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Hard Drive Upgrade/swap How-to

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#1 dethbunny


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Posted 13 April 2004 - 06:05 AM

There is lots of info out there on how to upgrade your stock hard drive to something bigger, but much of it requires hooking your drive up in a bastardized fashion with power splitters and whatnot, or other mean tricks to the IDE chain.

Coming from the perspective of a user with a perfectly functional Avalaunch install on his Seagate's F: partiton, that all seemed unneccessary. Work smarter, not harder and all that. So I set out to do this the right way, and it proved rather simple.

As I said, I'm an Ava user, but not above using EvoX when the need arises. The need arose. First, you'll need to FTP in to your 'box and upload EvolutionX's XBE and INI to be run, either by the BIOS or Avalaunch. We'll assume you're going to let Ava run it.

Edit the evox.ini file to allow you to back up hard drive info. That basically means having 'Item "Backup",ID_Backup' in the menu secion somewhere; it's in there in the default config file you've got.

(Note: I did not use E: at all, since I wanted to keep it as free from non-MS-sanctioned files as possible. If you used E:, substitute the correct drive letters where appropriate. In additoon, I mention Avalaunch a lot. You don't have tt use it. EvoX is perfectly suitable if it meets your taste. It has built-in FTP too, so the entire tutorial should be doable with EvoX alone.)

Put the evoxdash.xbe and evox.ini into F:\Apps\evox and you should be good to go. Launch EvolutionX and run the 'backup' command to read your box's EEPROM, HD configuration area, etc and place it into "C:\backup\" for later use. Exit back into/reboot into Avalaunch, and then FTP in to your XBox. Download EVERYTHING to your computer, at least the C:\, E:\, and F:\ drives. Once that's complete, the burning of the bootstrap CD can begin.

You'll need to create a CD (or DVD if you prefer) containing the EvoX dash with a special evox.ini, your backup files, a file manager (I used boXplorer) and all the data you just pulled over via FTP.

Edit the evox.ini file that will appear on the root of your CD to contain the following menus:
 Section "Apps"
 AutoAddItem "D:\Apps\"

Item "Config New HDD",@212

The first bit gives you an Application directory that's added from your soon-to-be-burned disc, and the second bit adds a menu item to initialize your hard drive properly. Additionally, append the following to the end of the INI file:

Info "Install HDD - Xbox-Scene"
Warning "This will format all drives"
Warning "Make sure you have a backup of C & E"
Progress "Formatting drives"

ConfigSector "\backup\disk.bin"
Format c:
Format e:
Format f:
Format x:
Format y:
Format z:

This configuration info provides the actual command that we added to the menu above. It restores the hard drive's config sector from the back-up file, and formats all partitions. If you need it to format the G:\ partition, (Because your new hard drive is larger than 137 GB and you are splitting the space at that boundary) you can add that command to the mix by adding the appropriate line.

Also be sure to uncomment the "Lock Harddisk" and "Unlock Harddisk" commands in the menu, we'll be needing them.

Okay, you've edited the INI file. Time to build the disc.

Lay out your disc so the root of it contains:
default.xbe (the evoxdash.xbe file, renamed)
evox.ini (the one we edited earlier)
Apps (contains applications we want to run, only 'boXplorer' is required for our uses.)
backup (this is the folder that was on C:\ earlier, pull it from your FTP'd copy of the drive you made earlier.)
backupC (these folders can be named whatever you want; they contain everything FTPd from the XBox earlier. Just be sure to keep them straight.)

Now, make an XISO of all of the above. Qwix does the job for me, but your favorite tool may be different. After you have the ISO made, burn it with whatever software you favor. I use Nero, but again you may differ.

Dust off the ol' Xbox-cracking Torx set and get to work swapping drives. Remember to set the new drive to 'cable select' and put the old drive somewhere safe, preferably in the packaging the new drive came with. Close your Xbox back up, and attempt to boot from the CD (or DVD) you made. You should be presented with the EvoX menu, where you can choose the "Config New HDD" command. Choose it to write everything important to your hard drive. After it's done, lock the drive to ensure you can still run the MS dashboard.

Finally, copy your files back onto the new drive. Choose Apps from the EvoX menu then your file manager. As I said, I used boXplorer, but your may want something different. Proceed to copy everything from your "backupC" etc directories off the CD and into the appropriate partitions on your Xbox. It should be a lot faster than FTP, considering the large number of small files to be moved around.

After you're done copying, you should be good to go. Your tiny stock drive had been replaced with a huge mod drive, aching to be filled with media and game backups. As a bonus, you have a back-up CD that contains all of your game saves, and is suitable for writing your Xbox contents to any drive, whether you have the old drive or not. Think of it as insurance for a drive failure.

If any of this is confusing or whatever, drop me a line (e-mail, PM, reply here, whatever) and I'll try to help. I just used the tools I had available and did this tonight, so I'm not positive there are no hidden gotchas, but everything seems to be working fine so far. biggrin.gif I'm also horrible when it comes to typos, but I looked this over and it seems all right.

#2 OlDirtyJohn


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Posted 13 April 2004 - 06:19 AM

well, i think that all of that has already been summed up in this tut here. im not trying to knock you, or bad mouth you. it was a very good tut, but its all been covered before. im only saying this because all this info has always been here in the excellent tutorials section that this site has, yet no one ever seems to ues it.

#3 dethbunny


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Posted 13 April 2004 - 06:50 AM

1) I have used the tutorial section, OH how I've used it. That's why I, being a person who had not ever used an Xbox (okay, once before to play Halo for 5 minutes) was able to purchase one and get to this point in well under a week.

2) The Tutorials section needs some re-organization. If you can show me where it is under the Hardware Addon section I'll give you a cookie. It's really hard to read a tutorial you can't find.

3) XanTium used FTP tp get his files back onto the 'box, while I made a self-contained backup disc. So there. tongue.gif

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