Just checking - any new news on replacing a HDD (copying to new HDD)

If Tablo uses an ext4 file system the Clonezilla might work:

  • Many File systems are supported: (1) ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs, btrfs, f2fs and nilfs2 of GNU/Linux, (2) FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS of MS Windows, (3) HFS+ of Mac OS, (4) UFS of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, (5) minix of Minix, and (6) VMFS3 and VMFS5 of VMWare ESX. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows, Intel-based Mac OS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Minix, VMWare ESX and Chrome OS/Chromium OS, no matter it’s 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored by Partclone. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.
  • LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under GNU/Linux is supported.
  • Boot loader, including grub (version 1 and version 2) and syslinux, could be reinstalled.
  • Both MBR and GPT partition formats of hard drive are supported. Clonezilla live also can be booted on a BIOS or uEFI machine.
  • Unattended mode is supported. Almost all steps can be done via commands and options. You can also use a lot of boot parameters to customize your own imaging and cloning.
  • One image restoring to multiple local devices is supported.
  • Image could be encrypted. This is done with ecryptfs, a POSIX-compliant enterprise cryptographic stacked filesystem.
  • Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE, which is suitable for massive clone. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients.
  • The image file can be on local disk, ssh server, samba server, NFS server or WebDAV server.
  • AES-256 encryption could be used to secures data access, storage and transfer.
  • Based on Partclone (default), Partimage (optional), ntfsclone (optional), or dd to image or clone a partition. However, Clonezilla, containing some other programs, can save and restore not only partitions, but also a whole disk.
  • By using another free software drbl-winroll, which is also developed by us, the hostname, group, and SID of cloned MS windows machine can be automatically changed.


Another option is Acronis True Image: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/true-image-features/

It does use ext4. I’ve mentioned using clonezilla live previously. One note it clones, drive/partition to drive/partition. So if old and new are the same size, great. If you’re going to a larger drive you’ll need to resize the new drive. But it is otherwise useful for this.

Depends on your situation. If you’re a Windows user, using a a live boot like gparted or clonzilla for cloning might save some frustration

One easy method, let the tablo partition and format the new drive. Use, for example, a Linux Mint live, if you live in windows, and then just copy (rsync works great for this) the files over.

There are various routes. If you’re bold and know exactly what you’re doing you could use dd.

Thanks for all the good input on this topic - below is what I wound up doing:

  • Downloaded & installed Tablo Ripper - GREAT TOOL. I organized all the series each into it’s own folder and pointed Kodi at the folders for “TV Shows”. Works like a champ
  • Installed a WD Elements 2TB - so far so good. I wound up doing a factory reset to get the Tablo to format and recognize the drive. Unfortunately, that cleared all my recording preferences so I had to go back in and select shows I want recorded going forward on the new drive.
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Back in 2016 someone asked about copying the hard drive, and I posted this at the time (I use a mac )

You might be best off using a Gparted boot CD / thumb on your mac … this is probably the best/safest way to “downsize” since dd would only work as you are using it on a 1 to 1 clone … any resizing needs the resizefs command (linux) to adjust the partition tables … gParted handles this for you … make a gparted bootable CD or USB drive and boot your mac into gParted (if using a burned CD hold down the C key while booting your mac with the cd in the drive… or you can hold down the Option key instead to choose from available bootable devices currently attached)

the reason your mac doesnt recognize the disk is it needs a 3rd part filesystem plugin eg…ExtFS to be able to read/write to EXT formatted disks.

(I am a Mac user myself and have extensive Linux and Windows experience)


(I used a Virtual machine “VMWARE” and booted off the gparted ISO file with the two hard drives in question connected to the virtual machine running the gparted ISO file)

dd and resize2fs are defiantly not novice commands! clonzillalive again, only does the same size and is command line driven.

I agree using gparted. It is has a GUI aka user-friendly application. You still should do some research and have some idea what you’re doing. In the end you’ll most likely find it’s rather pain free.

Using “dd” is sort of old school. You can just use “cp” on the device nowadays. You can’t do this (in any way) if moving from a 512 sector size to a 4K, just an fyi. Once you copy the old block device (old disk) to the new block device (new disk), you have to modify the partition table (using whichever linux command line tool you prefer) before you can do the resize2fs. While you can say this isn’t for the novice, it’s really not for someone that doesn’t know Linux. Just ask a friendly Linux neighbor for help, I’m sure they can get this done (that is, it’s not hard, and most will know what to do).

I’m not saying that Tablo doesn’t need to facilitate the operation, I’m just pointing out that it’s sort of “Linux 101”. And Linux people love to help out other people.

Absolutely! When I first mentioned it several posts up,

I never intended for anyone to attempt to use it… then it was mentioned. So gave a bit of a warning. I’d say it is not a recommended method for much. It has uses, I use it to write ISO to USB… but it’s nickname - disk destroyer should be taken seriously!

Yes, I’ve discovered the easiest seems to let tablo set up the new disk then just use a copy command old to new. Presuming your first disk is still functional - it can really be that easy!

Just followed this using Windows 10 with the Paragon Linux FS support software. Migrated from a larger HD to a smaller SSD (500GB SanDisk).

