What about replacing (saturated) drives?

While I appreciate all of your expertise and advice, there’s absolutely nothing “crazy” about having the option of switching to a new drive, while preserving your older recordings!
The inability to do this is what’s truly “crazy”!
If you’re dealing with (major) scheduling problems or chronic illness (as I have) and want to record entire seasons of shows and/or additional programming, there’s no reason to have to go through an (at least somewhat) complicated process (with a PC) in order to preserve your recordings!
They market a product that’s has design flaws and we need to accept this and say thank you??
The process described (above) only pertains to migration to a replacement Tablo device. Period.
Once you take your older drive and reconnect it to the Tablo, it must be formatted!
Kiss (potentially) hundreds of hours of recordings goodbye!!
…and this is perfectly normal and OK??
Every situation is different. I get that…but in many cases, it’s relatively easy to fill up even a larger drive.
Now your stuck with the inability to never be able to re-attach that same drive and watch your recordings??..as has been the case with (likely) every DVR since the inception of DVR’s!
That’s perfectly fine?? Seriously??

BTW…Even the representative that I spoke with at Tablo support agreed that this is a mistake and that this option SHOULD be available!
It makes perfect sense!
This was clearly a definite mistake in the design!
The Tablo needs to recognize it as a Tablo drive!
In which case, re-formatting is completely unnecessary!..and destructive!
Whatever needs to be done to fix this problem, should be done! Fix the basics first and then you can play around with new features!
Instead, they’re focusing on a flawed, dissapointing “commercial skip” function (aka, selling feature) that seems to get worse with each update!

The person that’s purchasing a Tablo would:
A) Have had previous experiences with DVR’s (as they’re relatively common and widely used).
B) Someone that’s new to “cable cutting” and/or hasn’t had previous experiences with DVR’s.
In either situation, how can you assume that this would be an issue at the point of purchase?
In fact, in most cases, it’s not an issue until they either:
A) Have the insight to question the process of swapping drives (while maintaining their recordings on the original drive).
B) Find out the (very) hard way by losing everything if they re-attach the original drive!
Please!..let’s be more open-minded about this.
There is absolutely no reason (other than a botched design/implementation) that would cause you to lose all of the data simply by re-attaching you original drive.
…and it’s completely unrealistic to think that the possibility of saturating a drive, replacing it and then eventually needing to watch previous recordings isn’t going to occur! It will!
Perhaps not for all…but certainly for enough users to make this somewhat of a priority!
Instead, it appears to have been ignored!
Put yourself in the position of someone that should be able to anticipate not having a problem with this (such as myself)!
Then losing hours and hours of recordings!!
Many more people need to complain about this.
Instead of simply accepting their mistakes and trying to attempt “work-arounds” that may or may not work!
The ability to do this simply and easily has been a standard feature on all (if not most) DVR’s from the outset. There’s no excuse for this nonsense!!


It appears you didn’t read my post or I didn’t explain it well. I’ll try again. Contrary to what Tablo seems to have told you, If you have two drives, both with previously recorded programs, ONE Tablo will read and use either drive. Think of it this way… If you buy a NEW Tablo, the process of migrating your old drive, complete with programs, is there and works. If you have multiple drives, all you have to do it press the reset button before disconnecting the present drive so it will write the programming information to the drive you want to disconnect. Then you disconnect the drive, do a factory reset on the Tablo and after it comes back up, you plug in the second drive and after it reloads the information, all your shows are there and fully playable. I’ve done it several times and it works fine. The ONLY downside is that it takes about one hour per 500 shows (as I recall) for the information to be reloaded to the Tablo when you connect a previously used drive.

It was suggested that you have to quickly remove the drive after the reset… that’s not true. All that does is reboot the Tablo. It WILL NOT format the drive or lose any data if you do it as I (and Tablo) describe.

There is NO PC required for this p[process to work. It’s really simple to do and unless I misunderstand, does exactly what you want.

Does that help?

Here is the procedure as written in the Tablo Knowledge Base…

Moving your recordings to a new Tablo

Tablo Support - David

January 07, 2020 12:51


If you replace your Tablo DVR the process below will allow you to migrate your existing recordings stored on an external disk (devices using internal storage, SATA storage or Cloud storage are not supported) and schedule data to your new unit. This process will work for ALL Tablo models (including 2-tuner migrations to 4-tuners, etc.).

Note : For this process to work, your NEW Tablo must be taken directly out of the box. If you’ve already run a channel scan on your new Tablo, you will need to factory reset it for these instructions to work.

If you have connected to your new Tablo already, note its firmware version: you can find this at the bottom of the Tablo Settings screen. The new Tablo must be on the same firmware version as your original unit. Our support team can also check this for you, so don’t hesitate to send us a ticket.

