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fredshovel
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How to Copy a SATA drive taken from a PVR/DVR (personal video recorder) via my PC

My Sony PVR had a PCB board crash -- and I've got lots of stuff on the 160Gb HDD.  It's a WD SATA.  Now this is going to make your blood run cold but I just stuck the HDD in my PC (loose) and paralleled it up to my regular HDD. The PC booted up ok but I was hoping that I could see the drive and copy it. But alas I can't see the WD drive. Can anyone advise me how I should be doing this?  I have plugged in the parallel connection and also the spare power lead.
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fredshovel

8/22/2022 - Mon
David

Well, can't speak for the sony product, but unless they are brain dead .. you are wasting your time.
1. No way would they use a windows O/S, so data is not formatted in NTFS.  So forget about seeing files
2. Due to digital rights, the data is encrypted.
3. It is a violation of copyright law to attempt to circumvent such encryption

Just give up.  Sorry.
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fredshovel

ASKER
The formatting thingo makes sense to me but couldn't it be a FAT32? I'm currently using a mixture of FAT32 and NTFS external HDDs.  The files are not encrypted as they can be burned within the PRV to DVDs and there's no encryption on them. They're just in PAL DVD format, VOBs etc.  I've transferred many of them to my HDD via DVDs in the past. A lot of these files I personally own and have shot with my old analogue video cameras in the past. I simply used the PVR to digitize them and store them on the PVR until I got around to transferring them.  The rest are from TV shows and I've also transferred them in the past.
These things can't do on-the-fly encryption anyway.
David

FAT32 for a DVR?!!   Never in a million years.
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fredshovel

ASKER
I haven't got a million years I've only got 2 days and then I have to give it to the shop as it's being replaced under warranty. Worst case scenario I'll just stick the HDD back in the PVR and copy the stuff to DVDs. Fortunately only all the analogue I/Os are stuffed -- all the digital stuff is good.
The reason I mentioned FAT32 is because that's how all those little  USB drives are formatted -- and one of my set-top-boxes records via its own USB to a 300G FAT32 formatted drive (I know it's FAT32 as I formatted it).

So the general consensis is that fiddling with the BIOS won't give me a look at the MPEG-2 VOBs because of the os?

 

David

Look at the problem from another perspective.  Sony makes billions from producing movies, manufacturing DVDs for rental & sale, and providing content to broadcasters.  Is it in their best interest to allow people to easily hack their system so they can rip digital content in high resolution to DVDs?  Wouldn't your technique also allow people to clone commercially produced DVDs? Why are there not hundreds of hacking sites that explain how to do this?

Now do you understand?  The system is designed to prevent what you want to do.  Billions of dollars in revenue to sony (and every other entertainment company) depends on preventing people from doing what you want to do.
David

Plus, that external USB HD content won't work on another PVR, BTW.  Only the one that recorded the content to begin with.  --- at least that is how it is supposed to be.  So if you are using them for archiving your movies, you had better start migrating the data.

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David

Finally, you are assuming that the data on the internal HDD is MPEG-2 VOB files.  Nope, no way would that be the case.  MPEG-2 VOBs are an external format, and you have to go through a cpu and I/O intensive conversion process to create a VOB from raw data.  Think about how long it takes to convert a movie on your PC.  Do such delays appear in the PVR?  No, proof that the data is in some other format.
fredshovel

ASKER
dlethe:
I think we're way off topic here. I should explain that this is simply a PVR (personal video recorder) DVD recorder with a 160Gb HDD.
It is specifically designed to record TV broadcasts, Cable TV -- here in Australia marketed as Foxtel --.
It is also designed to record from third party devices like digital and analogue video cameras and VHS recorders etc. It can record directly to the HDD or to the DVD or to the HDD and then to the DVD.
 It does not 'rip' or copy commercially produced DVDs with Macrovision/Sony or any other copy protection. In fact it won't even copy old VHS tapes because the recorder senses the copyguard on the tape.
 But it also doesn't encrypt any recordings either to the HDD or the DVD recording drive that are a result of its design function that I have outlined.
I don't know about other countries but even Foxtel here only encrypts what it calls Box Office movies.
That simply means that you can watch them but if you flick record on you PVR it says, "No, no, no."
But even Foxtel here can't do an on-the-fly encrytpion of a Live Event like a boxing match. I recently recorded and burnt a world title fight -- that's how I know that. But you can record any other Foxtel programming and burn it to DVD and copy it to a PC if you like.
This DVD/HDD recorder has an SD television tuner  so it's limited to 720 x576 res, which is pretty good anyway.  Most of the PVRs now being released in this country have USB out for the very purpose that I'm trying to achieve right now.  And if you think Australia is not tough on copyright protection, last week the Australian courts tried the world's first case (of course sponsored by the biggies in the US) wherby they took an ISP to court for allowing clients P2P video downloads. The ISP won.
Anyway after all my gasbagging I'm inclined to agree with you that it's a formatting issue -- nothing to do with encryption or copyright.

