Does CLEARMYBOX still work on DIRECTV receivers?

Quite a while ago, I wrote this incredibly short and tidy article. It talked about an easy way to clear some of the problems out of your DIRECTV DVR. A keyword search for “CLEARMYBOX” caused all the log files, guide data, images, and other temporary items off the hard drive and made the DVR get all that stuff again from scratch. Does it still work?

Why is this sort of thing necessary?

DIRECTV receivers are really complex computers. They’re every bit as powerful and complex as regular computers, and that means sometimes they are prone to some of the same issues as computers. Sometimes they get confused and need a reboot. Sometimes files get corrupted. And, sometimes bad data comes in and creates problems.

In past years, a lot of this cleanup was covered when the receiver rebooted. There are a lot of self-tests that happen when you reboot the receiver to make sure it’s going to work right. This sort of thing happens automatically.

The difference is, receivers used to reboot a lot more often. Back in the ’00s, it was common for DIRECTV to roll out new software every other week. The process of loading new software and installing it required the receiver to reboot and a lot of cleanup tasks happened then.

And, of course, sometimes people rebooted manually. Sometimes the receiver got slow or confused. People used to reboot every month or so just to fix issues.

And then, a funny thing happened. DIRECTV receivers started getting more and more stable. Today they are so stable that your average person rarely reboots. New software comes down about every three or four months. So, those automated tasks aren’t happening as often.

What about CLEARMYBOX?

This tip still works. But, I don’t recommend it as much anymore Several years ago, the guidance from the DIRECTV engineering department changed. At one point, they recommended what was called a “graceful reboot.” In other words if you were planning to reboot your receiver, you should do it through the menus and only press the red button in a case of last resort.

About five years ago I started hearing a different story. Pushing the red button, they said, was just fine. And really, it’s easier to push the red button than to navigate a long and confusing search term.

You can do the same thing as CLEARMYBOX by pressing the red reset button, waiting until you get to live TV, and pressing it again. There’s a whole tutorial about it here, and here. This tends to be a lot easier. It does take a little more time from you, because you have to wait until you get that full reboot before you reboot again. You have to do both reboots within 30 minutes of each other or the magic doesn’t happen.

Is this something you should do regularly?

At one point I would have said this should be part of your scheduled maintenance and that you should do it maybe once a year. However I don’t see any need for that anymore. A lot of the same tasks performed by this procedure are also done through regular software downloads now. If you’re having guide data issues or issues with graphics or recordings, I would try the double-reboot. Otherwise, your receiver knows what to do on its own.