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How to format new hard drive for Apple TV when you can't use old HD

4736 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 10, 2009 3:42 PM by Linda Custer RSS
Atagahi Calculating status...
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Nov 8, 2009 12:32 PM
I need to know how to format a new HD to install in my Apple TV where I can't use the old HD to clone or otherwise create the new structure on the new HD.

I have an Apple TV that was syncing to a Mac Mini that had a defective HD and logic board. I was unable to backup the Apple TV to the Mac Mini for some time before I had the mini repaired by AppleCare.

When the mini came back, it registered on the Apple TV as a new computer and I couldn't sync with it without losing hundreds of dollars of content.

All was okay until the other night when Apple's defective update for the ATV erased ALL my content. I updated it to 3.1 this morning, which Apple indicated might fix the problem. It didn't. The old content is all gone.

My ATV is out of warranty, so I removed the old HD and copied the files from the "Purchased" folder to my mini. That saved most 101 items that I purchased since 12/08 (but not all for some reason). I lost all content prior to 12/08 that I purchased, as well as some content since 12/08 that I purchased.

I need to keep the old HD untouched until I can purchase data recovery software. I'd like to just put a spare IDE HD in that I have into the ATV and just start over with what is in my Mac mini iTunes.

So, how does one do that? I'm not gifted with vast Unix knowledge or experience and I don't want to clone the old HD and risk losing more data if it writes to the HD for some reason.

Thanks.
Apple TV & MBP 13", Mac OS X (10.6.1), Apple TV - New HD formatting
  • Linda Custer Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)
    The good news: You can do this. Google

    new hard drive "apple tv"

    for many articles that explain the process.


    The bad news: You will need some tools and a way to re-install the operating system. You can't just take out the hard drive, put in a new one, and have the aTV work -- just like you can't take out a computer's old hard drive and put in a new one and have it work without using some way to reinstall the operating system.

    You will need to be able to access your aTV's original hard drive to get Apple's system software off of it. This will take some kind of IDE-to-USB adapter probably.

    And you will void your warranty.
    MBP unibody (late 2008) 2.8; MBA (original); Mac mini (original), Mac OS X (10.6.1), Dell 30" Display; Apple 24" LED Cinema; iPhone 3GS/32; TV; TimeCapsule 1 TB
  • Thomas B. Robison Calculating status...
    It is a shame you should have to do any of this. There's a lot to like about the Apple TV, but I'm beginning to find that there is starting to be more to dislike about the Apple TV, then there is to like about it.
    Why in the world do we loyal Apple TV owners have to jump through so many hoops to keep legitimately owned/purchased files? I've never had a problem with computer upgrades or system upgrades, at least nothing like loosing files I purchased. Why is the Apple TV such an enigma?
    Macbook Pro 13" 2.26ghz, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Linda Custer Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)
    Not defending Apple here, but this is really no different than any other computer that doesn't have an optical drive or net boot capability.

    (While we know 3.0 ate people's movies and songs, that's not what hit the poster here. He just wanted to replace his hard drive. Instead, it was classic hardware problems. And content, apparently, was still intact, just like data files would have been intact and moveable on a computer.)

    Now, one could reasonably say that Apple should have allowed net boot or remote drive capability, though. I agree. But if an aTV fails under warranty, Apple surely would reinstall the system software for a customer.
    MBP unibody (late 2008) 2.8; MBA (original); Mac mini (original), Mac OS X (10.6.1), Dell 30" Display; Apple 24" LED Cinema; iPhone 3GS/32; TV; TimeCapsule 1 TB
  • Alec Calculating status...
    Hi Atagahi,

    Firstly, have you emailed Apple iTunes support indicating your issue? There have been instances in which Apple will allow re-downloading of all content you've purchased on the iTunes store.

    Secondly, I highly recommend you get an external usb hard drive, attach it to your mini and use it as a Time Machine drive to keep your iTunes purchases safe. It's a fact of life that all hard disk drives will eventually fail. The Apple TV should never be used as any kind of permanent storage space; think of it as a 'temporary holding' zone. And as you've unfortunately already experienced, a glitch wiped out all content on the Apple TV.

    As regards your original question, it seems like there have been folks who've done just that...taken the internal drive in the Apple TV out and attached it to a mac and copied files from the Apple TV hard drive. I have not had to do such, so I cannot offer any help here except for Linda's suggestion on googling the net for solutions.

    Good luck and hope you get all your purchased content back Atagahi!

    Message was edited by: Alec
    iMac 24", Mac Cube, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,625 points)
    Linda Custer wrote:
    But if an aTV fails under warranty, Apple surely would reinstall the system software for a customer.


    They might, they might just replace the AppleTV, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't do any data recovery on a corrupted AppleTV internal drive, and reinstalling system software would probably entail reformatting and reinstalling rather than just overwriting existing bad files wiping any user data in the process to give a clean software install.
    MacPro 2008 8x3.0 GHz - 14GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Macbook, Mac Mini - reanimated, 2006 iMac 20" Core2Duo - Failing
  • Linda Custer Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)
    I agree.

    I wasn't saying Apple would do data recovery. They never would. What they would do -- in certain circumstances if the problem was their fault and the device was in warranty -- MIGHT be to restore the AppleTV's operating system. They would probably do this by just replacing the hard drive with one formatted for an AppleTV.

    I probably wasn't clear, and for that I am sorry, but I think we're saying (or at least meaning, in my case) the same thing.
    MBP unibody (late 2008) 2.8; MBA (original); Mac mini (original), Mac OS X (10.6.1), Dell 30" Display; Apple 24" LED Cinema; iPhone 3GS/32; TV; TimeCapsule 1 TB
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,625 points)
    Hi Linda

    No need to be sorry!

    I only mentioned this to be honest as the first time I took an Apple device for repair there were all these disclaimers about potential loss of data etc on the repair docket, and they wanted (to my mind a bit oddly) a user account name and password to 'test login'.

    Quite glad I'd cloned and deleted all my accounts from the drive and created a dummy standard user login that they could use - in fact reminds me to create one on all my machines just in case.
    MacPro 2008 8x3.0 GHz - 14GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Macbook, Mac Mini - reanimated, 2006 iMac 20" Core2Duo - Failing
  • Linda Custer Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)
    Very smart.

    Yes. Apple asks for your password simply because they want to try to keep your hard disk as intact as possible while being able to check everything. Of course, it is always a good idea not to hand over anything you wouldn't want to see published all over the front page of the New York Times, though!

    And of course there were those stories of Geek Squad employees (not related to Apple in any way) who would stash people's ****, but that was just a few bad employees or bad culture that developed, and not company-sanctioned.

    Much better safe than sorry.

    Thanks.
    MBP unibody (late 2008) 2.8; MBA (original); Mac mini (original), Mac OS X (10.6.1), Dell 30" Display; Apple 24" LED Cinema; iPhone 3GS/32; TV; TimeCapsule 1 TB

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