apple tv harddrive upgrade

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hauss316H, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    is it a pain in the @$$? im probably gonna pick one up thursday and want to know how hard it is to upgrade the hard drive. i know there are guides but i just want someone with some experience explaining the difficulty
  2. macrumors 6502

    The physical part of upgrading the drive is extremely easy. If you check my signature you will see that I have done this to mine already (120GB).

    The thing that is not so easy and takes a long time, is getting the AppleTV OS onto the new drive. It is very tedious and takes a good 8 hours to create a disk image clone of the drive. It then takes another 8 hours or so to put that image onto the new drive.

    Please note that it is not as simple as cloning the drive and then putting that onto a new drive. Doing this does not move the hidden partitions or the format partition to the new drive. Without those partitions it will never work. You have to use the terminal to create the clone and also to move it to the new drive.

    You need to go through the guides step by step.

    A quick rundown on what you have to do (from what I remember....)

    1. Take out the current drive and put it in an external case.
    2. Use the terminal to DD the entire drive including all partitions (including the format partition). This is going to take about 8 hours.
    3. Put the new drive in an external case and use the terminal to DD the image created in the last step to the new drive. Again this will take forever.
    4. Put the new drive in the AppleTV.
    5. Boot the AppleTV and then restore it.

    You may not have to restore the new drive, but in my experience it is a little buggy unless you do so.

    This is not a day long project. It is going to take some time so be prepared for it.

    The biggest pain in the a$$ is when you use the terminal to do the cloning, it will look like the terminal is doing nothing. The only way to tell that anything is going on is by the lights on the drive enclosure. There is no progress bar and no way to tell how much it has left to do. So you could be going for 7 hours and not know if you got 15 minutes or 3 hours to go.

    Good luck!
  3. macrumors 68000


    This is wrong on so many levels. Moving all that data and empty partition space is entirely unnecessary.

    Notice they originally copy the whole drive (as you did), now they copy up to a block number.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Actually it is not wrong. The OP asked for people who have done it before to explain... I explained how I did it and the difficulty of it. Have you actually done this or are you just posting a link for directions you have not used?

    I tried initially to do it the way you are talking about and it did not work. I see it has worked for some, but it did not work for me.

    Also, a part I left out:

    After you clone the drive to the new drive, you have to use iPartition or another partitioning utility, that does not erase the drive to re-partition anything, and repartition so you get all the extra drive space from the new disk to show up. This takes a few hours too despite what the instructions say.
  5. macrumors 68000


    The link above mentions no longer requiring iPartition. Shrugs. It obviously worked for them or there wouldn't be a howto.
  6. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    The cl usage appears to have mixed results. I tried it several times and it did not work, even copying and pasting the commands from the web site. I became so tired of spending hours to get it partitioned that dropped the $45 on iPartition and it did the job of prepping the drive in about 3 minutes.

    So, IMO, it is a pain without iPartition. You sort of have to think of the upgrade as the cost of the HD and the cost of iPartition. I have a 160 gig drive in mine and am thinking about upgrading to the maximum available (250 gigs).
  7. macrumors 6502

    So in other words.... no you haven't done it....

    I did mine about 8 months ago. So there may be different and better ways to do it now. Like I said before, I answered the OPs question as to how I did it and how hard it was for me.

    Since you haven't done it before... Are you just posting to try to point out what you think are mistakes in other peoples posts? Does that make you feel better about yourself for some reason?

    To the OP. You can read through what I said. That is how I did it a while back. If you want to do this, follow whatever guide you find out there step by step. It is apparently easier now than it was when I did it, but...

    Again, good luck.
  8. macrumors 68000


    The only thing I see you did wrong (IN MY OPINION) is you duplicated all the unused space, rather than truncating the transfer after a certain block. If it didn't work for you fine, I'm just trying to save the OP 14 hours of wasted time. Are opinions not allowed? Did you grow up in the USSR?
  9. macrumors 6502

    Hey Cave Man! I wonder why it took so long for iPartition to do it for me. When I ran it, it seemed to recreate all partitions and then add the extra space to the correct partition. I thought it was supposed to just add the extra partition space and didn't think it would take that long.

    I too bought iPartition just to do the upgrade. I admit I did not read through the user manual or anything. I guess I probably did it slightly wrong or did not have a setting or something right. It took a long time for iPartition to do the job for me though. It did work though.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Wow, this thread is getting a bit heated. Everyone...breathe...

    The method described above is the LONG way of doing it, but you risk less than trying to get certain partitions. Some people find it a waste of time to copy empty space to a hard drive with empty space. It also depends on your connection to the hard drive (firewire or USB) computer specs, etc... I just transfered the partitions. Everything took about a hour to do.

    If you're going to buy new, just consider the 160GB. It's $100 more and that's what it will about cost you for a 160GB hard drive anyway.
  11. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I just wish Apple would have put a SATA interface on the thing. I don't understand their rationale for PATA. As it is, best you can do is 250 gigs. Bummer.
  12. macrumors member

    The longer way a bit faster...

    I've been struggling to use Engadget's CLI process on both Leopard and from Tiger and it just isn't working for me (when I format the new Media partition, the EFI partition is lost and the others renumbered - very weird).

    Any way, I thought I'd make a suggestion for everyone to speed up the (long or fast) copy of the image both from the original AppleTV drive and to the new one. Use the 'rdisk' device name instead of just 'disk*'. This bypasses the OS's buffering mechanism and makes it much faster (8x for me).

    So to copy the image off the original hard disk:

    dd if=/dev/rdisk2 of=/Users/Engadget/AppleTV.img bs=1024k

    Then write the full image to the new hard disk:

    dd if=/Users/Engadget/AppleTV.img of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1024k

    Or Engadget's "quicker" method:

    dd if=/Users/Engadget/AppleTV.img count=1335 of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1024k

    I'm copying the whole image now since I'm paranoid and will give iPartition a try...

  13. macrumors member

    iPartition is great!

    I've got the full 160GB available on my upgraded Apple TV now.

    The resizing of the Media partition was quick and simple with $50 I've spent in a long time. Would have been even more valuable if I'd not spent hours trying to the the free CLI method working first...

    Save your self some hassle and use iPartition when doing a hard drive upgrade on Apple TV(if you've got the $50):D.

    Good luck everyone...


Share This Page