Modding Xbox360 and Xbox Live?

Discussion in 'Xbox 360 - Hacking & Homebrew' started by chibi_usa, Oct 1, 2011.

Oct 1, 2011
  1. chibi_usa

    Newcomer chibi_usa Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    United States
    Just a quick question. If you mod/use modchip or something to hack your xbox360, will Xbox live still work? If so, what do you recommend me to buy/do? Thanks!
  2. SnAQ

    Member SnAQ GBAtemp Fan

    May 20, 2010
    If you JTAG your Xbox 360, LIVE wont work.
    And then thereĀ“s some advance method that will let you dualboot a Xbox Live NAND, and a Reset Glitch Hack NAND, but i do not know anything about that.
  3. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    There are 4 or 5 main types of mod depending on how you want to look at it. For this I am going to have to half explain most of 360 hacking and banning but at the same time I will probably not provide much on how to actually pull half of this off for the sake of keeping it shorter (save for messing with live itself or doing something like paid profile modding most around here will allow it all so feel free to ask further questions if an area of 360 hacking interests you).

    1) DVD modding. Probably the most common mod. Can get you banned and most modding related bans are due to this but in recent years it seems to be more on games (bad versions, AP2.5 related stuff (although MS have not done much with it) or playing games ahead of time) than issues with the firmware. This being said there is a new format called XDG3 (the only workaround for disc use is not live safe) and we are also see drive emulators come out which might change this.
    There are mod chips for older DVD drives but nobody sensible uses them, newer drives have mod boards (I do not want to use the term mod chip as they are little more than a nicely made PCB and a switch or two) and more recent slim stuff does have proper mod chips after a fashion.
    For the most part though DVD modding can go on live as much as they like until they get banned- it is not a certainty but most adopt a fatalistic attitude if they care at all (do what you can to avoid being obvious but it if happens then it happens).

    2) "Dashboard hacks" for want of a better term. Three main hacks here although JTAG and King Kong are more or less the same thing (certainly they revolve around the same base hack), more recently we have seen glitch hacks (more on that in a moment) which have similar potential.
    Owing to how they work JTAG consoles have to reboot into a hacked dash (hence the term rebooter that some use to describe things like freeboot/fbbuild) and stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to live so on the occasions when JTAG boxes can join live (the makers of the rebooters traditionally do not care about adding proper live support- you mod you lose online being a common enough mindset among people capable of making these sorts of hacks) they tend to get knocked down quite quickly (MS has a vested interest in this as hacked games reflect badly on live and there is also the murky world of paid entry to hacked games).
    As SnAQ mentioned the more recent glitch hack has some stuff of note here. Thus far it has not been turned into a JTAG like hack (various reasons have been floated as to why- theoretically it is not that difficult with what is already out there) with regards to the dashboard although it certainly has the potential (possibly even more potential than that), the method requires additional hardware to be added to the 360 and coupled with a few other older hacks (dual nand and such) you can turn it off and run a stock dash, some chips seem to come with the option but if you cared you can do it for anything with a bit of thought (dual nand is common enough and preventing something with only a few wires from not working..... hard that). JTAG boxes need to be on an older dash to work so they have no real need or ability to do something like this.

    3) File hacks. 4 main classes here
    a) PIRS installation- the 360 uses a file container system called STFS for things on the hard drive which is broken down into three types
    i) PIRS- used for some of the game of the year stuff (others come as download codes or full discs like the GTA episodes disc) for things like borderlands double pack, fallout 3 expansions and a handful of other (quite interesting) things. For the most part (some of the fable stuff works like this but is odd) this is just a file on a hard drive that works should you have the required title update for the game to recognise it. People can install these to the drive (or nowadays you can also use a USB drive and something like USB XTAF to achieve similar things- most would be hackers use this method rather than getting proper access to the hard drive) and have it all work and it is totally safe- discs are released with it on after all.
    I will bundle title updates in with this- much like PC games nowadays console games get to wait on updates for games and for the 360 these come in the form of title updates some of which make quite radical changes to games but at the same time also allow new DLC to work, match others for system link (you are required to have and the newest at the time is required to play the game on live. People sometimes control what title update they are at to have access to certain glitches (Oblivion was a popular target for this as are many RPGs) or to match games for system link (one of the other nice things about JTAG consoles is they can join system link games hosted over the internet where other consoles can not unless they are on the same street and ISP and even then it is iffy.

