Successfully recovering recordings from a failed Youview box

My ancient YouView T1000 finally packed in last week. The symptoms indicate that this was due to capacitor failure - frankly it might be possible to fix but I didn't have the appetite to attempt it. But I have about 200 hours of recordings on the disk and I was loathe to lose all that quality TV output!

After much Googling and a bit of trial and error, I think I have landed on a foolproof way to recover the recordings from the old disk.  For anyone else in the same situation, here are the steps I took (which I asssume will work with any Humax box). Warning - a certain degree of IT literacy is required!  Also my method is based on using a Windows PC -- but I expect it could be adapted for Mac.

1. Switch off the YouView box, open up the case and remove the hard drive. This is a standard SATA disk such as you'll find in most desktop computers.
2. Install the disk into a desktop computer, or into an external HDD caddy that can be attached to a PC.
3. You should be able to see the disk from within Windows, but it probably won't be readable as it is formatted in Linux. You need to create a bootable USB stick containing a flavour of Linux. I used Lubuntu and I'll leave you to look up the instructions -- just ensure you use the "desktop" version of the Linux OS so you can run it without actually installing it on your PC.
4. Important - go into your Windows additional power settings and disable Fast Startup. If you don't do this then your PC's own hard drive (not the one from the YouView box) will appear read-only to the Linux OS.
5. Boot the computer from the USB stick (you'll need to change your computer's bootup sequence so that it uses the USB before the internal drive) with the YouView hard disk installed/attached to the same computer. Select the "try without installing" option from the boot menu.
6. Once Linux is running, you should be able to see both the computer's own hard drive, and the YouView drive, through the File Manager app.  The latter will be partitioned into several units, but navigate to the largest partition (on my 500GB drive it was 432GB) and look for a My Video folder.  In that folder are the files you need - they have a .ts extension (you can ignore the others).
7. Copy the files you want, to a folder on the computer's own hard drive. As part of this process you must also rename the files on the target drive using a simple, valid naming convention, e.g. Coronation_Street_2020-07-02, because by default the filenames contain special characters that Windows can't interpret.
8. Once you've finished, remove the Linux USB stick and restart the computer as normal. Those video files are now available to play direct on the computer (I use the VLC video player for this).  I also found to my delight that those .ts files can be copied to a USB drive and played directly on my Panasonic TV.

Hope this has been useful.

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