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Old 05-01-2004, 02:20 PM   #1 (Print)
feldon23
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Ntfs

"Create a FAT32 partition"
"Go buy a 1-2GB hard drive"

Puhleeze!

Folks, NTFS is here to stay. Can someone write up some instructions that let MFSTools restore TiVo images from CD-ROM, Flash card, USB thumbdrive, Firewire hard drives, etc.? NTFS has only been out since 1997 and the primary FS of Windows since 2001.

I've got a sick TiVo here and all of my smaller/older hard drives are dead Western Digitals. Any hard drive big enough to be worth using is, of course, formatted NTFS!

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Old 05-01-2004, 02:25 PM   #2 (Print)
Robert S
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Er, you can RESTORE an image from an NTFS partition, or directly from a CD-ROM, you just can't make one that way.

Anyway the fault does not lie with MFS Tools, or the instructions for using it. MFS Tools can't write to NTFS partitions because Linux can't write to NTFS partitions reliably.

Linux can't write the NTFS reliably because Microsoft haven't published the specs for it and keep changing it to prevent interoperability with competing systems.

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Old 05-01-2004, 02:34 PM   #3 (Print)
feldon23
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It would be great if Hinsdale's guide at least mentioned these options. It has a bit of gloom and doom about 2000/XP and that's it. It doesn't tell you that you can read backup images from NTFS and/or CD-ROM.

Maybe I am expecting Hinsdale's guide to be anything other than an upgrade guide and if so, someone should write a 'sick TiVo guide'.

I don't expect MFSTools to write to NTFS, which is why I mentioned alternatives above. I don't envy the amount of programming work it might take to get MFSTools to work with USB or flash drives either. What about building CD burning into MFSTools?

My point was that Hinsdale doesn't mention NTFS or 2000/XP except in an exclusionary way, as if 2000/XP users are a tiny minority.

Weaknees new online restore guide has full details on how to restore from a CD, so I'm going to use that.

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Old 05-01-2004, 02:54 PM   #4 (Print)
Robert S
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Well, Hinsdale isn't above criticism, but I think it's reasonable that he defines his scope as Upgrades with Win9x PC's. It's only recently that Windows NT has expanded into the home market.

Tiger is opening the source for MFS Tools, so it might be possible to add CD recording functions. If you can find a Linux version that supports the medium you want to write to, then MFS Tools should be able to take advantage of that without modification.

The Linux kernel on the upgrade CD's is very old, but it seems to be preferred to allow easy access to the TiVo partitions rather than to use a current kernel without that facility. MFS Tools is not tied to the MFS Tools boot CD's, though, and can be used with any x86 Linux installation. (This adds an extra step to the process that you'll regard as either trivial or extremely painful, depending on your experience with Linux).

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Old 05-01-2004, 04:40 PM   #5 (Print)
feldon23
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TiVo Upgrading at home (vs upgrade kits) is for power users. Power users dumped 95/98/ME four years ago. NTFS was shaky in NT4, but NTFS5 which is what 2000 runs on is smooth as silk.

Spent a few minutes trying mount /dev/hda1 /mnt and other combinations before I woke up and dropped the 1.

Restoring now. I fully expected the Western Digital I added to crap out, not the built-in TiVo drive.

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Old 05-01-2004, 05:33 PM   #6 (Print)
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Welcome. Powering Up...

GRR....

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Old 05-02-2004, 09:07 AM   #7 (Print)
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USB drives are no trouble in Linux. My only qualm, as far as using a Flash-based drive, would be the size of the backup.
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Old 05-02-2004, 02:38 PM   #8 (Print)
feldon23
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I guess I need to start telling people the TRUE cost of DirecTV with TiVo...

2 DirecTV with TiVos $198
DirecTV Total Choice Plus w/ TiVo + Mirror $49.99/mo
Replace DirecTiVo every 2 years $99/yr


So far I've lost 2 DTiVos, so that works out to $53.24/mo.

In other words there is a hidden $3.24/mo TiVo failure charge.

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Old 05-04-2004, 06:42 PM   #9 (Print)
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Did someone say lite... it was 20 MB to download!
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:50 AM   #10 (Print)
feldon23
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Either the backup I received is bad, or both hard drives in the TiVo failed.

I've tried reformatting the 100GB WD as FAT32 and then MFSRestore and it all goes as planned except that the first time you put it back in the TiVo, it does Welcome. Powering Up... and then a flash and then it goes back to Welcome. Powering Up... again.

I did turn on the TiVo for a few moments with the fan unplugged but can't imagine that would have killed it.

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Old 05-05-2004, 02:57 PM   #11 (Print)
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My DTiVo unit works great and has not been replaced. But I have had two drives replaced, both under warranty for free (though I did have to pay shipping to send it in).

