Soft-modding an Xbox. How?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Xbox' started by Devil May Cry, Jan 7, 2009.

Jan 7, 2009
  1. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    I've been a console modder for awhile now and have so far covered the DS, PSP and PS2. I have been looking into jumping in Microsoft's arena for quite some time. I was able to obtain a used Xbox from a co-worker for free and one of my friends has one of the needed games (the Mech one) and an Action Replay disc and USB device. I believe he said I needed one more thing in order to get soft-modding. So, before I get everything, I wanted to ask some questions. Now, I know this soft-mod is most similar to the PS2, but it requires Linux. I'm not much of a computer whiz, so does the Linux part get complicated? I'm also aware of the Xbox's internal HDD (of 20 GB?). How would one store downloaded games in it? Is there a way to cut out dummy data and pad files like in Rominator and UMDgen? .I know actual discs can be copied over in the drive. Speaking of discs, can be games be burned to a DVD-r in IMGburn? Is a patch necessary for the ISO? I'll most likely have more questions later. Thanks fellow Tempers!
     


  2. Tomobobo

    Member Tomobobo Champion.

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    You'll need to find the MechEurasia files, search google for xbins.

    I don't know what you mean by "usb device" but you'll need a way to transfer the MechEurasia gamesave to your xbox console. That's where your action replay should come in handy, if it has the hardware attachment that can connect to the pc so you can transfer the gamesave onto it.

    After you've gotten the gamesave on your console, you just boot the game and load the modified save and bam, you're (kinda) softmodded. No linux commands, it's just linux based software. Although your console will return to it's regular state after you restart, unless you install a softmod, or flash the bios with a tsop (requires soldering). If you do choose to replace the drive, you'll have to solder two points (if your console is old enough), or you'll have to remove the drive and create a new one with a softmod pre-installed as a clone of your old drive. I can't seem to remember what the best soft-mod installer is. Krayzie maybe? Google again.

    There's 2 ways of going about modding your console without a chip, one requires you opening the console, and one doesn't, but you should go for the opening part, because the hdd is only 8 gb in size, and you can replace it with a much larger one. Although, you can burn games, but +r disks don't work in most drives, and some drives can be picky. Search google, and you can see which drive you have, samsung is the best, but it's also the worst (the old one is the best drive, the new one sucks). Xbox games usually aren't that big, so it's best to have a hard drive, plus it's nice to have your movies, music, games and emulators all on a single disk that doesn't have to be ejected, removed, or possibly lost or scratched.

    All in all, it's not that tough, especially if you do your homework. Like I said, xbins for your files, but you should also check out www.xbox-scene.com for some really detailed tutorials. Good luck bro.
     
  3. kobykaan

    Member kobykaan GBAtemp Addict

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    you can also soft mod with SPLINTER CELL and 007 AGENT UNDER FIRE [​IMG]

    if your friend has the XBOX ACTION REPLAY and USB device then borrow it and the game thats pretty much all you need!

    install the XBOX ACTION REPLAY SOFTWARE that comes with the USB DEVICE and the REPLAY download a new database of saves one of them will be the MECHASSAULT LINUX save its even named that!

    theres also one for SPLINTERCELL (which I used) but I made my own cable!

    basically you copy the save to the ACTION REPLAY MEM CARD for XBOX put it in your pad and copy it in the XBOX DASH to your hard drive load the game and load the save when the save loads it executes the SOFT MOD EXPLOIT and thats pretty much it its done!

    if you want a custom dashboard then you need the AUTO INSTALLER ALL IN ONE or EVOLUTION X installer disk (Google it) [​IMG]
     
  4. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks for the detailed responses guys. I just the copy of Mech, the USB tranfer cord and the Memory Card. I'm going to get the Action Replay disc tomorrow. By the sound of it, it seems HDD is the way to go for Xbox (whereas PS2 is easy both ways). Are there any games that are incompatible with the HDD? I only plan to do this for the exclusives to the Xbox. My 2 friends who have modded Xboxes suggested Evolution X. I'll check out xboxscene to see if I can find a good tutorial. Thanks again guys! Good to know there are still some friends out there.
     
  5. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    I forgot to ask a question to you guys. What kind of softmod do you guys, the xbox vets, recommend? I was always ask this when I try to mod something new.
     
  6. zidane_genome

    Member zidane_genome My sword has a +2 bleeding... wanna test it out?

