Installing a 2TB disk with Customised Firmware


Staff member
I've just replaced the hard disk in my Humax HDR Fox-T2 with a 2TB drive as my original factory-fitted 1TB drive has recently suffered from a bad sector which somehow corrupted all large reads and writes to the disk. I was able to force the drive to overwrite the sector which resolved the immediate problem (old recordings now play-back successfully but those recordings made during the problem have artifacts). However, I've lost confidence in the disk and it's making a lot more clicking noises in operation than it did previously; that said, it's never been particularly quiet. Besides, who would pass up the chance to double the capacity?
There are a couple of good write-ups on how to replace the drive (e.g., but these rely on an interim step of plugging the drive into a desktop computer (usually Linux) in order to partition and format the drive. I wanted a process which could be done entirely on the Humax itself in conjunction with the customised firmware.

Read more on the Wiki...
I wanted a process which could be done entirely on the Humax itself in conjunction with the customised firmware

When I first read this I was expecting a couple of clicks and its done. How wrong I was!
So can I just confirm a quick summary of the Blog for dummies like me before I start:

Kit Required
  • hairdryer (for loosening the warranty sticker if required)
  • philips screwdriver
  • 2TB Seagate drive as mentioned in the blog
  • 3.5" SATA USB caddy
  • an empty house for a few hours so no-one comes in and gasps "oh for goodness sake what the **** are you doing to it now"???
  • can of beer or preferred celebratory tipple of choice
  1. Update custom firmware to latest version
  2. Shut the box down and open it up
  3. Remove old HDD and fit new one
  4. Boot up but cancel on screen format message
  5. Telnet onto box to run these three commands (without the humax# bit)
    humax# mkfs.ext3 -m 0 -O sparse_super /dev/sda1
    humax# mkfs.ext3 -m 0 -O sparse_super -T largefile /dev/sda2
    humax# mkfs.ext3 -m 0 -O sparse_super /dev/sda3
  6. Reboot Hummy and allow it to create folders as required
  7. Bask in the glory of your empty 2tb PVR
  8. Toast your success and continued mastery of tech
  9. Connect old HDD (in caddy) and copy whatever you still want back onto the Hummy
It sounds very easy but I can't believe just those three commands covers all the sector alignment wizardry that's detailed in the wiki?

Also pardon my ignorance but once the new unformatted disk is in will I still get Telnet access straight off? And if it needs the telnet package putting back on will it do that when I haven't formatted the new disc yet? I sort of recall from the early days that the custom firmware is not written onto the HDD but rather into memory on the Hummy itself which would explain how all this would work but I just wanted to check everything and get the steps right in my head first.
Yes, partitioning the disk to ensure filesystem/sector alignment is the tricky part that you've missed out. It usually involves a pen and paper and often a calculator.
We'll help you through it though!

Yes, you'll get telnet access straightaway. That is held in the flash memory, not on the disk. The old telnet package is no longer necessary.
Hmm ok I thought it seemed too easy! I have re-read the partitioning bit and while I recognise all the individual words used in that section I have no understanding of their collective arrangment!!

I'll hang on and see how the disk behaves now that sysmon is out of the way. The kind of help I'd need would be the sort where I copy n paste commands but I know there are far more useful things to be doing than writing specific Janet & John instructions for me! Or I will try the method where I use a laptop to format the disk. Thanks all for your patience!
Once we know the way your disk sets itself out we can provide cut and paste commands and working it through will help other people too.

Note that if you partition on a PC/laptop, you still need to take care to align the partitions although there may be tools to help with this.

Sysmon wasn't causing your disk problems, just causing them to show up in a visible way.
OK thanks af123 - will wait until 2 years is up (not long to go now) and maybe give it a try. Sorry about confusion with sysmon - there's a thread title giving the wrong impression about it Here (Click) . I'm confusing myself jumping around a few threads covering this whole dodgy playback subject (SWMBO is giving me grief about her favourite Saturday night talent show :rolleyes:)!!!!
I'm planning on having a go at this in the next couple of days. I managed to get hold of a ST2000VM003 so hopefully I can reuse the same partitioning arrangement as af123 in his blog post (thanks for posting that BTW). Whilst I know my way around PC's and PVR's (Sky etc) in general, I don't have any Unix/Linux skills so I might need a little hand holding! I do have a few questions before I start though, so hopefully someone can assist.

1. After the drive has been swapped, partitioned and formatted what happens to the customised software I have installed? I assume any custom folders created on the previous disk won't get recreated on the new one so some existing packages will presumably stop working?
2. Any ideas how long the disk formats are likely to take so I can schedule enough downtime? Is this a full format or quick format?
3. What is the easiest way to copy back my existing recordings from the USB caddy? Is it quicker to do this via a Telnet command or the boxes GUI? If via Telnet what is the best command to use?
4. To reboot, I assume I can use the reboot command (script?) via Telnet?

1. If you have the old drive mounted you can copy the /mod directory to the new drive and bingo.

2. Pass

3. The limiting factor is the USB. If you have a fast network it can be quicker to transfer from a PC, but does it matter? Set it copying by whatever method is most convenient and leave it to get on with the job.

4. Yes, noting that you might have to use manual intervention.
Looks like I have managed to complete the upgrade to a 2TB HDD ok. I was a bit stumped about how to partition the drive at first but I eventually discovered the n option of gfdisk to add a partition. I copied af123's disk layout and format commands. Things went a bit wrong when it came to copying over the mod directory as I could not work out the right command to do this via telnet so I eventually decided to just reinstall webif and the various packages I had installed. I'm currently copying over my media directory (around 400GB) using the boxes UI. Its currently copying at around 1GB every 5 mains...!
I'm copying all my 400GB in one copy command for all files. Since its taking so long I was thinking about splitting this up into some smaller copy commands. This leads me to ask, what is the best way to cancel an active copy/delete background operation that the box is currently processing?
Was the copy command sent as a command line cp command? you did mention copy/delete background operation, is this being carried out using a script containing cp and rm commands? or maybe the mv command? you could kill the process e.g. kill -9 12345
USB2 should copy way faster than that so something else is obviously constraining it. Its currently copied around 32GB...
USB2 should copy way faster than that so something else is obviously constraining it. Its currently copied around 32GB...

There will also be decryption taking place that will be slowing down the process, also the CPU will be prioritising the copy to keep time free to record 3 Hi-def streams. You could still probably kill the copy process kicked off by the humaxtv process, but it's safer not to
From the looks of it recordings are being decrypted as they are being copied back to the HDD. Is there some way to copy them without triggering the decryption? I assume the decryption process must be causing the bottleneck...?