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Humax Foxsat HDR – Upgrade HDD to 2TB

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by neiljt, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. neiljt

    neiljt Standard Member

    Oct 24, 2007
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    A Condensed Guide to Hard Drive Configuration


    I upgraded my unit last night, from the 320GB it came with to a Samsung HD204UI 2TB.

    I've no idea how good my choice of drive will prove to have been in the long run, but a number of factors were considered. Firstly, ignoring all advice to favour drives specifically designed for AV use, I had previously (several years ago) upgraded a Sky digital box, replacing the default 40GB drive with a 160GB Samsung drive. That drive lasted me for at least 2 years until I canned Sky. And it got a fair hammering. Though I did disable the Sky instant replay feature, which is said to cane hard drives. I'm not sure if the Humax unit abuses drives in the same way. Other considerations in choosing the Samsung were: capacity, economy, price, sound levels. So I'm not necessarily recommending this particular model, it just works for me.

    However this is not intended to be a guide to upgrading the hardware. There seems to be a few of those around already. What I struggled to find was a straightforward guide to configuring a new drive such that it can simply be dropped in and run. You cannot just drop in a 2TB and let the unit format it. Well the unit will certainly have a go, but like I did, you will probably find yourself Googling for help once the front panel has displayed “Initializing Parti” for the first 15 mins or so.

    I'm comfortable in a Linux environment, but feel free to choose your tools. The main objective for me was to understand the configuration required rather than being too pedantic about how that should be achieved. So this is less a HOWTO, more a WHATTO. If you see what I mean.

    Before you start

    Please read the whole guide – including the notes – before starting, or deciding whether or not to start at all. You are assumed to be proficient in UNIX administration. If you're not confident in this area, you could be better off with a more user-friendly guide, as this is not intended as a primer. There will be no further health warning or disclaimers in this guide.


    Remove “old” drive from Humax device.
    Hang both the old drive and shiny new 2TB drive off a nearby linux server.
    Log in to the root account.

    Create partitions & file systems on new drive

    Use fdisk to view partition layout of old drive and take a look around
    Use fdisk to create 4 primary partitions on new drive as follows:

    Device		  GB		Purpose
    /dev/sdc1	   4		Recording schedules [1]
    /dev/sdc2	   0.2		EPG [2]
    /dev/sdc3	1994		Video data [3]
    /dev/sdc4	   1.2		Music & photos [4]
    Create ext3 file systems on each of the 4 partitions on the new drive

    Migrate existing configuration & data

    Mount the devices on the old & new drives on /mnt/old1-4 & /mnt/new1-4
    Copy your old stuff across:

    # cp -rp /mnt/old1/reserve.info /mnt/new1 [5]
    # cp -rp /mnt/old2/fsatepg /mnt/new2 [6]
    # cp –rp /mnt/old3/* /mnt/new3 [7]
    # cp –rp /mnt/old4/* /mnt/new4 [8]
    Deploy new drive

    Install new drive in Humax STB
    Check menu->system->HDD for space available [9]


    [1] The size of the original is 2GB, and this was barely dented at 4% use. But it seems silly to be too mean if you've got so much to go at. 4GB should be enough even for an industrial couch potato.

    [2] I could be wrong, but just extending archive storage should not affect the size of the EPG. This can remain tiny.

    [3] This is the partition you need to make as big as you can.

    [4] This one is up to you, though I don't know why anyone would store photos or music on a STB. If you're with me on this, make it as small as possible. I understand that the unit likes this to be a minimum of 1GB. Now this could either be a real minimum value, or it could be (though this is just a theory) that the unit's interface will not let you configure it to be less. Someone please try setting a much lower value, and follow-up here with your findings!

    [5] It could be fact or anecdotal, but I'm sure I have read that copying reserve.info & fsatepg to the appropriate partitions on the new drive convinces the Humax unit that the disk has been prepared for use, and it will not format the drive on first boot after upgrade. It's also possible that you must do more than this – or less! It's definitely more or less true, as I followed the steps above and the unit didn't format the drive on startup.

    [6] See [5].

    [7] Migrating this data is optional, but if you don't do it, it's probably a good idea to create these 2 subdirectories in the partition: cd /mnt/new3; mkdir Video Movie. All ownerships and permissons should be created as required if you are logged in as root. You can confirm this by checking the setup on the old drive.

    [8] Nobody actually uses this, do they? Again, if you don't migrate data from the old drive you should probably create 2 default directories here to fool the unit into thinking all is as it should be (i.e. so it doesn't reformat the drive on first boot). These are the 2 you need: cd /mnt/new4; mkdir Music Photo

    [9] When I checked mine after first boot with the new drive, it reported 1.9GB (sic) free. I wasn't too concerned, as the same screen displayed free recording time as 245h (HD) or 980h (SD). So I guess that's a limitation in the firmware. I can live with it.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  2. flexiondotorg

    flexiondotorg Active Member

    Nov 15, 2004
    Trophy Points:
    Hampshire, UK.
    Thanks for posting such a useful guide. I am about to get a sat dish for the first time and wanted to upgrade the Foxsat-HDR hard disk before I got it connected. I'm also a long time Linux user, here are my additions to your post.

    My Foxsat-HDR has never been connected to a dish. I've just connected it via HDMI and used the menus to upgrade the firmware, completed the basic system configuration and reformatted/resized the original 320GB hard disk. Here are the partition sizes from the original 320GB disk.

