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As you may know, I’m the web developer for the Copy+ software, a freeware Sky HD backup and copying tool. The developer, Stuart McConnachie, used to work with me many years ago – he writes the software and I keep the website going. It’s a relationship that works well and Copy+ has been of use to many people in that time.

Recently, Sky has started upgrading its Sky HD firmware and users have been found that recordings copied with Copy+ are not always playing back properly. At first, people started contacting Sky, thinking it was their firmware. However, they have now posted an official response.

1Tb Sky+HD Issues – Update 13/10/2010 – 19:00

Investigations continue into the issues reported by a minority of Sky+HD 1Tb customers.

We now understand the root cause of an issue with Copy+ software used on the set top box prior to the latest software update that can cause an error in the filesystem which is critical to the new software, causing corruption to planner and recorded content. We are aware that many of the issues reported by customers are not caused by Copy+ but customers who have used Copy+ will need to perform a full system reset. We regret that some of our customers are suffering from this, but reiterate that Copy+ is not a Sky product and is not supported or endorsed by us.

Further updates will be provided as the investigations continue.

Because of this, Stuart has put out an official statement.

We would like to sincerely apologise to all of our users with “1TB” boxes, and also to Sky, for the inconvenience caused by this issue, which does indeed appear t be caused by a filesystem discrepancy introduced by Copy+.

We appreciate that Sky can not be responsible for testing for compatibility with a third party application such as Copy+, but then equally it is impossible for us to test against future Sky software releases as we have no advance knowledge of what they may contain. It is an unfortunate situation for all concerned.

We fully accept that the best course of action for effected users would be to perform a Full System Reset as suggested by Sky. However we accept that some users my have recordings which they do not wish to lose, and so wish to offer a possible, if somewhat more technical, alternative.

To that end we are continuing to investigate and believe we are close to developing an application to fix the inconsistencies in pre and post update recordings so that they no longer risk overwriting each other. Please note that any such “fix” will not be able to recover already lost or damaged content, however it will prevent further losses in the future. Any such fix, as with using Copy+ in the first place, would of course be entirely at the users own risk. While we finalise testing this tool, users can minimise the risk of overwriting further recordings, by avoiding making new recordings or deleting content. However we fully understand if users would prefer to follow Sky’s advice and regrettably have to FSR their system.

Once again we would like to sincerely apologise to all our users effected by this unfortunate incident and the subsequent loss of recordings.

I’ve updated our Twitter feed and posted a link to the above statement of Stuarts on the download page.

I have regularly contact with Alex Lane from What Satellite magazine, so made him aware. Today, they have posted their own news story (currently, gulp, their leading news story). I even get a name check, although incorrectly.

All of this puts Copy+ into the spotlight a little.

All Stuart can do now is to try and understand (if he can) what’s caused this. The important thing to note is that this issue doesn’t occur on the old firmware. None-the-less, new recordings made on the new firmware don’t have an issue.

To me, and this is just my personal opinion, this suggests a change in the Sky firmware. A friend has suggested that maybe Sky have done this to “nobble” Copy+, but I think that’s overly cynical – this will have given Sky bad press as much as Copy+.

Maybe Stuart will find a way to correct for the issue on old recordings. At the very least we need to correct for whatever it is for new usage.

But Alex made a very good point…

I can’t help thinking this wouldn’t have happened if Sky did the sensible thing and licensed Copy+ as part of its own toolbox.

It would be such a useful tool for Sky’s own installers or third parties to offer to customers upgrading their Sky+, or for backing up the product on a regular basis.

Obviously, I couldn’t comment 😉


On the 28th October we released a new version of Copy+ – it doesn’t fix existing recordings but does ensure that any new backups made with the new Sky software don’t corrupt. Again, What Satellite covered the story.