Steps for Repairing a Disk of Unknown Faults

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
The following includes information distilled from the posts in this topic, so there is no need to read beyond post 1. The original post #1 is quoted below for reference.

Steps for Repairing HDR-FOX Disk Problems


The standard Humax firmware includes two get-you-working tools: Restore Factory Defaults (Menu >> Settings >> Installation >> Factory Default), and Format Disk (Menu >> Settings >> System >> Data Storage >> Format Storage). Restore Factory Defaults can cure some difficulties where operational parameters have become corrupted but is unlikely to solve disk issues - it is however a relatively benign process and will only entail restoring your tuning, menu preferences, and your recording schedule afterwards, existing recordings will be unaffected. The factory default process offers the option to format the disk - decline this unless you really do want to reformat the disk and start with a clean slate (deleting any recordings you have in the process).

Another tip for clearing misoperation is to shut down, wait for the drive to stop (there is a quiet click, or 30 seconds should be enough), then power down with the switch at the back. Give it a few minutes then power on and start up again. For problems to do with media streaming (which can result in the HDR-FOX freezing or rebooting), try turning off the DLNA server (Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Content Share = Off).

Format Disk will erase your existing recordings, and may clear difficulties related to the time-shift recording (TSR) buffer and DLNA index, but as it does not perform a disk surface scan it will not overcome issues related to disk sectors going bad (the occasional sector going bad is not unexpected in the life of a disk drive, but a cascade of failed sectors should be regarded as signs of imminent total failure). Firmware prior to version 1.03.xx was unable to reformat drives larger than 1TB, which could include the drives fitted in the 1TB model of HDR-FOX.

The custom firmware (see below) includes utilities to recover from disk problems non-destructively (or as little destruction as possible anyway). One such which requires urgent attention is the "continuous delete" problem - which proceeds to work its way through your recorded content, deleting it with no way to stop it (turning off and on again doesn't help). Other symptoms include picture break-ups during HiDef playback, or even during normal live viewing, and the inability to record anything at all.

Note that "hard" playback defects in an existing recording cannot be repaired - if the same defect occurs at the same point every time the recording is played, it must have been present at the time it was recorded and therefore is in the data, not as an error during the playback of correct data. A disk repair may help prevent further recording and live defects, and could sort out a simple "glitch" that restores full functionality for a long time to come - but the user must consider the possibility that defects are an indication of a hard drive nearing the end of its useful life (reports indicate 3 years of daily use is pretty good going, although drives last much longer if you don't turn them off). If you value your recordings, archive them and replace the drive as a matter of urgency.

To use these utilities you will need to install the custom firmware and access the HDR-FOX from a computer using Telnet (instructions are below). Once the repair is complete you can re-install the standard Humax firmware to remove the custom firmware (if you wish).

presumably fix-disk will attempt to leave my existing recordings intact?
Yes, that's why it's called "fixdisk" not "let's reformat it and wipe everything like the Humax menu would".

Soooo many people are overly wary of fixdisk when it has an exceptional track record. We've got to put it out there in lights: fixdisk is benign. Some members of the forum run it regularly, as a matter of course.
  • fixdisk runs a file system check to repair inconsistencies in the data structure. Use it at the first sign of trouble, before the structure becomes so out-of-sync it can no longer be reconstructed and files are lost. (Inconsistencies occur when power failures or crashes interrupt updates to the data structure - AKA "file system". Within limits, there is redundancy in the structure which allows for reconstruction... provided inconsistencies are not permitted to build up.)

  • fixdisk accesses the built-in HDD diagnostics/repair for correction of temporary or permanent disk sector faults reported in the SMART stats (WebIF >> Diagnostics >> Disk Diagnostics >> Current_Pending_Sector). Where possible, data is recovered by ECC and retries, and if the sector fails further tests it is swapped out from the pool of spare sectors (until the pool runs out, by which time the HDD should have been replaced).
Early intervention is vital unless you don't care about your data.

Be aware: the process can be quick... or could take hours to days according to the degree of file system damage. The HDR-FOX cannot be used while fixdisk is running, because the HDD has to be taken off-line which means stopping the normal function of the HDR-FOX. GRIN AND BEAR IT! Continuing to operate the HDR-FOX normally with a flakey HDD or file system risks further corruption and decreases the probability of compete data recovery.

If all else fails, it is a straight-forward process to fit a new HDD (3.5" SATA, preferably designed for AV use, up to 2TB) in place of the existing drive. The standard Humax menus can then be used to initialise it using the formatting tools described above. Any existing (and accessible!) recordings left on the old drive can then be viewed or transferred to the new drive by fitting the old drive into a SATA-USB adapter (readily and cheaply available from a variety of sources including eBay, but look for one that includes a power adapter) and plugging it into the USB socket. Access a USB-connected drive via Media >> Storage (blue) >> USB.