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    When softmodding an XBOX1, you have a few options.

    First, the game... there are 3 that work. SplinterCell, MechWarrior, and 007. Always make sure they are first run discs (not 'Players Choice', or 'Greatest Hits')

    Second is the way to load the exploited save to your XBOX. What I did was to cut an XBOX controller cord, and spliced in a USB end, so I could plug it into my computer. Not only can I play PC games with it now, I can also use the Action Replay software (free to download) to load save files onto my Memory Card. There are also devices that plug in via USB to read/write the Memory Card. Your choice!

    Third, the Softmod! Now, this is the fun part! I suggest you get AID... no, not Aids... AutoInstallerDisc! This will make everything go alot smoother!

    Ok, now that we have everything we need, it's time to start.

    1) Copy the exploit save file to your Memory Card.
    2) Copy the save file from your memory card to your XBOX hard drive, via the Dashboard.
    3) Load game, and proceded to crash your XBOX.
    4) BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING! Backup your Dashboard, and EEPROM!! Trust me, you will need these backed up!!! IF YOU DON'T BACK THEM UP, NAZI'S WILL COME TO YOUR HOME, AND FORCE YOUR DOG TO RAPE YOUR GRANDMOTHER WHILE THEY PENETRATE YOUR SISTER WITH LARGE POINTY OBJECTS WHILE THEY FORCE YOU TO WATCH!!!! You've been warned!
    5) DID YOU BACK UP YOUR DASHBOARD AND EEPROM??
    6) Procede to install the softmod.

    All done! You can now play 1:1 backups in your XBOX1!

    Now, if you wanna go a bit further, install XBMC (XBox Media Center), which will allow you to browse your home network for videos and music, will allow you to play DVD's without the IR Remote kit, and can save games to the internal HD for playing.

    If you wanna take it a step further, you can open your XBOX, and toss in a bigger hard drive, but you will have to find guides on that, as it is a bit harder to do... and you'll need that EEPROM backup! Aren't you glad you made a backup!
     
  7. Takrin

    Member Takrin GBAtemp Fan

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    not sure if soft mods are affected but my chipped xbox would crap out while loading some games from hdd if i used a non standard xbox drive, ie 80gb drive. few did work fine but some would freeze durring load. it was really odd because when i swapped it back with the original drive it loaded fine. it was awhile back like 3 or so years i did look up the problem and did find others with the same problem. maybe theres a fix now or something though anyhow there was a handful of games that didnt work but one i remember for sure is "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland"

    cant remember for sure but i think the original disc would hang while loading also so it was pretty much no hawk unless i swapped it so thats what i ended up doing and just using burnt backups.

    out of curiosity why the xbox? enjoy retros or did you find a cache of shiney new xboxs?
     
  8. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Hmm, seems like my main 2 options (the only suggested ones really) are Evolution X and AID. Can I get some more Temps opnions though? I don't want to just jump in on this. Any info on how to install AID? I also already have a MC to USB and the owner said he might still have the save in it.

    @Takrin

    Well, I really like learning how to mod consoles. Ever since I got my DSTT way back when I've been wanting to expand (I mean the DS wasn't even worthy of being called a mod >.>). More than that though, I've wanted a challenge (again, we blame the DS for this). Seeing as how I've never worked on a M$ console before and how much it depreciated due to lack of releases and little BC for 360, it seemed like the prime canidate. I was thinking about the Cube but I heard that thing is a beast to mod (something about the drive) so I held off.
     
  9. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Very basic 2 in the morning softmod instruction.

    2 methods. Both ultimately work in the same way though (load up BIOS patches and then a custom dashboard of which there are many).

    1) The hotswap method. Simply put you boot up your drive on the xbox (to unlock it, something you can not do without the key hence the backup your keys* part) and swap it into a PC which is running a custom version of linux. Files get swapped and the drive gets sorted. Bonus is that it will probably require nothing more than a torx screwdriver.

    *chips can bypass this to some extent are this is about the only thing chips have over softmods.

