Hack Your Series 2 DirecTiVo Using the Zipper

[UPDATED 10/30/06]

The "Zipper" is one of several methods that can be used to enable certain networking features, such as telnet, FTP, MultiRoom Viewing (MRV), and Home Media Option (HMO), with a Series 2 DirecTiVo. The following assumes you are building a drive from scratch, you know how to enter a static IP address for your TiVo, you know how to and feel comfortable opening the case of your TiVo and computer, and that you are familiar with setting up the IDE connections in your computer. If you do not feel comfortable with those requirements, I recommend you send your TiVo to someone such as DVRupgrade to enable the networking features for you.

  1. Preparation: Download all of the required files
  2. Create the Zipper CD
  3. Create the Zippered TiVo Hard Disc
  4. Begin using the Zippered Hard Disc


  1. Preparation: Download all of the required files
  2. Create the Zipper CD
  3. Create the Zippered TiVo Hard Disc
  4. Begin using the Zippered Hard Disc



  1. Preparation: Download all of the required files
  2. Create the Zipper CD
  3. Create the Zippered TiVo Hard Disc
  4. Begin using the Zippered Hard Disc


  1. Create a new folder on your hard disk. Name it something such as "Zipper."
  2. Extract the zipper.zip file to this folder. It should create a zipper\tools folder, miso.exe, and zipper_isomaker.bat:
  3. Copy the following files to \zipper_tools:

    the InstantCake ISO you downloaded (you may need to unzip the downloaded file using WinZip to get the ISO file)
    (Optional) the extracted Slicer file (extract it, using a program such as WinZip, from slicer.zip), if you downloaded it earlier

  4. Navigate to the original Zipper folder you created and run zipper_isomaker.bat; it will create a zipper_universal_CD.iso (it may take a while since you are also including an InstantCake image).

Burn the ISO to CD using one of the methods listed here.

Here is a complete Zipper boot CD (it will also contain the Slicer, if you dropped it into the zipper_tools folder earlier):


  1. Preparation: Download all of the required files
  2. Create the Zipper CD
  3. Create the Zippered TiVo Hard Disc
  4. Begin using the Zippered Hard Disc


  1. Making certain that your new hard disk is detected properly and your computer is set to boot from a CD, boot your computer from the Zipper CD. Hit ENTER at all of the PTVupgrade boot CD prompts until you are presented with a bash prompt.
  2. Mount your CD by entering mount /dev/hdX /cdrom, X being the location of your CD-ROM (primary master: a, primary slave: b, secondary master: c, secondary slave: d).
  3. Run the main script with sh /cdrom/zipper.sh (hit ENTER).

    The Zipper will ask for the first three digits of your TiVo service number, which can be found on the back of your TiVo.

  4. Enter the appropriate location for your TiVo hard disk (hda, hdb, etc.)

    The script will now begin the installation of the InstantCake image you provided (this may take a while).

  5. Enter a static IP address for your TiVo and the IP address of your router (or gateway).
  6. Power off the computer, and remove the TiVo hard disk.


  1. Preparation: Download all of the required files
  2. Create the Zipper CD
  3. Create the Zippered TiVo Hard Disc
  4. Begin using the Zippered Hard Disc


  1. Insert the hard disk into your TiVo; double-check all connections prior to replacing the cover.
  2. Plug in your USB-ethernet (or wireless) adapter and power on the TiVo.

    Your TiVo will reboot once in order to set network parameters. Mine did so at "Last step: acquiring information from the satellite."

  3. After the reboot, enter the following in telnet:

    cd /hacks
    sh tweak.sh

    "NOW ENHANCING YOUR TIVO" will appear on your TV screen after this step. You can read exactly what the enhancement script does at the end of this article. I chose the express installation, especially since this wasn't the first time I had run the script (previously on other TiVos).

  4. Type reboot after the enhancement script completes.

    Don't forget to re-enable your local channels after the installation has completed. To do this, tune your TiVo to a local channel you are not receiving, call 1-800-DIRECTV, and after you hear "Thank you for calling DirecTV. How can I help you?" enter "711"; you may need to wait until you are prompted to enter the code to do so. Your receiver should begin downloading new channel information shortly.

