowsXP drive back in temporarily? Is it even possible to use the drive out of a DVR as a PC drive, or is it locked down somehow to prevent it from being used in this way?

I'm clearly not an expert in this area, but I'm comfortable enough taking the computer apart, putting it back together, and I can follow directions if someone can give me an idea of what I need to do.

Thanks in advance for your help,
jj
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#2 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:32 PM

Now you'll be hit with DTV NRF explaining posts ! Hide. :)

[Or use Search for "format" or "reformat" keywords]

#3 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:35 PM

During Windows Setup (booting from the DVD), where you select which drive to install Windows on, there are also options to PARTITION the hard drive.

Currently, your hard drive has Linux partitions on it, which means it isn't empty, but also isn't a format that Windows can use. So, you'll need to delete the existing partitions and create one or more NTFS partitions for Windows to use.

NOTE: I recommend partitioning the drive, then exiting the setup and rebooting, and NOT proceeding directly into the install process. If you don't do this, you may have problems with the drive letters being out of order. After you reboot, you can continue the setup.

#4 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:39 PM

He can have other problem with Power In Standby Mode.

jeffTHX,
Is that disk discovered by BIOS ? What model ID it's shows ?

#5 OFFLINE   corpx

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:40 PM

Yea, as the above post said, delete all existing partitions, repartition it and then reformat it, and proceed with windows install.

I've read here before about DirecTV asking for these receivers later on (maybe when you eventually cancel). I have no personal experience, but you might want to check up on that.
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#6 OFFLINE   jeffTHX

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 06:57 PM

Unfortunately, there are no available options that I see to do anything on that hard drive during the Windows7 setup. Could I repartition it and then format it by putting the old WinXP hard drive back in and treating the 320gb drive as a secondary/slave drive? I'm going to go try a couple of other things and see what other responses I get (I appreciate the feedback so far).

What's the worst that could happen :lol:

jj
Check out the pictures of my home theater by clicking here

#7 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 08:00 PM

jeffTHX,
Is that disk discovered by BIOS ? What model ID it's shows ?

#8 OFFLINE   jeffTHX

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 08:04 PM

I will check and let you know. I'm not near that PC right now, but I'll check it later.

Thanks,
Jeff
Check out the pictures of my home theater by clicking here

#9 OFFLINE   andy A

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:53 AM

Use a GParted bootable disc to partition disk, Then go with the install.

#10 OFFLINE   Throckmorton

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 05:25 AM

From within XP:

Right-Click on "My Computer"
Select "Manage"
Select "Disk Management"
Select "Disk 1" (Disk 0 will be the 80GB drive that you booted from)
Right-Click on the partition and select Delete Partition...
Confirm the deletion

That's it. There is no need to repartition at this point because Windows 7 will do it during the install.
HR34-700, HR21-200 + AM-21, HR21-100, HR20-700
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Sony 60A3000 60" XSBR 1080P & Sony 40A4100 40" LCD 1080P
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#11 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 06:52 AM

Don't some people have issues with the harddrive not even being seen by Windows to delete the partitions? Something about them not spinning up due to how the drives are configured... I forget the specific details...

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#12 OFFLINE   Throckmorton

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 08:42 AM

Yeah, I think you're right. I didn't address that because I'm not familier with the issue. Hopefully it's just a matter of getting rid of the old partition.

Of course, if Windows 7 sees a drive with 0 free space then it must be seeing the drive. It just doesn't know what to do with it. If the drive wasn't spinning up at all you would see nothing.
HR34-700, HR21-200 + AM-21, HR21-100, HR20-700
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Sony 60A3000 60" XSBR 1080P & Sony 40A4100 40" LCD 1080P
Yamaha RX-V2700

#13 OFFLINE   TBlazer07

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:44 AM

Yeah, I think you're right. I didn't address that because I'm not familier with the issue. Hopefully it's just a matter of getting rid of the old partition.

Of course, if Windows 7 sees a drive with 0 free space then it must be seeing the drive. It just doesn't know what to do with it. If the drive wasn't spinning up at all you would see nothing.


I have found Windows won't always delete the partition from a Linux drive for some reason so I use windows DISKPART utility (access it from command line).

Go to command a prompt. You can also access a command prompt from the Windows 7 DVD that you are using to setup the new computer. Once Windows 7 Setup is loaded, press Shift + F10 keys at the first setup screen (which allows selection of language, keyboard and locale). A Command Prompt window will be opened.

Type in DISKPART
Type LIST DISK <enter> and identify the disk you want to "clean" and note the "DISK #"
(let's assume it's DISK 6 but it could be anything)

Type SELECT DISK 6 <enter>
Type CLEAN <enter>
Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <enter>
Type SELECT PARTITION 1 <enter>
Type ACTIVE <enter>
Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK <enter>
Type EXIT <enter>


This has worked for me when Windows disk management has failed to remove a partition from a "non-Windows" hard-drive.

