Xbox modding FAQ

What’s a “Softmod”?

A Softmod is simply a software modification which allows the console to boot to a modified dashboard and to play homebrew and backup games.
Softmods are easy, cheap and VERY effective.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softmod

What’s a “Hardmod”?

A Hardmod is essentially a console that is modded by using a “chip”. The chip is soldered onto the motherboard, allowing additional features to be added. Chipped consoles contain a seperate BIOS and can fix damaged consoles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modchip

What’s a Dashboard?

A Dashboard is the main screen you will see when you turn on your console without a disc inserted. From the factory, the Xbox ships with the Microsoft dash (MS Dash). You’ll know it, big green ball, Memory, Settings, etc.

After the console has been modded, most users will opt for a new dashboard to allow greater control of the newly available options. The most popular being EvolutionX (EvoX) or UnleashX. EvoX is a DASHBOARD, not the mod itself as some people believe. The most complete dashboard to date and I believe the only one still being developed is XBMC. XBMC is covered in detail further down.

How do I install a dashboard?

There’s two ways. You can do it manually, but this is a pain so I’m not even going to bother telling you. The second is to use an “Installer Disc” such as ‘AID’ or ‘Slayers’. Both these discs are discussed in detail further down.

To learn how to use AID to install your Dashboard of choice, follow this guide:

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/592075

How do I get all the programs, dashboards and files everyone is talking about?

Have a look at this list first. If it’s not on there, you can ask or use the Xbins server.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/557450#3371151

How do I Softmod?

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/558747

Using the above guide as ‘Gospel’, feel free to understand the process via this video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_waCGcDMv1M

The following games will work for the softmod process:

a) Any version of the original Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (NOT Pandora Tommorow OR Chaos Theory)
b) The original version of 007: Agent Under Fire or the Platinum Hits AUF with the Serial #: 1448517 (NOT 1448527)
c) Mech Assault with the Serial #: MS02301L on the inner ring of the game disc

How do I uninstall a Softmod?

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/536178

After the Softmod install my screen is in ‘Black & White’

The SID files for some apparent reason ALWAYS select NTSC as the default, regardless of what you select!

New TVs can auto switch between modes (I didn’t know we had this issue till nearly 6 months later).

Anyway, both Slayers and AID contain a program called ‘Enigma Video Switcher’. Use this to correctly set the region. You will need to select the wrong one, then the correct one for it to accept the changes!

I have added the ‘Enigma Video Switcher’ boot CD to the Software page (found at the top of this page), simply download, burn to disc and insert into Xbox!

How do I use FTP or Network my Xbox (Including XBMC)?

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/523607#3165659

How do I upgrade or rebuild my HDD?

Both Modchipped and Softmodded Xboxs can be upgraded, there is no size restriction.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/533828

What type of Hard Drive can I use in my Xbox?

Although this is pretty Black & White, there has been some recent developments that have cast a nice Grey area over this question. To keep things simple…

The Xbox uses IDE drives. (AKA: PATA, Ultra ATA)
IDE

You can’t use SATA drives
SATA

Here’s the two connections, side by side…
BOTH 1 BOTH 2

Recent events have since produced ‘Converters’ to allow the use of SATA HDDs in the Xbox console.

http://www.coolgear.com/images/SATA-IDE-34.jpg

These ‘Converters’ can be found on eBay for only a few dollars and are producing great results!

How do I open my Xbox?

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/crack_open_that_xbox.htm

How do I open my DVD Drive?

Thomson
http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/cleaning_your_dvd_drive.htm Laser Installation
Phillips
http://www.llamma.com/xbox/phillips_xbox_dvd_complete_dissassembly.htm
Samsung
http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/Samsung_DVD_Complete_Disassembly.htm

My Samsung DVD Drive won’t open!?

Most, if not all Samsungs have a magnetic issue. With no disc inserted, they attempt to eject, but jam. There is a simple solution!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vdell-Zd82Q

How Do I unlock my HDD?

Depends. If you are simply looking to unlock it for use with a PC

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/533828

If have stuffed up your drive or lost your eeprom

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?t=10323

What’s an ‘EEPROM’?

