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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.