Step 1: Reboot your original Tablo with the USB drive attached using the blue reset button on the back of the Tablo. Wait for the Tablo’s blue LED to go solid. This can take up to ~2 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the USB drive from your original Tablo and set it aside.

Step 3: Attach Ethernet and power (in that order) to your new Tablo.

Step 4: After your new Tablo’s LED is solid, attach your USB drive to your new Tablo.

Step 5: After a few seconds your Tablo’s LED will begin pulsing.

At this point, it is transferring your original Tablo’s database to your new Tablo. This can take several minutes. Steve427 EDIT… This is WRONG!!! It takes about 1 hour per 500 shows. NOT minutes!!

Once your new Tablo is finished downloading the database it will reboot. The process is complete once the Tablo’s LED is solid.

The article you posted repeatedly states new tablo! Your edit is in response to transferring to new tablo.

The poster you replied to even recognized this! They did read your entire mis-information -

concluding -

Your repeated insistence migrating your recordings to a new tablo is synonymous with migrating from one drive to another drive are erroneous!

@TabloSupport and @TabloTV have posted several times there’s no official or supported way to transfer your recordings to another drive. There are user post with details and a backup script with response from others with success.

You’re lightly suggesting a user Factory Rest their tablo


A factory reset should not be attempted as a troubleshooting step and should only be done as a last resort by someone who knows what they’re doing.

with no warning what they are actually doing or what might go wrong! …particularly if you’re giving instructions for something they don’t want.

If you are comfortable wiping out your tablo may depend on your background and skills… may not be a fit for everyone.

It feels like you are trying to make this more difficult than it is. You seem to think he wants to move his recordings to another drive. I understand he wants to be able to use two different drives with different information (shows) on the same Tablo. The article and process I referenced will do exactly that. Doing a factory reset on a Tablo is not a big deal. It is in no way risky to the Tablo and since the drive is disconnected while this is done, there is no risk to his previously recorded shows. The instructions I posted are directly from the Tablo Knowledge Base so it’s not something I made up. I have done this many times with results exactly as described in the Knowledge Base. The only requirement is that the firmware revision of the Tablo must be the same as the revision used when the drive was disconnected AND the process takes about one hour per 500 recordings. The Knowledge Base specifically says if the Tablo has made a channel scan. it must be factory reset before this will work.

As you’ve set the tone…

The market appears to overwhelming accept the product as designed (I do have issues with tablo myself). The Ok Boomer mindset is no longer the primary demographic modern devices are marketed to/for.

You’ve never responded, when asked, how many terabytes have you already filled? As many users have numerous serious and spanning years of series… Did you get a new large capacity drive, or use an old one you already had?

inception of DVR’s… virtually all cable/satellite DVRs are sealed. Common user don’t want to know about tech and even if they could add a drive… they pay enough for the DVR, they’re not going to pay for more storage.

Customer service are going to tell you what you need to hear, they’ve probably marked "Displeased" is putting it mildly! and again, you didn’t like the answer you got…

If they follow tablo’s recommended drive suggestions capacity starts at 1TB …it’ll take awhile to fill, many users will likely buy more - more is better mentality. Then there’s tablo’s overly complex explanation of recording settings, which impact storage capacity. (note: I did not follow tablo’s recommendations for drives)

yes! Current generations with mobile devices have little experience with external drives, beyond flash/USB storage drives. Their computer use is primarily work related, then it’s ultra light cloud based if not a laptop. Tablo with it’s streaming technology is marketed to modern users with modern devices.

I have an old-school setup myself. I had a PC-DVR with media PCs on each TV. In rural area, there’s no true high speed internet to bother with proprietary streaming devices. I find is ridiculous I can’t access my tablo over my local network, via PC, with out first needing internet access.

I now use my tablo to record, export show to my PC, then continue with my old dated system to share across my network. I’m out dated, not going to have a fussy-fit because they won’t accommodate my needs.

In the end, isn’t it - you didn’t get a large enough storage device, now you’re unhappy and want somebody to blame?

1 Like

Thank you for investing all of this time and effort!
…but there seems to be some confusion.
What I’m attempting to do can’t be done (certainly not on the Tablo itself).
This was verified by Tablo support.
I’ve had success transferring my drive to another Tablo. I had issues with my original unit and was able to get it exchanged.
I’ve even discussed the FACT (with Tablo support) that it takes FAR LONGER than a “few minutes”. That’s completely erroneous information!
In my situation, it took over two and a half hours!
This was on a weekend, no less.
Just imagine the stress, thinking that this process should take just a few minutes and having no support (thanks to their much too limited phone support hours)??
To get back to the original subject, you can’t disconnect a drive, put it away in a drawer and then expect to re-connect it later on (to the same unit).
It simply won’t work! The drive will be formatted and all of your recordings will be wiped out!
You shouldn’t be forced to watch all of your recordings and/or delete recordings, in order to continue using the same drive!
You should have the freedom to connect a new drive, while preserving your older recordings for future use on the Tablo!
To reiterate, this isn’t rocket science!
It’s actually DVR 101!
Anything less is completely unacceptable!!

