"Hard Drive Error" - a way to resolve (not the easiest but it can be done)

I had a problem today where my Tablo showed “Hard Drive Error” and there was no way to solve it via the Tablo UI. I knew the drive/cage/power supply/cable was all good and I think the issue had to do with one of my kids managing to unplug the power from the drive (addition) of a new label will prevent that in the future.

It would seem that the automated scripts on the current Tablo4 tuner DVR don’t do a great job of repairing the drive. In order to test my supposition I plugged the drive into my Mac (Mac OS X 10.10) and used a utility call Paragon EXTFS. This allowed me to run a “proper” filesystem check and it found and fixed the filesystem errors.

Cleanly unmounted the disk from my Mac and plugged it in to my tablo and “presto” the Tablo found it happily.

Obviously if you are a Linux user you could also use a real Linux system to perform the same problem.

I have a couple of Hypotheses as to what is happening:

  1. There really is a problem on the disk and the default scripts within the Tablo firmware are either improperly configured so are not actually fixing the drive (e2fsck -p) or the system is not reading a return code

  2. All that is needed is to cleanly “unmount” the disk and that is enough to allow the Tablo to mount it again (tied to my first Hypothesis).

Either way, I am floating the idea that maybe the e2fsck script to check the disk that is within the Tablo firmware is not, necessarily, configured to allow the disk to be cleanly unmouted/remounted at the end of a fix and this is causing a loop whereby the Tablo attempts a fix, does not unmount the disk and then the mount command cannot mount the disk (no proper “unmount” so an error still exists) and then the Tablo simply errors out.

Thoughts? I would appreciate someone checking my logic here.