Reading files from Humax HDD on a PC

Tony Norton

Active Member
Reading files from Humax HDD on a PC.

Well, that's the title, but it is something I have been unable to do.

I intend to replace the HDD in my elderly Humax FVP-4000T. I've had the HDD out of it, hooked it up to a spare pair of SATA power and signal connections, (something I've done before when I have wanted to clone an HDD), thinking I may be able to copy the files stored, via my PC, onto an external HDD.

The results were rather strange. Although the PC recognizes the presence of the disk, and identifies it as a Seagate "ST3500312CS", lists it under "Device Manager" and reports, via "Properties", that it is working correctly, I cannot read it via Windows Explorer, nor does it show up under "This PC".

However, does anyone know why I am unable to read even the titles of the files?

If it's any use, a brief description of my system: -

Processor: AMD A6-6400K
Ram: 8GB
OS: Win10 64 bit.
Storage: 1 off SSD 250GB, 1 off HDD 250GB, each partitioned C: and D:, and E: and F: respectively. Both approximately 40% used.

The Humax disk label, among other things, as well as the Serial Number, Part Number and "500GB SATA", says "Video 3.5 HDD"
Could this latter have something to do with the problem? Are the files stored in a format not recognized by windows?

There must be a reason, but what? I'm wondering if I might just clone it, the cloning program resides on a CD, and hope.

Any help you can give would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Tony Norton
 

Tony Norton

Active Member
Thanks maf1970,

that is most helpful. Just a couple of questions: -

Does a replacement disk need to be formatted by Linux, or will a Windows format suffice? I have read that FAT32 is the format that seems to be used mostly. I do have Linux OS available, but not installed, and am reluctant to dig out an old HDD, install Linux on it, just to format one HDD.

Any advantage/disadvantage to be gained by using NTFS?

Thanks for your help
Best Regards
Tony N
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Depends on what the original disk is formatted as. Given that you need to be able to read Linux disks I would conclude that the drive needs to be formatted to linux. The thing is Linux can use different formatting. I would suspect it is ext4 but it may not. You will be able to find this out once you have the drive connected up and are able to read it.
There are live versions of Linux that can be put on a CD,DVD or pen stick. One of these would fit your needs.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The Humax runs Linux and use EXT3 file system, download Linux Live USB tool, it will make a boot-able from USB Linux OS, feed it a Unbuntu ISO image.

Boot PC from USB stick and once your in unbuntu click it's program menu (square dots) and type disk into the search bar, that will bring up the disk formatting tool GUI.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
A couple of points to help you out.
1) Unfortunately you will find that all the recordings on the hard drive are encrypted with a key unique to your Humax motherboard. This is done ”on the fly” during the recording process. So even if you get your files they won’t be playable on anything other than the original Humax, even trying to play them on another Humax won’t work.
2) As I understand it swapping out the hard drive is as simple as that, the Humax will format and partition the new drive once it discovers a new blank drive - just follow the prompts on the screen.

here is a link to the Humax forum which you might find helpful
hummy.tv
 
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Tony Norton

Active Member
That's very handy David.

I was on the point of posting an question about which MS format to use on a new disk.

Although I managed to copy my resident recordings using "Linux Reader" and "Linux Recovery" the number of recovered files number is only 3, described as "LostFile 000001", ditto 2 and 3. The first is 131MB, whilst the 2nd and 3rd are 16KB and 4KB respectively. Whether I will be able to copy them to the new HDD I don't know, although my drive is only about 25% (of a 500GB HDD) full, the 131MB file, unless it is substantially compressed, is nowhere near big enough to contain my current recordings. I guess I may have to kiss them goodbye in the end. Still, it's not life threatening when all is said and done.

Thanks again David
Best Regards
Tony N
 
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Tony Norton

Active Member
Further comments and questions re my previous post.

I have just examined "LostFile 000001" using XV132 (a Hex editor), and found, after a couple of lines of code, absolutely nothing! Just 300+ MB of [00]s. I think my foray into Linux recovery etc. was a total waste of time!

Is it possible, directly from the Humax via the USB port, to copy the recordings to an external drive?
If the answer is "Yes", is it then possible to transfer those recording to a newly installed HDD?
Also, I am assuming that the external drive need to be Linux formatted, for which I propose to use the tool suggested by "next010", for which I thank him.

Alternatively, I do have the Acronis cloning disk, purchased when I swapped the HDD in my PC to an SSD? If I were to clone the old disk, which it has been suggested is showing signs of failing, would it only transfer the data thereon without transferring any surface errors?

It's been a bit of a venture into the unknown for me but, at the end of the day, nobody dies.

Thanks to all who have contributed. I will report back when the exercise is over.

