Expressvu (Bell) 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receivers – External Hard Drive Options

Bell Expressvu LogoIn a previous article I blogged about adding an external hard drive to a Bell Expressvu 6141 receiver.  In several emails I have been asked about adding an external hard drive to a Bell Expressvu 9242 HD PVR Plus Receiver.  Several readers have written:

Is it possible to add an external hard drive to a Bell Expressvu 9242 HD PVR Plus Receiver using the same method you have described for the Bell Expressvu 6142 receiver.

The answer is Yes.

Even though the Bell Expressvu 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receivers already have an internal hard disk drive, you can expand your recording capacity in three easy steps since Bell has activated the USB port on the back of these receivers:

  1. Purchase an external hard disk drive for your Bell Expressvu 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receiver
  2. Plug the external hard disk drive into the USB port on the back of your HD PVR
  3. Transfer your PVR recordings to the external hard drive

Once you connect the external hard drive to your Expressvu 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receiver and power it on, you will be prompted to format the drive.  This will erase all information that may be contained on the drive.  Once formatted, the storage capacity of the external hard drive becomes available to the 9241 / 9242 receivers.

You can connect an external hard drive to your Expressvu 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receiver if it has the following specifications:

  • 7200 RPM rotation speed
  • 40 GB – 750 GB capacity
  • Single hard drive enclosure, enclosures with 2 or more drives are not supported
  • AC power source, drives supplied power by the USB port are not supported
  • No sleep mode on the enclosure (drive cannot power down when idle)

While Expressvu states it will support only drives that are between 40 GB and 750 GB, I have successfully tested drives with 1.0 TB of storage.  I have also successfully tested many different drive types, including Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor in a variety of enclosures that I already owned.

If you are thinking of building an external drive for your Expressvu receiver because it is cheaper, shop around for an enclosure that is already built.  Walmart in my area was carrying 1 TB external hard disk drives for $94!  The drive was a no-name drive, but when I cracked it open to look, it had a western digital drive inside.  I could not find anywhere online to even purchase the drive alone for that price.  These cheap Walmart drives worked great.  My only complaint was the flashing blue light on the drive but I fixed that with a piece of black tape.

It really is that simple to add an external hard drive to an Expressvu 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus receiver.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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110 Responses to Expressvu (Bell) 9241 / 9242 HD PVR Plus Receivers – External Hard Drive Options

  1. Steve says:


    Seems to be going around. Our 9242 crapped out as well at least as a PVR.. I have connected an external drive, and whiled the 9242 recognizes it under the multimedia tab.. I still can’t record to it.. so I am as well looking for an answer to your question..

  2. Tom says:

    Hooked up a maxtor 500 GB HD to my 9241 PVR. Went throught the process. Reformated HD etc. Everything reset through the bell system. New HD shows up on the “list” but there is nothing prompts etc which to allow to record onto the new hard drive??? What do I have to do. Also how to do download photos so they can be played?

    Thank you

    • Tom, I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. The buttons on your remote will give you access to your PVR functions.

    • Elijjah says:

      Hello , you have to record to the PVR harddrive and then archive to the external. You can archive under multimedia. However I cannot get my compter to recognize the hard drive now, I think I read somewhere that the drive is now Linux, it is a work in progress for me right now, I hope this helps

  3. Stephane says:

    Hi I’d like to respond to Gary,

    The bell pvr reformats your external drive to the linux ext format. If you want to “see” your drive, you have to use a linux box.

    Another way is to use a live cd/dvd of linux. Let me explain; Lets take Ubuntu, you burn a cd of the recent version of the distribution, put it in your dvd bay and restart your computer. When restarted in linux don’t install, just use the live cd. Plug your external hard drive you’ll be able to “see” it. Then copy the files to your computer hard drive.

    It’s a long process but you’ll be able to put your files on your windows box

  4. Dwayne says:

    I have successfully transfered a movie from my BEV 9242 HD PVR to an external hard drive. But when I did so the PVR formatted my external hard drive and now my PC does not even recognize it. Is there something I can do differently to make this work? Am I missing a step or something?

  5. Dwayne says:

    Just to make note, I tried to do the Ubutnu thing mentioned above and it did not let me copy the file as it said I did not have permissions to do so. I went into the permissions tab and I could not adjust them at all.

  6. Libertin says:

    Thank for tips I bought WD 1TB and work great for me

  7. Dave says:

    This is a follow up question to Stephane:

    What file format does the pvr use to save the video files to the external drive? How hard are they to convert to mpg?



