How To: Install an Off-the-Shelf Hard Drive in an Xbox 360 (Get 10x the GB for Your Money)

Install an Off-the-Shelf Hard Drive in an Xbox 360 (Get 10x the GB for Your Money)

How to Install an Off-the-Shelf Hard Drive in an Xbox 360 (Get 10x the GB for Your Money)

Since the day of the Xbox 360 release, storage space for the device has been overpriced beyond belief. OEM 250GB HDD models still cost $110 USD! A 250GB hard drive should not destroy my wallet, Microsoft. Storage space, especially on HDDs, is cheap. You can buy a removable 2TB external for only $100 USD, so it's a little beyond my comprehension to see how they calculate their MSRP to yield such a large profit. On the other hand, Xbox 360 had very impressive hardware specs back in the day, equipped with a triple core CPU, which was unheard of at that time.

The only thing that makes a 360 HDD unique from others is a special secure file system and sector, so we can essentially hack other hard drives to do the same thing. In this Null Byte, let's go over how we can hack a cheap alternative hard drive to work with our Xbox 360s.

Warning

  • I do not know if the latest Xbox dashboard can do silent scans for this and ban you accordingly. The latest update was very sneaky, so be safe.

Requirements

  • Windows OS
  • At least $50.00, or one of the hard drives listed below
  • USB drive
  • Computer capable of booting from USB

Spare Hard Disk Drive

Purchase and use any one of the following drives to hack for use with your Xbox.

  • WD Scorpio Series HDD (any)
  • WD VelociRaptor Series
  • WD AV-25 Series BUDT

Downloads

Drive Sector Data

This is what allows your Xbox 360 drive to use the space on the disk. Only the following sizes are allowed, even if your disk is larger. Download the one that you need. Right-click and unzip it to your desktop.

HDDHackr is our tool of choice. Make sure it is downloaded and waiting on your desktop.

Step 1: Format Device for Hacking

First, we need to make sure our device is formatted properly to be booted from when we toss the tool on there.

Standard Method

  1. Navigate to Computer.
  2. Right click the USB drive and click format.
  3. Make a DOS boot disc and select quick format.

If That Didn't Work

  1. Grab the Windows Bootable USB Drive Creator tool.
  2. Unzip files via right-click > extract.
  3. Select your USB drive.
  4. Select FAT file system.
  5. Select quick-format and Create bootable DOS drive.
  1. Browse and choose the USB Drive Boot Files\MS-DOS folder as the location.
  2. Click start.

Step 2: Prepare the Files & Drive

Now we need to drag the files to the bootable drive that we will use to hack our HDD.

  1. Extract the drive sector data and the HDDHackr tool that you have on your desktop into the root of the bootable device that we made.
  2. Make sure your .BIN file is named HDDSS.BIN.
  3. Shut down your computer.
  4. Connect the hard drive that you are hacking in place of your main computer hard drive. If you don't know how to do it, check out this tutorial from LifeHacker.
  5. Keep your hacked USB connected.

Step 3: Hack That HDD

Text in bold indicates a DOS prompt command that you need to type.

  1. Boot your computer and strike F12 (normally) to get into your boot menu.
  1. Select USB.
  2. Enter the number corresponding to your drive letter. It is the SATA drive with WD somewhere in its name.
  3. Hit F to flash.
  4. You will get a message saying, "The information in file HDDSS.BIN does NOT match the drive's firmware info. Do you want to flash the Xbox 360 compatible firmware?" Hit Y.
  5. Hit Y, again.

Your drive is now hacked! To install it, simply remove the screws and case from your old HDD and swap it out for the new one. Have fun with your less-than-half-price HDD.

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Photo by Alfred Hermida

12 Comments

I actually asked xbox support if 3rd party drives were aloud.

They said they are aloud but would not recommend it :-P

it can get you banned using non-microsoft things it says so in the ToS

Clearly you dont understand the ToS or hardware. How would M$ be able to tell if it was a third-party hdd or a home hacked one.

The 120GB Driver Sector Data was linked to 320GB.

Good catch. The link has been updated to the correct 120GB version.

Everything in the tutorial worked like a charm.
However, there is a step missing (it could be my computer that caused it).
In step 3, after I selected usb, I was given a c:\ prompt but nothing else.
The letter represented the usb stick with the appropriate files on it.
So I typed in hddhackr.exe (I think that was the name) and hit enter.
Then I was able to continue on as the tutorial stated.
You may want to check into this.
At any rate, I was able to get 228gb more hdd space than the 4gb I had.
Thank you very much!

So what happens if you connect a drive without doing this first?

it wont be recognised as an xbox hard drive at all, or it will just crash the xbox into a reboot cycle

It won't crash at all. The os is installed on the system memory. It will however try Nd force you to install an update to your Gb onboard memory.

Just a suggestion... If you could make this post more noob friendly would be great. Just looking over it some parts I cannot understand because of the lack of detail in what to do, keep in mind that I am a noob and have never tried this before...

I hope you consider my suggestions... Keep up the great work ;)

this is exactly what i was looking for, however when will the 500GB sector data file be available? the 360 slim supports 500GB drives; however i would much rather buy the 4GB version, and buy my own 500GB drive that i know will be considerably faster and still save me money

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