dslreports logo
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery


how-to block ads

Search Topic:
share rss forum feed

Nile Asp


U-Verse DVR hard drive upgrade while keeping the recordings

I have been racking my brain and the U-Verse box on how to upgrade the hard drive and still maintain all my recordings.

***Please remember you are doing this on your own and you are voiding the warranty and whatever else AT&T decides to do. I still don't know why they just don't install a bigger hard drive and save everyone the headache, or even give you the option to pay a little more and get it that way. Oh well

Upgrading the hard drive is as simple as removing the old hard drive and placing a new hard drive, the letting the system do its thing. You can see how that is done using this


After hours and hours of research and web searches I finally found this »forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthre···t=984998 that show you how to upgrade the hard drive to a larger one, and still maintain the recordings. The explanation was good, but it didn't have all the details necessary to actually perform the upgrade, so I kept trying back and forth till I finally got it. I have to admit I would have never figured it out on my own. Now here we are with a solution, finally. I hope this helps others instead of them wasting their time.

I have only done this with the U-Verse VIP1225 that has a 250GB and upgraded it to a 1.5TB. Based on the posts and the amount of space I ended up with, 1TB is the max the system will recognize, but I already had the drive and it was 1.5TB and it was the green drive, still worked perfectly. The box I had had a SATA drive, I heard that older ones use ATA, so check before continuing, the procedure should still work, but I can't guarantee it. So I will do my best to outline the procedure:

1. Power off the unit and unplug it
2. Remove the hard drive as shown in the 1st link
3. Install a new hard drive, plug the power and let it boot. This took a long time, maybe 2 hours. Once it is done and the system is back up, you will see that the recordings show nothing and the space available is huge.
4. Do steps 1 & 2 again
5. Hook up the 2 hard drives to your computer and see what you have. You will notice that each drive has 2 partitions. The 2nd partition of each drive has the files you need.


6. On the new drive in the 2nd partition, you want to get how many files are in the directory dvrvol. Write this number down you will use it later.
7. Wipe out the new drive and all the partitions; I used Disk Management for this. In Windows Start-->Run-->type diskmgmt.msc and that will bring up Disk Management. I deleted all the volumes in the new drive. Please be careful when using this, you could accidentally remove your OS, any important files, or the original drive from the U-Verse box.
8. Once that is done, use EaseUS Todo Backup Free to clone the drive:
A. Select Clone --> Disk clone
B. Select for Clone Source, the original U-Verse hard drive
C. Select for Target Location, the new hard drive
D. Check the box for “Sector by Sector Clone”
E. Select “Next”
F. Do not modify anything else. I know it shows that there is unallocated space, don’t worry about it, the U-Verse box will take care of that.
G. This will take about 2 hours
9. Copy the file dvr.mrt from the original U-Verse hard drive to your computer’s hard drive
10. The original U-Verse 250 GB hard drive had had in the dvrvol directory 193 slc files. My new hard drive showed 999 slc files when I viewed it in step 6.
11. Now we need to get the number of files in HEX format. You can use any online converter for this; I used this »www.rapidtables.com/convert/numb···-hex.htm. Based on the files I found the following:
A. For 193 slc files -->C1
B. For 999 slc files --> 3E7 *This is from step 6
12. Now we have to convert these numbers to get the value we need.
A. 1st we need to change the value to 4 digits by adding zero(s) to the front so
1. For C1 --> 00C1
2. For 3E7 --> 03E7
B. Next we need to move the last number to the front of then number:
1. For 00C1 --> 10 0C
2. For 03E7 --> 70 3E
13. New you need a HEX file editor. I used HxD which you can find at this »mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/. Once installed open the file dvr.mrt that you copied to your own hard drive in step 9. Don’t mess around with the original. We need to modify decimal position 172 & 173 in the file
14. After the file opens go to Search --> GoTo
15. In the popup window check the dec box and type 172. At that position, you will find that the values for 172 and 173 are 10 0C. You will need to update them to the new values. In my case the new values were 70 3E. Save the file.
16. Now override the existing file in the new hard drive with the file we modified in step 15.
17. Install the hard drive and power up the system. In my case this took about ½ hour will it made all the necessary changes.

After completing this process you will find that the new hard drive has all your recordings and now show a lot of free space depending on the size of the new drive you installed. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope this helps everyone out there.

Gastonia, NC

Reminds me of my original Xbox mod, and upgrading the hard drive to hold game backups. Had to do similar steps with hex editing and hot swapping.


