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View Full Version : SoftMod vs. Mod Chip



jkrell
01-14-2005, 11:53 AM
After tackling hacking the TiVo, I am hungry for more and in exploring this forum found out about the opportunities surrounding hacking an Xbox. I plan on picking one up this weekend solely for the purpose of hacking it and adding XBMC to the mix (KOTOR II doesn't hurt, either). A quick question, however:

If I try the softmod approach and find that it is not ideal for what I want to do, I assume I can later elect to go down the mod chip route and either do a solderless chip or try my hand at soldering. Is this correct? Or do I seal my fate by first trying the softmod approach?

rc3105
01-14-2005, 12:46 PM
3 main things to remember:

duplicate the original drive and play with the copy, keep the original in a drawer (same standard disclaimer as tivo hacking)

xbox w/o a modchip locks the drive and the passwords are unique - partially based on drive sernum - write it down somewhere safe like the hd label

don't try to play xbox live with a modded system, they'll ban the box's sernum


*personally I haven't seen any reason to spend $ on a modchip

jkrell
01-14-2005, 01:32 PM
3 main things to remember:

duplicate the original drive and play with the copy, keep the original in a drawer (same standard disclaimer as tivo hacking)

xbox w/o a modchip locks the drive and the passwords are unique - partially based on drive sernum - write it down somewhere safe like the hd label

don't try to play xbox live with a modded system, they'll ban the box's sernum


*personally I haven't seen any reason to spend $ on a modchip

Just a side note -- couldn't care less about Xbox Live, so it sounds like softmod is for me.

Can you explain the "password" / drive sernum concept? Will this be evident to me in the hacking process?

rc3105
01-14-2005, 03:59 PM
basically a stock tsop won't boot an unlocked drive. the hot-swap trick will let you access the drive if something goes kerplunk but it's easier to fix config errors or corrupted files if you have the drive password handy

xbox-scene (http://www.xbox-scene.com) has all the info you need in the Exploits/Softmod Guides (http://www.xbox-scene.com/tutorials.php?p=151|#151)

jkrell
01-14-2005, 04:01 PM
basically a stock tsop won't boot an unlocked drive. the hot-swap trick will let you access the drive if something goes kerplunk but it's easier to fix config errors or corrupted files if you have the drive password handy

xbox-scene (http://www.xbox-scene.com) has all the info you need in the Exploits/Softmod Guides (http://www.xbox-scene.com/tutorials.php?p=151|#151)

Thanks for those links -- part of the trouble with hacking (or the fun, depending what kind of mood you're in) is sorting through all the crap to find good, useful sites.

kungpaomaster
01-15-2005, 06:51 PM
Just speaking from my experience here.

Sounds like you're going along the right path. Try out the softmod first then if you don't like it or screw it up you can recover with a TSOP flash or a Modchip. If you just plan on keeping the stock HDD, softmod is by far the easiest and quickest way to go. The actual "hacking" part is easy for softmod. The hard work depends on which exploit path you want to take. Softmod becomes a piece of cake if you know someone with a modded box, have a memory card with a gamesave exploit, and have one of the exploitable games.

I will say this... softmods aren't as well documented as the modchips and TSOP flash approaches.

jkrell
01-17-2005, 02:51 PM
OK, so maybe after all is said and done, I agree with you that hacking the xbox is easier than TiVo. Maybe. But let me tell you that even if the ACT itself is easier, making sure you know what you are doing is harder.

First I made a stupid mistake and bought the Platinum Hits version of Mech Assault. Oops. At least it is a good game and was only $20. I also bought Action Replay, which it turns out I didn't need since I got the wrong version of the game. Double oops. Still, I needed a memory card anyway and Action Replay might actually turn out to be a handy little tool, depending on how much I use the xbox for games (I bought it just to hack it).

I decided to try hotswapping (more fun anyway) and using the xboxhd tools (primarily xbrowser), and had pretty good success at getting the unlocked drive hooked up to my PC. However, I chickened out the first time because I did not have a way of backing up the retail xbox C and E "drives". Later, after determining I had NO alternative (I tried copying the C part over to a "backup" folder on the xbox itself, but did not have enough space), I just went ahead and followed the instructions for the UXE installation -- which worked like a charm. My pulse probably doubled as I was deleting stuff from the xbox hard drive!!

Anyway, now I have my current setup fully backed up and I've got the eeprom.bin and related files safely burned onto CD-R. So, I assume that if I mess something up as I continue to do this stuff, I can safely restore the HD to its current state by using xboxhd again. If I'm wrong, I guess I am screwed, but that's that!!

A couple closing quesions, however:

1. Is there a way to avoid the no backup issue I describe above (I know, I know, I should have bought a replacement HDD and put the xbox drive on the shelf -- obviously the best solution but also $$ more than I wanted to spend)?

2. Is there anywhere I can go to get the M$ Dashboard and related retail files that would be required to restore my HDD to its original state if I ever needed/wanted to? Would I find these in "the usual places"?

rc3105
01-17-2005, 08:24 PM
1) xbox only needs an 8 gig drive. bite the bullet and spend $5 on a used 10 for hacking purposes. (put the original 8/10 in a drawer)

*once you get the hang of things you'll probably want to install a big cheap-after-rebates drive anyway - games on hd run MUCH faster and are less likely to get scratched ;)


2) replace one of the xbox controller ports with a standard usb connector ($3) or build/buy a xbox->usb adapter cable ($10)

enables using standard usb devices like kb, gamepad, printer, hd, cd/dvd burner, thumb drive instead of memory card ;)


3) there are hotswap / softmod install procedures that only require adding a few files (font/audio exploits) and renaming a few originals (easily reversable)

*pc-side drive modifications don't even require the hotswap hoopla once you have the hd password. write it down ASAP


