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Thread: Direct extraction from a tivo drive in a pc (not networked)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    extraction without tivonet

    i need to extract some programs off my tivo because its running out of room (only 14hr) but i dont have tivonet. is there a utility that i can use to extract if i just rip out the hard drive and
    attach it to my windows box? i dont see anything like that in the howtos. everything talks about having a network connection to the tivo. i also have a linux server but id prefer to do it on my windows box cause thats where my software is.


    EDIT: - threads consolodated and answers added to this post

    Alphawolf did a basic howto & posted it in this thread a while back

    here's the 386-binaries to extract video fsids when you boot the pc from a linux utility cd or floppy (thanks to lmurray for hosting these on his site.) I think these have the 2.x schema so mfs_streams (used for listing recordings) won't work on a 3.x drive

    if you install mfs_ftp in the tivo before moving the drive to the pc, it caches the xml & fsid numbers needed for extraction to /var/mfs_ftp/cache/ which makes the whole process much easier once the drive is in the pc
    Last edited by rc3105; 09-15-2003 at 02:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    I had a similar problem just recently. No matter what I did the tivo would not boot up completely (I could get a bash prompt).

    Anyway it's not too hard, if you know your way around linux. Get vplay (make sure you have the latest source).

    edit mfs_streams.c
    change both instances of "/Recording/NowShowing" to "/Recording/NowShowingByClassic"

    to compile (on a pc running linux):
    make proto
    make i386

    I then copied the i386 folder to a pc running windows, say c:\i386.

    I attach my tivo drives to my pc thus:

    primary tivo -> primary slave
    secondary tivo -> secondary slave

    I use Kazymyr's Bootable Utility CD. Got it here: and burn it to a cd.

    I boot up off the cd and then mount the partition (on the primary master) that contains the i386 folder thus:

    mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/c

    then you can cd into /mnt/c/i386 and run the programs therein.
    before you do so however you need to have a correct MFS_DEVLIST (which is the tricky part):

    export MFS_DEVLIST="/dev/hdb10 /dev/hdb11 etc... /dev/hdd2 ..."

    to find the correct devices to add to the above statement you need to type this on the command line:

    export MFS_DEVLIST="/dev/hdb /dev/hdd"

    and then run:

    it will warn you about some errors or somesuch but in it you will find the needed /dev/hd... strings.

    then you can create the correct MFS_DEVLIST statement. For example mine reads:

    export MFS_DEV="/dev/hdb10 /dev/hdb11 /dev/hdb12 /dev/hdb13 /dev/hdd2 /dev/hdd3"

    type it on the command line.

    Then you type:


    which will return a list of the file parts (fsids) for each show.

    actually it only returns the first part's fsid. So what I do is:
    ./mfs_ls "/Recording/NowShowingByTitle"
    which returns a object fsids for each recording, then I do:
    ./mfs_dumpobj <fsid of the show I want to extract>
    which returns a bunch of stuff. I then make note of the fsid's for each RecordingPart.
    end edit...

    Then you can extract the ty (to a directory on your c drive, eg, ty_files).

    ./mfs_export <fsid> /mnt/c/ty_files/recording_partX.ty

    I know this seems convoluted but I am no expert. However, it works for me. YMMV.

    Last edited by zobetron; 03-05-2003 at 12:42 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Philips unscrambled

    I have the same issue but with a Philips unit that has the kernel patch for extracting. The unit was used for video extraction and now it is dead, the drives appear good and are mountable. I just have not been able to find a step by stop to do what Alphawolf seems to have been doing before (place drive in PC, pull video, put drive back in tivo).

    Please help me/us if you can.

    Thanks in advance

    was running a unscrambled Philips DTivo Xtreme 2.5 with net card....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Re: Extracting from a dead Tivo?

    Originally posted by bhuddleston
    I have a Sony Tivo which I've added a second drive to...really loved it. -Brian
    Not an expert, but since they haven't jumped in, I take a stab.

    Assuming the problem is not the harddrives. (big assumption) Is your Sony a Standalone (aka SA) or a DirectTV-Tivo Combo (aka DTivo)? If it's a Combo then you must have already installed noscramble.o. Extraction/processing of scrambled DTivo streams is not possible (at this time?). I suspect that noscramble.o was NOT installed.

    If it's a standalone "SA" then take a look here for some info.

    <edit>dead link removed - the extract process is identical</edit>

    Good luck and hope it helps.

    EDIT: Do you know anyone with the same type of machine that would let you insert you HD so you could at least "Save to VCR"?
    Last edited by rc3105; 09-09-2003 at 06:38 AM.

    SAT-T60 Ver 3.5

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Sonoran Desert
    Well, basicaly it works like this, you take the hard drive out of your tivo, get ahold of (or compile via tridges sources) an i386 version of the vplay libraries. You need to identify the FSID of the specific showing you want to extract, then use tridges mfs_export on it. You can normaly do this with mfs_stream, but for some reason its broken for newer software revisions. Unless somebody fixes it, you aren't going to be able to identify the FSID of the shows you want to extract.
    Before PMing me: Iím not your personal tech support. If you have a question, ask in public so I don't have to repeat if somebody else asks. If you want images or slices, use emule. I will ignore all support PMs.

    Sponsor a vegetarian! I have taken the pledge, how about you?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    help: extract with drives mounted to pc?