Once removed from the HDR-FOX and connected to a desktop or notebook computer (or whatever), the equivalent to fixdisk run from a Linux command line will be much faster than when run on the (low power) HDR-FOX command line. If it is taking too long in situ, removal and external fixing may be an option for you. Removal and external fixing is the only option to preserve your recordings if you are unwilling to install custom firmware, but guidance will depend on the exact circumstances.

Step 1: Install Custom Firmware

Please note: the CF is under continual development, including the facilities for recovery of the file system. Even if you already have CF installed, it is worth checking you have the latest version before attempting any recovery process (and install the latest if you are in any doubt).

If you are sure you have the latest version of the CF installed, skip to step 2.

A summary description of the Custom Firmware is available HERE (click).

Installation is as easy as performing a manual update of the standard Humax firmware - by downloading a file, unzipping its contents to a USB pen drive (UPD), and restarting the HDR-FOX with the UPD plugged in.

The custom firmware is only available for specific versions of the standard firmware, but from CF version 3.00 onwards the standard firmware is included with the CF download. The relevant downloads are available via the Wiki page HERE (click).

Instructions for installing the downloads are on the forum HERE (click) or the Wiki HERE (click).

For reference: the installation process for the custom software is detailed HERE (click) - only Installation sections 1 and 2 are necessary for the disk rescue process below.

Step 2: Telnet Command Line

Note: If you have the Custom Firmware "webshell" package installed, you can use that (WebIF >> Diagnostics >> Command Line) instead of Telnet (and for all references to Telnet below read Webshell). Trying to install webshell (or any other package) after a HDD or file system has gone faulty is not recommended, because this could provoke further corruption.

Once in maintenance mode (see below), and if webshell is installed, accessing the WebIF IP address automatically enters the webshell interface. If webshell is not available or not working, you will need Telnet.

Telnet provides access to a command terminal for interacting with the HDR-FOX operating system, much like the cmd window in Microsoft Windows or the terminal in Linux. This can mean downloading a program from the Internet to run on your computer - PuTTY is a good choice - but all Windows and Linux computers have a Telnet client available as standard, google for instructions for your particular operating system.

To use Telnet both your computer and the HDR-FOX need to be connected to your home network. Presumably this is not a problem for your computer (you are, after all, reading this on the Internet). If you have the HDR-FOX set up and able to access the TV Portal (eg BBC iPlayer), the HDR-FOX must also be on your home network. If this is not the case, and if it is not possible to connect computer and HDR-FOX to the home network, an alternative is to connect the two directly using an Ethernet cable. However, instructions to make this work are beyond this simple guide and will vary according to the operating system in use.

Presuming the network connection is available, look up the connection parameters for the HDR-FOX using Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN >> IP Address. There will be a series of four numbers with dots between them - eg "" (in my case). If you are using WiFi to connect the HDR-FOX to the network, the menu location is Menu >> Settings >> System >> Internet Setting >> Configure LAN (Wi-Fi) >> IP Address.

Use the IP Address noted above in your web browser address bar to open a connection to the HDR-FOX. If the result is a web page displaying an "Access Telnet Menu" button, click it. Under some circumstances the web access may go directly to the Telnet menu. If neither of these is the case, you will need to resort to using a proper Telnet client program. For a Telnet program, access may mean setting up a connection in the program's settings, or on a command line type (replace my example IP address with your own) "o" followed by Enter. If you then get the system prompt "humax#", type "tmenu" (and press Return).

If/when you are prompted to enter the system PIN, type in your HDR-FOX system password ("0000" unless you have changed it) and the custom firmware should respond with a menu (as shown in the Wiki HERE - click).

Further information regarding the use of Telnet is available in the Wiki HERE (click).

Step 3: Disk Analysis & Repair

The following instructions require that no external drives are connected to the HDR-FOX at the time. Ensure they are disconnected now.

Place the HDR-FOX in Maintenance Mode by typing the relevant command from the Telnet menu (currently "maint"). The HDR-FOX will reboot and the Telnet connection will be lost. If the HDR-FOX fails to power up following reboot, power it up manually. When the HDR-FOX reboots it will show "Maintenance" on the front panel display, and it will not be performing usual TV functions. Reconnect the Telnet session as above.

The disk repair process will check the file system for errors and repair it where possible, correct the continuous delete problem, and use an analysis report to reallocate bad sectors. As stated above: the process can be quick... or could take hours to days according to the degree of file system damage. The HDR-FOX cannot be used while fixdisk is running.

