Success Story: Upgrade to ATV 3.5.1, AppleTV 2.3.1.

Old Setup: AppleTV 2.3, ATV Flash 3.5, external HD with ~150 gigs of mucic and pics.
Reason for upgrading: The ‘album artist’ bug was causing many albums in the artist view to appear with 0 songs. Annoying. Plus, I like to keep everything up to date so I don’t miss any fun features.
New Setup Goal: AppleTV 2.3.1, ATV Flash 3.5.1, external HD with 150 gigs.

The problem: Could I do this upgrade without having to re-sync 150 gigs? The short answer: No. I thought it might work but it didn’t.

The process: First tried to do the Apple TV native upgrade to 2.3.1. It started out OK, but it was stuck on an Apple logo screen for about 15 minutes and I tried to use the remote to break out. It seemed borked when it came to the AppleTV menu with NO MENU ITEMS. Strange situation. A diagnostic check showed everything was OK, so after trying to reboot once more, I just did a factory restore.
From the clean slate I upgraded to AppleTV 2.3.1.
Then flashed it to ATV Flash 3.5.1.
Then I did the NitoTV smart installer.

During the entire process I left the External USB plugged in. In retrospect, I should have unmounted it right at the beginning. I think the upgrade process (especially the factory restore) might have culled alot of the Media on there (although the directory structure seemed intact).

After successful NitoTV install, it wasn’t picking up the External USB Drive (executed ‘mount’ from ssh). I troubleshot it a few ways, trying to boot with the drive plugged in, and then plugging it in hot. I did finally get it to work, but I’m not sure how. Either it was plugging it into my Windows laptop that woke it up, or it might have been a loose connection, the mini USB connection at the drive was plugged in enough to provide power, but maybe not enough for a data connection…

So once the drive was plugged properly I ran the terminal commands (http://wiki.atvflash.com/index.php?title=USB_Primary_Storage) to link the internal Media directory to the Scratch USB drive. I thought that perhaps the AppleTV kept EVERYTHING on the Media drive (the media database, etc.) and it wouldn’t know the difference. Well, after linking to my iTunes and trying to sync I saw my hopes were crushed. It was trying to sync the whole 150 gigs again. It may have been the factory restore that ruined my best plans, or perhaps there are other critical database-type files necessary to migrate a synced external drive. Perhaps it has to do with the pairing to iTunes, which had to be performed again.

So I started clean, did a rm -R * on the Scratch volume, copied the clean Media structure, and started the sync again.

I’ll have to reinstall XBMC and Boxee after the syncing of 39k items / 150 gigs, which should take the better of two days.

One thing that would be nice to have is some way to upgrade AppleTV and ATV Flash without having to re-sync the external drive. Any thoughts devs? Might could I backup some other files in the AppleTV and replace after an upgrade to maintain the media database?

Lessons learned: Don’t press buttons during an upgrade. For all upgrades do a factory restore first. Next time, unplug the external drive before doing anything else.

… I do hope this might help someone else. If there are any questions for sure respond soon, or I might forget what I did :slight_smile: In any case, this will serve to help me remember the steps next time…