    2) The game method. 3 games already mentioned have bugs with the save system that allows you to run homebrew code. The reason for the AR is that it allows you to get the save data onto your machine (about the only way other than 1) to get it on there), if you have a friend with a modded xbox you can just use that instead.
    These mem cards are small though so only a basic dashboard replacement is able to fit on there. After it is installed you can do what you like (I like XBMC) and this is where autoinstaller deluxe (AID) comes in, it is a collection of the best stuff available for the xbox (emulators, applications, custom dashboards) that you burn to a disc and run (you can also add a collection of roms for the emulators if you want)..
    You need a memory card (or a USB stick adapter and compatible stick) and the correct game; something that will probably cost about the price of a decent lunch these days.

    There are a few game based softmod kits but I like softmod installer deluxe myself (SID). A big note the softmod is two files, make sure to copy them both (you will get an error message if not).

    Other than that most things have been covered here or in other similar threads in this section, if you have a specific question.
    I will however suggest you find a USB extension lead and one of the breakaway cables and then solder like coloured wires to each other (you will have a yellow left over, leave it connected). This way you can use the xbox controller on a PC and you can use a fair few USB sticks with the xbox (nice for small files if you do not want to fire up FTP).

    Another note (and the reason we suggest AID) is that xbox homebrew is almost always built with the official xbox development kit which makes binaries illegal (or at best legally dubious) to distribute as anything other than source code.
     
  10. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Never expected you to post FAST. One thing I forgot to mention initially is that I have NO intent on using any unnecessary homebrew such as emus or media players. My only intent is to play Xbox exclusive titles. With this in mind, would the suggested methods of soft-modding change? Also FAST, I have a USB to Memory Card cable. Would this make the AR disc unnecessary?
     
  11. kobykaan

    Member kobykaan GBAtemp Addict

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    if your doing the game save exploit you will need the action replay disk or download the installer this is the way to download the save game via the action replay website (in the action replay software it downloads a save database) and copy the exploited save to your memory card (XBOX ACTION REPLAY or home made USB > XBOX cable)

    once you have it on the mem card/memstick you copy it over onto the Xbox hd via the xbox dashboard mem card options once its on there you use the game to load the exploited save thus soft modding the XBOX [​IMG]

    you can get away with just the BASIC exploit to load games and bootable emulator disks but to get the most out of the softmod its best to load a custom dashboard then you can file manage withing the Xbox along with play all types of media such as xvid,wmv mp3s etc [​IMG]

    the custom dash also makes it easier to FTP stuff to the Xbox as when you connect your network to it it will display its current IP in the Evox dash which you will need when you want to connect your FXP software!

    the method described by FAST6191 and zidane_genome are pretty much the same way I soft modded the 2 Xbox's we have in the house here [​IMG]
     
  12. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    No homebrew, in my opinion you are missing out but it is your machine.

    As for "changing" short answer, no the USB stick is just a substitute for the memory card. Once you have a modded xbox you can probably get rid of the AR as your modded xbox is just as capable or transferring the files.

    AR disc? Most AR stuff I ever saw was a piece of software to interface with the USB and FATx of the memory card*.
    As was mentioned only a select group of memory sticks will work with the xbox, more on this here: http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Xbox_USB_Compatibility_List but long story short yes you can skip the AR part if you do not have card but a working USB stick.
    Link of interest:
    http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Getting_Started#26_27

    *one thing I will mention is insert your USB sticks after booting and the softmod has loaded up or at least select read only mode, the xbox will autoformat it to the FATx if not.

    Back on topic softmods can boot commercial games and I can give you a bit more advice on the subject.
    2 methods for running games on the xbox.

    Off the drive. The stock drive is 8 gigs but the later models are 10 formatted as 8, this will give you around 5 gigs to play with if you extend the partitions. Most games are around 2 gigs but that can go either way. Many scene releases are ripped to fit on a single layer DVD, more here:
    http://www.abgx.net/filename/

    Replacing an xbox drive (IDE is up to 500 gigs these days) is fairly simple, two main methods use a tweak on the hotswap softmodding method and the other is done via telnet and the xbox itself. Naturally you have to open the thing up to do it.
    The only problem is for a softmod you need a drive that locks. Locking is a rarely used part of the IDE spec and as such some do not do it and can not be used in a softmodded xbox, this would be the other reason for using a chip which can bypass this whole mess but not a very good one if you only do it once.
    List of drives and data upon them when it comes to the xbox:
    http://xboxdrives.x-pec.com/?p=list
    One guide of many:
    http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=244043

    Some pay attention to rotation speed (5400rpm was standard for much of the original run of the xbox and so that list whereas now it is 7200rpm or more) and the fact the drive gets pretty hot, in my opinion it is overrated but worth paying attention to at some point.
    Bonus is that you can have trainers and there are lot of good ones available.