Seems to have worked well, happy with the results.


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Are you using a Mac?

Thanks for your post. I’m trying your method. I had about 800GB of recordings (yeah I’m considered a digital hoarder. It’s because I wan’t to build a big library like Netflix) and my 1TB HDD was not big enough. So I’ve a new 8TB that is replacing this 1TB drive.
I first tried copying the files with Ubuntu. I thought Ubuntu would do it easily but no! I don’t know why it would not allow to copy on the new (already formatted by Tablo) drive. It said I didn’t have the permission to do it, so it was read only.
I then tried again with Ext2Fsd and it worked. It took about 15 hours to copy with a Seagate Expansion 8TB connected to a USB3 port (the old 1TB drive is USB2).
I’ve connected the drive to my Tablo and it seems to recognize it but it shows as if the new drive is empty. However it kind of seems to be scanning the new drive. It’s been a couple of hours and the drive is still blinking. I can watch live TV but I cannot watch recorded videos yet. You mentioned “It too my Tablo a little vit to recognize the new drive”. So I don’t know how long it will take or if it’s actually working. I’ll wait until tomorrow and see what happens.

I don’t remember how long it took for the Tablo to start with the new drive. I don’t think it was very long though. A reboot might be needed.

You’ll have to do better then that. Check out the Datahorders subreddit. Some of those guys are nuts. I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 8.5TB used (2x10TB in Raid 1)on my NAS. I think my Tablo is probably using around 2.5TB. I move a lot of content off my Tablo to my NAS. In my opinion Plex media server is a better way to view content once your library exceeds a certain threshold. I don’t know what that limit is but I know I exceeded it.

I waited overnight and tried to reset it but my Tablo was still showing an almost empty drive. I hooked the drives again to my PC and I found that there was only about 20 folders (recorded videos) in the rec folder. So I tried copying again about 80 folders only (I have about 320). I checked that the folders were copied and it was ok. I then connected the 8TB drive with supposedly about 100 folders in it but my Tablo still showed the drive as almost empty. So it seems that my Tablo is erasing all the recorded videos but 20. I’ll see what I end up doing. It’s becoming time consuming. For the moment I’ll just swap the drives when I want to watch one of my 320 old recordings.

Wow! ok, so maybe I’m just a newbie hoarder. Maybe I’ll start doing the same and transfering my recordings to a NAS…

They are a great resource if you decide to upgrade to a NAS. Lots of options and caveats.

I wish I had advice for you on the Tablo issue but my transition was several firmware updates ago. I’m not sure what may have changed.

I troll the subchannel TV for good shows I want a copy of. There are some decent tools here for ripping content from your Tablo without disconnecting the drive. I recommend using Plex naming conventions even if you don’t use Plex. It’s easy to navigate that way.

Thanks! Tried your method to upgrade to 1TB from 500GB and it worked! Took about 8 hours to copy about 380GB of data.

ExtFS (Paragon Software) on MacOS X is able to copy the contents of the Tablo (Quad, internal HDD) rec folder. You do not need to run Linux or VirtualBox.

It appears that you need to format a new drive using the Tablo hardware. I tried formatting an ext4 drive through ExtFS in MacOS X and it did not work.

ExtFS is a kernel extension, so the copying is done as a regular GUI drag copy from one volume to another volume. There is no need to use Unix terminal commands.

I use ExtFS for other work, so I have a paid-for copy. However, Paragon Software has a trial period, and if you need to perform the Tablo copy just once, the free trial copy might suffice.

I bought a pair of 2.5" USB/SATA drive enclosures ($9 each :slight_smile: from Amazon to do the copy.

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It further appears, at the least, tablo creates a GPT partition table and more importantly, it stores the UUID of the freshly formatted drive.

LInux is not Unix - Unix is not Linux

Well, I got this text this morning :
Thanks for contacting Tablo Support.

"Transferring recordings from one drive to another to use with the Tablo is unfortunately not possible at this time. There is a third-party program called Tablo Ripper that can help you back up the recordings on your computer, but they cannot be transferred to the Tablo."

I found this thread, unplugged the old 500gb from my Tablo Lite, plugged in the new 4TB, formatted it. Plugged both drives into my old mac. I then downloaded Paragon Software’s ExtFS. I then dragged the files from the “rec” folder on the old drive to the empty “rec” folder on the new drive. Four Hours later…voila…looks like a perfect transfer to me!!!

I am a little surprised that has not figured out an “official” way to do this… Perhaps I am missing something?

Thanks so much for the suggestion!!!

Ready for my Refurb Quad!!!

Tech support to back this up. The risk of users not understanding and data loss. Not everyone has the same platform, more support headache. Windows doesn’t support ext4 filesystems, so it’s dependant on extra software, more support.

What you may see as “common sense” others may find it as something only a tech would know - wide range of skill sets.

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The original Tablo units had two USB ports, so a hard drive migration program might have been possible - but with the newer units only having one USB port, I don’t see how it could work.

And as @djk44883 pointed out not everyone is tech savvy.

$10 USB hub would make it possible.