With the Telnet menu (as per Step 2), select the fix disk option by typing the relevant command from the menu (currently "fixdisk"), reply "-y" to "additional options" (this saves you having to type "y" each time there's a query), and let it run. The process may take from a few minutes to several hours (or even days). You do not need to remain connected while the process runs (so long as you gave it the "-y" option), you can reconnect to the running session to check progress.

In the event that the process "hangs": rebooting (turn power off and on again at the switch on the rear panel) restores normal operation, and you should then retry fixdisk. Beware of rebooting, and reserve as a last resort, because very long periods of apparent inactivity can be normal depending how much work fixdisk has to do. Nonetheless, if the process has actually crashed, intervention is required. Interrupting fixdisk could result in data loss, but not running fixdisk at all is much more likely to result in data loss.

In the event that fixdisk reports more and more HDD problems, on repeated runs: the likelihood is that the HDD has reached end-of-life.

Step 4: Return to Normal

Use menu option "x" to return the HDR-FOX to normal operation.

Note that, if the above does not work, further interventions are available via the Telnet command line or as options added to the fix-disk command. However, these should be applied with caution and are only considered suitable for users with technical knowledge of the file system. If these are needed, post a query on the forum and specific advice will be given to suit the circumstances.


Original post #1 (for reference only):
Please could somebody with the relevant knowledge (af and xyz come to mind) please post the current procedure for correcting an unhappy HDR-FOX, presuming the target audience has little technical knowledge. We'll take it they have already been coached to install CF 2.15 (or later) and access the Telnet menu. There's somebody currently on avforums who might end up finding this useful, their HiDef recordings are glitchy and a standard reformat has not helped.

Don't worry about presentation, if necessary I can knock it into shape and then get the mods to tidy up the topic.
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In most cases it's fairly simple with CFW 2.15.
Just using the telnet menu to enter maintenance mode and then to launch the disk repair (fix-disk) process is enough to fix most things. Specifically:

Any filesystem corruption;
Any physical sectors which have been marked as suspect but not yet reallocated by the disk firmware;

The only additional step that may be required is to ask the disk firmware to perform a self test.
Launching a disk test through the Humax standard on-TV menus performs a short self test but triggering a long test currently needs a command to be typed at the CLI although that could be incorporated into the menu as another option. It usually isn't necessary as the disk problems will be flagged before they become apparent.

Lastly, the Webif disk diagnostics page will provide more details from the disk regarding its state of health that may be used to detect signs of imminent failure, such as a rising reallocated sector count.
Having read through a few HDD fixes, it seems to me that beyond the details supplied by af123 above, the user would probably need one to one guidance for their specific problem anyway, depending on what crops up
As far as I know, I thought the new stuff in 2.15 was supposed to automate the fancy bits.
Yes, it automates the repair or forced reallocation of suspect sectors on the drive. Something which we've had to talk users through step by step quite a lot recently.
smartctl --test=long /dev/sda

Assuming /dev/sda represents the internal disk.

It is something that could be added to the web interface disk diagnostics page.
If you suspect that fix-disk has not found a possible problem, use smartctl -t long /dev/sda' to force an 'over night' test is in the WiKi HERE (Note 2)
Use 'smartctl --all /dev/sda' after 'smartctl -t long /dev/sda' has completed, to list the results of the the self-test.
Then have a look at this article to see how to re-allocate any bad blocks found.
That's not much help to a non-technical user. Hopefully it's the strategy af has incorporated into CF2.15.
Use 'smartctl --all /dev/sda' after 'smartctl -t long /dev/sda' has completed, to list the results of the the self-test.
Then have a look at this article to see how to re-allocate any bad blocks found.

The web interface diagnostics page shows the self-test logs in a table at the bottom and the fix-disk process from diagnostic mode will automatically offer to repair any bad blocks that are present when it is run.
We've made it a lot easier with 2.15 - it's just the triggering of a long test that isn't straightforward yet.
I think af123 means that the self-test logs are in a table at the bottom of the Diagnostics >> Hard Disk screen, at least they are in CF 2.14
The web interface diagnostics page shows the self-test logs in a table at the bottom and the fix-disk process from diagnostic mode will automatically offer to repair any bad blocks that are present when it is run.
We've made it a lot easier with 2.15 - it's just the triggering of a long test that isn't straightforward yet.
Thanks for that info af123. Does your e2fsck check include the -c or -cc switch to first run the badblocks program in order to update the bad block inode ?
If you suspect that fix-disk has not found a possible problem, use smartctl -t long /dev/sda' to force an 'over night' test is in the WiKi HERE (Note 2)
But it would be so much more convenient if it were on the webif maintenance panel, WITH APPROPRIATE WARNINGS when selected.

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It gives an estimated completion time but viewing the test results will show whether or not the test is still in progress.