AtvCloner: Easy replacement of Apple TV hard drives

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Cave Man, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Our good friend dynaflash has written a GUI app for all of us who want to migrate to larger drives for the Apple TV. It's called AtvCloner and works extremely well for building bootable Apple TV hard drives. So, if you want to replace your internal Apple TV hard drive or go the eSATA route, this app is a must-have. (It may work with the USB drive patchstick method, but I have not tried that.)

    Here are the steps involved:
    1. Remove your Apple TV hard drive and mount it on a Mac (this requires an 2.5" external enclosure with an internal PATA interface or a Universal Drive Adapter).
    2. Use AtvCloner to image the Boot, EFI and Recovery partitions of the ATV drive to your Mac's hard drive (requires <2 gb of hard drive space and takes about 10 minutes).
    3. Mount your new drive to the Mac and have AtvCloner build the Boot, EFI and Recovery partitions on the new drive; whatever space remains will be made into the Media partition for storage of all your sync'd content from iTunes (takes another 10 minutes).
    4. Reinstall the hard drive to your Apple TV
  2. macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Now, I wonder if the WD 1TB drive can fit inside the :apple:TV... :rolleyes:
  3. macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Very nice. I was starting to look at small-ish SSD's for heat reasons and got overwhelmed trying to figure out how to set up another drive. I also keep thinking I have a spare laptop hard drive, but then I remember it's SATA.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Note: does not work with 10.4 Tiger. Leopard only for now ( and possibly forever ).
  5. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Thanks for the heads up. This sounds much better than manually using gpt. So far, my 250GB's doing fine, but I'll add AtvCloner to my arsenal.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    it's amazing how big 250GB is .... until you fill it up ;)
    I started with 160GB back when it was 40GB only. the more space you have the more you sync. It's a self fulfilling prophecy ... and of course drives just keep getting bigger and cheaper.
  7. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I had the original, too. My first upgrade was a 160, but it started making a slight amount of head-load noise - just enough for me to rationalize an upgrade to the 250 I have now ;) . I have about 60GB free on it right now, but only because I have a 750GB I can stream from :).
  8. macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    awesome. Just ordered a 320 GB drive. This was just the thing I need to make me pull the trigger on this project. Thanks!
  9. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Also note: the media partition will be empty, so you will need to re-sync you're content.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Awesome, this could've saved me a rainy sunday trying to do it manually (in the end it worked of course, but it took a long time).

    I will try to remember this app for when I get my second ATV (if ever) :)

    Thnx! :apple:
  11. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Shouldn't copying the Media partition files from the old drive to the new drive work?
  12. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    It might, I have never tried it personally. you could try manually copying them to the media partition after AtvCloner is done.
  13. macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    Worked Flawlessly

    I just upgraded mine with a 320 GB WD Blue drive. Could not have been easier. Thanks Dynaflash!
  14. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Super, glad it worked out for you.
  15. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Version update to 0.1.4b

    This version addresses the dreaded:
    newfs_hfs: /dev/rdisk2s4: partition size not a multiple of 4Kerror accompanied by a failure to properly format the media partition. It uses a different formatting scheme which is an alternate to AtvCloner's normal formatting scheme. It has worked well with problem drives (typically > 500GB in testing).

    You can read more about it here:

    let me know if you have any issues.

  16. macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Don't think:

    Don't think it works with Snow Leopard. ATV Cloner worked this am but this afternoon after Snow Leopard install Won't run. Thought I'd let you know. It's a great program.
  17. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, dynaflash already has a build working on Snow Leopard; he's just doing a bit more testing to make sure all's well.
  18. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    k. so works on snow leopard, just gotta test on leopard ( too bad I overwrote leopard this morning ) ;)
  19. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
  20. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Okay, somehow I got messed up when I had someone verify that AtvCloner 0.1.4 worked on both Snow Leopard and Leopard.

    At any rate, now the Leopard version (0.1.4b) and the Snow Leopard version (0.1.4) are posted for download. Did three tests to verify the Leopard version works. Sorry for any inconvenience.
  21. macrumors member


    Nov 19, 2008
    Thank you dynaflash, this is a great program/script, it makes changing the drive foolproof,
  22. macrumors newbie


    Jan 27, 2006
    So Cal
    IDE to SATA issue?

    With care for my warranty aside, I want to upgrade the HD in my AppleTV. Internally it has a 2.5" PATA drive, I however want to use a 3.5" SATA drive. I have a 2tb drive readily formatted for my AppleTv via atv cloner, and I don't care that it has to sit outside the casing. How do I go about bridging the connection/power between the atv's 2.5" IDE adapter to my 3.5" SATA drive?
    Thanks for any help:apple:
  23. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Search for the thread "My 750 gb Apple TV" for your answer. ;)
  24. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Glad it worked for you. To be specific it is not a script, the gui uses NSTask to actually run the same commands terminal can. though in an order and way that I found worked properly for me different from any of the online tutorials I read and used with tiger. none of them worked right for me since leopard.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2009
    atvcloner images


    My appletv has just died on me :)
    But i have a new drive 250gb ... but no images to put onto this drive, how would i get the images for atvcloner IE boot.dmg efi.dmg & recover.dmg to fix my new drive to work with Atvcloner.

    Thanks in advance


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