    ii) LIVE- this is what XBLA, DLC, GOD (after a fashion) and other things you download to the 360 from XBL come as. They are tied to a profile but more on that in a moment although it should be noted JTAG consoles are not worried by ownership here (it is one of the many nice things about them).

    iii) CON files- saves, profiles, some dashboard themes and such use this. More on this in a moment as well. As these use a key unique to a 360 you can sign these (the others MS has the keys to and does not share them for obvious reasons)

    Sidestepping from this is LIVE2CON where smaller LIVE files (mainly stuff like maps and some music game stuff) is turned into a CON file which for whatever reason worked. I am not sure if it still does though.

    b) save moddding and profile modding (CON files). Various save editors exist for games and you can mod some things about profiles as well if you have keys for it. If you have ever used a save editor for anything or some GUI hacking tools you have seen what goes here save for the actual doing of it. Tool you want for this is called le fluffie and you can combine that with whatever save editor or save hashing tools you want (there are game specific ones and some more general ones for certain types of hashing, signing and encryption).
    Safety with regards to live- sensible mods tend to fly below the radar but depending on what goes you can still get stung. Profile modding is always a stupid idea if you care about live- my favourite which never fails to amuse on the wall of fools has to be those modding their profiles to get achievements* (sometimes getting them out of order/getting ones that require others before it that they lack) and getting banned or "worse" for their trouble.

    *if it was not already obvious I consider achievements and their ilk a pointless waste of time and I have little time for those that would seek them.

    c) Some aspects of online game modding. I am not so familiar with some of these but they arguably spun off from some JTAG stuff when JTAG boxes were more easily able to get online although the techniques are far older than that (similar things existed for the original xbox). Here people host modded versions of games (usually [insert popular FPS]) for others to join with modding coming from methods like disc swapping, file injection and other such techniques. JTAG stuff aside I am not sure if people have been properly banned from this but I do not trust it.

    d) Profile sharing- some consider this apart from file hacks (hence the four or five thing at the start) and originally discovered years ago (I am pretty sure it was around before but it first appeared on the radar of many when the GTA 4 expansions hit prior to the disc versions) it only really came to the fore in the recent past though. MS blocked the "initial" one and a new version was made but in general people get profiles, buy a bunch of XBLA games and DLC, strip the profile of what is thought might be enough data to slow MS from identifying them and send the profile plus XBLA and DLC onwards for others to install. MS did not do much but nowadays people get profile bans from this for some stuff- I and I think most people outside live enforcement do not have much idea what goes here. It requires an unbanned 360 to pull off so those with bans from previous ban waves or otherwise are out of luck here.

    addendum on a couple of older methods- one of the early versions of shadow complex had a glitch where you can have the demo (normally if you copy and XBLA game to another machine it reverts to demo mode- all the code is there but as a demo) but bypass the wall where the demo ended to get the whole game. Naturally it was replaced with a patched version but if you look hard enough (I am not sure if MS blacklisted it or not) you can find the older version.
    Also there was a glitch with modern warfare 2 where some XBLA demos could be tricked into thinking they were full titles by using quicklaunch at the title screen or something along those lines. I believe MS stepped on this as well (profile sharing came back shortly after this so it was not taken that far).

    4) Hard drive creation- again JTAG boxes do not have to worry about this but if you have noticed the laughably small hard drives the console makers are trying to pass off as a good size (says the person rocking a 60 gig hard drive on a JTAG box without USB and being happy with it) and charging far above what one might pay for such a drive back in the real world you might have seen people talk about making their own hard drive. It requires certain models of drive and people then inject a file called hddss.bin for a given size (every time MS releases a new drive model people rip it and share it with everybody). Old and I would find a better guide if you do it yourself but still a nice overview <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
    I have never seen a case where someone has been banned or even troubled for using this- every case of banning ever linked to one that anybody outside MS has seen has been linked to other modding or the banned acting like a prat and getting it for that.

    Short version- making your own hard drive and installation of PIRS and title updates is about as safe as is possible to be and live works. DVD modding can get you banned but done properly you can get by for a very long time without issue and live works. Save editing is doable but you have to be very careful if you care about live. Everything else I would steer clear of if you want to try to stay on live save perhaps the glitch stuff with dual NAND (even then I can think of things that might trouble you) although I would not pass up the chance to get a good JTAG box.

Share This Page