Introduction: 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).

Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 10: 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.