How to Fix 90% of Game Backup Problems
Every week when new games are released the Backup Forums (and Newbie Chat) are inundated with posts saying "Such and Such game locks up! What do I do?" A huge number of posts on the main page of the Backup Forum are about how someone is having a problems backing up a specific game (i.e. KOTOR, GTA, Crimson Skies, etc.).
These problems are hardly ever game specific. There are only a few games that have specific problems. For the most part game freezes happen for the same reasons on every game.
Follow these steps (one or more of them could be causing the problem) and chances are your game backup will play perfectly.
1.) Turn off IGR (Evolution X)
The IGR in Evolution X has been known to have issues with some setups. Turning it off and using an IGR in your BIOS will alleviate any potential problems with games locking up on the "loading" screen.
IGR (or In Game Reset) is toggled on/off through your evox.ini. It resides in three separate places: [Misc], [FTP] and [RDTOOLS]. Make sure each instance of IGR in the evox.ini file looks like the following:
|IGR = No|
You can either do this in Evolution X through System Utilities/Settings (remember to save and exit) or by editing your evox.ini file and uploading it to your Xbox via FTP.
2.) Patch the Game
A media check (read: copy protection) in newer games causes the game to lockup during loading. This usually occurs later than an IGR game freeze. All games released after February 2003 contain this media checks and it has several variations. The media check has been put in place so that the Xbox can verify that the game disc is a legitimate copy.
The game can be patched any number of ways.
Backup to DVD (PC)
You can use a patching program such as Craxtion, Qwix or ADR Patcher. These programs are designed to go through the XBE files on your computer and actually patch them to remove the media checks.
Backup to Hard Drive (Xbox)
There are programs that will auto patch games while backing them up to the hard drive. These programs include dvd2xbox and Px-HDD Loader.
Newer BIOS versions (Xecutor 4977 or later, Evox M7 or later) can auto patch games on the fly. This allows you to play backed up games on your modded Xbox even if they contain the media check.
3.) Set Your System Clock
Games tend to freeze during game play. This will often happen when games are auto saving and run into errors (i.e. the Xbox reporting a date of 11-15-2001).
Set your system clock through MS Dashboard/settings. If you leave your Xbox unplugged for 4 hours or longer the clock will need to be reset when you boot it back up.
4.) Clear Your Cache
When you load games, the loads are temporarily stored in "cache" to speed up load times. This works on the same principle as web browsing. HTML files and images are temporarily stored in a cache or temporary directory so that the sites you visit the most often don't have to load the same graphics and text again and again, increasing the speed of your web browsing. Games do the same thing so that your load times speed up.
Occasionally these cache files will get corrupted or will not erase properly. This and causes a game to freeze or not load properly.
Delete your cache files. The following directories can be emptied (delete all the files inside, not the directories themselves).
5.) Game Specific Patches
Some games have long file names that work fine with the DVD file structure but don't work on the Xbox hard drive's "Fat-X" file system. There are only a few games that have this problem (most notably: Enter the Matrix).
In order to run these games on the Xbox hard drive, the filenames have to be changed and the game has to be patched to look for the new, shorter, file names.
6.) Delete Save Game Files (Last Resort)
A corrupted save game file makes it impossible for a game to launch properly or the game freezes when trying to load a game.
Delete the save game files for that game. Obviously this is a last resort because no one wants to lose all the progress they've made in a given game. Your game saves are located in the following directories:
These directories are pretty hard to decipher on their own. You would be best served to download XBox-Saves Manager. This program, if you are not familiar with it, will FTP into your Xbox and allow you to read the save game files to see what games they represent. You can then delete the offending file from the game giving you trouble.
*Make sure to make a backup of any data on your Xbox before you try removing any files. Not only could you use a save game file but you could possibly delete important system files and prevent your Xbox from functioning properly. With your C and E drive backed up you should be able to safely remove save game files.*
To the best of my knowledge those are the causes of and solutions to the majority of game freezing and backup problems. I am by no means an expert but hopefully this will serve as a useful guide to those of you having problems.
If anyone has anything to add to this list (or sees anything wrong with my technical explanations of the problems) please PM me and I will change it to keep this guide up to date. As I said, I'm not an expert so my technical explanations could be flawed or just plain wrong. That doesn't change the fact that the solutions to these problems are the same and usually solve the problems.
I may not be an expert but my game backups never freeze so that's got to count for something.
EDIT: 12-05-03 Changed information on HDD backup programs. Thanks Xeero!
EDIT: 12-30-03 Added information about game specific patching. Thanks Mr Ed!
Edited by chefelf, 30 December 2003 - 05:23 PM.