Fix TiVo

TiVo Repair and Troubleshooting: TiVo Rebooting

Your TiVo: Symptoms you may be experiencing

TiVos can reboot in several ways: during the startup (boot) cycle, before user-interaction is possible; during normal operation at random; and during normal operation when a specific action is taken or a specific recording is played.

Sometimes, you may not know that your TiVo is rebooting. But you've got some strange behavior that indicates that the TiVo may have rebooted in your absence, including partial recordings, a replay of the welcome animation when pressing the TiVo button on the remote, and a reset of remote preferences.

Fix my TiVo! - Solutions

With the exception of certain TiVo models (see below), rebooting is nearly always due to a bad hard drive. The point during the process where the TiVo reboots is when the Linux operating system encounters a problem. As a way to try to recover, the system is built to reboot when it encounters a problem major enough that it can't continue. The goal of the reboot is that they system is hoping that the drive problem encountered was temporary, and that on the next retry, the drive will perform properly.

A drive that reboots once every few months is probably nothing to worry about. Like all software, the TiVo may just be encountering rare bugs on occassion. But rebooting more frequently is a cause for concern, and is generally a good indication that the hard drive in the TiVo needs to be replaced.

Whe replacing a hard drive in a TiVo, be sure to get a kit formatted for your specific model, and also be sure to get an AV-specific hard drive. AV drives are made for DVRs, and that's what all manufacturers use inside their units - not desktop hard drives. WeaKnees sells kits for all TiVo models, and all kits use AV specific drives.

Series3 Units: The TCD648250 a/k/a the TCD648250B, will sometimes reboot when a second CableCARD is inserted into the unit. If this happens, you likely need a new TiVo power supply, or perhaps you might consider having a TiVo repair store look at your high definition TiVo.

The TiVoHD (TCD652160) and TiVoHD XL (TCD658000) can also be known to reboot frequently, randomly. These units will often reboot as a result of a motherboard problem and would require TiVo repair experts to fix the unit. If you have a TiVoHD, it is possible that your rebooting is due to a bad hard drive or bad power supply, but it's more likely to be a motherboard.

One other note - like any other piece of electronic equipment, a TiVo is sensitive to power fluctuations. In fact, since a TiVo has a hard drive spinning thousands of times per minute, a TiVo is probably more sensitive to minor power fluctuations or brown-outs than any other piece of A/V equipment. For that reason, if your TiVo reboots every time you turn on the AC in your house, then it's due to a power fluctuation, and not a bad hard drive. To help ease your TiVo through situations like this, and to help protect your TiVo in general, we highly recommend using a UPS with your TiVo.

For newer units like a TiVo Premiere, TiVo Roamio, TiVo Bolt, and TiVo Edge, rebooting is even more likely to be a bad hard drive as these units all have pretty solid power supplies (except the TiVo Roamio 4-tuner models).

More Information about this problem

A great way to test if your TiVo is rebooting when you aren't actively watching TV is to set the TiVo 30 second skip. This preference gets turned off each time you reboot the TiVo (or each time the TiVo reboots itself). So if you set it, and then sit down to watch TV the next day and find that the skip-to-tick button takes you to the end of the show you're watching, then your TiVo rebooted in the interim.

Why do you get partial recordings? If the TiVo reboots during the middle of a recording, when it comes back up fully, it'll resume recording the show in progress. But it starts this new piece as a different file, and it shows as another show in the Now Playing List. In fact, you can tell exactly when your TiVo rebooted by adding the length of the first "partial" to the original start time.

If you'd like to test for a bad hard drive, you can do that using TiVo hard drive kickstart 54 tests. It may be possible to visibly detect power supply problems as well. See: Checking a TiVo's power supply. If the drive tests fine and the power supply looks good, then it's most likely a motherboard problem in these model TiVos

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