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How to Unlock a Locked Maxtor drive from a DVR / TiVo

Unlocking Hard Drives

Many early-model TiVo DVRs contain a mechanism that "locks" a hard drive once it has been installed in the TiVo. When a locked drive is connected to a PC, the drive capacity will report 0MB to 10MB, rather than its full capacity.

If your hard drive is locked, then you will not be able to use or diagnose the drive in your PC.

If you have a locked Maxtor drive, the company's Powermax utility will not test the drive properly. It will test only some small percentage of the drive (0-10MB) and will likely not find any error that may actually be present. Thus, if you have a drive that is not functioning properly in your TiVo, you will want to "unlock" the drive so that a drive utility will see the entire drive.

To unlock a drive, you must download and run one of several DOS-based. One of those programs, DiskUtil, is available for download below.

Creating DOS Boot Disk to Unlock a Drive

1) Create a floppy disk that boots into DOS. Click here for links to software that will create a DOS boot disk.

2) Download DiskUtil, unzip the file and copy the diskutil.exe file to your boot floppy.

3) Boot your PC with your locked drive attached.

4) Enter the following command at the DOS prompt:

If your TiVo drive is connected to the primary master IDE bus, enter:
diskutil /PermUnlock 0

If your TiVo drive is connected to the primary slave IDE bus, enter:
diskutil /PermUnlock 1

If your TiVo drive is connected to the secondary master IDE bus, enter:
diskutil /PermUnlock 2

If your TiVo drive is connected to the secondary slave IDE bus, enter:
diskutil /PermUnlock 3

NOTE: This command is case sensitive. (You must use a capital P and a capital U.)

5) Completely power down your PC (do not use CTRL-ALT-DELETE).

6) Now remove your DOS boot disk and restart your PC and confirm that the drive recognizes the proper capacity.

DISCLAIMER: weaKnees makes no representations or warranties with respect, to the contents hereof and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. These instructions are provided without warranty of any kind. In no event will weaKnees be liable to you for any damages, including any loss of profit or savings, arising out of the use or inability to use the information contained in this document.

Please feel free to email us with any questions.

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