    Off of a disc.
    I seemed to forget to mention the lousy drive the xbox ships with (later models are better but far from ideal) so here is the link I would have given had it not been 2:30am (irony noted):
    http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Xbox_Linux_...D_Burning_HOWTO
    You can change the drive for a shiny PC drive though (which if you need a read only one sell for hardly anything these days and will do it all: http://www.xbox-scene.com/articles/dvddrive.php )

    None the less you can burn an ISO and play it all dashboards worth anything forget region coding exists.
    2.4 gigs (or less) is a waste when you have 4.35 to play with so you can make multi iso discs, usual method is to burn it with a dashboard on the disc which allows you to select your game but you can just burn a bunch of games and launch from a file browser on a normal dashboard (not a method I suggest doing, least of all if others less technically inclined are to use it at some stage).
    Several tools are available, I like C-xbox tool myself (comes as part of Xbox HQ PC essentials which comes with AID) which acts as a frontend to menux and MXM. It also has some mean iso manipulation abilities if hacking is your thing.

    Caveat: iso standards tend to mean alphabetical order of files whereas common sense dictates keep common files close to each other. Star Wars knights of the old republic was stickler for this (loading pauses where there were none). Read more here:
    http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=226194
    Note the newer dumps are 1:1 and so not affected by this and most games could not care less.
    Hard drives and to a lesser extent swapped/replace disc drives are not affected owing to higher read speeds.
     
  13. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    @FAST's short story of a post

    By the sound of it, I would struggle with the HDD method. The multi-ISO is intriguing though. Possible via IMGburn? I really don't mind noisy drives but if it were to create problems (or have a lot of read errors) I'd consider a swap (although I have no idea how).
     
  14. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    There is nothing to running games off the HDD, you extract the files and FTP them over. Run from a file browser or better (thinking shortcuts or custom folders here; many dashboards and skins for them exist and I have stuck with XBMC so I am not all that knowledgeable about the others out there).

    multi iso: not via imgburn although you can burn off the resulting file with it.
    The app I mentioned is along the lines of pick a dash, pick a game, pick some images for the menu, repeat 2 and 3 until bored/disc full, press OK, burn resulting image. Originally it was far more complex but not with this.

    It is not noisy drives (although some are not exactly quiet) but the fact they may not read DVD+R (bitsetting should work), tray not being aligned (problems ejecting the tray and returning it, simple to fix but you need to pull it apart) and the odd read error which courtesy of a twist on gambler's memory will always happen at the most inopportune time.
    This being said if the drive works and you can deal with it (I lucked out on most of mine but I am not stranger to bitsetting for the odd xbox) then I would keep it.
     
  15. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    It's not the tranfer of games that worries me, it's the involvement of the HDD, in particular the swapping and lock issue. I use DVD-r's, is the Xbox not compatible?
     
  16. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    DVD-r discs are the most likely to be compatible.

    As for the hard drive there is enough space to have a game or two on there on the stock drive, especially if you do not fancy XMBC, general homebrew or emulators.
     
  17. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Good to know. Geez, I'll have to decide what method I'll use when I get it.
     
  18. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Just got my laptop back from HP! I tried the USB/Memory Card reader and it won't come up under Computer. It makes the proper sound though even I remove it though.
     
  19. kobykaan

    Member kobykaan GBAtemp Addict

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    the xbox one?

    you wont see it in windows as its XBOX formatted!

    install the actionreplay software for XBOX and the update .. link

    then launch the Action replay software and connect the USB card reader it should be recognised by the Action Replay software and you should be able to download the save file database/updates ... some of them are the LINUX exploit ready to go in the list so just copy that over to the mem card in the reader then put it back in the XBOX and copy it to the hard drive ... to run the exploit load the game then load the save game if its done right the screen should go white and look like its frozen and then it should reboot the XBOX then you should be able to use backups or pre made XBOX emulators or the AUTO INSTALLER DELUXE iso for XBOX [​IMG]


    if you cannot find the savegame for your game exploit tell me which game it is your using and I will upload it to a file host for you [​IMG]
     
  20. Devil May Cry
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    Member Devil May Cry GBAtemp Fan

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    Thanks, forgot it was already used before so it was most likely formatted. Should I update to 1.40?
     

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