Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

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Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

Postby samwise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:14 pm

I have an older Thomson HD box which I purchased with a 1TB disk upgrade some 18 months or so ago. It works fine, and the disk contains quite a few recordings that I wanted to to save. The problem is that I now want to upgrade to Anytime+, and I've just discovered that this Thomson box will not facilitate Anytime+.

I do however have a Samsung HD box in a bedroom, however his only has the smaller 320gb?? drive - fine for where it is, but not for my main viewing area.

My question is, can I just swap my hard drives across i.e. the 1TB drive to the Samsung, and the 320gb to the Thomson, without affecting the existing recordings at all? I appreciate that I will have to swap the viewing cards when I do it, and will have to get Sky to 'do their bit' but I didn't want to have to copy data if I could avoid it?

..... and my apologies if this has already been discussed, but I couldn't find exactly the same issue when I searched. Any advice would be gratefully received.
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Re: Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

Postby pcbbc » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:42 pm

The old Thomson box will be on the old, pre-Darwin firmware. The newer Samsung box will have Darwin - I think. Anytime+ is one of the advantages/new features of Darwin, so if you have it - there is your answer.
It may still be possible to go from the pre-Darwin HD to a Darwin HD box by simply transferring the disk. The old Thomson and new Samsung boxes are both big endian, so you are okay there (no conversion required).
However the opposite is NOT true. The Darwin release completely rewrote the database structures, and also contained the code to convert the databases on old disks to new ones. But there is no such conversion to go the other way.

Personally I would suggest doing a copy to a new disk of at least some of the recordings to test this before swapping the disks for real. If you swap the disks and it doesn't work you will most likely lose everything.
An alternative is to do a backup using the FAT2Img support tool on the forums before swapping disks. Then do a restore using the reverse utility (which I can supply). This offers some protection as long as the destination box doesn't write any/too much new video to a wiped disk.
With regard to transferring back the recordings from the 320GB disk from the Samsung to the Thomson, you are totally out of luck because of what I described above. You'll have to do a full system reset.

As you state, Sky will need to repair the cards with the alternate boxes (some features - such as FTA playback and recording will work without a repair). This is possible, but I'm told sometimes complex and quite often messed in the process. You may at first be told it is not possible or have to have the call escalated. So - Good luck! First step though is to confirm the transfer will work (which you can do with FTA recordings).
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Re: Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

Postby samwise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:56 pm

Thanks for the quick and comprehensove reponse - to summarise

1) I have a good chance of being able to swap the 1TB disk from the Thomson into the Samsung without a problem - but maybe do a copy just in case?
2) the 320gb disk going from Samsung to Thomson will almost certainly need a re-format...... which shouldn't be a problem as I don't have anything important on there.
3) The viewing cards need to follow the hard disks.
3) I might have a problem getting the cards re-paired to other boxes, but just persevere :)

Thanks again
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Re: Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

Postby pcbbc » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:48 am

NP
1) I'd say "a chance". I would always advise having a backup plan in case! The backup with FAT2IMG is very easy, does not require huge amounts of disk space and is a very sensible minimum precaution IMHO.
2) Yes - This is a given if going from a Darwin to pre-Darwin system.
3) Not necessarily - but you will not be able to watch old encrypted recordings without both swapping and re-pairing cards. You could opt for leaving cards paired with their current boxes, but only swapping viewing cards to watch previously recorded content (excluding movies or sport). Not extremely convenient, but it does work for certain scenarios - See Viewing Card Pairing FAQ for the full details of what you can and can not do with an unpaired card.
4) Never tried swapping cards myself, but from what I have read on the forums in the past this can be a real pain. Often I hear you are told it is simply impossible by first line CS. Regardless this should be the last step, as you can test swapping the disks without re-pairing. Just swap the cards and read the Viewing Card Pairing FAQ for what is and is not possible with an un-paired card.
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Re: Can I swap the HDD bewteen 2 SKY HD boxes

Postby samwise » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:34 pm

Thanks again.

Interested about 4)

When I first got the Thompson HD box I had SKY swap the card from the Samsung to that box without problems, and then put the Samsung box upstairs to replace an old SKY+ box and that too was fine........... maybe I was lucky, and I did do them on separate calls rather than confusing the poor operator at eth other end too much. I will certainly do the backup because my luck is bound to run out at some time :)
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