When MFSTools was whipped up Linux (at least the distrib they were using) could not mount and write to a NTFS partition and MFSTools has not been updated in awhile.

There are several other disks out there now.
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Old 05-06-2004, 12:49 AM   #12 (Print)
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Still, though, be careful with NTFS... I've done a bit of work with the NTFS stuff in Linux, and while it works, it can result in some really nasty filesystem corruption (which is alleviated a bit by the fact that mounting NTFS forces a chkdsk to run on next boot into Windows). So you might want to backup your data first...
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Old 05-06-2004, 02:06 PM   #13 (Print)
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I think it's worth answering the original question of this thread...at least to make me feel better after being annoyed by reading it.

Why is writing to NTFS not ubiquitous in third-party, linux (or even windows) based tools? The answer is simple...NTFS is not a published file-system. NTFS is a proprietary file system and Microsoft does not openly publish information on how writing in NTFS is accomplished.

So, you're limited to maybe 50 coders in the entire world capable of reverse engineering the technology. I can guarantee you that 51 of those 50 have better things to do with their time than spend countless hours researching a more convenient way to backup tivo hard drive's...

Why is NTFS such a hidden format? Probably off-topic for this thread...but...it's the one thing they're always accused of failing to do well...security.
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Old 05-06-2004, 02:33 PM   #14 (Print)
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...security

Isn't it a bit of a waste of time having a secure filing system on something as leaky as Windows NT? I mean, it's not as if there would be more systems hit by Sasser if they published the specs for NTFS!

Anyway, a well designed security system should still be secure even if the minutiae if the design are public knowledge.

I would think the real reason for the obscurity is avoidance of interoperability (as I stated above), and possibly some embarassment.

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Old 05-07-2004, 08:29 AM   #15 (Print)
wmcbrine
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Obscurity != security. I think even Microsoft is aware of this, and I doubt that security is the real motive -- even if they say it is. Rather, they just want to limit interoperability with other systems, in an attempt to make everyone use Windows and only Windows.

Edit: Oops, I see that Robert S beat me to it. Well: What he said, yeah.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:27 AM   #16 (Print)
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We are going way off topic, but, I think that's going to the nature of this thread...

Your analogy does not make sense. Sasser was not a file system exploit.
Sasser was a more generalized operating system exploit...and...good example that people are incapable of following simple instructions (like visiting windowsupdate.microsoft.com once a month, or, turning on automatic updates).

Is the security system of the Louvre public knowledge? No. Why? That would probably compromise security, don't you think?
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Old 05-07-2004, 01:33 PM   #17 (Print)
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Oh yea, Linux is completely secure... as I download the lastest Redhat hotfixes. The primary problem is not with the OS. Both windows and linux are vulnerable to hackers when put in the hands of a novice user. The problem is that internet use has grown faster than user education. I'll stop there... this has gone off-topic.

-Steve
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Old 05-07-2004, 06:29 PM   #18 (Print)
wmcbrine
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Quote:
Originally posted by amgqmp1
Your analogy does not make sense. Sasser was not a file system exploit.

I believe that was his point, yes. More generally, there are no known "file system exploits", are there? Not for open file systems, either.

Quote:
Is the security system of the Louvre public knowledge? No. Why? That would probably compromise security, don't you think?

Not if it were any good, no.
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Old 05-08-2004, 12:50 AM   #19 (Print)
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There's a knoppix TiVo bootdisc floating around that builds a large ramdisk and has network support. Most -s TiVo images could be written to this ramdisk, then uploaded to an FTP server.

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Old 05-08-2004, 11:40 PM   #20 (Print)
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Well, it is actually possible to modify a Knoppix image, which explains the many Knoppix-based variants out there (STD, Morphix, Gnomix, etc.).

As for security - security through obscurity is not bad as long as it is not the sole source of where the security is coming from. If you've secured your system by other methods (changed default passwords, closed unused services, etc.), hiding your system is not a bad idea. Just make sure you don't rely on it being hidden as your sole means of being safe. So the Louvre's security system may not be public knowledge, but obscurity better be just one layer out of many to protect its artifacts (secrets have a way of getting out, so if the Louvre has proper security, even knowing everything about their security system shouldn't make it defeatable.)

