I hate proprietary disc formats

I’m testing a PVR on which you can apparently record to external hard disk drives as well as internal one. So I plug in a 1TB hard disk to test it out. Unit won’t recognised it.

Plug it into the computer. Computer (XP) won’t recognise it … or will it? The ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ dialogue knows there’s a mass storage device attached, but no disk drive number is appearing in My Computer. I open Device Manager, and there it is. I work through the ‘Troubleshooting’ items, and nothing at all useful appears.

Googling around gives a hint. Right click ‘My Computer’, select ‘Manage’, choose ‘Disk Management’. And there are the three hard drives: two internal 500GB SATA (C: and F:), and one 1,000GB one with no drive letter and no listed ‘File System’ (the other two are shown as NTFS).

Why no file system? Last time I used this drive, it was with a TV that allows you to plug in a hard drive to use for recording. But these, presumably for copyright reasons, reformat the hard disk to some weird proprietary format in order to stop people from copying the recordings back onto a TV computer. [corrected 5 March 2011]

Solution: right click the drive and choose the only option: ‘Delete Partition’. Once that was done I could click in the relevant box showing the disk drive, right click and choose ‘Format’.

Slow process (since I started typing this post, it has progressed from 1% to 9%), but hopefully the drive will be usable again when it is complete.

Moral: the PVR function on some new TVs is a useful feature indeed. But use an external disk drive that you can afford to leave dedicated to the task.

(Incidentally, I haven’t mentioned the TV brand, because I can’t remember which one it was.)

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