Cheers
fredshovel

ASKER
dlethe:

<Finally, you are assuming that the data on the internal HDD is MPEG-2 VOB files.  Nope, no way would that be the case.  MPEG-2 VOBs are an external format, and you have to go through a cpu and I/O intensive conversion process to create a VOB from raw data.  Think about how long it takes to convert a movie on your PC.  Do such delays appear in the PVR?  No, proof that the data is in some other format.>

I can absolutely guarantee you  that the DVD recorder records in VOB MPEG-2 format. I have made a great many recordings on it and distributed them to friends. Think of the rationale mate, that's what they're designed to do: record at DVD standard format so people can play the DVDs on their machines and the world standard DVD format is VOB container with MPEG-2 video files. In fact if you pop any of these recordings in the DVD drive it shows all the VOBs BUPs and IFOs without any ripping or converting .  Hope this clears things up. This will record in both PAL and NTSC DVD format.

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Gary Case

It's clearly a formatting issue;  and since your PC doesn't recognize it is it neither NTFS or FAT32.    The most likely alternative, as I noted earlier, is a Linux file system.   I'd boot to Knoppix and/or try installing a Linux file system reader on your PC  [For example, the rstool lets you read Reiser file system:  http://yareg.akucom.de/   and this ext2 driver lets you read Ext2:  http://www.fs-driver.org/ ]

If Knoppix or a Windows IFS (installable file system) driver doesn't let you "see" the file structure; then I'd simply do as you noted and install the drive back in the PVR and burn DVDs (assuming the system still works for that function, which I gather from your comment that it does).
fredshovel

ASKER
Sorry, I should clarify that now I'm thinking that you're talking about the files on the HDD and not the DVD.  Well I don't know what format the HDD records in.  But I have another which I can access the external  HDD and it records to the HDD in MPEG-PS, which is a type of MPEG-1  on-the-fly.
Don't know what the HDD format on the Sony HDD was. Wish I did.  
fredshovel

ASKER
<It's clearly a formatting issue;  and since your PC doesn't recognize it is it neither NTFS or FAT32. >

I'd like to try it Gary, but first I didn't say that the PC won't recognise the drive. I said I don't know how to make the PC look at it. I've read it's about making the BIOS look at the new drive.  
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Gary Case

Agree the format on the HDD is likely a modified MPEG format -- NOT the VOB structure for a DVD.    Note that converting MPEGs to VOBs is NOT (as implied above in another comment), a time-consuming re-rendering issue.   VOBs ARE an MPEG format, they're just "wrapped" in a container designed for DVD indexing and playback.    It's quite simple to encode into the VOB structure as long as there's not further compression necessary -- so how complex that is very much depends on exactly what the recording format it.

But as I noted earlier, if you can SEE the file structure, the problem shifts from a "recovery" issue to a simple "how to play these files" problem -- definitely a move in the right direction.   Odds are that if you get to that point, it'll be a simple matter of finding the right utility to convert them into DVD format.    There are MANY file-conversion utilities that are either free or very modestly priced that can almost certainly do that job for you.
Gary Case

Ahh -- just realized you can't even see the drive on the system.

So ...

(a)  Is it an IDE or SATA drive?

=> If IDE, you need to be sure the primary drive and the PVR drive are jumpered differently -- one as Master and one as Slave.

=>  If SATA, you simply plug the data cable from the drive into an available SATA port on your motherboard;  and then boot into the BIOS and be sure all the SATA ports are enabled [on many systems unused ports are disabled in the BIOS]

... in other words, clarify exactly what you mean by "... paralleled it up to my regular HDD ..." and I should be able to get your system to "see" the drive.
fredshovel

ASKER
Ok -- I went into the BIOS and then to the CMOS -- there were about 6 drives listed -- I've only got the C drive and one external turned on plus my DVD and CD drives.  Most of them said Disabled -- so I clicked on each one and all said 'auto'.   I couldn't seem to change much.  But I still can't see the drive in the Explore file manager.   What I meant by paralleled is that there was a spare lead hanging off my C HDD so I just connected it to the PVR's WD drive and then connected the power lead next to another power lead where there was a spare socket.
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fredshovel

ASKER
Should add that the two SATA drives came up with their IDs and seem to be on auto.
Gary Case

A "spare lead hanging off my C: HDD" tends to imply that your C: drive and the PVR drive are IDE drives -- correct?