An eeprom is chip that is soldered to the motherboard. It can hold information and can be reprogrammed (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory).

The eeprom, with regards to the Xbox is the coding that locks the motherboard and hard drive as a pair. If you change one, the other will cease to function.

We no longer have to remove the chip to get the coding as we can use software or a ‘reader’. The resulting file is ‘eeprom.bin’. This is what people are asking when they say “Did you backup your eeprom?”.

There are countless ways to get your eeprom, one of which can be found in my “Upgraded HDD” tutorial.

How do I repair my DVD drive (Xbox cannot recognise this disc)

Should these guides not help you repair your drive, consider either buying a new laser for your drive model or buying another drive. All Xbox drives are compatible with all Xboxs. They are Plug and Play.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/409908

Full ‘Samsung’ overhaul video.

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?t=10249

For those wondering which drives are best and which to get, here’s the break down:

Samsung The best. The Samsung has very little errors, the only fail it has is the lens gets dirty sometimes and the worm spindle jams. These can be easily fixed using Reinharts tutorial linked above. The Samsung will read all disc types except DVD+RW.

Phillips (Both models) are horrendous beyond words. They have every failure under the sun, ranging from laser power calibration errors (Pot Tweak) to complete mainboard failures which will actually stop your Xbox from working. Even if you fix the issue with the Phillips it will return within weeks and will haunt you in your dreams! Phillips drives have quite high compatibilty with most media, however the reliability lets it down.

Thomson HIGHLY underated drive. The only drawback it has is it’s inability to read CD-R. The Thomson suffers from power calibration errors or complete laser failures. 90% of the time the Thomson can be repaired with a simple pot tweak, which will allow it to run longer then you’d probably have the Xbox. If it’s the laser itself, they are cheap, plentiful and easy to replace as most Xboxs contain Thomsons. Thomson drives tend to be fairly compatible with most media. Will NOT read CD-R.

Rating:
1) Samsung
2) Thompson
3) A damaged Samsung
4) A damaged Thomson
5) Phillips

How do I ‘Hotswap’

Hotswapping is the most widely used and probably most successful repair tool we have. If done correctly, it can repair almost all errors.

We now hotswap in two ways. One is via ‘Explorer360’ which is a windows program. It allows us to open the drive and change files. This method is recommended for Error 16 and the “Xbox LIVE updating” loop.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/583612

The second way, and highly recommended is to use ‘Xboxhdm v1.9’ and rebuild the drive.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/548462

Here’s a video of the process, it’s not perfect or mine, but it should answer any questions or grey areas you may have…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07MSbQPYhFc&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIacfmhS9Vg&mode=related&search=

Hotswap Tips:
1) Hotswap while windows is loaded. Use the “Scan for hardware changes” in device manager.
2) If having trouble, especially Error 16, unplug the DVD drive within the Xbox and allow the Error 12 screen to appear. Then hotswap.
3) If using the Xboxhdm hotswap, don’t start the hotswap until you have already loaded Xboxhdm.
4) Should you have any issues with your HDD not being detected, turn off your PC, turn it back on and press the ‘Pause|Break’ key prior to the BIOS auto detecting HDDs. Perform the hotswap at this point, then continue the boot.
5) Change the jumper on the HDD to ‘Master’. Don’t forget to change it back to ‘Cable Select’ afterwards though. Also try removing the jumper completely during the hotswap. This method has been shown to stop the “Xplorer360 drive not detected” problem!

How to build and use an EEPROM reader

EEPROM readers are a small serial device that can easily be attached to an Xbox motherboard to retrieve the eeprom file in seconds. No longer will you be stuck with a useless Xbox.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/357863

Slightly easier understanding…

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?t=10282&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

I’m lazy, where can I buy an EEPROM ReaderWriter?

These units are constantly available on eBay. Prices vary, but every Xbox modder should have one in their toolkit! Don’t leave home without it, or stay at home with it, or…you get my drift!

Can I play on Xbox LIVE with a modded console?

Generally, NO! You will be banned. There are reports of Halo 2 online with mods, but I’m advising against finding out. You’ll know you are banned when your console reboots to an Error 21. See below for repair.

