Change A Tivo Hard Drive

Any standard hard drive can be used to replace a TiVo’s video recorder.

It is possible to replace the hard drive in a TiVo with any standard, off the shelf hard drive. It may be be necessary to replace the hard drive in a TiVo digital video recorder if the original drive begins to fail, won’t boot or becomes unresponsive. Replacing the hard drive with a larger drive is also a cheap way to increase the number of hours of programming the TiVo can record for later viewing, without having to purchase a new TiVo.



1. Find the exact model number of the TiVo with the hard drive being replaced.

2. Go to and go to the InstantCake page.

3. Order the InstantCake software for the specific TiVo model that is having its hard drive replaced. The InstantCake software, which is licensed by TiVo, will only work for the exact model it was designed for. The InstantCake software can only be purchased from as a digital download or a physical CD.

4. Download the software and burn the InstantCake disc image to a blank CD. If this is not possible, the software can be delivered on a CD in the mail.

5. Wait for the CD to arrive if a physical disc was ordered.

Remove Hard Drive

6. Always unplug electronic devices before opening them to avoid electric shocks.

Unplug your TiVo digital video recorder.

7. Remove the top casing of the TiVo. Depending on which model is being upgraded, there may be screws on the sides and bottom of the device. Once the screws are removed, the top of the case should slide off easily. If there is any resistance, check for screws that may have been missed.

8. Locate the hard drive and disconnect the power and data cable.

9. Unscrew any screws holding the hard drive in place, and remove the hard drive from the TiVo.

Use InstantCake

10. Disconnect any hard drives currently installed in the computer.

11. Setup the computer so that the CD-ROM drive is set as the primary slave. This is done by changing the jumper on the back of the CD-ROM drive. On the back of the CD-ROM drive there is a set of 6 pins, configured in two rows of three pins each. There is a a piece of plastic jumper connecting one of the rows of pins. To set the drive as primary slave, use a pair of tweezers to remove the jumper and replace it so it covers the middle two pins. (See the first link under Resources for more information about correctly setting the jumper.)

12. Disconnect any other CD or DVD drives connected to your computer.

13. Configure the computer to boot from the CD-ROM drive. This can usually be done by configuring the computer’s BIOS settings. The BIOS settings are usually accessed by pressing a specific key when the computer is booting. On many systems the default key is “Delete.”

14. Connect the replacement hard drive to the computer’s second IDE interface. Using the same process used to configure the CD-ROM drive to slave master, set the jumper on the replacement hard drive to “master.” The correct row of pins for the master setting may be different depending on the hard drive manufacturer, but the master setting is usually labeled as “MA”. If there are no labels for the jumper pins, consult the hard drive’s manufacturer’s website for further information on the correct jumper settings.

15. Connect the power cables to the hard drive and CD-ROM drive.

16. Boot the computer, follow any prompts and instructions that the InstantCake software displays. When the process is finished, turn off the computer, unplug it and remove the hard drive.


17.Install the replacement hard drive into the TiVo.

18. Reconnect the power and data cable to the replacement hard drive.

19. Replace the TiVo’s casing, being sure to replace all the screws that were removed during the removal of the original hard drive.

20. Turn the TiVo on.

21. After the TiVo has booted, navigate to system information to view the new drive’s capacity.