Hitachi HDR255 How can I copy recordings to my pc??

voidhawk

Standard Member
Hi all.

I want to be able to transfer some of my recordings to my pc. I removed the hard drive(sata) and connected it to my pc which is running win xp sp3.
The drive is recognised in the bios and can be seen via Disk Management however explorer does not see it. I'm assuming this is probably a fat problem?

Anyone got any knowledge on this?

Thanks
 

JeffD

Well-known Member
Burn a live linux distro to CD e.g. Ubuntu, then use it to boot your PC into linux, once in linux you should then be able to read the drive to copy the files off.
 

Futaura

Active Member
I don't think you need to go as far as installing Linux. There are ext2 filesystem drivers for XP which you can use to read the partition(s) on the HDR255's HDD.
 

pclare

Active Member
From what I've read those drivers can make some peoples systems unstable, but when using a Linux live CD nothing is installed onto your PC as the operating system is booted and run from the CD, see Live CD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Using a Linux live CD is, on the surface, a good suggestion. But, speaking as someone who has tried it as a method to get at recordings on a Vestel PVR hard drive I can say that it does not work and the best route that I found was to use an Ext2 driver for Windows.

The reason why a standard Ubuntu (or other) live CD will not work is due to the large 32k block size used for the data partition. A boot from live CD will let you mount the first partition OK but not the partition where all the transport stream files actully reside.

I am no Linux expert but, from what I can gather, 32k block size support for Ext2 in Linux distributions seems to be pretty hit and miss (mostly miss). I guess this might improve in the future or it might be possible to put together a custom live CD that does have 32k support. But, for now, a standard live CD download won't work.

As far as a Windows solution goes, I tried at least four different methods: DiskInternals Linux Reader; Ext2Read; Ext2IFS; and Ext2fsd. The first two of these are applications. The second two are drivers. Out of all these, I found Ext2fsd to work best. I couldn't get Ext2IFS to work at all (but others have reported success so I probably should have persevered). The two application did work but Linux Reader produced a huge garbage 188 Mbyte file for one of the files I was copying (which didn't inspire confidence) and I found the UI for Ext2Read to be rather poor and it also bombed out near the end of the copy.

File transfer for all of the Windows methods was slow. For a one-time operation to get recordings off a PVR hard drive this isn't a major consideration though.

Even though the Vestel PVRs use a Linux file system I found it ironic that it was actually Windows tools and drivers that have better support for the 32k block size used.
 

JeffD

Well-known Member
I guess it's just the Vestel's that use this awkward 32k block size then as using the Live CD method to copy recordings off my Digital Stream works fine.

I went this route as I had read the linux file system driver on Windows method can cause instability in some cases, I take it you've had no problems with using the linux file system drivers? May give it a go sometime to avoid messing with linux via the Live CD method.
 

pclare

Active Member
I guess it's just the Vestel's that use this awkward 32k block size then as using the Live CD method to copy recordings off my Digital Stream works fine.

I think some other PVRs use 32k too. But I guess not the Digital Stream. Using a large block size does make sense when you know that the files being written to a partition are going to be large.

Files written to the data partition on a Vestel PVR for a single programme recording comprise an information file plus backup (each 3k bytes in size), an index file plus backup (each typically 500k to 1Mbyte depending on recording length) and then the recording itself broken up into multiple 188Mbyte transport stream files. So, with 32k block sizes those info files will be stored a little inefficiently but for the recording as a whole the large block size should result in more efficient use of the disk space and less fragmentation.

I went this route as I had read the linux file system driver on Windows method can cause instability in some cases, I take it you've had no problems with using the linux file system drivers? May give it a go sometime to avoid messing with linux via the Live CD method.

I wouldn't say I had no problems. It did require some experimentation (mainly due to the number of different software solutions out there and the choice between application or driver). But it wasn't too hard to get something that worked. I think that some of the problems reported with Ext2 drivers for Windows relate to writing to Ext2 partitions. But of course if all one wants to do is extract recordings from a PVR disk then writing is not required.
 

petrev

Well-known Member
I guess it's just the Vestel's that use this awkward 32k block size then as using the Live CD method to copy recordings off my Digital Stream works fine.

I went this route as I had read the linux file system driver on Windows method can cause instability in some cases, I take it you've had no problems with using the linux file system drivers? May give it a go sometime to avoid messing with linux via the Live CD method.

