Replacing HD in Tivo Roamio

(posted 2/11/2020) - If your Tivo Roamio is starting to freeze during recording, or worse is going into repeated reset (lights on front panel flashing continuoutsly), then the odds are good that the internal Hard-drive is in failure mode. The good news is that starting with the Roamio the Tivo OS boots from Board Firmware rather than directly from the Drive.

There are numerous online descriptions of how to replace the 500GB AV optimized drive in the Roamio with a modern 1,2, or 3 Terabyte drive. I chose a 1TB WD 3.5 inch Red WD10EFRX which is a NAS drive optimized for low-power consumption, running 24/7, with fast record and playback (6 GB/s).

One opens the Tivo Roamio case by removing a single Torx-head 2.5 mm screw (in the upper center of the back panel), then prying the case lid up by exerting upward pressure on the lid back, while sliding a flat blade screw driver toward the right and left back and side edges of the top. There are 5 plastic tabs (2 on each side and one in front) that hold the lid in place. It helps to try and flex one side free and then the other; finally rotating the lide forward to release the last tab in the center front.

Next use a number 6 Torx-head screw-driver to remove 3 screws holding the 3.5 inch HD rails to the Tivo chassis. Disconnect the plastic power/data connection to the HD and remove it fron the Tivo. Finally, remove the four number 7 Torx-head screws from the mounting rails and then screw the rails onto your new HD. Reverse the above steps to complete the installation.

I recommend you avoid touching any circuit board surfaces -- it is OK to touch the all-metal top and sides of the drive and rails of course.

Reassemble the top, plug in the external cables you disconnected and plug in the power. You should go through an automatic restart and when the firmware detects a new drive it will automatically install the Tivo environment on the new drive.

I didn't want to save anything on my old (defective) drive -- but for folks wanting to save recordings and season passes you can look online for instructions for backing up your Tivo drive and then restoring content on the new drive.

This took me all of 30 minutes and cost $54 dollars for the new drive from Amazon Prime (next day delivery). Much better than paying $350 for a new Tivo box.