Upgrading Your Xbox 360 With Your Own 120GB Drive

When Microsoft announced the 120GB addon for the 360, I was quite happy. Then I heard how much it was going to cost. I believe at product launch, the drive cost about $200. Absolutely absurd...even at today's MSRP of $160, it's still unreal.

After talking to a few friends and reading multiple articles and discussion board posts, we found out that one could use a relatively cheap drive and some software to allow the Xbox 360 to accept a drive other then the "official" one. The legality of this hack is a bit questionable...but I feel like as long as you've bought one of the "official" 120GB drives, you're okay...that said, I'm no legal expert so do not take my advice or anything in this article seriously! That said...how do you do it?!

What You Need:

Cracking the Xbox HDD Carrier:

This bit is really simple. There's tons of videos on YouTube and guides...so you're more then welcome to refer to those. Simply put, you'll need to use your T6 to unscrew 4 screws on the bottom of the carrier. There's one hidden screw under the silver sticker with the Microsoft logo. Now, life that up and you'll be able to access 4 more screws. Use your T10 on those. Now, you can remove your drive from the carrier.

Flashing, Yayhie!:

Now...you'll want to make a bootable MS-DOS USB flash key. Download the Windows 98 System files I posted above (just extract them to a folder) and then use the USB formatting tool I posted above to create a bootable MS-DOS flash key. It should only take a minute (so long as you check off quick format). Don't worry if you can't see files on the flash key (in Explorer). Now copy the 120GB HDD bin file and the hddhackr tool onto the flash key also. Those are probably the only 2 files you'll see on the drive anyways.

Now, shutdown your computer, disconnect ALL drives(CD/DVDROMs, HDDs....etc...). Connect your flash key and the new 120GB drive. Turn the computer back on.

You might have to mess with some BIOs settings so that it boots from the USB flash key.

Once booted into DOS you'll be at C:>. Type in:

hddhackr -f

It might mention something about Sector 16, hit 'y'. Then it'll ask you about creating an undo file, again hit, 'y'. It's a quick process. Once it's done, just shut off your computer. Then restart it again, and go into DOS. Again type in:

hddhackr -f

If the flashing was successful it'll spit out a message with something to the effect of:

"Your drive will now work with 360!!!"

If you see that excellent, if not...well, try again.

Now, put the new 120GB into the carrier module. I didn't bother sealing it up just yet...because if thre was any issues, I didn't want to have to pull it apart again, and also we still need to move our old data on the old 20GB (or whatever your old drive was) onto the new 120GB. So...with the 120GB in the carrier, plug it into your 360 and start it up. Make sure it's firmly planted in there, the first time I did it, it wasn't so the 360 didn't see it, woops.

With your new 120GB connected to your 360, navigate to the System blade and go to Console Settings (I think it's the first or second option). Then view the system info and write down the serial number of your system (I think you can also find the serial on the back of the 360). Then go back one menu item, so you see Memory. Click on that and your 360 drive should show up. Click it and hit format. It should now show up as 107GBs which is perfect!

Copying Old to New:

Now, if you're like me, you've got demos, stuff from marketplace downloaded and other goodies on your old drive. In order to transfer it, you'll want to open up the Xplorer360 software and your old Xbox drive connected up to your Windows system. If you're in Vista take note, you'll need to run the software as Administrator (right click on the app, and select Run as Administrator). When the application has launched choose File --> Open --> hard disk. It'll open your Xbox hard drive and will show 3 partitions. Now we'll start making a backup of the data. Choose File --> Backup Partition 2. Should only take a minute or two. I believe this partition just holds some emulation stuff for Xbox 1. Next, we'll backup the partition with all the good stuff (your demos, downloads, etc...). This process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. Depends on how much stuff you have...

Do note, Windows (like if you look in My Computer) will not see the drive, but Xplorer360 should find it just fine.

Once it's done. Shut down the machine and connect up the new 120GB drive so you can move the data onto the drive. Again, open the Xplorer360 application with Administrator privileges. Go to File --> Open --> Hard disk. Then do File --> Restore Partition 2. Then drag the files from the Partition 3 backup into Partition 3 in Xplorer360. Now shut down the computer, disconnect the 120GB drive.

Now, put it into the carrier, put that back together, and slap it onto your 360! You're done!!

Mad thanks to Rafael (who actually coded me a custom hddhackr tool because I've got a nForce4 570 Ultra based board) and LtDan who went through the pain of getting this working too. Also thanks to the original developers of hddhackr, Xplorer360, and the 360 scene people.

No thanks to the dickhead at Home Depot who couldn't help me find the proper Torx screw drivers...ass!!!

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Morgan W.

Head over heels for gadgets!