    Ok, I had a 100Gig drive die on me. Well, mostly die. Tivo went into a neverending reboot cycle. Drive diagnostics shows it needs replaced. However, I can still mount to it, and see partitions with dylan's boot disk.
    I don't want or need to recover all the data, just 5 or 6 key episodes.
    It was a two drive tivo, with 100gig on A, with a 60 gig on B. I still have the B drive untouched (presumably ok). I have since restored to prior image, onto a new single A drive.
    Is there some threads, or posts that might give me enough info to track down the files on the mfs partitions, and get them out as ty's?
    I have resolved to myself that they are lost, but I just have to try before I destroy data on the B drive.

    Thanks in advance.
    120Gig/ S1 SA/ TurboNet/ Pioneer 105/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    here, there, everywhere
    AlphaWolf's info on this type of extraction can be found here:

    Then there's zobetron info which is here:

    I've cached both of these articles on my website here:

    hope this helps,
    SA-2000 Sony 80 Hours w/ tivonet
    SA-2000 Sony 30 Hours w/ turbonet
    SD-H400 Toshiba 80 Hours

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Riley, and Lmurray:
    Thanks for the info.
    I have not attempted ms_ftp, as I have allready got my tivo up and running. Also, I am pretty sure it is not getting very far.

    I have looked at the other methods, by compiling mfs_ ... tools. After fighting some lib issues, I got it too work. But, I get a similar error as to when I tried to use mfstools 2.0 to back up the drive.
    Found 4 MFS partitions
    Not a TiVo super block! (magic=0xefbeadde)

    Do I have any other options? Any ideas on how to trick it into accepting the partitions?

    I may go dig through the code, and try some dangerous stuff. See if I can bypass the partition checking.

    120Gig/ S1 SA/ TurboNet/ Pioneer 105/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Extracting files locally.

    OK... I've had my Tivo for several years now, and it has accrued quite a bit of stuff on it I would like to preserve. I don't have a TivoNet card ($70 seems expensive for a network card.... though I might get one eventually), but I would like to just take the HDs (it is a Philips HDR612 dual drive 60 hour Series one) out and put them into my Linux PC and just extract locally to another HD. I believe that if I set MFS_DEVLIST to the Tivo drives, then the mfs tools will work on them. Assuming I'm right so far, I have to get the FSIDs for the pieces. Everything I've read explains how to do this with TivoWeb... I don't know how to do this without it. Also, I'm pretty confused about the Tystream stuff.... If I've understood right, the files I get from mfs_export will be 'wrapped' as a tystream, and I have to use tyconvert to get them to a mpeg file. OK. So I guess my questions are, am I right so far and how do I get the FSIDs without TivoWeb. I apologize if the answer is already on this forum (I'm sure it is somewhere), but searches have been fruitless, and I already have 23 internet explorer windows open right now . Thank you.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    OK. Well, been up all night. But so far I've made a backup image from my drives. Then I started playing around with the partitions. I have to be careful, as I really don't want anything to happen to those recordings.... Anyway, I'm becoming acquainted with the mfs but as I feared, I can't get the FSIDs. Been using mfs_export to grab some of the files in the /Recording folder thinking the FSIDs were in there. I gather that the FSIDs given by mfs_ls and inside the files dumped by mfs_export are simply the FSIDs of the DB for that recording, not the recording itself.... Anyway, this was just an update so you know I'm still reading and trying on my own.... Don't want to be a load .


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Someones got Turbonet cards for $59 shipped in the for sale forum (in case that sounds a bit better). Extraction and Tivoweb alone make it well worth the $$$.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Yeah, that does sound a little better. I'm probably going to do that as soon as I get a little extra money. But for the time being I'm going to continue what I've started here (as soon as my girlfriend is done watching Sex and the City ). The last problem I was having was getting the FSIDs. I had read the attachment in that sticky before, but was getting tripped up when it said to run ShowList.tcl on your Tivo.... Seems odd since the post was for those without a TivoNet or serial connection. Using mfs_dumpobj seems to be what I need to do, but it keeps coming up with an error (ERROR: could not find FSID=0 or something like that...) I get the FSID for the DB by using mfs_ls and looking in the Recording/NowShowingByTitle or NowShowingByClassic, but it doesn't seem to matter what FSID I give mfs_dumpobj. If I make up a fake FSID, it gives some other error, so I guess the problem is with mfs_dumpobj. I'm going to download the version from the CVS, compile it, and give it a whirl. The binary I was running was precompiled and was possibly an old version or something. Anyway, I'll keep trying. And thanks for the information.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    Extracting and Inserting Shows

    My TiVo is hosed and I want to rebuild the system from a backup. However, I want to save all of the recordings. Is there a way to extract the recordings without having the TiVo running (like hooked up to a PC)? Then after I restore my backup, how do I put the recordings back?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pasadena, CA
    If you can't access the MFS then I don't see how you would be able to decode/extract anything useful... Any super hackers know the answer to this question?

    SVR-2000 (30 hour + Maxtor 80 gig) w/TurboNet

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    The MFS partition may well be screwed up to the point where the show directory is unusable, but there also might be a chance it's just a configuration issue. The TiVo just reboots over and over and then eventually locks up. It all started when it froze during the weekend and was stuck on a picture of live TV. I rebooted it and then it went through the GSOD rebuild. After that it worked for a few hours and then locked up, this time never to reboot again.

    It sounds like the TiVo hardware itself may be bad, so that's why I want to use a PC to extract the data at least. I have another unit but it's hard at work recording stuff. I just ordered DirecTV and a new DirecTiVo, so I'll be able to screw with the good one and the broken one as much as I want when it's installed. I just need guidance on what to do.

    Thank you in advance!

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