TiVo Series3 eSATA Backdoor


Know that inactive eSATA drive on your TiVo Series3? Well, it’s not so inactive after all… By following a few simple steps (attach external drive, reboot, hit pause then 62) you can easily expand your storage using a backdoor (“kickstart”). So far the upgrade has been successful on stock Series3 units running 8.1.1 and eSATA drives up to 750GB. I’m going shopping and should be able to tell you later in the day how this method fares on TiVo software version 8.3.

FYI I’ve heard from two separate sources that an eSATA drive can also be activated on Series3 units with upgraded internal drives by mucking around in the Linux file system. Neither source disclosed the details (I didn’t press), but I assume some polished steps will make their way out eventually.

Thanks to Ben (pictures) and Ryan (text) in getting the eSATA news up onto Engadget in a timely fashion since I don’t work Friday nights. ;)

10 thoughts on “TiVo Series3 eSATA Backdoor”

  1. Yeah, Steve! :p

    I trekked out to the MicroCenter about 30 minutes away. Supposedly they had 4x 250GB eSATA drives (enclosed) in stock and on sale for $90/ea. Of course, they couldn’t find them when I got there. 90 minutes down the drain and no extra storage for me yet.

    However, someone in the TCF has verified this does work on 8.3.

  2. Wow!! Nice screenshot. This is a major plus. Nice to see it out in the wild now. S3 value-add!

  3. Yikes! Sounds risky! If this remains an undocumented feature like 30-second skip, then, Yahoo!

    If this is knocked out in the next software rev, then anyone who does it faces loosing ALL recordings made between then and now!

    Too risky for me … until I get some kind of confirmation from TiVo that this is here to stay.


  4. My series2 has a couple of USB ports on the back (one is in use for a wifi connection). Any chance this works for series2 units? If not what do I do with my unused USB port?


  5. Forgive this rookie question, but does this mean if I get an ESATA drive with a USB port, I can transfer the video I record with the Tivo3 on the ESATA drive to my computer using my USB port?

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