-----

Xbox vs Tivo hacking:

all the heavy lifting has been done. with the right tools neither requires pulling the drive. overall difficulty depends on your skill at navigating forums and assimilating info

jkrell
01-18-2005, 12:37 AM
1) xbox only needs an 8 gig drive. bite the bullet and spend $5 on a used 10 for hacking purposes. (put the original 8/10 in a drawer)

*once you get the hang of things you'll probably want to install a big cheap-after-rebates drive anyway - games on hd run MUCH faster and are less likely to get scratched ;)


2) replace one of the xbox controller ports with a standard usb connector ($3) or build/buy a xbox->usb adapter cable ($10)

enables using standard usb devices like kb, gamepad, printer, hd, cd/dvd burner, thumb drive instead of memory card ;)


3) there are hotswap / softmod install procedures that only require adding a few files (font/audio exploits) and renaming a few originals (easily reversable)

*pc-side drive modifications don't even require the hotswap hoopla once you have the hd password. write it down ASAP


-----

Xbox vs Tivo hacking:

all the heavy lifting has been done. with the right tools neither requires pulling the drive. overall difficulty depends on your skill at navigating forums and assimilating info

Is there any way to utilize external storage for playing games and other stuff? Obviously, there's XBMP/XBMC for media, but what about games and apps? I don't want to invest $$$ on a drive to sit in my xbox -- won't use it much. I don't play games much and, when I do, I'll likely be playing them on my PS2 (which I have owned for years).

I don't see how there's any more heavy lifting done on the xbox than on the TiVo. I found the xbox forums full of a lot more useless crap than I found the TiVo forums, both at DealDatabase.com and TiVoCommunity.com. Specifically, xbox-scene has a lot of good information, but also a lot of crap.

I will be making an xbox-USB adapter, just did not want to tinker with that as I was excited to get into the xbox itself.

rc3105
01-18-2005, 02:15 AM
Is there any way to utilize external storage for playing games and other stuff? Obviously, there's XBMP/XBMC for media, but what about games and apps? I don't want to invest $$$ on a drive to sit in my xbox -- won't use it much.
not that I'm aware of. it's possible but I dunno if anybody's bothered to take it mainstream.



I don't play games much and, when I do, I'll likely be playing them on my PS2 (which I have owned for years).

yep, know whatcha mean. 'bout the only time it gets booted in xbox mode is to vpn and frag teenage brothers. usually it's just another *nix box on the network crunching <whatever>



I found the xbox forums full of a lot more useless crap than I found the TiVo forums, both at DealDatabase.com and TiVoCommunity.com. Specifically, xbox-scene has a lot of good information, but also a lot of crap.

that's what you get when the target audience is teenagers and console gamers


*can't wait for the G5 xbox, sould be sweet

jkrell
01-18-2005, 03:37 AM
Hey Riley:

I used SlaYers to get my M$ Dash back. It also installed the other apps (XBMC, etc) on the E partition. Unfortunately, it wiped out my softmod and so now I will have to do that part over again.

I am thinking of hitting blockbuster for one of the exploitable games, or I'll just hotswap again as I got the hang of it last weekend. I might not even have to hotswap, as this time I have my eeprom.bin and can therefore use the xboxhd unlock utility. Should be easy as pie.

My question for you, however, is what you were referring to when you mentioned "hotswap / softmod install procedures that only require adding a few files (font/audio exploits) and renaming a few originals (easily reversable)" -- I used the UXE dashboard exploit over the weekend and its instructions were to "delete everything in the C partition and copy the UXE package over." This is how I deleted my old M$ dash.

If you are familiar with a procedure, I'd be grateful, as I'd prefer to retain my old files. Otherwise, I'll play it by ear and just rename xboxdash.xbe to something else and copy everything else over (meaning I will delete nothing). Are there other files I need to rename?

Then, I'll be able to make a full backup of my HD.

rc3105
01-18-2005, 05:32 AM
been a million years ('bout 2 actually) but lets see if I can remember which does what

installing bert & ernie font overflow exploits was as simple as

hotswap drive to pc

rename fonts folder (also possibly original dash, I forget)

copy in bert+ernie+dashboard

boot xbox into new dashboard (loadlin, PBL, evox, whatever)


been significant progress since but I haven't really kept up. I hear it's possible to burn rw disks with bitmode settings that pass for factory == all-in-one game copy with auto eXploit installer

jkrell
01-23-2005, 12:30 PM
MADE IT!

I now have a fully functioning hacked xbox with all the major apps installed. I love XBMC! Have it working with SMB to stream stuff from my PC. Next, I'll install ccxstream on the TiVo.

Thanks for your help!

Generiq
01-23-2005, 01:12 PM
riley - Just curious if you've ever tried the keyboard or mouse in a game (like Halo or Halo 2)? I know the smartjoy frag is designed for this and plugs into the controller port. I am guessing the games don't support the USB input devices.

rc3105
01-23-2005, 01:54 PM
think by default most games don't recognize standard usb devices

might not be the case with newer games, dunno

oldbastivo
01-27-2005, 08:12 PM
Nope, they don't.

The to-be-released "MagicBox FPS" will allow you to use a PS2 mouse and keyboard with retail FPS games.

link to an article at xbox-scene:
http://www.xbox-scene.com/xbox1data/sep/EEpyuEVZZylGcNWChw.php

Peronally, I'm more interested in using my USB controllers on the xbox with retail games, but sadly that doesn't work.

sithlord501
06-26-2008, 06:38 PM
i need help i bought this modded xbox and the dash got messed up so i re-installed it but the guy i got it from did not make any backups or i do not have them can someone plz help me get the mods of my system plz help asap

sithlord501-
edited on-june-26 5:51pm