Clarity…

1) If you own an original Xbox, mod it, connect to Xbox Live, you will be banned!

2) If you own an original Xbox, mod it, but “Dual Boot” back to the retail dash, connect to Xbox Live, you will not be banned!

3) If you own a 360, flash the DVD firmware with the “*Latest” firmware you will not be banned.

* A word of caution. Microsoft constantly change their LIVE software to adapt to the “Latest” firmware. You will only need to be banned once for it to be permanent (eg. no matter what firmware you flash, you’re still banned)

My Xbox is “Updating Xbox LIVE” and is stuck in a loop

Sadly, we are still somewhat unsure as to why this occurs, it maybe due to a simple Xbox LIVE connection attempt with a modded console, maybe not…

Anyway, the easiest solution is to rebuild the MS Dash via this method!

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/583612

How to play online with Xlink Kai and XBConnect

XLink Kai is the awesome FREE alternative to Xbox LIVE! XBMC dash has this built-in and ready to go, HIGHLY recommended!

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/329607

How do I install a dashboard?

There are many ways, but for simplicity, I would advise using either ‘Slayers’ or ‘AID’ to install the dash for you! AID allows for multiple dashboard installs and can easily change the default boot dash.

How do I backup games?

TO DISC:
Firstly, you’ll need to FTP to your Xbox. The link for FTP is above should you not know how.

With the link established, insert the disc you wish to copy into the Xbox DVD drive. In your FTP client, open D: on the Xbox side and copy all the files within to your PC.

Then use this guide…

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/429772

To HDD:
You can also backup games to the internal HDD (Which can be upgraded).

To do this, I recommend using DVD2XBOX. This can be found on the AID disc as well as my software section.

**NOTE** Games CANNOT be streamed across a network! They MUST be stored locally!

What do I do with all these .r00, .r01, .r02 files???

These are compressed files. Winrar is the program you need to use to get the ‘real’ files from within. Normally they will contain a .iso file (Use my HDD Upgrade tutorial to show you how to burn an iso file) or a .bin.cue file.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/566723

I have an Error screen when I boot up

Error 5: HDD Unlocked. You need to lock the HDD with the correct eeprom for that Xbox. If you have a softmodded console, click here

Error 6: Can’t unlock HDD. The HDD has been locked with an incorrect eeprom. Unlock again with ‘incorrect’ eeprom and re-lock with ‘correct’ eeprom. *BEWARE* softmods create two eeproms. The correct eeprom is found in E:UDATA2xxxxxxxxxxxxx0000000000000Backup

Error 7: Dead HDD. Either it’s not plugged in correctly or it’s dead. Replace HDD. Normally accompanied by a ‘Click, Click’ sound.

Error 1112: DVD Drive failure. Most likely it’s not plugged in correctly. Check connections, try a new cable or replace drive.

Error 131415: Dashboard Failure. Either ‘Hotswap’ or rebuild HDD.

Error 16: Dashboard Failure. Normally caused by a ‘Clock’ error or file corruption. Use my ‘Error 16’ Hotswap tutorial found HERE.

Error 21: Dashboard Failure. Either ‘Hotswap’ or rebuild HDD. Also the error shown after an Xbox Live banning! Rebuild is the only answer, however you are permanently banned from LIVE!
* Try inserting an original game and attempt to connect to Xbox Live. You don’t need to be connect to the net, but the game disc may update your dash and fix the error.*

**NOTE** If you have a modchip installed, ALL errors can be fixed with ‘Slayers’ disc.

My Xbox flashes different colours from the LED

Steady Green, No Video: Coma Console.

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/ComaConsole.htm

Flashing Green/Solid Red: Bad EPROM image. Reflash eeprom chip with a eeprom readerwriter.

Flashing Red and Orange: Video display problem, check cord. Also try switching to another video cable.

Flashing Red and Green: Normally accompanied with an on-screen error. Refer to error codes.

“Christmas Lights”: Also known as ‘FRAG’. Tries to boot three times and then starts flashing red and green. This error is still somewhat unexplained. Most likely the bios is corrupted or if soldering beforehand, could be solder splashes. Modchip installation normally cures it.

Xbox will NOT power on

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/power_supply_failure.htm

How do I replace the fuse?

