When I checked it today the green screen was still there so I eventually shut it off (well after 12 hours had lapsed). After waiting a few minutes I powered it back on and this time sent it into the Panic mode and gave it the 52 sequence to perform a complete reinstall of the system.

It went to the green screen again shortly after than and then shortly after that it rebooted.

Then it went through the sequence, “Welcome! Powering Up…” to “Almost there. Just a few minutes more…” and then back to the green screen.

I let it sit the three hours and nothing happened so I yanked the plug, popped open the case, pulled the drive out and hooked it into another computer configured to boot from CD-ROM. I found this article about fixing a blown TiVo using InstantCake so I decided to blow the $20 to get an ISO image of it to burn to CD-ROM. I used the free ISO Recorder to burn the image to CD.

For reference I’m going to quote the InstantCake README.

InstantCake README

Please Read This Document in its Entirety Before Downloading

Please note that the download product you have ordered can be between 50MB and 500MB. If you are not using a high-speed connection (ie. DSL, cable, etc) consider doing so before attempting your download. Additionally, if you are using a wireless network, please ensure your connection is stable and not subject to signal loss. You will be given 3 attempts to successfully download your software product, and if you are unsuccessful, your download link will expire. If you experience problems with your download, and all of of your attempts expire, you can contact us with your order information and we will regenerate your download links. Please note that if all of your attempts expire, and you need to contact us, it will take us some time to verify your order and regenerate the links – so please be patient and careful when attempting to redownload after a failed attempt. Ensure you have enough space on your computer, as well as a good network connection before attempting any large file download.


We are not responsible for ensuring you can successfully download your product, or problems caused by faulty network equipment or problems with your ISP. Additionally, some ISP’s limit the sizes of your downloads (HughesNet, for example). Once you have completed your download, please ensure you make BACKUP copies of your software; this is your responsibility.

InstantCake download files are distributed as either ISO files, or .BZ2 or .ZIP files which can be uncompressed as ISO files. The .BZ2 or .ZIP file can be uncompressed using a standard unzipping utility such as WinZip, or WinRAR in Windows environments, or bzcat or unzip in Unix/Linux environments. Once you have uncompressed your ISO file, you can record it to CD by using the “Burn Image” feature of many standard CD burning utilities. There are many guides to doing this which are easy to find using Google.

Please ensure you read and follow ALL instructions. When you boot your InstantCake CD you will be given the opportunity to read additional information before proceeding with your upgrade, please read it.

As a reminder, InstantCake and our other utilities are inexpensive DIY products and are offered without support or warranty. If you have a problem using these products, or a questions about their use, chances are that the question has already been asked or answered on DVRplayground or TiVoCommunity. Please proceed there with your questions, and if you can’t find the answer, please do join and post. We do monitor the forums, and your question is likely to be answered, as long as it hasn’t already been asked and answered many times over!

Requirements for using InstantCake

You will need an x86-based Personal Computer (PC) with two IDE interfaces which can be accessed as the PRIMARY and SECONDARY devices, and a CD-ROM which you can use to boot our CD. You do not need to be running Windows XP or any specialized software, in fact, we recommend you disconnect your hard disk drive(s) to ensure their protection, as well as disable any SATA devices supported on your motherboard. The InstantCake software boots and runs from a CD we supply you or can be burned if you’ve downloaded it as an ISO. You will need one or two blank hard drives which will be formatted for use in your TiVo. We do not recommend you use your existing TiVo disk drive for InstantCake installations, in fact, in many cases it will not work: the target drive is expected to be larger than the original – please keep your TiVo drive in a safe place as a backup; at least until you’ve used InstantCake successfully at least once.

Directions for using InstantCake

  • Step 1: Configure your PC such that your CD-ROM drive is connected as the primary slave device. You may need to adjust a jumper on the rear of the CD-ROM; many CD-ROM drives have the jumper set for cable-select (CS) and you can simply move the jumper to the slave position (SL) to ensure it is configured properly. To ensure the CD-ROM is connected as the primary IDE device, use the IDE cable connected to your PC’s C drive; this is typically connected to the primary IDE interface in your PC. If you hvae more than one CD/DVD device in your system, please disconnect all but one of them. We recommend you disconnect your PC’s primary hard drive (and any other hard drives that are installed in your PC) to ensure they are not accidentally overwritten by the InstantCake software.
  • Step 2: Configure your PC’s system BIOS so that you can boot from CD-ROM, and ensure your CD-ROM is installed as the primary slave on your PC.
  • Step 3: Configure and connect one or two new drives destined for your TiVo on the PC’s secondary IDE interface. You will need to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for master and slave settings for your hard drives’ jumpers. Do not use the cable-select jumper settings for your new drive(s); it is important to know which drive is the master and which drive (if you are building a dual-drive kit for your TiVo) is the slave to ensure they are properly installed in your TiVo.
  • Step 4: Apply power, and boot the InstantCake CD. The CD will auto-boot and prompt you with a few questions before building your kit.
  • Step 5: Please take note of all messages, warnings and instructions which may be displayed when the InstantCake program is done running. Knowing these important details may make a difference, especially if you need additional support.
  • Step 6: Install your new drives in your TiVo; you can use our hardware installation instructions as a reference.

Release Notes and Additional Support Resources

Please refer to the official release notes and instructions for your specific version for more details. Support discussions for InstantCake and other DIY software products are hosted at DVRplayground.

My TiVo HDD was configured as Cable Select, and according to the InstantCake directions it should be set as the Master when running the InstantCake software against it. So I did that.

After setting things up according to the instructions (including BIOS settings) I had my CDROM drive as the Primary Slave (i.e. attached as the Slave device on the first IDE controller) and the TiVo drive as the Secondary Master (i.e. attached as the Master device on the second IDE controller).  The only other device attached was the Floppy drive.  All other drives were unattached and disconnected from the power supply.

I booted up with the InstantCake CD in the CDROM but it didn’t find it — couldn’t boot from it.  I slipped a bootable Linux Floppy in the drive and it booted from that (only after first attempting to boot from the CDROM).  So I decided to grab the mfs2floppy.zip file from WeaKnees.com and create a bootable floppy disk to at least see if I could get booted to something.  My first attempt failed with some spurious errors (wanted to root floppy after spitting out what looked like normal Linux boot-time stuff).  So I grabbed another floppy, formatted it and ran the MakeDisk.bat command from the mfs2floppy.zip file again.  This time it booted from the floppy.

But I didn’t know what to do then.  Tried mounting the CDROM but /dev/cdrom was not in the fstab.

Tried booting various other Linux CDs — no dice.  I’m beginning to think this machine won’t boot from CDROM despite the fact that it is configured that way.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll try with another machine.

I’m up way too late and have to work in the morning.