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The Art Of Hdd Upgrades For Softmodded Xbox


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#1 ldotsfan

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 04:18 PM

Theory
There are a few stages to prepare a new hdd and ready it for use in a softmod xbox:
1. The hdd has to be marked with a magic value at a certain offset to be identified as a xbox hdd.
2. The drive has to be partitioned. Minimum are C drive and E drive[/url]. The scratch partitions: X,Y,Z will be created during the first boot with the new hdd. For larger size hdd, you also need to partition F and/or G drives with xbpartitioner . Your softmod will also need LBA48 support to use F/G drive(s).
3. The exploited msdash files needs to be copied to C drive. Additional files may be needed on E drive as well depending on the softmod package.
4. Finally the hdd needs to be locked to the correct eeprom of the target xbox.

Approaches:
1. xboxhdm
This is the granddad of hdd upgrade methods for softmods. This method will do all 4 stages of the hdd preparation. The method is so popular it has spawn multiple imitation sites copying its techniques. It requires a PC with 2 IDE connections, a cdrom drive to boot the linux based CD and preferably a BIOS which doesn't freeze lock the hdd. As the linux kernel in xboxhdm is old, it has its quirks and doesn't work well with certain combinations of motherboard , display card etc.

2. xboxhdm2
This attempts to overcome the limitations of xboxhdm by booting off a USB flash drive. Underlying this approach is the use of qemu - a virtualization solution to boot different Linux kernels. Current status: The tool as of xboxhdm2.2 final version is completed.

3. chimp26
This is another Linux tool designed to run on the xbox itself. It will do all 4 stages of hdd preparation. Caveat: It doesn't work well with 1.6 ver. xbox and requires a molex power splitter or external power source for the new hdd. It also takes more time to execute as it involves cloning of the entire contents of the old hdd. A newer version of chimp is available: chimp2618 has a GUI for xbox ver 1.6 and has other features like extended partition formatting.

4. Error 5 hotswapping
Traditionally an autoinstaller disc like Slayer 2.7 cannot be used to prepare the new hdd for softmods as in the case for a chipped xbox where you just need the boot disc in the dvd drive and the new hdd and the disc will do the rest (first 3 stages of hdd preparation minus the locking part). This is because the xbox will not boot correctly with the new hdd and the boot disc in dvd drive.

However it is possible to ready the new hdd by first connecting it to the xbox and powering it with an external power source. It will boot to error 5 (hdd is unlocked). After which through a series of hotswapping, the autoinstaller disc can then be used on the new hdd to prepare it through all 4 stages. An illustration of this method is lxhdm Both EvoX and UnleashX boot discs may be used as both dashes have hdd preparation abilities (either through ftp or scriptable through menu option) and both dashes in their latest versions have native hdd locking menu options. HeXEN disc is the preferred implementation to use this method.

5. Locking with a compatible USB/(S)ATA adapter. This requires a compatible adapter with a supported chipset. Win7 with Ubuntu running in VirtualBox will work too. For Windows, see these instructions.

6. xboxdumper
A windows based tool with the functionality of stage 1 to 2 of hdd preparation,ie formatting of FATX partitions. Together with xplorer360 and hdtool, it does all 4 stages of hdd preparation.

Depending on one's preference and ability/experience, availability of the prerequisite equipment and the clarity of the chosen tutorial instructions, a softmod xbox hdd can thus be upgraded.

Edit History:
1. 13 Sep 2010: Added chimp2618.
2. 10 Mar 2012: Added HeXEN.
3. 17 Mar 2012: Added JMicron usb/ata adapter method.
4. 13 Sep 2012: Pruned dead links and added Windows method for usb/ata adapter.

Edited by ldotsfan, 13 September 2012 - 02:55 PM.


#2 hughbrian

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 02:05 PM

Hi,

QUOTE(ldotsfan @ Aug 28 2008, 05:54 PM)  


3. chimp26
This is another Linux tool designed to run on the xbox itself. It will do all 4 stages of hdd preparation. Caveat: It doesn't work well with 1.6 ver. xbox and requires a molex power splitter or external power source for the new hdd. It also takes more time to execute as it involves cloning of the entire contents of the old hdd.



Does this mean i can just connect the new Harddrive without anyother preparacion?
And for the external power source can i use a External Harddrive Case (USB)?
So my first step is download Chimps arrange it and upload it to the xbox am i correct?

Thanks already

gz, Ricardo

#3 ldotsfan

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 02:48 PM

QUOTE(hughbrian @ Sep 2 2008, 09:41 PM)  

Hi,
Does this mean i can just connect the new Harddrive without anyother preparacion?
And for the external power source can i use a External Harddrive Case (USB)?
So my first step is download Chimps arrange it and upload it to the xbox am i correct?

You realise chimp26 in the post is a hyperlink? External USB case is a possible power source for the IDE hdd.
My sig's link also has the detailed steps.

#4 hughbrian

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 12:32 PM

Hi,

When i try to clone the harddrive on Chimps the program freezes after awhile..!

#5 ldotsfan

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 01:58 PM

QUOTE(hughbrian @ Sep 3 2008, 08:08 PM)  

Hi,

When i try to clone the harddrive on Chimps the program freezes after awhile..!