Edit: As for those who want NTFS info - let's just say I've tried creating NTFS partitions under Linux. It works, but I've had it actually bluescreen Windows in the process ("Corrupt NTFS" - last time I saw this, a secondary hard drive was dying - don't ask me why Windows BSOD's when it finds a corrupted NTFS partition - especially non-system NTFS drives). Doesn't help that there are 4 different versions of NTFS out there - the one for NT 3.5x, NT 4, Win 2k, and XP...
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Old 05-09-2004, 10:37 AM   #21 (Print)
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Security through obscurity IS a bad thing, when the system is obscure from the very people it's supposedly protecting. Example 1: NTFS. Example 2: Our old ADT alarm system. We got a user's manual, but the real manual -- the one that tells you how to program the thing -- stayed in the hands of the installer, along with the "master code". ADT would no doubt claim this is for "security"; but the real reason is to prevent their customers from taking the equipment to another monitoring company, and to force the customers to call ADT for service (at $90 for the first 15 minutes!) if they want to make a change. It's a racket.

Of course, obscurity is called for in one sense -- that is, you should keep your passwords/alarm codes/etc. to yourself. But it's just silly for NTFS to be secret. A password known only to myself may protect me; but secrets kept from me by a third party, whether that's Microsoft or ADT, never will.
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Old 05-09-2004, 11:41 PM   #22 (Print)
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Actually, security through obscurity by itself is a bad thing. But combined with other methods of protection, is part of a comprehensive security plan.

If you wanted to send your friend a file by putting it on a web server, obscurity would be to move it to a non-standard port. However, if you password-protect the file, put a password on the directory containing the file, then if you also wanted to make it private, it doesn't hurt to put the server on another port.

ADT's master password is an example of pure obscurity - now, if there was a way to change it so that every installation is different, than it's not as bad.

As for NTFS, what did you expect? It's Microsoft! Security through obscurity is their form of protection.
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Old 05-10-2004, 01:38 PM   #23 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Worf
ADT's master password is an example of pure obscurity - now, if there was a way to change it so that every installation is different, than it's not as bad.

It's bad as long as they have it, and I (the ostensible protectee) don't.

Quote:
As for NTFS, what did you expect? It's Microsoft! Security through obscurity is their form of protection.

Exactly -- it's their protection. It protects them, from competition. It does nothing to protect me, the end user.
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Old 08-12-2004, 02:19 AM   #24 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by feldon23
My point was that Hinsdale doesn't mention NTFS or 2000/XP except in an exclusionary way, as if 2000/XP users are a tiny minority.


I am too new to the scene to know for sure...but maybe because when it comes to diehard hackers in this scene, Windows users ARE in the minority?

Sounds like this hacking scene is rather heavy with Linux/Unix diehards.
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Old 08-12-2004, 09:54 AM   #25 (Print)
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I might say more Tivo hackers that the overall average are Linux users, but a great deal I suppose use Windows as their primary PC OS (me included, although I do have a practically dedicated Linux PC system to tinker with)

Most have educated themselves in Linux/Unix because the Tivo itself uses Linux, and the hack/backup CDs use Linux as their OS.

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Old 08-12-2004, 01:53 PM   #26 (Print)
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I would think that anyone who tinkers with Linux often enough would be a MythTV user, not a TiVo user. I would think that most TiVo users who consider hacking are casual Linux users. Am I wrong?

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Old 08-12-2004, 02:53 PM   #27 (Print)
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I would put my money on classicsat in this debate.

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Old 08-12-2004, 03:26 PM   #28 (Print)
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Hinsdale had been available for many years before home users started running NT on their systems in significant numbers.

Updates to that document concentrate on adding new models of TiVo, rather than helping people work around the NTFS problem.

It seems to me that staying current with the ever-changing TiVo upgrade situation is the more important priority.

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Old 08-12-2004, 11:49 PM   #29 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by feldon23
I would think that anyone who tinkers with Linux often enough would be a MythTV user, not a TiVo user. I would think that most TiVo users who consider hacking are casual Linux users. Am I wrong?


Perhaps, but like people who like to tinker, there also comes a point where we want stuff that Just Works. After all, to set up a TiVo requires opening box, connecting unit, and turning on TV. Myth still requires a bit more work than that (get computer, install hardware, setup Linux properly (if it doesn't work properly, you'll spend even more time fixing oddball issues), install Myth (which can be interesting in itself due to libraries and such), and finally set up XMLTV and get it so Myth just works. Oh yeah, setup a remote control, as well, and an IR blaster if we need it.

For some of us, that's just too much work for TV! And while Myth offers more, there's a lot of time that one has to invest getting it all up and running perfectly.

Some people have setup Myth boxes, and I think there are people who sell computers running Myth, but well, it's pricey. And if you go with a TiVo-sized budget ($500 - $200 TiVo plus $300 lifetime), it's hard to build a nice quiet low-power-consumption computer. OTOH, you get a ton of features (networking, web browsing, images, mp3 playback, video streaming, video archiving, etc). (And HTPC cases are pricey!).
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Old 08-13-2004, 10:56 AM   #30 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by feldon23
Am I wrong?

Yes.
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