Original XBOX Hard Drive Upgrade

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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.

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    45 Discussions

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    JoshM265

    Question 5 months ago

    Thank you for the instructable. Why did you partition your drive? Is it necessary to do so? I just want a hard drive to store games on so I can get rid of the physical discs.

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    AndrewB503

    1 year ago

    Thank you! Worked like a charm.

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    tanner.wike.1

    1 year ago

    Just tried this with a Maxtor 5A320J0 and it says it cant be locked, any idea on how to lock it or a hard drive that will lock for sure to buy?

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    DarrenB64

    2 years ago

    My xbox freezes as soon as I remove the IDE cable from the back of the DVD drive and insert it into the back of the new HDD. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm following the instructions as written.

    2 replies
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    mintybreathDarrenB64

    Reply 2 years ago

    Just to offer my 2 cents. You may want to check that you have your master/slave setup correctly for your hard drives. I just installed a larger HDD in my xbox using a Sata-to-Ide adapter, and as it turns out the adapter had a Master/Slave jumper that I hadn't noticed. I'm not sure that its the same issue you are having though, as mine would freeze upon launching Chimp, not immediately.

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    DarrenB64mintybreath

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! I'll give it a look. I know I had researched both drives to make sure I had the jumper placements correct, but that doesn't mean that I still didn't place them in the wrong spot...

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    sudz28

    2 years ago

    Great tutorial, I was able to clone my stock 8GB Xbox harddrive to an old 120GB Western Digital IDE drive I pulled out of an old computer. However, for some reason it still shows all partitions as being exactly the same as the old drive - in other words, the E: drive is still showing as 4,881.63MB, the F: drive is 2,134.52, etc. How do I make it recognize the new extra free space?

    5 replies
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    sudz28sudz28

    Reply 2 years ago

    Never mind, figured it out - had to use chimp to reformat/claim the new free space.

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    Tanman720sudz28

    Reply 2 years ago

    How did you go about doing that? I'm having the same issue.

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    sudz28Tanman720

    Reply 2 years ago

    I used Chimp (already installed on my Xbox) to reformat the F: drive, which is where the space ends up. There is no way to 'add' it to the existing E: drive that I was able to find. Thus, I had to move the stuff on my E: drive over to my F: drive. In the end I just ended up putting a larger version of Coinops onto the F: drive than I had on the E: drive.

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    Tanman720sudz28

    Reply 2 years ago

    So after you format the F drive with chimp, you use ftp to transfer everything from E to F?

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    sudz28Tanman720

    Reply 2 years ago

    Well you shouldn't have to FTP anything from one drive to another; they're both partitions on the same Xbox, so you can just copy from one drive to another. What I did was FTP a completely new software package (CoinOPS Massive) from my desktop computer to the F: drive. The E: drive contained CoinOPS LITE, and I just left that where it was although I doubt I'll ever use it again now.

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    thelolotov

    2 years ago

    YMMV, but I was never able to get it to work swapping that late in the process. I am using XBMC as my dash, and I was able to swap the IDE cable after starting the Xbox, but before launching Chimp, and that's what worked for me.

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    alvarou

    3 years ago on Introduction

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

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    gwood1234

    5 years ago on Introduction

    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

    2 replies