#14 OFFLINE   Throckmorton

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:49 AM

Type in DISKPART
Type LIST DISK <enter> and identify the disk you want to "clean" and note the "DISK #"
(let's assume it's DISK 6 but it could be anything)

Type SELECT DISK 6 <enter>
Type CLEAN <enter>
Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <enter>
Type SELECT PARTITION 1 <enter>
Type ACTIVE <enter>
Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK <enter>
Type EXIT <enter>


That's a good suggestion too.

You could do this from within XP as well. In which case I would stop after CLEAN. W7 can do the rest automatically once the disk is blank.
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Sony 60A3000 60" XSBR 1080P & Sony 40A4100 40" LCD 1080P
Yamaha RX-V2700

#15 OFFLINE   ccr1958

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:53 AM

before i would get too deep into this 320GB hard drive issue i would
try to install win 7 on the 80GB HDD 1st just to see if i was going to have
any driver issues with other hardware.....beens it is an "old" computer

#16 OFFLINE   jeffTHX

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:36 AM

Here's what I did:

The old computer had an 80gb main drive, and a 160gb slave drive in it. I was hoping to replace both with the 320gb DVR drive. I couldn't get the computer to recognize the DVR drive at all, so I gave up. Instead, I installed Win7 on the 160gb drive (clean install / formatted). For two elementary-age kids, that should be plenty of space (their outgoing computer only had an 80gb drive anyway). If they need more space, I have an old external drive they can attach and use.

While I would have liked to go deeper into the drive issue to see if I could make it work, I'm giving up on it for now, as I've found the project to be much more of a time-suck than I expected. If I get ambitious this weekend, I'll hook it up and see if I can get that drive formatted using some of what I've learned in this thread.

I appreciate the attempts to help me out so far. The mechanics of how drives operate and work is a new area for me. While I understand how to physically add/remove components from a computer, I get hung up when things aren't as easy as "plug and play" after the fact.

jj
Check out the pictures of my home theater by clicking here

#17 ONLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:50 AM

If the PC will "see" the drive, then I use the disk utilities from the makers website. You have either a WD or Seagate drive and both offer them on their site. Seagate calls them Seatools.
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#18 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:51 AM

Jeff, read that thread starting from post#89 http://www.dbstalk.c...02&postcount=89

#19 OFFLINE   TBlazer07

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:56 AM

That's a good suggestion too.

You could do this from within XP as well. In which case I would stop after CLEAN. W7 can do the rest automatically once the disk is blank.


Of course that will work but by doing it this way you will avoid the annoying and unnecessary hidden 100MB boot partition Win7 automatically creates.

#20 OFFLINE   Throckmorton

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:26 AM

Of course that will work but by doing it this way you will avoid the annoying and unnecessary hidden 100MB boot partition Win7 automatically creates.

Oh really? I didn't know that. That's a very useful bit of information for me.

Thanks!
HR34-700, HR21-200 + AM-21, HR21-100, HR20-700
SlimLine 5 Dish w/SWM-16
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#21 OFFLINE   mx6bfast

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

I just recently left D* due to the setup of the house I moved in where I need wireless receivers, and I had 2 HR20's that they didn't want back. I owned one of them where I put a 1.5 tb hard drive in and still had the original hard drive saved, so I have 2 300 gb hard drives I want to put as extras in 2 Win 7 pc's. I'm keeping the 1.5 tb in the original HR20 just in case we do end up going back to D*, there are years of movies saved up on it. Just need their wireless receivers to hit the market first.

I used DBAN to wipe the hard drive clean and once that was complete I put the hard drive in first an XP box. A drive letter wasn't assigned but when I went into BIOS and used the Seagate software the hard drive was there. I probably could've skipped the DBAN step as I have to do the below anyways on the 2nd hard drive.

Next I tried a 7 pc and the same thing occurred, only difference is 7 installed the driver for the hard drive and said it was ready to use. It still wasn't showing up in My Computer so I used Drive Cleanser in the Seagate app and after it was done I rebooted, same scenario, no drive letter assigned. I finally found this website that showed me how to give the hard drive a drive letter. http://en.kioskea.ne...-not-recognized Once I did that, the drive is showing up in My Computer, rebooted, still showing up, just empty from no files being on it yet. I transferred files over to the hard drive, opened them up, rebooted, still there.

The wiping process took a few hours to complete. Other than that the drives are good to go.
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#22 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:43 AM

Cleaning MBR by Windows Drive Manager will require a minute, then create a partition, format it - done.
You got it hard and long way [out of normal track].

#23 OFFLINE   mx6bfast

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:52 AM

Cleaning MBR by Windows Drive Manager will require a minute, then create a partition, format it - done.
You got it hard and long way [out of normal track].

Drive Manager didn't give me that option until I cleaned it using the Seagate application.
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#24 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

Can't buy the method ...

I did handle the DVR's drives from different model/makers for many years ... Perhaps you did miss a step of disabling power-in-standby mode.

#25 OFFLINE   mx6bfast

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:49 AM

Can't buy the method ...

I did handle the DVR's drives from different model/makers for many years ... Perhaps you did miss a step of disabling power-in-standby mode.

There might be faster ways to do it, but no one in this thread, even the op, could get it to work for them. I was only sharing how I was able to. All I know is the process worked on 2 hard drives for me. I now have 2 extra 300 gb drives I can use.
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