In response, the size of the drive being used isn’t all that important. What’s important is to have the “built in” ability to switch drives at will, without sacrificing the original drive because they never incorporated a standard option that’s been second nature to other DVR’s for at least 20 years!!
There’s truly no defending them in this situation!
This was a design screw-up! Plain and simple!
They’re well aware of it…but they have chosen to ignore it…and I don’t understand why?

I see. I believe you’re describing as though both drives have “tablo information” on them. I understand they want to replace their full drive - record new show on a new drive. At some other time - swap drives, but the old one back, and watch previously recorded shows.

This may be technically possible, but constantly re-writing to the the tablo may be a concern. You’ll need to be aware of how long to want to save old shows like this. When the old schedule migrates, and/or if tablo updates the vast time discrepancies may be an issue.

This works, I’ve done it as well, but is a very risky move to use as a routine swamping method. If they’re uncomfortable moving files via PC, making sure they get everything done just right could be dangerous.

Well, you kind of can. If you slowly read his post, and realized he’s saying use a new drive to record so both have tablo data on them. You’ll need to tap the button to create the backup DB, for some reason tablo doesn’t routinely do this?

When I upgraded my firmware (because) - I factory reset them and swapped drives. One read the DB and rest it’s self as the other tablo, reading the DB upon boot. (I had to delete the directory to get a format prompt).

Given this experience (I didn’t even try) it’s possible to “swap” drives as @Steve427 describes. It’s unclear the long term impact this may or may not have.

I do not recommend it or suggest it as an alternative to moving recordings to another drive - which is a one-time-deal.

The issue of time since the recordings were made is only of minor importance. At one point, I wanted to view a show that was on a drive I had disconnected about a month before. I did the referenced procedure and after waiting for the HOURS for the Tablo to reacquire the data from the drive, the show(s) I wanted to watch were there and watchable. The old schedule was there as well and I found it easiest to delete the schedules and redo the schedules for current shows.

I have suggested to Tablo that they correct the Knowledge Base to NOT say it will take minutes because when I first used the process, I believed their “minutes” comment and after an hour or so, decided it wasn’t going to work and I reformatted the drive and started all over, losing all my previously recorded shows. After that, I decided I wanted to understand how to do it and did a number of tests. That’s when I found that it takes about an hour per 500 shows. I’m disappointed that they haven’t corrected that error in the procedure but given that, it does work very reliably. I’ve now done it a number of times, for various reasons.

This is a ludicrous statement!
It happens to be a 4TB drive.
So based upon your opinion, I should have invested far more in a much larger drive, so that I could compensate for their design mistakes and accommodate them by using an even larger drive?? Think about this!
Are you now going to also dictate to me just how many shows I’m supposed to record and just how frequently I should be viewing them??
Instead of fixating on the fact that you seem to think that their design strategy makes sense, you need to come to the realization that it actually makes no sense whatsoever!..and this was basically acknowledged by their own support representative!
Now it would be nice if they would please do something to remedy the problem!
…and it’s definitely a problem. Whether certain contributors here think it is or not (depending upon their own individual needs).

:speak_no_evil: :thinking: :see_no_evil: :neutral_face: :hear_no_evil:

I’m confused I guess. I have described the process to use multiple drives on a given Tablo with no need for a PC or anything else. Is that not what you wanted to do? If it is, I fail to see the problem now other than the fact that it does take a long time to “acquire” the drive if it has a lot of shows on it. What am I missing?

I am also wondering what DVR you were useing 20+ years ago that allowed you to swap drives. The first DVR I believe was tivo about 20 years ago and that did not have a swappable drive. As pointed out most if not all cable/satellite do not have swappable drives.


I think OP mentioned ReplayTV.

I short, while you can move drives to a new Tablo, the process does take some time if there are large numbers of recordings. So… I think the takeaways are just in making that clearer maybe.

Obviously ReplayTV does date back to “another world” time wise (NTSC).

My local TWC closed years ago so I can’t obtain one of their DVR’s.

Maybe the Channel Master DVR+ - but it seems to be discontinued.

Amazon has everything. How about ReplayTV - can’t seem to find the magic button to buy one.


Since Christmas has been cancelled maybe Santa’s elves and cobblers will build the DVR you want.

…and my post is deemed inappropriate??