Hi Jeff

The DS DHR uses XFS Format and none of the free driver/utilities (that I have found) will read it so you have to use a Linux CD anyway. Parted Magic is my favourite.

Cheers
Pete
 

pclare

Active Member
I am no Linux expert but, from what I can gather, 32k block size support for Ext2 in Linux distributions seems to be pretty hit and miss (mostly miss). I guess this might improve in the future or it might be possible to put together a custom live CD that does have 32k support. But, for now, a standard live CD download won't work.

I've just been doing some research to see if anything has changed since I last tried to use a Linux live CD to read a Vestel PVR disk. It seems that at least one patch to the Linux kernel has been developed (way back in 2007) to add support for large filesystem block sizes. But that has never been accepted into the kernel. There is an analysis of why not here:

Large block size support [LWN.net]

So, the situation remains that any standard Linux live CD distribution won't work for 32k block size.
 

petrev

Well-known Member
I've just been doing some research to see if anything has changed since I last tried to use a Linux live CD to read a Vestel PVR disk. It seems that at least one patch to the Linux kernel has been developed (way back in 2007) to add support for large filesystem block sizes. But that has never been accepted into the kernel. There is an analysis of why not here:

Large block size support [LWN.net]

So, the situation remains that any standard Linux live CD distribution won't work for 32k block size.

Hi

I don't have a 32k block size disk to try but has anyone tried Parted Magic Linux CD ? As it is specifically written for the job they may just have included support ? ? ?

Pete
 

pclare

Active Member
I don't have a 32k block size disk to try but has anyone tried Parted Magic Linux CD ? As it is specifically written for the job they may just have included support ? ? ?

From what I can make out from various forum discussions, there have been lots of requests for 32k support in Parted Magic (and underlying programs GParted and Parted) but that support isn't there yet. It is the Linux kernel itself that needs to provide support for large block sizes not just applications like GParted that run on top of the kernel.

I do have a number of Vestel PVR disks sitting around. When I can find some time I'll try one with a Parted Magic live CD boot and report back.
 

pclare

Active Member
I do have a number of Vestel PVR disks sitting around. When I can find some time I'll try one with a Parted Magic live CD boot and report back.

Just tried a latest Parted Magic (version 6.1) as a live boot from USB key. I can confirm that it will mount the first small partition on a Vestel PVR disk but it will not mount the second partition (i.e. the one containing the transport stream files). The mount operation generates a "corrupt superblock" error message when it fails.
 

JeffD

Well-known Member
The DS DHR uses XFS Format and none of the free driver/utilities (that I have found) will read it so you have to use a Linux CD anyway. Parted Magic is my favourite
Thought I had seen one on the net, can't find the link at the moment but it's possible I was mistaken and it was an app you have to pay for.
 

Captainkremmen

Active Member
Thought I had seen one on the net, can't find the link at the moment but it's possible I was mistaken and it was an app you have to pay for.

UFS Explorer is what you are thinking of I think. It is (as far as I am aware) the only program for Windows that can directly read an XFS drive/partition under windows, but it costs around £40.
 

peterjohnD

Novice Member
I recently acquired an old Hitachi hdr255 and would like to use it to copy some old prerecorded video tapes using a Panasonic VR with modulated aerial output. I realise the quality of recording will be reduced. Once I have my recordings on the internal hard disc I would like to transfer them to my Linux Mint 18 PC (ext4 filesystem) by installing temporarily the Hitachi hard drive in my PC. Will I be able to read and copy the contents of the ext2? hard drive onto my PC? And secondly if I can will I be able to do anything with the contents eg play them with say VLC or record as MP4s on recordable dvds? Thanks for any advice. P
 

peterjohnD

Novice Member
Silly me. As soon as I tried the first stage ie recording on the Hitachi from the video recorder, I realised it wouldn't work because the former doesn't have an analogue tuner. Still would like to hear any comments regarding reading the contents of pvr's internal hard disk for possible transfer of broadcast recordings. Thanks P.
 

Futaura

Active Member
You may be able to read the HDD on Linux, as long as the filesystem supports 32K blocks for ext2. The recordings I know are playable on Windows, so I guess on Linux too - you'll need something to play transport stream files, or convert them to a suitable format. The recordings are not encrypted.
 

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