How to Hook Up an External Hard Drive to a DirecTV DVR

by Anthony Oster
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Adding an external hard drive to your DirecTV digital video recorder can increase your unit's storage capacity, allowing you to record more of your favorite shows and store space-consuming high-definition programming for later viewing. Unfortunately, not all DirecTV DVRs can utilize an external hard drive; you can only connect an external hard drive to your device if you have a R22 DirecTV Plus DVR or HR20 DirecTV Plus HD DVR. The model number for your device is located on the small door on the front of your receiver.

Step 1

Unplug the DVR from the power supply and locate the port labeled "SATA" on the back of the device.

Step 2

Plug the eSATA cable into the back of your DVR, then insert the opposite end of the cable into the SATA port on the portable hard drive.

Step 3

Plug the hard drive into a power supply and turn it on. It may take several moments for the hard drive to begin spinning. Many eSATA hard drives can be powered by USB or an external power supply.

Plug in your DVR and press the "Power" button to start the reboot process. Once restarted, the DVR will automatically detect the new hard drive and use it as the primary storage device.


  • Once connected to your DVR, the external hard drive is treated as the primary storage device, meaning you cannot access programs stored on the internal hard drive until you remove the external hard drive.
  • During the installation process, the external hard drive becomes paired with your DVR and cannot be used with another DVR unless it is reformatted. Reformatting will erase all content on the hard drive.
  • Modification of your DirecTV DVR is not against the terms of use outlined by DirecTV, though any loss or damage to the equipment due to such a modification is not covered by warranty.


  • While any external hard drive utilizing an eSATA connection can be connected to your DVR, DirecTV recommends the Western Digital 500GB (model WDG1S5000) or 1TB (model WDG1S10000), Seagate 1TB (models ST31000SCA109-RK and STAP1000100) or 500GB (model ST30500SCA109-RK) hard drives.


Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

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