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What file format do DVR drives use

Backstory:
Lost power and my DVR and the external drive connected to it powered off.  Power came back on and the DVR says that the external drive is NOT formatted.  I probably had 50-60 shows recorded.  It asked me if wanted to format the drive and I said no.  I tried a couple of times, used different cables, followed different methods for powering the DVR and the external drive up, all to no avail.  Each time it recognized the drive it said that it needed to be formatted.  I disconnected the drive, attached it to my computer and was going to try a recovery.  One of the programs I wanted to try was asking me what file format the drive was in.  Intel, Xbox, something with a G in it, etc.  Since I do not know what the format is I do not want to risk selecting the wrong one.  I did a google search and had no luck finding an answer.  Could be that I used the wrong search terms but I did try multiple ways.  So now I am turning to the community in hopes that maybe someone can 'return the favor' and help me out with an answer :)

The question:
What file format is used, or how is the drive formatted and partitioned, when formatting a DVR drive.  I would think it doesnt matter if the drive is internal or external but, just in case it does matter, the drive in question is an eSATA drive.  Also, if there is a particular app that might be especially good at recovering the drive I would appreciate any tips.

Thanks in advance
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relliott66
Asked:
relliott66
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1 Solution
 
Aaron TomoskyTechnology ConsultantCommented:
Weird proprietary stuff to keep people from copying recorded shows to a PC. I've never had success with this. Whenever you plug an external to a dvr it starts by formatting it it's special way before you can use it.
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dbruntonCommented:
Depends on whose DVR it is.

Could well be XFS file system.  No guarantee of that though.

Attach it to a Linux file system and see if Linux can recognise it.  Try a Live Linux CD (you boot from the CD) such as Ubuntu Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/ and see if it can recognise the disk.
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relliott66Author Commented:
It is an 8240 HDC from Scientific Atlanta and the provider is Time Warner if that makes a difference.

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relliott66Author Commented:
Dbrunton:
On the Linux option, if I do get it recognized, how would I go about fixing the drive?  What app would I use?  Not a Linux guy so not familiar with what apps/cmds to use in this case...

Thanks for the responses so far and any future assistance.
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dbruntonCommented:
Well, the first thing to do is see what partitions are on the drive and if the Linux system can recognise the data files.  

If the data files are recognised then you pull them off onto some other drive.  Then you place the original drive back in and let the DVR format it.  Remove the DVR drive again and place back into the computer and boot Linux again.  Copy the data files back to the DVR drive.  Put DVR drive and reboot and see if you can then access your data.

No guarantee that any of this will work.
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relliott66Author Commented:
Tried a couple of different utilities:
Stellar Phoenix for Linux
UFS Explorer
TestDisk

All only reported on a very old maintenance partition that I know HAD existed on the disk a long time ago (about 49MB)

I then downloaded the Ubuntu, burned the ISO, booted up and ran from CD.  I used Gparted to see what it could find (because the disk did NOT show up  in the default disks when I looked) and it found the disk and said it was unallocated :(  

Every app asked me if I wanted to create a new partition or recover what it had found (that FAT16 partition).  A disk analyzer also said the drive was 'healthy'

At a loss at this point.  As we all know, the data doesnt 'disappear'.  It's there in bits and bytes and is a matter of finding it or figuring out how to read it.  I know its probably more trouble than it's worth but I really A) would like to figure it out and B) watch the shows I was recording (I know, I know, "60 shows?  you'll nevr watch them!" - It goes in spurts.  sometimes goes down to 20% and then I get super busy for months and have to play catch up)...   Missing whole seasons now :(

Any other suggestions from anyone?  Doesnt look like it is NTFS, FAT or XFS or I think one of them would have been able to say "ok, the partition info is hosed but THIS data is here".... I could be wrong though.

Thanks again
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relliott66Author Commented:
dbrunton:
Do you know how I can access the xfsprogs which supposedly IS installed on the CD and should be runnable from the CD if I understood correctly?
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dbruntonCommented:
You might have to open a terminal up in Ubuntu and type in xfsprogs

If that doesn't work then at the terminal try

find / -name xfsprogs

and see what folders or files it brings back.
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relliott66Author Commented:
Tried running it in the terminal (the find option since it wouldnt run when I just wrote xfsprog) and it says permission denied....  How do I run the terminal as a specific user?  remember that I am just running off the dedault disk when you dont do an install so no credentials are entered at any point.  

And, really, thanks for all the info thus far!
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relliott66Author Commented:
k, figured out how to run it as root but all I am finding is the docs for the xfsprog.  Supposedly it is installed by default but no idea now....
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dbruntonCommented:
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relliott66Author Commented:
Thanks for the info.  Although I was not able to recover it, nor find it for that matter, the information provided was valuable and helped with the troubleshooting process.  For the time being I created a raw clone of the drive and will use that to test further if anything else comes up to aid the process.  Now it's just a matter of curiousity since I gave up really getting the files back :)
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