Usually if you swap the original drive with recordings on it, for a new drive, the recorder makes you format the new drive before you can make any new recordings.
If you attempt to swap the original drive back in, the recorder does not recognize it and forces you to erase all titles and format the original drive. It therefore also does not recognize the old recordings you know still exist on that drive.
.. until now
Using a Panasonic DMR-E100H recorder. The first few sectors were discovered to have a "transaction log" which is reset after a complete drive format. It is tracked in the recorders nvram. When the recorder boots it verifies the transaction log in the recorder with the disk. If they do not match it forces a Title erasure and Reformat of the drive.
For an old drive with recordings this is something you do not want to do.
However, if you backup and restore the transaction log from the 'current' used hard drive to an older drive with recordings on it. The recorder will successfully verify the transaction log and read the Title meta data from the recorder and playback old recordings normally.
In this way you can treat the HDD as one big VHS tape and take them offline for backup and restoration to be played back later.
I do not have one easy to use tool for 'transaction log' backup and restore to recommend. I used IsoBuster 4.3.4 to backup the transaction log and then HDDGURU Rawtool to restore the transaction log to drive for restoration.
I also have not tested restoring drives between identical model recorders, or between familes of the Panasonic recorders.. your mileage may vary.
I merely thought it useful for people to know if they have a recorder HDD with old recordings on it and no way to play them back, they could copy them off to a PC using IsoBuster.. or possibly restore the transaction log from their currently used HDD to the older drive and resume playing back recordings as if those were big VHS tapes.
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I was informed and tested that IsoBuster can do both Backup and Restore of the transaction log. So its much simpler.
I would caution however that after the EH55 models the upper attic of the hard drive contains factory firmware that needs to be there in order to successfully boot.
So while I have been testing this method with the E100H model it may need adjustments for other models and should not be attempted until a full disk backup has been made. You might need to try again and would need that full disk backup to recover.