  8. Mel says:

    A few answers. re 2TB drive… I believe 1TB is the current max supported (late 2010) not 750GB as indicated in the article. A 2TB drive won’t format.
    No you can’t record to the external drive, you must have a working internal drive. Might be able to replace/upgrade it though… the receiver is available with larger drives in the USA.
    Re recovering from a bad 9141/9142. Depends on the problem… if the drive has failed (probably most likely failure) the answer is no…. otherwise you can in various ways but would involve removing the drive blowing your warranty. There’s always reruns ;-).

  9. John says:

    Responding to Mel. Is there a way to clear the history on “Daily Schedule”? Is this stored on HD or is this on Bell’s server? Not sure why no feature to clear this from time to time like the incoming phone calls, if you can help great. Thanks.

  10. Brian says:

    I own a 9200 HD -PVR that periodically has an annoying interuption in the audio. It gets progressively worse over time and then I do a PVR reset (long hold of power button) and things get better for a while. I think the problem is in the hard drive and wonder if it is possible to purchase a replacement and switch out the original? Thanks.


  11. Clint says:

    I have NEW 9242s for sale

  12. Mshoe says:

    How can I delete the schedule of my deleted movies on my 9241 with my remote?

  13. Shawn T says:

    Hi I have a Bell 9200 and want to add a external hard drive and am having problems. I purchased a Seagate Free Agent 1 TB hard drive amd the bell the bell says it is not compatible with this device. Is there something I can do to make this work.

  14. Claude says:

    I just purchased a new 9242 to replace a 9241. I would like to hookup to it my external HD full of recordings that I had hooked up to my old 9241. It tells me that it needs to reformat the drive since it is hooked up now to a new receiver. Is there a way to avoid this and get back my recordings? Even copy it from the HD that was hooked up to my old 9241 to a new HD that I would hook up to my new 9242 and format?

    • patel says:

      i am looling for BELL HD PVR 9242. Can you let me know where and for how much i can buy this

      • Paul Mahabir says:

        Patel, stay away from the 9242 model. I went through 6 units from Bell in the last two years all returned to them because of electrical problems. The longest without a problem was one year then it died. They just replaced the last unit with a new 9241 as they no longer are making the 9242. This is too bad as I loved the PIP feature.

  15. cfuson says:

    We purchased an external hard drive and hooked it up to our PVR and were successful in transferring some old shows as trials to it. I can now read and play those shows but when trying to transfer additional ones I get the 855 error message. Unfortunately I did not find this discussion until afterward and I’m afraid the EHD might have a sleep function. It was mentioned that in order to see/use the drive for a computer again you need to re-format the drive using “Disk Management” Where do I find this in windows 7, and how do I get it to work when the computer doesn’t even recognize that the drive is connected? If I re-format it will I be able to turn the idle setting off, or should I got look for a different drive without it for the PVR and just reformat and use my current one with the computer instead. I’m not worried about loosing the shows currently on it.


  16. Ken says:

    I find that the EHD doesn’t work well with the PVR that already have internal hard drive. All you can do is transfer the pre-recorded shows from your internal hard drive to the external. So you can record directly onto the external HD. one thing that is really annoying is the transfer is very slow. Takes hours just to transfer the HD videos and at times, my transfer disappear and I have to redo all over again. But with the other HD Bell receivers that doesn’t have the internal HD, it works great connecting an EHD.

  17. JP Charette says:

    I have a Bell Epressvu PVR that is 3 years old. Can I replace the internal 160GB HD with a 500GB 7200 rpm HD?

  18. John says:

    Hi, I have successfully added a WD 2T to my 9241. I can transfer from my 9241 to the external drive without problems but the time it take to copy it over seems long. When I select the shows to copy over it then tells me the time it will take and its about half the time of the actual recording. Is this normal? Another thing is the respond time when pressing the PVR button on the remote. It take at least 10 seconds before the PVR menu comes up. Is anyone else having this problem, is this normal?

    many thanks


    • Kal says:

      Hey I have the same problem.where remote takes a long time to respond. At the moment I have a 500g external HD attached to my receiver. I was to replace that with a new 2TB, but I don’t want it lose all my kids recorded shows from the first there a way?

  19. amirkara says:


  20. frank tuchscherer says:

    I have a bell 9242, I have it hooked to 3 tv. The last while I have been having problems where it would not connect on one or more of the tv, yet the same program would work on the other tv.. tonight it was happening again and I checked the reception, on the main tv I had good signal on both satelites, on the second tv I only had signal on one. I have replaced the sw44 but it didnt seem to change. If I do a switch test it tells me that if I push save I would not have the channels that I had before. Is my reciever crapping out or????? Does anyone have an answer. ( last week I had signal on only one satelite on the main tv)

  21. D Tuomi says:

    Oct. 27, 2011 I recently added 2TB external hd to bell 9241 pvr, no problems, pvr re-formatted new drive with onscreen prompts. Drive must be 7200 rotation speed, single drive with no sleep mode(cannot power down when idle), plug into AC power outlet and USB 2.0 . This gives 267 hrs of HD storage.