    /dev/sdc1   2.0GB   Recording Schedules
    /dev/sdc2   99M     EPG
    /dev/sdc3   291GB  Videos
    /dev/sdc4   1GB     Music and Photos
    This is the contents of the original 320GB disk when when it is pristine, you'll notice there is no EPG data.

    |-- /dev/sdc1
    |   |-- lost+found
    |   `-- reserve.info
    |-- /dev/sdc2
    |   `-- lost+found
    |-- /dev/sdc3
    |   |-- Movie
    |   `-- Video
    `-- /dev/sdc4
        |-- Music
        `-- Photo
    Running Ubuntu Lucid 10.04.1 LTS (32-bit) Desktop I used 'fdisk' to create 4
    primary partitions on the 2TB drive.

    /dev/sdc1  2.0GB    Recording Schedules
    /dev/sdc2  256MB   EPG
    /dev/sdc3  1.9TB    Videos
    /dev/sdc4  800MB   Music and Photos
    I left the 'Recording Schedules' partition at 2.0GB, just as the original disk. I've increased the 'EPG' to 256MB. The 'Music and Photos' partition I've deliberately made smaller than 1GB to test the theory that smaller sizes will work and it is just the Foxsat-HDR UI that limited to creating a 1GB partition.

    I used 'mkfs.ext3' from the command line to ensure that all the available hard disk was allocated for use. By default ext3 will allocate reserved space for the super user user, typically 5% is reserved. I'm guessing this is not required for Foxsat-HDR so I disabled the reserved spaced using then '-m 0' option.

    I've also used 'tune2fs' to disable file system checking flags, again I'm guessing these will not be required by the Foxsat-HDR.

    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Recording Sched" -m 0 /dev/sdc1
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc1
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "EPG" -m 0 /dev/sdc2
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc2
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Videos" -m 0 /dev/sdc3
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc3
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Music and Photos" -m 0 /dev/sdc4
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc4
    The new 2TB drive appears to work in the Foxsat-HDR, reporting 982 Hours SD and 245 Hours HD capacity. Once I get it connected I'll report back, but all looks fine so far. Only 'reserve.info' is required to convince the Foxsat-HDR that that hard disk is correctly prepared. The Foxsat-HDR GUI correctly reports the new size of the "Music and Photos" partition.

    If you want to reclaim the space allocated to the super user then the following should do the trick. It will need to be run on each partition in turn.

    sudo tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sdc1
    sudo e2fsck /dev/sdc1
    Running 'df -h' before and after will show how much space you've claimed back :)
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  3. itm

    itm Standard Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    Trophy Points:
    I've just followed these instructions, also using a Samsung Samsung HD204UI 2TB, but seem to have fallen at the last hurdle. All of my files copied across OK (including recordings) - I viewed them in Ubuntu and the disk content looked identical to the 4 partitions on the old drive.

    The Humax booted up OK, but shows 0% used and 0% free on the HDD. Nothing is listed under media.

    Does anyone have any ideas what to try next?
  4. allenb

    allenb Standard Member

    Feb 27, 2011
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    I'm no UNIX expert by any means, but could it be that the files on the new disk are owned by your username? To be on the safe side, I converted all mine back to root:root.

    You can do this with a series of terminal command like:

    sudo chown -R root:root partitionname

    Where partitionname is the name of each of the four partitions. If you don't know what they are, an ls in /media (in Ubuntu, not sure if this is the same for other distros) should tell you.
  5. DuncanEllis

    DuncanEllis Standard Member

    May 9, 2011
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    I've tried to follow this but everytime I insert the new disk back in the HDR it wants to format the drive. If I stick the original drive back in its fine.

    alk about frustrating, can anyone provide any further guidance? Thanks

  6. TonyA

    TonyA Well-known Member

    Oct 16, 2004
    Trophy Points:
    I'm currently going through this process myself - installing a 2TB Western Digital AV-GP drive.

    I had exactly the same problem as you last night, and have removed the new drive and connected to an Ubuntu box and notice that the new drive had been partitioned with GUID - whereas the original drive is using MBR (Master Boot Record).

    I have just re-formatted the drive (using Disk Utility) making it MBR, and re-partitioned (using gparted). I have also created all partitions to "cylinder" rather than "MiB" boundaries.

    I now have 2.49MiB partition of unallocated space on the disk - which is exactly the same as the original disk.

    I have removed the Lost+Found directories on the new disk that were automatically created during the partitioning process - as these do not reside on the original disk either, and will get created by Linux if they are required, so they aren't really needed to begin with.

    I am currently re-copying my data across from the original disk to the new disk.

    I'll let you know how I get on!

    Edit: Well - not very well as t happens....

    I re-formatted the drive using MBR like the original, then partitioned, and copied the data over - placed the drive in the Humax, and booted.

    The Humax box just sat at the "BOOT" prompt and didn't move! So this particular disk is not playing ball with the Humax - also tried it as an External drive, and the Humax came back saying it wasn't in the correct format! But it is - it has all of the partitions available in EXT3 format!

    The main p***er for me was that when I put the original disk back into the Humax, it reformatted it, wiping all of my Schedule, and recorded media! Great!
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  7. SteveMM

    SteveMM Novice Member

    Dec 27, 2015
    Trophy Points:
    I had the same experience - after setting everything up as described the Humax box immediately tried to format the drive again.

    In the end I decided to wait until the new year in case we ended up with no TV over the Christmas holiday. So I put back the original drive and guess what?! It insisted on formatting that one too! Fortunately I had backed up the recordings that I wanted to keep before I started.

    Did you ever manage to get the new large drive to work?

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