Linville, NC
reply to Nile Asp

Thank you thank you thank you!
The HDMI port on my IPN4320 went bad so AT&T sent an ISB7500 as a replacement. I have several programs that have not been aired since their initial run and are not available on DVD (documentaries, etc). This guide worked perfectly for me, even remembering scheduled recordings.

There was only one extra step: Once the new drive was completed and the box was reassembled, the box would put a large red "X" on the screen and all the lights would flash in error. I assume this happens because the firmware for the old device was present on the new hard drive. I held the power button for 10 seconds to restart the device, and it began the process of repairing and updating the drive.


Livonia, MI
reply to Nile Asp

I've been considering to this for years; I eve open up the DVR and plugged the drive into a PC.

Why can't you use a drive clone program instead of all the hard work you went through.




In short, the Uverse DVR uses a formatting method not found on consumer pc hard drives and cannot be cloned with conventional software, so before you clone you have to let the DVR format the drive first.

" "
New Orleans, LA
reply to Nile Asp



Alabaster, AL
reply to Nile Asp

Ok, bear with me for a moment. I'm a Linux/Unix nerd and a software engineer by day so I know my way around the command line pretty well. Unfortunately for me, the U-verse platform utilizes Windows CE under the hood.

Anyway, when I had U-verse installed this time, I was given a Cisco ISB7500 that contained a Seagate Pipeline HD.2 500GB hard drive. I was prepared with the proper tools to open the box. (I know the risks, I actually used to work for AT&T, so please don't lecture me). Unfortunately, I hadn't done enough reading, so I promptly popped in a 2TB Western Digital Red drive. Amazingly, the box formatted it and came up just fine...although I believe it was only recognizing 1TB of space. I recorded something small, then rebooted the box as a test. I'm glad I did as the box promptly reformatted the drive again. I tried ths a couple times, and the drive was reformatted every time the box lost power. I assume this was due to the combination of this being an "advanced format" 4K sectors drive and being over 1TB.

So, I looked around and found my old faithful Hitachi Deskstar 1TB drive with 512 byte sectors. I popped that bad boy in, let it format, and it's been running fine in there for close to a year now. Fast forward to now, and the age of the drive is starting to worry me. While it has always been a solid drive, it was bought back in 2010 so it was probably manufactured in either 09 or 10. It's getting up there in age. It's also a fairly loud drive...not that that's anything new for it.

Now to my question. All of the talk here has been about moving existing recordings from a smaller to a larger hard drive. If I were to find and purchase another 1TB 512 byte sectors HD, would all of the above be necessary? It seems as though all of that work is dedicated to letting the OS know about the correct amount of free space on the new drive and the amount of recordings it contains after you copy them over. But that situation is with different size drives. If I'm using an exact size drive, and want to move my stuff over, does anyone know if there's a reason that a bit for bit copy using dd (ex. dd if=/dev/hdb of=/dev/hdc) would't work? It may be that nobody out there has tried, but I'd be curious if anyone has and their experiences.


Edgewater, FL
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse

There was a thread earlier than when this one was created. It covered many of us replacing the HDD in the VIP1225. I don't think anyone tried a WD Red, but the Greens (4k) were tested with mix results. I don't remember the reformatting issue being common, but network studder during playback. For me the sweet spot was a Seagate 7200.11 and .12 (512byte).

I don't know what caused it, or if it has happened to anyone else, but there was a user that reported their HDD being reformatted without notice. When it came back it was partitioned to the original DVR size. (Example: 1TB coming back cleared as a 500.)

I know neither one of those answer your questions, but I wanted to put the info out there for anyone else who just found this thread. I just returned to Uverse, and now have a ISB7500. I haven't changed the 500GB drive in it, because I simply don't use the DVR that much.

EDIT to add links:
»DVR Hard Drive Replacement - Greater Than 500GB?
»Hard drive upgrade undone by U-Verse!


Alabaster, AL

I actually have read those threads. I think those threads actually pre-date the Western Digital Red drives. I really think the Advanced Format 4K sectors is the problem. The 500GB Seagate Pipeline HD.2 that came in my ISB7500 is a 512 byte sector drive. The same drive, in a 1TB capacity is a 4K sector drive.

I decided to try the safest route first. I just went out and found a brand new unopened Hitachi drive that's the exact same model as the one I have. As long as it isn't DOA, doing a bit for bit clone to it really should work. I guess we'll see once I get it...