Removing a Hard Drive from a SKY+ HD Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box

This is a quick blog post about my experience when removing a hard drive from a SKY+ HD satellite receiver set-top box, and preparing it for use in a Windows 10 computer.

Note: I’m not referring to the newer Sky boxes, but the older boxes that people don’t send back.

May 2020 update: Since writing this blog post back in April 2018, I’ve purchased other old Sky set-top boxes at car boot sales and removed their hard drives. I’ve found it to be a cheap way to add extra storage to my PCs. I think one of the boxes I purchased last year only cost me £1 GBP! I’m not using the hard drives for critical data.

satellite box cover and hard drive

satellite box cover and hard drive

Warning: If you are thinking about doing the same, please be careful as you could hurt yourself when dismantling the product. Also don’t hold me responsible for any costs, warranty issues or any other problems! I purchased an old set-top box and I don’t use a Sky service via a satellite dish.

Note: I think the box I purchased was a Amstrad DRX890-R, but I’ve now disposed of the part which showed me the model. I know hard drive sizes can vary in the old SKY+ HD set-top boxes, so worth checking before you make a purchase and/or decide to open a box. This blog post is just about my experience with a second-hand product I purchased.

I went to a local car boot sale and for five pounds (GBP) purchased a box that contained leads, a satellite receiver and an ADSL modem. Whilst the receiver worked, but I was more interested in recovering the hard drive and some other parts for future projects.

Taking apart the receiver
It’s likely I took it apart incorrectly, but after the use of a couple of screwdrivers, some muscle power and five minutes of time, I removed the hard drive. 

satellite box parts and hard drive

I had to be careful, to avoid cutting myself whilst taking the product apart. I’m going to keep the screws and some parts I found.

The hard drive
In the satellite receiver I purchased, I found a Seagate Pipeline HD .2 500GB ST3500312CS 3.5” SATA hard drive inside the box.

SATA hard drive

The hard drive was already formatted with a FAT32 partition.

hard drive properties showing FAT32 partition

When I connected it to a Windows 10 computer, I chose to ‘restore device defaults’ before formatting, and then formatted it with a NTFS partition.

format hard drive

The screenshot below shows the drive shortly after formatting with a NTFS partition.

hard drive properties showing NTFS partition

How I’m using the hard drive
I’ve just installed the HD in an old computer to use as a secondary drive. I appreciate that the second-hand device could have been heavily used before my purchase, but I’m not placing important data on the drive.

I think I paid a reasonable price and it was a good find at a local car boot sale. I don’t have a clue how long the drive will last, but I think I grabbed a bargain!

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3 years ago

Hi Can you confirm the box works without the hard drive fitted? Thanks