i'm having an excellent customer service day. why? well, my tivo series 2 busted last week (actually probably earlier, just haven't been in town) and i was pretty pissed as i still have "lifetime" service on it. so i hunted around on tivocommunity.com and found that my problem looked like a bad hard drive. everyone recommended getting a new hard drive and using instantcake to bring it life. well, after conferring with the family cfo, i was able to procure the $20 to try it out. why only $20 and not more for a new hard drive? well, a while back i had upgraded my tivo adding a second drive bringing it to 200GB total. i had a sneaking suspicion that the original 40GB drive was the problematic one and was going to attempt to salvage my secondary 160GB drive. so i went to dvrupgrade.com and got the instantcake ISO download. it was a 75MB ISO download. i extracted and burned to a cd-rom. then off i went to my trusty dell that is 8 years old.
after a bit of RTFM'ing (your cd-rom drive needs to be primary slave and the drive you want to "bake" needs to be primary master), i booted the cd-rom and followed the very simple instructions. basically i clicked enter about 4 times and got a message that it was "baking my cake" and wouldn't take long. The only real status i saw was an extraction of about 694MB of "restore" as it was labeled. man that's a nice and lean device. after about 5 minutes, i was back at a shell with a message that said "power off and connect your drive to your tivo."
so i did...and powered up...and saw the "welcome, powering up" screen and waited with anticipation. about 2 minutes later, tivo had life. and life was good. restarted setup, done. download guide, done. very, very cool.
instantcake lived up to every claim it had. $20 repair and 20 minutes...man i'm happy. i did lose all the season passes, but a small price to pay for disaster recovery. oh, and by the way, i think it was my original drive, as the 160GB drive is doing fine right now.