So you erased the internal disk of your AppleTV and want to restore AppleTV OS?
It happened to me; playing with a 1st generation AppleTV, installing (and thus wiping) a AppleTV suitable Ubuntu version. Only to find out that I goofed up and had to go back to the original OS to change some video settings. Yes I was playing with CrystalBuntu and OpenElec … (highly recommend both!)
Now it appeared that restoring back to the original AppleTV OS wasn’t all that simple – since I literally wiped the entire disk – until I bumped into v1.1 of StmLabs’ Windows Installer UI.
UPDATE: There is an easier method available in this article “Restore AppleTV OS after erasing disk (Offline Method)“.
You have to follow 3 basic steps and have a little bit of patience … and really, it couldn’t get any easier.
Outdated – This method NO LONGER WORKS!
The images used for this method are no longer hosted by STMLabs, so this method no longer works.
Instead of trying this method, please use the offline method …
Warning … AppleTV generation
This guide is only to be used to restore AppleTV OS with a FIRST GENERATION AppleTV – i.e. the silver one, not the black one!
The 1st Generation AppleTV
Step 1: Get a USB pendrive
You need a USB pendrive of at least 4Gb – keep in mind that the drive will be COMPLETELY WIPED!
Insert the USB pendrive into a USB port of your Windows computer before proceeding (I did it in Bootcamp on a Macbook Pro).
Step 2: Get Windows Installer UI from StmLabs
You can download the zip file either from the StmLabs website (to make sure you have the most recent one) or download it here (see below).
Show some love …
I highly recommend making a donation to StmLabs if this tools helped you recovering your AppleTV – just a few bucks or anything for that matter to show your appreciation of the work done. Yes I donated as well …
Step 3: Restore the OS
After download, unzip the file and start the program called “partitioner“.
Click the options “Native Apple OS” and “Internal Hard Drive“, check the correct device indicating your USB drive and finally click the “Go” button.
Restoring your AppleTV OS – That simple …
The application will now download the OS image (which will take a little bit) for your AppleTV and finally created and prepare your USB drive – follow the instructions of the application.
Step 4: Boot your AppleTV
Power down your AppleTV (i.e. jank the cord). Insert the USB pendrive into your AppleTV and power the AppleTV up. During the startup of your AppleTV press “menu” and “–” simultaneously on the remote to make your AppleTV take the USB pendrive as it’s boot device. Follow the instructions.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it and after a few reboots the AppleTV acts like never ever changed …
Alternative (no network needed)
An alternative I found at OpenElec’s Wiki offers two IMG files (for AppleTV OS v2.3.1 and v3.0.2) which would not need a network connection to download AppleTV OS.
You can find the full description of this easier method in the “Restore AppleTV OS after erasing disk (Offline Method)” article.