Hi, guys! Some of you might have wondered why the updates of my threads are coming in so sparingly lately. Reason for that is my malfunctioning DVD recorder. My first was a Philips, bought nine years ago. A simple drive-only one with direct recording. A really fine thing which served me well. After 18 months of use it refused to recognise any DVDs (even commercial ones) and would burn the dics "to death" so-to-speak. In the following 2.5 months it experienced quite an odyssey. It went from my place to my TV shop, from the TV shop to the Philips service center, then back to the shop and to me - three times in a row. Even though the error was still apparent the service center claimed the device was working properly. In the end the service center confirmed that there was an error which they couldn't fix. They offered me a replacement - with lesser features. That was it. I thrashed the damned thing with a hammer (gee, what a joy :twisted and switched to Panasonic. The Panasonic DMR EH 56 came with a 160 GB hard disk and worked well - till it broke down one day (shortly after the warranty had expired) and refused to burn any DVDs. There was still some data on the HDD which could be played but not tranferred to DVDs any longer. It was not lost and could be transferred onto a new DVD recorder via Scart. So the problem could be solved by getting a new device. The quality degradation during the transfer was negligible. Since Panasonic offered (and still offers) the best sound and picture quality the choice was easy to get another Pana DVD recorder. This time it was a DMR EX 635 with a 250 GB HDD. It served me well - till (you may guess, shortly after the warranty had expired) the recorder broke down. It mixed up new recordings with old recordings and suddenly showed me a blue screen with a text reading "The hard disk has to be be formatted. Do you want to format the hard disc?" with the option "NO" greyed out. That was quite a bummer. The disc was almost completely full - and the data couldn't be transferred to any other disc any more! A quick check at the TV shop revealed the bitter truth: The device couldn't be re-instated unless the hard disc was formatted. I told them to pull the plug immediately in order to minimize the data loss. There I was. With 210 GB of unique data (mainly live shows and documentaries) trapped inside a machine which was unable to access them any longer. I had one last hope: If the recorder worked like a PC the data could still be on the disc. Invisible but still there. You have to know that data which is deleted from your machine is not gone; it just doesn't appear in the machine's directory. The same is true of the data when a hard disc is formatted. The information is still on the disc unless it is overwritten by new data. So I spent many many hours surfing the www for instructions and tutorials on rescuing and retrieving data from a defective hard disc or a defective machine. One evening (it was way past midnight) I was googling for the possibility of rescuing data from a Pana DVD recorder HDD - and found the site of Stefan Haller. A German guy - and a genious. He successfully managed to retrieve all the hard disc data from a broken EH 56! Moreover, he wrote a powerful python script called "dvr-recover" which made it possible to find movie files in the hex code of the device, sort them and save them on your PC. The next days I worked hard to regain access to my data. I got a 1 TB external hard disc for the rescue attempt, plugged the recorder HDD into my machine, copied the hex code and ran the script. It found almost 15800 video files, partially heavily fragmented, including one 1.86 GB big file consisting of 316 (!) chunks. Unlike Stefan I managed to get everything wih Windows only :twisted: (he used Linux). Now you know what I was "cooking" behind the scenes. At the moment I'm still re-arranging and sorting the fragments which hasn't been re-combined by the script in order to restore my recordings which may take a while. When the rescue operation is complete I'll put the HDD back into the recorder to see if I can still use it as a backup. Meanwhile I have bought my third Panasonic DVD recorder. Some of you may think this is crazy since they tend to bite the dust after 2.5 years but as I said they offer the best picture and sound quality. And if anything goes wrong with it I am confident that I will be able to solve the problem. If anyone has the same problem with his / her Pana DVD recorder and would like to get a step-by-step tutorial on my successful rescue operation please feel free to make a post here. CU and thanks fo reading!