Picture of Original XBOX Hard Drive Upgrade
This instructable details the installation of a larger hard drive into a soft-modded original XBox.

Here I recount my experience upgrading the original factory hard drive of the XBox to a WD Caviar Blue 500 GB Desktop (3.5") drive (WD5000AAKB).
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Step 1: Parts / Tools

Picture of Parts / Tools
For this instructable the following parts and tools are required:

- A Torx screwdriver
- A Molex hard drive power cable "Y" splitter
- A new hard drive for installation
- A modded XBox
- Chimp XBox Hard Drive cloning software (available at "usual places")

A list of compatible hard drives can be found at the Xbox Hard Drive Compatibility Chart.

Details on soft-modding the Xbox can be found in my previous instructable, Original XBOX Softmodding.

Step 2: Open the case

Picture of Open the case
Invert the Xbox on a flat surface and remove the five torx screws from the bottom using the screwdriver. The locations are shown in the photo below. Set the screws aside in a safe place.

Gently remove the top section of the Xbox case from the bottom.

Step 3: Prepare the hard drive for cloning

Picture of Prepare the hard drive for cloning
Next we must prepare the new hard drive for cloning. Following the instructions that came with your hard drive, set the unit to slave / secondary mode using the included plastic jumper.

For my unit this meant placing the jumper on the set of pins second from the right (see photo).

Step 4: Prepare the system for hot-swap

Picture of Prepare the system for hot-swap
The new hard drive will be cloned by 'hot-swapping' it with the DVD drive while the XBox is running. This is necessary as the DVD drive must hooked up in order for the system to boot.

Remove the molex power cable from the Xbox hard drive and attach the Y-splitter. Plug one of the other ends back into the Xbox hard drive and the other into the new hard drive.

Also loosen the IDE cable from the back of the DVD drive, making sure that it still remains attached.

Finally set the new hard drive into a position where the loosened IDE cable can be plugged in (on top of the DVD drive).

Step 5: Hot-swap the hard drive

Picture of Hot-swap the hard drive
Power on the XBox and allow it to boot into the dash. If the Xbox does not boot, make sure that you have not fully unplugged the DVD drive (it should be loose, but not unplugged)

Go to applications and start up the Chimp hard drive cloning application.

After the program has started, unplug the IDE cable from the DVD drive (gently!) and plug it into the new hard drive.

Step 6: Clone the hard drive

Picture of Clone the hard drive
Note that some controllers do not play nicely with the Chimp program. If you are having problems, try a different (preferably original Microsoft) controller.

Select option 1 in the program, scan IDE devices. The two hard drives should be detected.
Continue two step 2 - clone from master to slave. This step may take quite a while in the case of a large new hard drive.

After the cloning is complete, select option 3, lock slave drive.

When the lock succeeds, exit to shell and power off the system.

Unplug all cables from the 'new' hard drive, plug the IDE cable back into the DVD drive and unplug the molex Y cable.

Step 7: Remove the hard drive bay

Picture of Remove the hard drive bay
Next the hard drive bay taken out to allow the removal of the original hard drive.

Remove the PATA ribbon cable (gray) from the IDE connector at the back of the drive. This may require some adjusting as the connector may be pushed into place quite firmly.

Remove the long screws holding the bay into place and lift it out of place. Note there is one smaller screw under where the PATA cable previously used to run.

The power cable should be pulled out from the bracketing along the side of the bay to allow enough slack for the bay to be removed while the power cable remains plugged in.

Step 8: Remove Old Drive from Bay and Install New

Picture of Remove Old Drive from Bay and Install New
Remove the two screws on either side of the bay attaching the hard drive to the bay. Unplug the power cable, and set the old hard drive aside safely in case of future disasters.

Plug the cable into the new drive and install it into the bay. First line up the screw holes in the drive with those in the bay and then screw into place.

Replace the hard drive bay into the XBox chassis and screw back into place.

Step 9: Reassemble the case

Picture of Reassemble the case
Reassemble the XBox by reversing the actions of Step 2 (replace the cover and screws).

Step 10: Test & Enjoy!

Picture of Test & Enjoy!
Now plug in your XBox, cross your fingers and power it on! 

Should everything have proceeded smoothly, you should have a new large capacity hard drive in your XBox for all your media center needs!

If something went wrong, you may get an error message like the one in the photo. If this is the case, I recommend going back and repeating from Step 3.

In my case the drive was formatted with an 8 GB partition of the original data as well as ~140 GB and ~350 GB partitions.

