Philips/Pace HDT 8520: freezing when navigating the library


Standard Member
We've not had much trouble with this Philips HDT8520-05 since purchasing in 2011, but earlier this year a series-recording (of Drop the Dead Donkey...) caused instant and total box-freeeze as soon as the recording was highlighted. It would only recover by removing the power. If a (presumably corrupted) index or recording such as this appears near the top of the library list, you cannot easily access recordings below. If it's at the top, accessing the library causes instant lock-up.
This bug has been reported before (on the 3-part bug-list) and the only solution to date has been to re-format the hard-drive, which of course results in loss of all recordings.

Possible solution (box running v. 7.21 *)
( I should state straight away that IT and PC's are not my area of expertise, so I tend to try things without really understanding what's going on under the bonnet!)
1. I discovered that the Philips hard-drive, once removed from the box, could be installed in a Windows 7 64 bit machine (unplug the DVD drive and utilize the SATA cables). Windows will see the disc but not the filing system, which I believe is Linux-based.

2. If you install ext2fsd on the PC, you can mount the Philips drive (start with read-only)

Ext2Fsd Project

3. The Philips HD has two partitions, you only need to mount the larger, which is where the recordings are found. Assign an appropriate drive letter.
4. Use Windows Explorer to look inside the partition.
5. the contents will include
- a journal file
-a database of booked events, and two folders:

"Lost+found" and
This latter holds the recordings in folders with hexadecimal titles: I've attached the contents of my drive.​
6. The 4-digit folders contain other folders, and these are series-recordings
The longer folder-titles are individual recordings.
7. Each individual recording contains the follows:
- a .mpx file, which holds the video, and if it exceeds some upper file-length, one or more .idx files
- a .ifo and .rap file
- a preview.pict file which is always 285kB and I assume this is used to generate the thumbnail. I've not been able to "read" this file using any of the common bit-map or raster image formats.
- an mtd file which holds the titling /text information. This is the key to identifying the individual recordings if you're going to attempt to remove the rogue entry.
Copy the mtd file to a temporary location on your pc and append .txt, then open with Wordpad: there's enough asci text to identify the recording. Repeat until you find the rogue, and note the folder address.
What I did next was a leap in the dark, so don't do this unless you're willing to risk losing the entire contents and/or having a useless box. You could back-up in SD using and RGB transfer to another PVR as a precaution.
8. Deletion
- enable 'write' to the Philips HD partition using ext2fsd
- use Windows Explorer to delete the rogue folder and its contents. In the case of a series recording, delete the high-level containing folder.

When I did this, I was horrified to see a trash folder appear on the Philips partition, and it was full of other stuff, not the PVR contents! I deleted that as well.

Switch off the PC and remove the Philips HD and re-install.

Hopefully, you'll find that the library-entry has gone and the box works fine once again!





Novice Member
Just wanted to say thanks - this was really helpful.

One point I'll add in case anyone is in the same situation as me:

I was using a laptop rather than a desktop PC. The DVD drive doesn't have a SATA connection, so I was using an external HDD enclosure instead. In this case, order to get the deletion to work, you need to right-click the Philips HD partition in ext2fsd and then click "Flush Cache To Disk" - otherwise the changes you've made won't take hold. Then you can turn off the enclosure and transfer the HDD back to the STB.

This shouldn't be an issue if, like the original poster, you've connected directly to your computer via a SATA cable, but if connecting via a USB enclosure, this should finish the job.

Thanks again for the original post - it will save me much annoyance.


Novice Member
I had this same problem with the recording at the top of the list freezing library navigation. I manually recorded a short period of tv to push the corrupt recording down the list. This made the sort button available, and I resorted the list to alphabetical rather than recording date. By approaching the corrupt recording from below (not sure if that was critical) it allowed me to delete it, and everything returned to normal function. Maybe I was lucky, but this worked for me, so thought it was worth sharing.
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