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[How To] Install a Larger Hard Drive in Softmodded Xbox


5-8-09:  Added XBpartitioner download link.
4-3-11: Cleaned up some items at the end.

1-27-12: Fixed link for XBpartioner.

WTF! I wrote a post and when I posted it, the article was entirely blank. Talk about a good 30 mins wasted, so here is my brief version.

I have an Xbox, and last night I installed a new larger hard drive in it. So far it works, which is a Hitachi 250GB hard drive. The default hard drive is 8GB. Below is a great tutorial that I am just going to quote and give credit to, and after the tutorial see my quick comments on my experience.

This is a follow-up article to my original Modding the Xbox in 10 Minutes. This guide will teach you how to install a larger hard-drive into your modded Xbox. A lot of people will ask for a legitimate reason for installing a hard-drive larger than the stock 8gb one. Here’s a reason, games ripped to your Xbox load faster. Booting Halo 2 through the CD takes about twenty seconds to load; booting Halo 2 from the hard-drive takes about five seconds to load. There isn’t this night and day difference in all games, but there are plenty of other legitimate uses to using a larger hard-drive in a modded Xbox.

Remember, it’s only legal to rip games that you own to your hard-drive.

Before you begin, you’re going to need the following:

  • Torx 10 and 20 Screwdrivers (available at your local Sears)
  • (available on Xbins in the directory: /XBOX/Operating Systems/linux/distributions/xboxhdm/)
  • FTP Access to your Modded Xbox
  • Blank Hard-Drive
  • Blank CD-R/RW

Once you have all of the above, extract the to its own directory. Connect to your Xbox via FTP and navigate to E:\backup\MS. If you used my first article, there should be a file called eeprom.bin in there. Transfer that file to your local \xboxhdm\linux\eeprom folder. If you did not use my guide, you will first need to backup your EEProm through your dashboard.

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Navigate back to the root of your Xbox hard-drive and transfer the contents of your C:\ and E:\ folders from your Xbox to your local \xboxhdm\linux folder. The local folders should be empty prior to transfer.

Depending how much stuff you have on your Xbox, this transfer might take a bit of time. Once you have transferred the eeprom.bin and c:\ and e:\ folders, navigate to your local \xboxhdm\ folder and double click the make-iso-win file. This will launch the command prompt and will make a linux.iso file.

Use Nero, FireBurner, your burning application of choice to burn this .iso file to a blank CD-R.

Once the CD has burned, turn off your system and disconnect your current hard-drives. Set the jumper on the hard-drive you intend to use in the Xbox to Single Master. Connect this hard-drive. Go into your BIOS and make sure the boot order sets to boot from the CD drive before the hard-drive. Reboot your computer (if necessary), insert the burned CD into your CD drive and it should boot into the Xbox Maker and Recovery Tool program.

It makes no sense to write the following steps in a paragraph format because you just have to hit a number, type a word or answer yes/no. So here is how you navigate the program: (picture guide is located below)

  • Press 1 (Boot VGA Console with Xbox-Drive Utilities (default)) and hit enter.
  • Type xboxhd and hit enter
  • Type yes (do not type y, you must spell out yes) and hit enter
  • Press 1 (Build a New Xbox HD from Scratch) and hit enter
  • Type yes and hit enter
  • Type yes and hit enter (Continue Copying Files from /xboxhdm/C)
  • Type yes and hit enter (Continue Copying Files from /xboxhdm/E)
  • Reboot once it has finished copying (this might take awhile)
  • Press 3 (Boot Linux with Locking/Unlocking Utilities)
  • Type lockhd -a
  • Turn off your computer

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If you want to use your stock 8gb Xbox hard-drive in your PC, turn on your Xbox, if you installed Evolution X using my previous guide, go to System Configuration -> Unlock Harddisk. Turn off your Xbox.

Disconnect the hard-drive from your computer and unscrew the Xbox’s six torx screws. Unscrew the Xbox hard-drive’s two torx screws; unplug its molex connector and IDE cable. Plug in your new Xbox hard-drive and turn it on. Congratulations on your new hard-drive.


Tutorial source:


I spent a good four hours last night and figured out my PC was the problem. Here are some useful tips:

  • New hard drive to be master on primary IDE channel. Optical drive of PC to be master on secondary IDE channel. Do not try other variations, it will not work! I.E: Primary hard drive, slave optical drive.
  • When you lock your hard drive, you may see this error: “Drive on primary master is frozen cannot change the security status of a frozen drive! Try to disable ‘automatic detection’ on the primary IDE channnel in your PC BIOS and reboot.”

    • If you get this, do not bother going into your BIOS and disabling “automatic detection” as other websites say because most likely there is no such thing as an option. I was using an Emachine with an Intel processor, and that was the problem because I couldn’t lock my hard drive.
      • If you are lucky, use a different PC and cross your fingers. Apparently, using AMD based machines work great when trying to lock your hard drive. I had a spare AMD machine, and I was able to lock the hard drive without any errors.
    • See if your hard drive is lockable at this link:

XBPartitioner Link

By popular demand, I give you a link to the XBpartitioner program!  To traditionally get this, you must login to IRC and find it, but now I save you the hassle. Enjoy!

XBpartitioner Download

There you have it. If you have problems, let me know and I will see what I can do as I am living proof that this tutorial works.