As with the preceding instructable, I could not have done so without valuable information and walkthroughs from previous online authors, particularly those at afterdawn, xbox-scene and xbox-hq.

Hope the instructable was enjoyable and informative. Let me know what you think in the comments.
alvarou2 months ago

xbox support more than 500 hd 1tb , and if you are using mod chip you can upgrate more than 1 tb hd

KonstantanB3 months ago

can i do this with windows 7?

gwood12342 years ago
Hi. Can this be done using a laptop hard drive? I have an old G4 iBook lying around with a 60gb drive that I could use! Thanks
Tias (try it and see)? Don't see why it wouldn't work
YES it can
Techboy231 year ago

this be done with a regular stock bought Xbox and not a soft modded one.

I'm basically new to all
this process and I'm just trying to install a new hard drive in an old Xbox
that originally had a 10 gig drive in it

this possible to do, and how

what would be the easiest way for a newbie like me to get this done

No it needs to be soft modded to allow you to run cloning software. Softmod is rather easy though
Damon Creed7 months ago

I say use a 3tb drive and find a way to upgrade the disk drive to BD-Rom. :-) (while still retaining the ability to read Xbox disks)

You can chip it to support sata
EdH14 months ago

The guide doesn't mention the most important part: Replace the old 40-wire cable with an 80-wire one. This reduces crosstalk and allows significantly faster transfers between the hard drive and the system. This would be especially important if you're using a modern drive like the one seen here. If you have some recent motherboards, chances are you have a couple of these smoother 80-wire IDE cables lying around.

Even if you stick with the original hard drive, this (along with desoldering the supercap) is the #1 mod you can do to your xbox, and it's also the easiest.

i_eatcatchow5 months ago

dont forget to set your old harddrive back to master afterwards, or you may get an error.

riverswamp6 months ago

I love mods like this

riverswamp6 months ago

can you get one bigger than 500GB?

Hi there! I`v sucseeded with the cloaning for the originlal xbox from 80gb to 120gb,but the funy thing is i have the same amout of free space as on the 80gb.

Any ideas,suggestions for this kind of issue?


dfalk3 years ago
Does its support 500gb??
jgosselin dfalk3 years ago
the fact he completed the instructable and says its working with his partition layout. your answer is yes.
Can it be done without partitioning?
wolfemanpa2 years ago
There are a couple things that need to be pointed out that are not in this tutorial and others I have seen. After a softmod is performed, there is not automatically an Apps folder created, in fact, one would be led to believe that a directory named APPLICATIONS, would be there given the evox dashboard listing, along with an EMULATORS, GAMES, et al.

You must install the chimp folder via ftp into a directory named "Apps". and the linux config file inside the chimp folder into the root of the E directory. Otherwise you will get errors when booting chimp and trying to start the app.

The other point is, well more of a question really, how do you merge the resulting partitions? I can not install my games or emulators, as far as I can tell, on any other partition than the E partition... so how do you make use of all that extra space if after the clone, you are left with a 4GB sized E partition?
Jon3163 years ago
This is really easy to do all you have to do is connect hdd to computer and use xboxhdm. I did though explore some tuttorials first just to get comfortable with xboxhdm.
While my HDD is cloning, the screen goes black. How will I know when the cloning is done? Is there an on screen message? When I hit the button on the controller it goes straight to the menu screen. Does this mean its done or did I interrupt the process? Any information will be highly appreciated. Thanks! =)
Trial and error is a little scary. I had to plug the jumper back into the hard drive to restore it to master for the dashboard to fully load.
Otherwise I was given the xbox needs service screen.
I wish it was as easy as clone master to slave. You have to select a few settings before it does. I was kinda lost but I just said yes to everything.
bjk3114 years ago
Can i use the same HDD listed above for my xbox or does it have to be specific version?

If so, how can i find out which version xbox i have?

thanks for the help
zack247 bjk3113 years ago
any IDE hard drive should work, so long as its properly formatted.
Treborabc3 years ago
You can do this much more easily with xboxhdm and a ftp client
Will this keep my softmod, or will I need to re-softmod my Xbox after I put a new hard drive in?
myles_h (author)  Snaffle J. Bean3 years ago
The new hard drive will be cloned from the old one (Step 6), so no, you shouldn't have to. Good luck.
Okay. One last question: I'm going to be using an old hard drive with data on it from a previous computer. Will I have to format this hard drive, or will Chimp do it?
Sirppi4 years ago
Thanks a lot (: i finally managed to change the HDD using this tut (:
junits154 years ago
I believe its an IDE cable :)