Inside the DirecTV HR34 Genie

Inside HR34My DirecTV Genie HR34 box has become seriously laggy in the menu control area.  Sometimes I have to wait 30 seconds or more just to move up or down a notch.  Not an enjoyable experience.  Internet searches indicate that the hard drive may be failing.  Not being afraid of a challenge I decided to open this baby up and see what’s inside.

The hard drive is just a plain anybrand 1 TB SATA computer hard drive.  I happen to have a few laying around so I decided to swap them out.  Sure, you can use the eSata connection on the back but that is for tech-wimps.  We’re hardcore so OPEN ALL THE DVRS!


Secret LatchThere are no screws to remove in order to take off the cover.  All you need is a couple of phillips screwdrivers and a flat-head.  Anything could work.  It doesn’t have to be screwdrivers.

Turn the HR34 upside down on your work surface.  Locate the four holes as pictured.  Working one side at a time, insert two screwdrivers.  One in each hole.  You may need extra hands for this if you are not adept.   Use the screwdrivers to gently pry the latch inside the hole towards the center of the unit.  You should be able to lift the metal bottom upwards.  Hold it up with a flathead screwdiver or other thin object. Do the same on the other side.


Hidden Latch holeOnce both sides are free, there, there is a third catch in the front of the unit.  If you are feeling extra devil-may-care then poke a hole through the warranty void sticker where you will find the last catch.  Pry it gently to the rear to release it.

You could remove the sticker completely and then clean any evidence of it with WD-40.  It is unlikely that any brain-dead DTV inspector looking at it will notice that it is gone and therefore not even notice that you voided the warranty.

If you don’t want to mess with poking a hole or removing the sticker, just pry gently but firmly on the top of the cover where it meets the face.  It will eventually release without having to damage the sticker.

Easy peasy.

Another question I had was, “Can you swap drives back and forth.”

I quickly answered my question by trying it.  Place a new drive in the unit and it will be automatically formatted.  You will have lost all your programs and settings of course.  Swap back to the old one and it is back to normal.  This is great during your transition period.  Leave the cover off until you are completely done then snap it back into place.

Another reason I wanted to go with an internal drive swap was because I didn’t want an external housing with more cabling and power supplies.   This is much nicer and more portable for use in my RV when needed.

Can you clone the old drive to a new one?  Yes!

I used a hardware drive duplicator and it worked perfectly.  I imagine you could also use software like Clonezilla.