  5. (Optional, if you want to enable DHCP) Run the /enhancements/network-delete.tcl and /enhancements/net-launch.tcl files (choose "y" to the DHCP question) and reboot.

In my experience with using the Zipper, the greatest advantage I found over other methods was that everything, including hacks, is on one CD, so there is no need for disc swapping in order to create a hacked installation from scratch. For some users, the greatest advantage is the Zipper's support ("out of the box") for newer network adapters, such as the Linksys USB200M version 2 and the D-Link DUB-E100 revision B1. A complete list can be found here. The only disadvantage I can possibly see to using this method is the preparation necessary in order to build the Zipper CD. For more infomation go to the Zipper site here and/or the TiVoCommunity thread here.

In closing, I should note the differences between the Zipper and the Enhancement Script. This is a quote directly from the Zipper site:

The Zipper is a tool that installs modified software on a Series 2 DirecTivo. It enables the USB ports on the back of your Tivo, allowing you to transfer shows between Tivos, and stream music and photos from your PC to your TiVo. It also installs Tivowebplus, channel logos, new splash screen, CallerID, and more. With a little extra work, you can also move shows between your Tivo and your PC.

And this is a quote directly from the Enhancement Script thread at TCF:

Attached is an automated script that tweaks and enhances your already-hacked Tivo. This script is included with The Zipper, so you don't need to run it if you've already completed a full Zipper install. To use the script attached here, just unzip it, FTP it to your Tivo, and run it. Detailed instructions are here. It’s interactive, so you can pick and choose exactly what it installs, and it comes with an uninstall script so you can remove everything easily. It works will all Series 2/2.5 Tivos, including the HR10-250 (3.1.5f and 6.3a). Here’s what it does:

1. Installs channel logos on the guide banner and Now Playing list.

2. Replaces the “Almost There” splash screen with this more interesting one. If you don’t like it, you can download any one of these splash screens, and FTP it to replace the one stored in /tvbin/AlmostThere.png. Be sure to change the name of the replacement screen to “AlmostThere.png” to match the existing one before you FTP it to your Tivo.

3. Installs a profile with “aliases” that provide shortcuts to commonly used commands. For example, to mount your root drive as read-write, instead of typing out the full “mount –o remount,rw /”, you simply type “rw”. See the readme for the full list of aliases installed.

4. Installs a Customized Version of Tivowebplus. Now based on Tivowebplus version 1.3.0 with many great enhancements and fixes made by John1980. Version 1.3.0 now includes custom icons created by TheEndless, and also several additional useful modules, including:

- Channelprefs.itcl (set/backup/restore channel preferences): courtesy of SteveT.

- Manual Record: courtesy of John1980.

- Backup (backup/restore season passes and wishlishts): courtesy of angra and agw.

- Conflict Resolve: courtesy of Sanderton.

I have further customized the package to include the following:

- MRV module courtesy of Flash_ and Alldeadhomiez.

- Hackman module: courtesy of PortlandPaw. .

- Merge module (merge multiple shows for batch play): courtesy of acacia.

-Netconfig.itcl (set IP address, mask, wireless SSID, etc in MFS): courtesy of Flash_ and lgkahn.

- Custom ui.itcl module (create and manipulate folders in NPL): courtesy of lgkahn.

- Tivowebplus main menu is modified to show the name of your Tivo at the top of each menu – helpful if you have multiple Tivos. Here’s what it looks like:

5. Installs a fully functional cron setup for improved performance and logging. Creates all required directories and files, and installs a crondtab to do the following:

- Restart Tivowebplus every night at 3am CST to eliminate occasional problems that crop up with TWP.

- Create a tarball (archive) of your logs once/week, and save it in your root directory for easy FTP’ing. Helpful to have if something ever goes wrong with your Tivo, or you just want to explore your logs for well-defined time periods.

- Wipe your logs once/week (after archiving them) to keep them from getting to big and hindering performance. Also wipes the tarball archive above.

- Run fakecall every night at 3am.

- Reboot your Tivo twice/week at 3am. This cleans things out for better performance if you have several hacks running. Also restarts logs, and allows fakecall to reset the last successful call indicator, so your Tivo won't call home (fakecall doesn't update mfs entries without a reboot). This allows you to keep your phone line connected for PPV ordering or CallerID.

