I got my TiVo today, and I’m struggling a little bit with the upgrade. Nothing that will stop me, just stuff that’s popping up in the way.

First, never have I been happier to receive the worst model of something. (The 14-hour, single-drive TiVo is the easiest to upgrade. There were some winners of the essay contest who received the two-drive, 30-hour model; it cannot be upgraded easily.) With the one I got, I should easily be able to slip the 82 Gb drive I bought in as the second hard disk.

I got the top of the case off easily, after hearing that it could be really difficult. There’s not much inside the machine — a motherboard, a power supply, and a single hard disk, with a space for a second disk.

First, I needed to back up the hard disk. The best way to do it is disk-to-disk, but for this, you need a 15 Gb disk that you’ll store the backup on. I ordered one, but it isn’t here yet, and in my impatience, I decided to move onto the second-best way to do it — make a compressed backup onto a smaller hard disk. Unfortunately, the largest FAT partition that I could make (and you need a FAT partition to make the backup) was 2 Gb, which isn’t big enough to store the whole backup.

So, right now, I’m formatting a second hard disk, will copy the first three parts of the backup onto it, and then let the backup restart; as it’s going, I’ll delete these same three parts as they’re made, leaving room for the remaining two or three.

After that, I just need to bless the new hard disk, install it inside the TiVo, and away I go.

UPDATE #1: The backup’s done; I’m now just waiting for the write-verify to finish on the 82 Gb drive. I decided to follow these instructions after reading that doing so is the best way to avoid a periodic video stutter that can be seen with this drive.

UPDATE #2: I’m done setting up the 82 Gb drive. Dylan’s Bootdisk ran perfectly; it’s an example (along with the TiVo itself!) of a great modification of TiVo for a specific purpose. The drive’s installed in my TiVo, but I won’t know if it worked until I finish the guided setup. Since I’ve been doing all of this in my office, it’s time to head home and see what we’ve got…

UPDATE #3: Since it’s late, I ran home, quickly crimped two temporary jacks onto the line that I ran from the master phone jack to the TV, and threw the TiVo up on the shelf. Ten minutes later, I’ve gotten to the part of the guided setup that takes a few hours; things look good, and it’s time for bed.

UPDATE #4: I woke up this morning and turned on my TV, only to find that the TiVo thought that it was September, not October. Having to rush off to work, I couldn’t really do anything about it. I called TiVo when I got into work, and their answer is that the servers had had a time problem the night before; since the box gets its time from the servers when it calls in each night, the box got the wrong time. They promised that I could initiate a daily call when I got home, and all would be well.

UPDATE #5: I did initate the daily call, and TiVo was right — now it knows the right date. The box also downloaded the latest version of the operating system — but what that means is that it will have to reboot and make another daily call to get all the program information. So I did that, and now it has to index everything (a process that could take hours).

UPDATE #6: Indexing complete! I now have full guide information, and am setting my prefs so that it will record things for me during the day as it finds thing that it thinks I will like.