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Add vs. Replace: Which Upgrade Kit is Right for You?

Weaknees.com offers two different types of upgrade kits:

  • The REPLACE TiVo Upgrade Kit
  • The ADD TiVo Upgrade Kit

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What is the difference between a REPLACE kit and an ADD kit?

  • With a REPLACE TiVo Upgrade Kit, you will remove your existing, TiVo hard drive (or drives) and replace it with ours. Our new drive(s) will come pre-loaded with all of the TiVo software. You simply remove your drives, install ours, and power up your TiVo. NOTE: You cannot self-install a replace kit together with any other hard drive that may already be in your TiVo. Other drives will not automatically be seen by this new kit.
  • With an ADD TiVo Upgrade Kit, you will add a second drive to your existing one-drive TiVo. An add kit can therefore only be used together with a TiVo that has only one drive in it, and that one drive must be the drive that was installed in the TiVo at the factory. If your TiVo has already been upgraded with a larger drive, then our add kits will not work. Also, many TiVo models can only hold one drive, so those units cannot use add kits. Any model that has space for two drives has add kits available on its product page.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of each TiVo Upgrade Kit:




Programming / Settings

You will lose your programming and settings.

You will retain your programming and settings.

TiVo Hard Drive Life

Hard drives have a limited life. As TiVos age, the drives generally become less reliable. In addition, Series 1 TiVos used ball-bearing drive motors, which can become quite noisy over time. Depending on the age of your TiVo, you may benefit by removing an older, factory hard drives and replacing it with a new one. Replacing your factory drive(s) is like replacing the batteries in a remote control. In addition, replacing a functioning drive(s) will enable you to retain the factory drives as a backup if for whatever reason you need your new drives repaired or replaced down the road.

You will end up with two drives--one brand new drive and one factory drive. When you add a second drive to your TiVo, they become a married pair. In other words, once a second drive is added to your TiVo, the two drives act as one and cannot be separated if one of those drives fails down the road. In the event of a drive failure, the good drive can be re-used, but only if it re-formatted and reconfigured. By keeping an old factory drive in your unit, you increase the chance for failure.


Purchasing a REPLACE drive will allow us to use newer upgrade tools when installing the TiVo software onto your hard drive. Some have reported slight improvements in performance using these tools. In addition, we squeeze a bit more space out of the drive with our tools (using space that would otherwise be reserved unnecessarily).

When we make "ADD" kits, we use a different set of upgrade tools to prepare the drive. Years ago, some claimed that these older tools can cause some performance slowdown in very large capacity TiVos. After many years in the business, and with countless TiVos upgraded with second drives, we do not consider this claim to be accurate.

Storage Space

If you purchase a self-install kit, you will remove your old drive and retain it as a backup drive. You will not be able to use that drive space together with your new drive's capacity. For example, if you currently have a 30-hour TiVo and you purchase an 160 GB REPLACE kit, you will end up with approximately 175 hours. But because of our newer tools that can recapture unused reserved space on these drives, often one new drive has more space than an older drive plus an ADD kit where we can't recapture the unused space. For example, a 500 GB REPLACE drive provides more space than adding a 500 GB drive to a 40 GB unit.

You will ADD the new kit's storage to your existing storage. For example, if you currently have a 30-hour one-drive standalone TiVo and you purchase an 80 GB ADD kit, you will add approximately 95 hours to your 30 hours and will end up with 125 hours.

Capacity Options

Remove your existing drive(s) and replace with one or two drives for most models, from 80 GB to 1 TB.

Some newer TiVo models can use a 2 TB drive.

Keep your existing drive/capacity and add:

• One 80 GB drive
• One 160 GB drive
• One 300 GB drive
• One 500 GB drive
• One 750 GB drive
• One 1 TB drive

Note: Some older TiVo models will not see the full capacity of a 300gb or larger drive. If you do not see this as an upgrade option for your model, then the TiVo will not support large-capacity drives.

(Actual capacities vary depending on the unit being upgraded.)


If you have a Series 1 TiVos (Philips HDR series, Sony SVR-2000, Sony SAT T-60, DSR6000, or Hughes GXCEBOT), we strongly recommend that you choose a REPLACE kit. This is largely due to the age of the original drive in the unit, which must be many years old at this point.

If you have a middle age Series 2 TiVo (TiVo 60-hour or AT&T 40-hour) you should probably replace, again, due to the age of the unit.

If you have a newer Series 2 TiVo (less than 18 months old), an ADD kit is a good option for you, unless you are interested in replacing your existing drive with two new drives for the maximum capacity.

If you have a Series3 TiVo, TiVo HD or a DVD TiVo, you have space for one drive only and generally must get a REPLACE kit. Series3 and TiVo HD units can now use external drives in some situations.

Note: The 18-month date that we use is a guideline only. You should consider the factors in the chart above and determine what is important to you. If losing programming is fine, and if you have a small factory hard drive, then you might want to replace that small drive even if it is only 9 months old. On the other hand, if you have critical programming that you don't want to lose, then you might decide to add a second drive to a small, older drive (at the same time, if you can live without your TiVo, it might be better to transfer critical programming to a VCR or to have us transfer the programming onto your new drive(s)).


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