Blown your fuse? Want to know how to easily replace it?

Before you start any work on the Power Supply, you’ll need to discharge it. To do so, unplug the powercord, press the ‘Eject’ button, the ‘Power’ button and then the ‘Eject’ button again. You should hear the charge release and it will spin the fan a little. The capacitors are now empty and the PSU is safe to work on.

**Disclaimer**
Please be aware that PSUs are dangerous and should not be repaired by inexperienced persons. Failure to observe this warning may result in serious harm or death.

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?t=6620&highlight=

Xbox locks up or freezes

Is it the game disc? If it happens regardless of the game or if you are starting to see random lockups and odd artifacts in graphics…

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/xbox_locks_up.htm

Also, try emptying the ‘E:Cache’ folder on the Xbox HDD. This is achieved via FTP!

If it’s XBMC that seems to lock up, especially at random times, this is probably your problem

http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/116/48103301dd4.jpg

What is “Dual Booting”

When you softmod correctly (Dual Boot), you effectively install ‘Two’ dashes, the OEM M$ Dash and the modded one.

The M$ dash stays in the C: whilst the modded dash (Evox, UnleashX, etc) stay in E:

If you boot the Xbox via the ‘Power’ Button (Small button) it will boot the modded dash. If you connect to Xbox Live you WILL be banned!

However, if you boot the Xbox via the ‘Eject’ button (Large button) the M$ Dash will load and the Xbox will appear and play like an unmodded Xbox. You can use Live from here with original games only, as backups will not work (unmodded).

Which Xbox DVD drive do I have?

http://www.xbreporter.com/xbox_dvd_drives.gif

My games freeze when booted from the HDD

Empty the E:Cache folder.

Games won’t load, just keep returning to the dash

Your ‘Region’ is wrong in your dash settings! Change it to the area your game is from (NTSC-PAL), or more importantly, the area you are in. Default is normally the best!

What is ‘Slayers’ and ‘AID v4.0’?

Slayer was the original modders disc. It’s more aimed at Hardmodded Xboxs then Softmodders. Slayer will help you rebuild your drive if there is a failure as it will boot even without a functioning dashboard!

AID v4.0 is more softmod orientated, but is just as useful to Hardmods. It allow effortless installs of dashes, apps and emulators. It also allows basic tinkering and Softmodding. This disc takes all the hard FTP and coding work out of tasks such as installing/uninstalling dashes and/or apps. It’s basically a click-to-install affair, AID does the rest! Great stuff!

What is XBMC?

XBMC (Xbox Media Center) is exactly as it sounds. It’s not only an pplication but also a dash. It will effortlessly play video, audio and picture files from disc, network or internet. Get it!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC

Full walkthrough of features…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2OAOfXN89I

I have no eeprom, how do I fix my drive?

If your Xbox boots to an Error 56 and you don’t have any eeproms, you’ll need either an eeprom reader or a modchip.

If your Xbox boots to an Error 13+ you can salvage your drive with a ‘Hotswap’

My new Upgraded HDD only shows 137GB

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/533828

Can I use my Xbox HDD in my PC and vice versa?

Yes. As long as the drives are IDE.

To use an Xbox drive in a PC, the drive must first be unlocked from the motherboard.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/533828

To install a PC drive into the Xbox. Modchipped Xboxs only require a Slayers disc. Click on ‘Format’.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/533828

How do I get Surround Sound 5.1Ch?

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/517285

Can I FTP to the Xbox with a MAC?

Yes you can. The process will follow the same pricipals as the PC version, the IP Addresses must still be on the same network. Then simply use any FTP program available for MAC and connect!

Also try this…

http://mac.softpedia.com/get/Games/Xbox-Browser.shtml

Do I need an “Action Replay” to softmod?

No. My softmodding guide explains how to do by using a Modded Xbox!

You can also do it using a USB Thumbdrive.
Here’s the link to show you how to do it…

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/578329

How do I open an Xbox controller?

Got sticky buttons? Need to do some minor maintainance?

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/Controller_Cleaning.htm

How do I fix a damaged controller cord?