6. Searches for and removes MRV/HMO expiration certificates from MFS.

7. Makes a Backup of Your Season Passes and Wishlists. This is extremely useful if your drive ever fails, or you have to rehack your Tivo, upgrade to a new software version, or buy a new Tivo. Many thanks to agw who wrote the core tcl script that makes this feature possible.

8. Appends Your Crontab to Make a Weekly Backup of Your Season Passes and Wishlists. I always forget to make manual backups in TWP, and when I clobber one of my Tivos, I’m always restoring an outdated backup. This feature uses cron to make weekly backups and store them in /seasonpass-backups/backup. Be sure to frequently FTP the backups to your PC for safe keeping.

9. Adds or Removes Showcases and Yellow Stars. If your Tivo is hacked, you most likely don’t get Showcases and Yellow Stars anymore. The script asks you if you want them or not, and runs one of two tcl scripts that add or remove the MFS tokens that signal Tivo go give you showcases. If you select this, showcases should start showing up the following morning.

10. Updates the Profile to Easily Edit the Crontab. I added an alias to the .profile called “root” that opens up the crondtab (var/spool/cron/crontabs/root) in vi. I hated typing that whole long path every time I wanted to edit it. Just type “root” from bash to edit this file.

11. Installs NCID CallerID Application. Both the client and server are installed on your Tivo. Also, you can manually configure it to run the server on one Tivo and have it communicate with multiple Tivo clients. Other options can be tweaked to your taste. See the NCID website for details. The on-screen display program used by NDID does not work for Series 2.5 Tivos, so this feature gets skipped.

12. Installs USB 2.0 Drivers. First backs up original drivers to a folder called backups-orig. Installs the correct drivers based on the kernel version of your Tivo that’s detected by the script. Thanks to Jamie and Alldeadhomiez for making this possible, and for granting permission to use the drivers here. There's always a slight chance that replacing drivers will kill your connection, so be prepared to break out the serial cable or pull the drive. Adapters tested so far include: Netgear FA120, Linksys WUSB11, Airlink ASOHOUSB.

13. Confirms network settings are appropriate for MRV. Checks to see if your IP parameters are permanently set in MFS, and if not, will set them for you if you choose. This is required for MRV to work properly.

14. Installs "netperf" to measure network performance between multiple Tivos. Actually, it just configures netperf paramters in a series of aliases that let you easily test MRV speeds by typing a single word a the bash prompt.

15. Installs EndPad (Plus).
Many thanks to Sanderton and Falcontx for their permission to use this fantastic tool. If you like EndPad (or even if you don’t), please consider making a donation to Cancer Research though this link, posted by Stuart Anderton, the author of EndPad.

16. Installs the joe Text Editor. For all who have cursed vi at one time or another, this is for you. It’s a bit more human friendly than vi.

17. Customizes Your Bash Prompt. This adds a descriptor to your bash prompt, which can be especially useful if you have multiple Tivos. There’s also an option to add the “TiVo colors” to the bash prompt. Here's what it looks like:
If you received your 6.2 image from a Tivo download and then hacked it using the Gunnyman guide, you most likely got theses certificates, which will stop MRV/HMO from working 180 days after the download occurred.

18. Keeps Your Hacks Out of /var.
The /var partition is the equivalent of a Windows recycle bin, and occasionally your Tivo will decide to wipe everything in there. The problem is that many hacks are hardcoded to use /var, and will not work if stored anywhere else. All such hacks installed by the enhancements script are stored in /enhancements/varhacks. The script creates symlinks in /var that point to the corresponding hacks in /enhancments/varhacks. It also appends the author file with commands to recreate the symlinks if /var ever gets wiped. If you want to move other hacks out of var, copy them to /enhancements/varhacks, and then run the script called var-symlinks.


In other words, the Zipper is a method to hack your TiVo, while the Enhancement Script builds upon an already-hacked TiVo, regardless of the method originally used (such as PTVnet); the Zipper happens to include the Enhancement Script as part of the download.

Please check the first post in the comments section of this article for any updates.