You have to give more details. At which stage does the freeze happen? How did you conclude it freeze? Version of xbox.


#6 hughbrian

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:41 PM

QUOTE(ldotsfan @ Sep 3 2008, 03:34 PM)  

You have to give more details. At which stage does the freeze happen? How did you conclude it freeze? Version of xbox.



Hi, my xbox is version1.1 and Chimps freezes after i check option1 (Scan physical IDE devices) (find both harddrives!) and then option 2 (Clone from master to slave) i keep all the next options and when should start clonining is when it freezes.. i conclude because i left the xbox on all night -+9hours and stills on the same screen :S

#7 ldotsfan

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE(hughbrian @ Sep 3 2008, 10:17 PM)  

Hi, my xbox is version1.1 and Chimps freezes after i check option1 (Scan physical IDE devices) (find both harddrives!) and then option 2 (Clone from master to slave) i keep all the next options and when should start clonining is when it freezes.. i conclude because i left the xbox on all night -+9hours and stills on the same screen :S

9hrs? wink.gif Sorry to hear that chimp doesn't work for you. You are better off trying other methods then.

#8 morcar

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 06:03 PM

I found it very easy to to the xboxhdm way and i now have a 160GB Maxtor hard drive installed in my Xbox and it works a treat. I could never be without it now.

#9 ldotsfan

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(ldotsfan @ Aug 28 2008, 11:54 PM)  

Theory
There are a few stages to prepare a new hdd and ready it for use in a softmod xbox:
1. The hdd has to be marked with a magic value at a certain offset to be identified as a xbox hdd.
2. The drive has to be partitioned. Minimum are C drive and E drive. The scratch partitions: X,Y,Z will be created during the first boot with the new hdd. For larger size hdd, you also need to partition F and/or G drives with xbpartitioner . Your softmod will also need LBA48 support to use F/G drive(s).
3. The exploited msdash files needs to be copied to C drive. Additional files may be needed on E drive as well depending on the softmod package.
4. Finally the hdd needs to be locked to the correct eeprom of the target xbox.

Approaches:

Just want to add for completeness that it is possible to use composite methods. For example, steps 1-3 with xboxhdm and step 4(locking) with chimp. Now of course, not vanilla xboxhdm but tricking xboxhdm to work with hardware it wasn't designed to work with through virtualization like qemu or vmware. You can also lock with lxhdm from the xbox.

Another method is to use any 1:1 disc cloning program from the PC and lock with chimp/lxhdm on the xbox.

Edited by ldotsfan, 05 October 2008 - 01:56 PM.


#10 wtmxwl III

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:41 PM

I did the xboxhdm way and after I copy all the files from my C and E drive it tells me to restart my computer so I can lock the hard drive. After I restart I chose option 3 and after a while theres a bunch stuff on the screen and at the bottom it says "no cont in shutdown!". I am never able to lock my hard drive. Does any body know how to fix this? Thanks!

#11 Clause

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 06:58 PM

I got a question to chimp method... how should the new / bigger HDD be ? should it be formated as NTFS?

Greets

#12 ldotsfan

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 02:34 AM

QUOTE(Clause @ May 24 2009, 12:50 AM)  

I got a question to chimp method... how should the new / bigger HDD be ? should it be formated as NTFS?

It doesn't matter what filesystem format the new hdd was originally in - it will be overwritten.

To any mod: Could you edit post 1 to reflect that xboxhdm2's locking is completed? Thanks.

Edited by ldotsfan, 24 May 2009 - 02:35 AM.


#13 legoman16497

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:45 AM

OK. call me a noob and flame me if ya want, i wont care. I have tried various methods for putting a bigger hd in my xbox... i even used xboxhdm to duplicate my original softmodded hd to a 40gig seagate hd. exact same as my stock hd, but 40 gigs instead of 8 gigs. i locked the hd, and rebooted the pc to test, was locked properly with the original xbox lock key to ensure the bios or whatever had same key. xbox wouldnt boot, i cant remember off the top of my head which error code was given sad.gif ill load the cloned 40gig in again soon and repost the code if needed. btw i have ver 1.6 xbox with seagate 8 gig hd and a samsung dvd drive i believe...

any help with why the cloned hd wont work and what can be done to fix the issue is greatly appreciated.

Edited by legoman16497, 16 July 2009 - 10:47 AM.


#14 obcd

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 12:45 PM

Yes, the error number might help.

It might also help if you could tell us what softmod you have on the original harddisk.
You are aware of the existence of a shadowc and a virtual eeprom with some softmods?
So, if you backed up your shadowc instead of the real c partition, you will get an error.
If you used the virtual eeprom to lock the harddisk instead of the real one, you will get another error.
This are just a couple of frequently made mistakes...

regards.

#15 ldotsfan

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 02:50 PM

QUOTE(obcd @ Jul 16 2009, 07:45 PM)  

So, if you backed up your shadowc instead of the real c partition, you will get an error.

Unlikely if the OP uses xboxhdm's cloning function. The virtual eeprom problem is more likely and hence error 6. Cold-boot with Frosty's xbox rescue disc and use the file manager to launch ConfigMagic 1.6 Final (which needs to be on the hdd) to do the eeprom backup.




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