How do I copy games to the internal hard-drive?
This information will allow you to create Back-ups of games before the original game is damaged. Running games from the hard-drive makes the games load much faster, you will definitely benefit from not having to constantly eject and change game disks.
Lets go back to the beginning.......If you wish to skip this part click Here
Microsoft released the Xbox and incorporated some tricky copy protection schemes that were aimed at stopping individuals from copying games or running programs not approved by Microsoft.The copy protection runs deep and consists of these items:
- The Xbox runs a customized Version of the windows kernal and uses a unique file system dubbed 'fat-X' it of course isn't recognized by any other operating system, if you would like to read more about fat-x click Here Note that fat-x supports long filenames up to 42 characters long.
- The DVD drive in the Xbox is a regular PC drive except for two things it uses a special firmware to allow it to read fat-x and it uses a special connection to handle eject requests
- The DVD Game disks use two formats the first 1.3 gig is a regular file system that all PC's can see and the balance is fat-x
- Only programs signed with the Microsoft encrypted key are allowed to execute on the X-box, the Encryption is very strong and despite Brute-force attacks running on 1000's of computers it has not been broken yet....when they do you'll hear about it!
- The Xbox Hard-drive has been 'locked' with a password from the factory and only the Xbox it was installed in knows the password to 'unlock' the hard-drive, if the drive fails, or is not locked or replaced with another drive the Xbox will refuse to boot. The locked drive is also impossible to use in a PC and can't even be started to attempt to read the contents.
- The botherboard bios proved to be extremely difficult to reverse engineer as Microsoft had cleverly hidden it deep within the traces and added false bios chips and traces to hide the real one.
- All games were instructed to only run from the DVD-rom this was an Instruction that was hidden in the program executable or '.xbe'
So what happened?
- A student named Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang decide to do a research paper on the Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems of the Xbox by trying to reverse engineer the Xbox, to make a long story short he found out what was needed to crack open the Xbox! you can read the whole story Here shortly word got around and hackers devised the first methods to bypass the security and run unsigned code on the Xbox.
- Jump ahead a few years and Microsoft has attempted to stop the hackers by making revisions and changes to the Motherboards to stop any progress being made, but hackers being a clever bunch have managed to not only stay up with the changes they devised new and easier tools to the point where it's not a console anymore but a full-fledged Computer with incredible Home Entertainment value!
- Game makers have also kept up to date and done many things to stop the relative ease at which the games were being copied. But many tools exist to make your job easier.
So What are the basic copy protection issues that are relevant to games being released?
- Media flag has been moved, this flag tells the program where its allowed to run from, in the begining the only way to fix this was to use a Hex-editor and change some values in a specific string that you would search for in the .xbe (this isn't an issue at the moment as most game ripping programs patch this automatically).
- Long filenames, one Problem with the fat-x file system is its limited long filename support, only 42 characters versus windows 256 limit, remember that first 1.3 gigs we talked about it, it supports 256 characters so it makes it impossible to copy files over 42 characters in length to the Xbox hard-drive without the files being renamed, this causes the games to not run due to missing files. This method is newer and so far the only way around it is to obtain a "HDD patch fix" for the game and apply it with whatever program it was designed to work with (Usually a PPF patch engine) the problem is most patch are difficult to locate but hope is around the corner as DVD2Xbox 5.9 is reported to fix this issue and as newer versions come out they will be aware of the problem and patch most games automatically.
- Games are larger than 4.3 Gigs and can't be backed up to regular media, this won't be an issue to anyone who wants to use the new Dual-layer DVD disks and as the disks become cheaper and more widespread it won't be an issue any longer. but in the interm some help is available I'll talk about this later.
What Programs and tools will I need?
If you wish to continue then you will need some programs which can be downloaded from eurasia, a free registration is required to access the downloads section please visit them and register before clicking on the following links or access to the files will be denied click Here to register the link will take you to eurasia.nu registration screen. All the files you will download use a compression called '.rar' so you will need a tool called Winrar to decompress the files it can be downloaded from Here
The files listed below are what you will need to get started ripping and patching your games.
Of course if a newer version is available then what is mentioned then get it instead.
- Download 'DVD2Xbox' 5.9 click Here
- Download 'Qwix' 1.01 click Here
- Download 'CraXtioN' 4.0.0 click Here you will also need to install the Microsoft .Net Framework which is available from Here
- Download 'PPF' Version 3.0 Full Version click Here
- Download 'PPF-Xbox' v0.7a click Here
- Download 'FlashFXP' click Here
'DVD2Xbox' and 'PPF-Xbox' need to be installed unto your Xbox, I'm assuming you have an alternate dashboard such as Avalaunch or Evox installed if this is not the case you will need to install such a dashboard before you can continue. Decompress the 'DVD2Xbox.rar' and 'PPF-Xbox.rar', transfer the two directories to your Xbox using your favorite FTP program
I'll assume that everyone knows the user=xbox and password=xbox
tranfer the files into your Xbox drive e:\apps directory most dashboards will scan this directory, if not you will have to figure out how your dash works and put the files in the proper directory for your dash.
'Qwix', 'CraXtioN', 'FlashFXP' and the '.Net framework' all need to be installed, follow the instructions that came with each package. the PPF programs just need to be decompressed to your hard-drive in a convenient directory of your choice.
The two methods to obtain suitable games
- Use the original of the game you wish to transfer and patch
- Use an '.iso' that was was created previously to patch and transfer.
Lets start with an Original game
Insert the game into the DVD Drive but don't launch the game.
As In the photos below (I'm using Avalaunch) select 'Applications' you should then see your
applications list from here select 'dvd2xbox'
You'll now see the screen below press the 'White' button on your controller to get the settings screen
On this screen select each option and change the values to match the screen shot below. This is done by highlighting the item, it turns yellow, now simply press the green 'A' button to change the value of the item. when you are finished press the red 'B' button to return to the main screen (photo above) you will now press the green 'A' button to begin the copy process from DVD/CD to HDD
You will now see the screen below which is where you will need to select where to put the files, if you don't see the f:\games\ option it's you either don't have one or you didn't turn on access to it in the settings screen 'Enable F: drive' should be changed to 'yes'
When choosing your dump directory make sure you have enough room, some games can use over 8 gigs of space. I would use f:\games\ if available. once highlighted in yellow press the green 'A' button to continue to the next screen, here you need to press the 'Start' button on your controller and sit back and wait for the process to complete, a progress bar tells you what's happening and how far along the process is.
Remember all those copy-protections I talked about earlier, 'dvd2xbox' will in most cases removes and corrects all the issues mentioned and leaves you with a game that is playable from the hard-drive. Before you attempt to run the game from your dashboard make sure you exit 'dvd2xbox' and reboot your xbox. You can select the 'Reboot' option from your dashboard or use the 'IGR' combo that is explained below.
|| I guess I should mention here that powering your Xbox ON and OFF all the time is hard on the components instead of powering off your Xbox try this instead. Your dashboard should support what we call the 'IGR' combo (In Game Reset) you can reboot your Xbox at any time even in the middle of a game by using this combo, you simply hold in both triggers on the controller Left+Right and press the 'Back' and 'Start' buttons at the same time. The picture on the left is a type 'S' (for S=smaller I guess) controller but this combo will work with any controller the buttons for 'Back' and 'Start' will just vary in placement among controllers.
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