Why can't we move a drive from one Tablo to another?

I bought a Tablo which I used for a couple of weeks before the Tablo stopped working properly and needed to get replaced. Amazon sent me a replacement, but unfortunately just swapping out the Tablo unit wasn’t enough as it won’t use the hard drive written by the other Tablo unit. I don’t understand why this limitation exists? The fact that the hard drive is external and you should be able to easily move it from one Tablo to another should be a great selling point. I always hated that about the Dish Network DVR, that if the DVR developed a problem you would lose all your recordings (which happened to me a few times). Since the hard drive is external, it seems that shouldn’t be the case with Tablo, but it is. Anyone know why this is?


It is a commonly requested feature. It is to be done.

The reason is the Tablo database is stored locally on the Tablo unit itself. In fact you can do a Database Migration from one Tablo to another Tablo if you contact Tablo Support, they will do it for you. Only caveat is you need the first Tablo to do it, I hope you didn’t send it back yet.

I suspected it might be something like that. I haven’t sent the original back yet, but after searching had decided it just couldn’t be done, and am in the process of formatting the drive for the new one now. Oh well, will know for next time (if there is one.) Thanks.

Let’s hope there isn’t a next one.

I have had mine since May 2014, no replacements.

My Tablo crashed over the weekend and they very quickly and generously shipped a replacement. Max said he’d include the instructions to use the same drive and recover the recordings but that did not happen and called 20 minutes after they closed. Anxious to get it going again so reaching out here. Max made it sound like the process was performed by the end user, not them. Is that incorrect?

Well is your ‘first / original’ Tablo totally dead? From my understanding, the database is stored locally on the Tablo and it needs to be migrated from one Tablo to the next. So if the first Tablo is dead, I don’t think you can do this. Unless a backup of the database is stored on the USB HDD.

No not totally dead and no there is not a backup stored on the HDD. Odd thing is that I got it to come back to life twice soon after they shipped the replacement. Up until the 3rd time with the hot flashes I thought it might be ok. But since the new one was on its way and this one had serious issues I figured I’d just go with the replacement. But it’s 9am there so I’ll give them a buzz and let Max work his magic.

Oh btw I picked up an older Roku 3 and will see what difference that makes.

A design flaw. Why not store the database on the drive? Back with the 2 TB limit I can understand why but 5 TB or larger will be here very very very soon.

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How big could the database be? In my case I have maybe 180 GB on my 1 TB drive.

@tablosupport provided the migration instructions and all ended up great! Big THANK YOU to them!

I could post them here as I don’t see them anywhere or maybe to it’s own thread if it could be locked so only instructions are on there and they could update as necessary. Nothing I hate more than reading through dozens of posts (or more) to see if anything changed.

Back up and running!


@mullermj - There is a major risk of losing your entire database so we don’t recommend users tackling it by themselves. This is why we haven’t posted the instructions on the knowledge base.

@getcashmoney - This is moving a database from one Tablo to another. Not from one drive to another.


@getcashmoney - several people have reported that they successfully copied/migrated data from one drive to another. I did a quick search and found this:

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This thread is about using the SAME hard drive, and moving it from one Tablo to another Tablo. It is not about changing hard drives - there is no easy way to do this yet. And Tablo Support does not do this for you.

@beastman I learned the internal drive of the Tablo is 128 MB so any database cannot be any larger than this. Does seem reasonable to store it on the drive unless it negatively affects performance of course. So maybe some day…

I have been emailed instructions on how to move my hard drive from one tablo to another, however, following the instructions exactly has gotten my nowhere. Please help.