Cheers
Tony N
 

DavidG1

Active Member
Is it possible, directly from the Humax via the USB port, to copy the recordings to an external drive?
Good news and bad news on this. It is possible to copy standard def recordings onto a flash drive via the humax’s USB, and the recordings are decrypted. Not sure about connecting a hard drive though. For hidef recordings you are out of luck these remain encrypted. Unfortunately copying recordings this way is quite slow. Again look on the hummy tv forum for more detail. I don’t believe it is possible to record these back to the hard drive though.
However on your internal HD your recordings should occupy GBs of data, if you can only see Megabytes it would suggest these have been lost.
 
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Tony Norton

Active Member
UPDATE

My replacement disk arrived, but rather than chance messing it up I dug out of my old stock a 160GB SATA drive, smaller, but large enough to take the few recordings I had on the Humax HDD to be replaced. This was formatted EXT3 using the Acronis Disk Director. After connecting this, and the Humax HDD, I booted up using the Acronis cloning disk, and ran the 'clone disk' program. Fitted the supposed clone of the Humax HDD to the Humax, result - "No recordings". So that doesn't work.

Having decided that none of the 'lost' recordings were that important, I fitted the new replacement to the Humax. AOK except that I found, via [Freeview Play], "Settings", "Storage", "PVR Settings", "Internal HDD", that this reported "Total usage", "System usage" and "User usage" were all "00.0GB", meaning that the disk was not formatted. I suggested, if anyone is contemplating changing the disk, not to try testing it before formatting. The test goes on forever! Selected the "Format storage" option, and I now have a brand new, properly functioning HDD in my Humax.

As I still have the old Humax HDD I intend now to disconnect all my windows drives, just in case, install Linux on my 160GB drive, format an external drive using Linux, and then see if I can do a straight copy from my old Humax HDD to the external HDD. It probably won't work, but it's worth giving it a go. I've nothing to lose, except of course my old recordings, and it gives me something to do.

Will let you know how it goes.

Cheers
Tony N
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
My replacement disk arrived, but rather than chance messing it up I dug out of my old stock a 160GB SATA drive, smaller, but large enough to take the few recordings I had on the Humax HDD to be replaced. This was formatted EXT3 using the Acronis Disk Director. After connecting this, and the Humax HDD, I booted up using the Acronis cloning disk, and ran the 'clone disk' program. Fitted the supposed clone of the Humax HDD to the Humax, result - "No recordings". So that doesn't work.
In my experience trying to clone a disk to a smaller disk doesn't work. Normally it is like to like or smaller to larger.
Did you identify the old and failing Humax disk as ext3 ? Just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean to say it doesn't work at all.
PVR makers tend to encrypt all recordings to make it difficult for copies to be made. Since you found lost files then that is a clear indicator that the disk is going and in doing so probably corrupted your recordings. Did you verify that all were OK to watch in the first place or just assume that was the case because they were recorded?

If you liked the programmes so much then why not just buy the DVD/Blu-ray if available ?
 

Tony Norton

Active Member
Hi maf1970,

I have cloned to a smaller disk in the past, there is a "proportional" option in the Acronis 'manual' option which works if there is sufficient space. I know that because I have even cloned system disks that way. The problem is that nothing I have tried enables me to read the file names, let alone copy them.

I even disconnected all my Windows drives, installed Linux Mint on a blank disk and, using that, tried to read the removed Humax HDD. Nothing doing. I do know that the files were valid because I watched a couple of the recordings the night before doing the Linux exercise. I think that Humax, as you said, have encrypted these files to a level that one cannot even see the titles. A sort of "B****r off. We're the only ones allowed to read our files!".

I haven't missed much by losing all the old recordings and, as I said before, nobody died. I did watch one of the programs I know I recorded, on 'On Demand' last night, and none of the others were that important. It was, however an interesting exercise, Kept me amused for a while.

Cheers
Tony N
 

Tony Norton

Active Member
A minor problem. Fitted the new HDD. After 2 days it told me it was 95% full, which, of course, it couldn't possibly be. Removed said HDD and gave it a thorough test with Acronis Disk Director.
The disk checking option revealed that, after re-formatting, the new HDD obviously had a substantial amount of bad clusters. When it started the ETA of the finish was just under 5 hours. "Oh well, I can live with that, I'll just go and do something else". Checked the progress after about half an hour only to find that the ETA had gone up to 25 hours. Did some calculations on the number of clusters done against the total number of clusters, and found that we were only 12% of the way through. Watched it for a while. Nothing improved, in fact the ETA went up to 28 hours. My guess is that the extremely slow progress was due to Acronis endeavouring to repair the bad clusters. At that point I thought "enough is enough". The disk is going back to Amazon and the old one has gone back in the Humax. After a reset to factory defaults, formatting, checking and hooking up to my WiFi, it seems to be behaving OK. Wonder how a replacement is going to perform.

Tony N
 

Tony Norton

Active Member
Time to close this discussion. Replacement HDD arrived, fitted, formatted, tested, A.O.K. Further comment would be superfluous.

Thanks to all for advice proffered.

Tony N.
 

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