  22. Mark says:

    Is it possible to connect an external hard drive to a PVR 9200 system ?

  23. Grant says:

    I’m getting a new 9242. Is there a way I can save my programs that I currently have on my 9200 hard drive to an external hard drive (EHD) and then reconnect to my new 9242? Will the EHD have to be reformatted to the 9242 thus erasing my programs from my old 9200?

  24. Donna says:

    I have a 9241 PVR and have successfully added an external drive. Could someone explain in simple steps how to transfer recordings to EHD. I just cannot figure it out. I know I will go duh afterwards but I am so frustrated at the moment.

  25. jack says:


    It is not a duh question. Bell had to add the answer to their FAQ for the 9242:

    Materials that are recorded and stored in the PVR can be transferred to an external hard drive. They cannot be copied or transferred to any other digital system.

    Follow these steps to transfer recordings from your HD PVR Plus to an external hard drive:

    1.Press the MENU button on your remote control.
    2.Press 4 or select Multimedia from the Main Menu screen.
    3.Press 3 or select External Hard Drive from the Multimedia menu.
    4.Press 2 or select Archive Recordings from the External Hard Drive menu.
    5.Highlight the recordings you would like to transfer and press the SELECT button on the remote
    6.Select Archive to start the transfer.

  26. Todd says:

    My 9242 HD PVR has crapped out, again! Bell is replacing it for the third time in four years with another 9242. Is there a known issue with this unit? Should I request a 9241 or is that a lesser model?

  27. Brian says:

    Just hooked up a EHD and no problems transferring. Works great. Is there anyway to get more time on the HD part of the hard drive? Right now , on 1TB, I get 130 hours of HD and 1000 hours regular. But if they run a marathon of a series on HD, I won’t have enough space to transfer. (6 seasons of 13 one hour episodes) and keep what I already have.

    Thanks for this great forum.

  28. Brian says:

    Well, got up this morning and turned my 9242 on and ALL of my recordings are gone on the EHD and it’s asking to format the drive. What gives? Model of EHD is Seagate Expansion External Drive 1TB. I did turn off the 9242 but not the EHD. I am so sad this morning as I don’t know if I should return it or buy something different.

  29. Brian says:

    Okay that’s weird. I went and disconnected, then reconnected and my programming is back and all the shows I archived are there! Anyone know what’s happening?

  30. david wood says:

    How can I watch the recordings from the ext drive that I just archived from the PVR , on my pc using windows xp. There must be a way. Also is there a simplier way to record to the ext drive.??

  31. Tony Mac says:

    I have had no problem using 1 and 2 TB hard drives to stores shows from my Bell receiver. How do I watch the shows on these hard drives on my computer?

  32. Dave says:

    How do I transfer pvr(9241) recordings to my computer. I have to give the pvr box back to bell soon. Sorry if it’s already been posted I’m not computer savy

  33. Brian says:

    Took back the Seagate External Hard Drive and bought a WD DVR Expander and everything works perfectly now. Amazing that a brand caused my grief.

  34. Susana says:

    The internal hard drive on my 9242 is toast. Can I replace it myself and with which brand ? Any help would be grateful, I do not feel like spending another $500 for a new PVR.

  35. rolf says:

    Wondering if somebody can help me out with my 9200 receiver. It has been powering off on it’s own, then restarting, search for sat signals, work fine for a little while, then shut off again. It’s been happening infrequently at first, but now doing it constantly. Opened it up to see if there was dust.., clean as a whistle. Did notice that the fan wasn’t running constantly, ran only for a few seconds when I first plugged it in, then stopped. Is this normal? Is the hard drive overheating causing it to shut off?

  36. MattB says:

    Hi, my question seems fairly obvious but has not been specifically addressed anywhere I have looked: is the hard drive built in to the 9241 supposed to be running 24/7? And does anyone have any idea how much electricity this consumes if it is? The only reason I ask is that my old 5900 completely shut down when it was “off” and I had no fear of turning off the power bar…

  37. Clyde says:

    What model of hard drive works best with a bell 9242 PVR

  38. Eileen says:

    Have Bell pvr 9141 . Yesterday transferred to EHD . Slow but no problem . Today decided to add more to EHD . Selected recordings and archive events . Immediatly error code 855 is displayed .
    What is the problem ? Can ‘protected events ‘ be archived ? Tried unprotecting events ,still get error code .

    • smiling1 says:

      I have the same problem how do i fix it or bypass it???? I don’t want to lose the shows that are already archived 🙁

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