Dog chewed your cord? Why not just repair it…

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/controller_cord_repair.htm

How do I repair traces?

Had a bit of soldering accident? Got some corrosion issues?

http://llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/repairing_traces_and_lifted_pads.htm
http://xbox-scene.com/articles/fix-trace-nosolder.php

My Xbox turns on as soon as the power cord is plugged in!?

Xbox turns itself on? Won’t turn off? You have corrosion issues at the front of your motherboard. Here’s a step by step from my good friend DarkMatter.

This is known to fix:

(1) The X-Box fails to power down using the power on/off button on the front panel. The power cord has to be pulled out to shut it down.
(2) As soon as the power cord is plugged in, the X-Box powers up without pressing either the on/off or eject buttons.
(3) While the X-Box is on for a certain amount of time, it shuts down by itself for no reason. The time factor before shut down can vary wildly.
4) Missing LED colours

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?p=73050#73050

EvoX menu is no longer showing all the options!?

So you’ve turned your Xbox on to find that your EvoX menu is now only showing ‘MS Dashboard, Reboot, Power Off, Settings & Backup’. There is no Launch menu, Apps, Games, etc.

Fear not, your ‘evox.ini’ file has been changed and can be easily fixed. Simply download a clean copy of the ‘evox.ini’ file and FTP into your console and replace the existing one!

http://rapidshare.com/files/81844968/OEM_evox.zip

I have also written a “Safety” ‘evox.ini’ which has options missing which could cause harm (Unlock HDD, etc.). This is particularly useful around children or idiot relatives! ;)

http://rapidshare.com/files/81843312/evox.ini

For those who are interested in changing the menu configuration to suit themselves, here’s the guide explaining it al!

http://vidgms4me.tripod.com/xbox/The_Complete_Evox_ini_Guide.html

The easiest way to make changes and to test them is to FTP the edited file across, use the IGR (L Trigger + R Trigger + Start + Back). That will reload the new settings. If it’s not to your liking, simply make the changes in the ‘evox.ini’ file again and repeat the process!

Can I make my Xbox wireless?

You sure can, and it’s cheap too! I can show you a way to do it without having to purchase the overpriced “Gaming Adapter”…

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/564071

Can I make my Xbox wireless internally?

You sure can! With an easy to follow guide you can mount and power a wireless adapter within your console for complete wireless interaction.

More tutorials coming soon!!!

http://www.i-hacked.com/content/view/223/62/

Can I play PS2 Games on my Xbox?

No! Regardless of what you hear or read elsewhere, this is just not possible.

The Xbox simply doesn’t have enough processing power andor memory (RAM) to emulate the PS2.

The Xbox CAN play PS1, Gameboy, Nintendo 64, Sega MegadriveGenesis, etc. These are commonly referred to as ‘Roms’

AID v4.x comes with the Roms. The games you will have to get yourself.

How do I modify my jewel to glow?

A tutorial written to show you how to easily modify the “Xbox” green jewel on the top of your case to make it glow any colour you want.

Possibly one of the best laid out tutorials I’ve ever seen.

http://tweakification.blogspot.com/2007/01/step-by-step-xbox-jewel-led-mod.html

Can I FTP an Unmodded (Stock) Xbox?

Yes you can. This can be used to update your dash to 5960, etc.

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/558758

How do I reset the Parental Control?

1. From the XBOX dashboard screen, go to settings and then parental control.

2. When prompted for the password, perform the following sequence using the XBOX controller: X, Y, Left Trigger, X.

3. Enter in a new password, or disable parental control entirely.

How do I use a USB StickThumbdrive as a memory card?

Quite easily friend. Follow this guide…

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/578329

My FTP link keeps failing when transferring, especially ROMS!?

This may be caused by a filenaming issue!

Rename the files so that they have no (!)[]{},”‘@~ or any blank spaces in them. They also must not be more than 24 characters in length.

I have no video, but my sound is working!?

Obviously check the basics

Is it the cable?
Is it the TV?

If all else fails, try this (Thanks to DarkMatter)

http://forums.llamma.com/viewtopic.php?t=12915

My XBMC time and Date are always wrong!

Seems to be some sort of a flaw, either way there’s a solution…

http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/594601

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