I have an HR20 with a 2TB external hard drive attached. I noticed yesterday that the internal drive seemed to be making ominous clicking noises. I did a controlled power down (reset, wait for blue ring to go off, pull power), waited 45 mins or so and then re-powered. On power-up the DVR gets stuck in a loop of "Welcome to DirecTV"->"Almost there, just a few more seconds"->"Welcome to DirecTV". While it would appear that the internal drive is no longer working additional, specific diagnostic suggestions would be appreciated if you have them.
I really don't care about recovering the contents of the internal drive but I would hate to lose all of the recordings that I have on the external drive. I also make use of the OTA tuner in the HR20. For these reasons I would prefer not to have to call D* for a replacement. If I were to replace the internal drive with a blank one, would the system manage the formatting and such to the point that the box would boot up and the external drive would be accessible? I'm aware of the helpful docs on this site explaining such disk replacement.