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8300HD Drive Copy Success

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Several months ago, I added an external drive to my 8300HD (running SARA on Comcast Houston). Unfortunately, from the beginning I was plagued by frequent glitches whenever playing from the external drive. I resisted swapping out the drive because I didn’t want to lose my programs, or have to deal with switching drives to access content.

Fortunately, after much deliberation, I came across a very simple method to make an exact sector by sector copy of the external drive. After a few days of testing, I can confirm that system is very stable and the new drive works flawlessly.

I used software called “Active @ Disk Image” to clone the faulty drive and copy its contents to another drive of the same size. The method should also work to copy to a larger drive. You can use the software’s windows frontend to make a drive copy, or use a boot disk to do the same. The process for a 500 GB drive took about 2½ hours. The software had a free, fully functional, 21 day evaluation period. For the record, I have no affiliation with this company. I found them through a google search.

The original drive is a 500 GB Seagate NL35.2 that came with a Cavalry enclosure that I purchased from Newegg. The replacement drive is a 500 GB Western Digital SE16 that has worked glitch free so far. I’m considering using the same process to swap this with a larger drive. I’m also considering copying the 8300HD’s internal 160 GB drive onto a larger drive as another way to increase capacity.

I hope this info is helpful.
post #2 of 6
Thanks for the info... I had always assumed that a disk image copy (disk block copy, not a file copy) would work because it's not sensitive to the filesystem structure on the disk. However I suspect that if you copy to a larger drive you will not see any increase in capacity. This is because the filesystem on the disk records which parts of the disk are in use and which parts are available. The filesystem table which records available space would have to be updated to reflect the size of the new drive. The problem is that the 8300HD use a proprietary filesystem format which none of the Windows/Mac/Linux software understands, so existing software won't be able to update the filesystem. Theoretically someone could reverse-engineer the 8300HD filesystem format and write PC software to do this, but as far as I know this has not yet been done.
There is one remaining possibility... maybe the 8300HD software is smart enough to notice that the disk is larger than the filesystem, and automatically "grow" the filesystem. Please post your results when you try this, to either confirm or deny this possibility. Thanks!
post #3 of 6
I used Active@ Disk Image to upgrade from a 160GB to a 320GB drive and it worked perfectly. Here are the details.

1. Removed the old Western Digital 160GB IDE drive and installed it into my

2. Installed the new drive into my computer, a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB IDE drive.

Note: you may need to set one of the drives to master and the other to slave to get this working. Be sure to set them back to CS (Cable Select) before you reinstall into the 8300HD.

3. I used Active@ Disk Image version 3.1.5 to create a clone, $39.95USD.

4. The software has the option of creating a boot image. (ISO) So I created a bootable CD using this image.

5. I booted the CD and chose the clone option.

6. I selected the 160GB as the source and the 320GB as the destination and started the copy.

The copy took about 2.5 hours as it does a sector by sector copy. Once completed I installed the new 320GB drive into the 8300HD and it booted right up. My free space went from 80% in use to 40% in use. I would imagine that Symantec Ghost would also work but I did not try it.

I do own my 8300HD so I was not worried about voiding the warranty. Use these instructions at your own risk! I would recommend reading this entire threat before attempting this upgrade.

Hope this info helps.
post #4 of 6
Originally Posted by pdub65 View Post

My free space went from 80% in use to 40% in use.

Sounds very promising... have you filled your new drive to > 50% use to verify that it's using the extra space? (preferably should let it fill to 95%+ to be thorough)
post #5 of 6

Sounds very promising... have you filled your new drive to > 50% use to verify that it's using the extra space? (preferably should let it fill to 95%+ to be thorough)

My Wife and kids took care of testing for me. It seems no matter how much space I add, they find a way to fill it. The drive was over 75% full when I last looked. I will post if anything goes wrong, so far so good.
post #6 of 6
I copied over a 160gb to a 640gb sata with the above software and the SA8300HD only sees 160gb out of 640gb.
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