If so, then check the jumpers on those two drives => if you post the make/model of your C: drive I can look up the jumper settings for you.   Since the PVR drive is a WD drive, it needs to have a single jumper on the 2nd set of pins (counting from the power connector) => that will make it a "slave".    But you need to be sure the primary drive is jumpered correctly as the "master" device.   If it's also a WD drive, it needs a jumper on the middle (3rd) set of pins (again counting from the power connector).    If it's some other make, you'll need to look on the drive for the jumper settings or look up the make/model to find them online.

One other thing => check this before changing anything else ==> the fact you can't see the drive in Explorer doesn't mean Windows doesn't "see" it.   Go to Disk Management [Right-click on My Computer;  select Manage; then click on Disk Management] and look at the drives listed there.   The drive MAY be "seen", but if it has an unrecognized file system (likely) it won't show up in Windows Explorer, since it won't be assigned a drive letter.    Installing one of the utilities I mentioned earlier (to see the Linux file systems) will let you see it fine IF it's the right file system.    Or a Linux boot CD should see it as long as it supports the file system.
fredshovel

ASKER
Ok Gary. Went to disc management. It's there: You're right: no file system listed (like NTFS). and it also says it's 100% free (gulp) hope it just can't read it.
Ok, so I downloaded Yareg but it just opens an empty box with no options -- so am I presuming correct in that I don't have the microsoft net frame thingo?   So I'm trying to download that but right now I've been 'shaped' to dial up because I exceeded my Gb limit. So I'll have to try in the morning off peak.
So am I presuming with the net frame thingo that it will look at the files and give me the option to bring them into the Windows environment?


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Gary Case

100% free isn't good -- I'd expect it to show "unknown partition".    However, that likely just means it's an unrecognized structure.    I'm not optimistic that the Linux file system readers will "see" this structure -- but it won't hurt to try.   In every case I've used one, however (I have several Reiser formatted discs I occasionally need to read), Disk Management recognized that there was data -- just that it was an "unknown partition type" (or some similar wording -- I don't recall exactly).

I'd still try a bootable Linux distro (Knoppix, etc.) to see if it recognizes the disk.    Short of that, your only option seems to be burning DVDs IF the PVR will still do that [I thought the "PCB board crash" you referred to had rendered the PVR inoperable ... but your later comment about burning DVDs indicated that may not be the case].
fredshovel

ASKER
I downloaded the EXT2IFS file and it let me give the drive a name. But then it said it wasn't formatted and "did I want to format it".  Knowing that in most cases that erases the data, I got outa there. So I'm currently burning DVDs. The entire digital section of the PVR is working -- even the HDMI -- but all the analogue on the PCB board is gone -- very strange.  Under the warranty they are going to buy me a brand new one -- and as this model's discontinued, I'll get the new model. So I might make them an offer on this.
Once I've got all the data off, I'd like to try the Linux thing just for my knowledge base. So if the EXT2IFS formatting is going to scrub  the disc, I'll have to go to plan B.  What was plan B again?
David

"I can absolutely guarantee you  that the DVD recorder records in VOB MPEG-2 format. "
No, the DVD recorder SAVES files in VOB format.   This is a subtle but important differentiation.  Your HDD in your pc does not save files in VOD format either.

But getting beyond that.   There are reasons why you can not "see" the data on the HD.
1) block size may not be set to 512 bytes.
2) The drive is locked by a password. This is the norm. SATA/ATA disks have a native mechanism to protect data on a drive by requiring the controller to send a low-level command that contains a password that allows data to be read/written to the disk.  If you do not do that, then you get random data on reads.

The locking mechanism is the norm, and not breakable unless you have very expensive specialized hardware and access to NDA information from the drive manufacturer ... and are generally in law enforcement.

Reason #2 is the deal killer.  You are wasting your time.
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fredshovel

ASKER
Garycase,
Just an update, I'm currently busy dropping the content onto DVDs and transferring to my PC. But as I've said I'd like to try the Linux thingo.
If I download the 700Mb Linux CD --  What do I do then?  And as I've said I suppose any prompt to 'format' the drive will erase data.
Gary Case

Just boot from the Knoppix CD;  then see if it "sees" the other disk [Obviously you need to connect the disk before you boot].
fredshovel

ASKER
Thanks Gary, It took me 22 Discs to copy the files to DVD.
The shop wants the unit back for the warranty so I won't have time to re-insert the HDD. It was an interesting experience though.  

Cheers
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