Xbox 360 Hard Drive Upgrade

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This page shows you how to replace the original 360 hard drive with a new suitable 20, 60, or 120 GB model.

For a more detailed guide, check out Jeremy Gotcher's guide.


Drive Structure

Drive structure on the Xbox 360 hard drives:

Drive contents:

Address  Length (bytes)  Contains
0x0000   8192    Null (0x00)
0x2000   68      Plain text hard disk info
0x2044   24      Static Binary Info (doesn't change console to console)
0x205C   256     Dynamic Binary Data (changes from console to console - possibly encrypted serial number of console)
0x2202   2       Size of following PNG file
0x2204   2754    MS logo in PNG format (aka hddss.bin), made with Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004 on the 19th of July 2005


Address          Description
0x80000          Cache Partition (aka partition 0)
0x80080000       Unknown
0x120EB0000      Xbox Backwards compatibility drive (aka Xbox1 emulator / partition 2)
0x130EB0000      Main Xbox 360 Partition (aka partition 3)


  • You cannot use a hddss.bin backup from a 20 GB hard drive and use it on a new 120 GB, it will only show 20 GB total size whatever you try
  • Original Samsung hard drives cannot be used to flash new WD 120 GB disk, it's currently unsupported
  • Previous hacked Xplorer360 versions (hacked Xplorer360, Xplorer360 temp1) will have problems with 20 GB drives, use Xplorer360 xtreme
  • WD1200BEVS revision LAT, RST, and UST will work with HDDHackr 0.91


Xplorer 360 image and backup method (recommended)

Original Xbox 360 drive:

  1. Open the Xbox hard drive case and remove the hard drive
  2. Connect to sata and power, boot to clean ms-dos, create hddss.bin backup of original hard drive using hddhackr -d
  3. Create an image backup of partition 2 (Xbox 1 emulator, 256MB) using the File -> Backup Partition 2 in Xplorer360 xtreme 2 (you can also extract the files and insert them in partition 2 on the new drive later if you can see partition 2 in Xplorer360)
  4. Create file backup of partition 3 (Xbox 360 main filesystem) by selecting the partition 3 in Xplorer360 xtreme 2 and Edit -> Extract

New replacement drive:

  1. Flash new drive with 20 GB (for new 20 GB drive) or 120 GB (for new 120 GB drive) hddss.bin (created from step 2 above) using hddhackr -f and at the same time make sure when asked to create an undo firmware file. Ignore any timeout expired error. Shutdown to load the new firmware (reboot won't reload it)
  2. Connect the new drive to Xbox 360 and format using System -> Memory -> Hard Drive -> Format (or press Y button), enter the serial number of the machine to allow it to format (you find it on the back of the machine or in System -> System information)
  3. Move the drive to the computer again, connect to sata, restore the partition 2 image with File -> Restore Partition 2 in Xplorer360 xtreme 2, select the XboxBackup.bin image created earlier. Update: It seems that partition 2 has to show up on xplorer360 before the restore function will work (it will not continue at Restoring Device). Either try to do a full restore or manually add the partition using the manual method below, only do step 1 under the Create Partition 0 section and step 4 under the Create Partition 2 section.
  4. Drag all the files from the partition 3 file backup into partition 3 in Xplorer360 xtreme 2
  5. Test drive in xbox 360, should show 107 GB total size and all the content should be restored successfully

Xplorer 360 full image backup method (alternate)

This method is essentially the same, the only difference is that a complete image backup of the drive is made and then restored. Partition 3 files are extracted from the image and then put back on the new hard drive.

  1. Complete step 1 and 2 above under Original Xbox 360 drive to create hddss.bin of the original drive
  2. Create a full image backup using File -> Backup Image in Xplorer360 xtreme 2
  3. Complete step 1 above under New replacement drive to flash the new 120 GB drive
  4. Do full image restore using File -> Restore Image in Xplorer360 xtreme 2
  5. Boot to ms-dos and execute hddhackr -f once again to write the hddss.bin to sector 16 again (its overwritten when restoring a full backup using Xplorer360)
  6. Connect to Xbox 360, you will see that total space is ~13gb and none of the file files from the 20 GB backup shows up
  7. Fix this by formatting in Xbox 360, System -> Memory -> Hard Drive -> Format (or press Y button), enter the serial number to allow format
  8. Open the full image in Xplorer360 xtreme 2 and select partition 3 and Edit -> Extract to create a backup of all the files
  9. Connect disk to computer again, and drag all the files from the partition 3 file backup into partition 3 in Xplorer360 xtreme 2
  10. Test drive in Xbox 360, should show 107 GB total size and all the content should be restored successfully

Manual method

Summarised TheSpecialist way, tested and verified


Complete step 1 and 2 under original drive and step 1 under new replacement drive in the XPLORER360 IMAGE AND FILE BACKUP METHOD section to backup the old drive and flash the new drive. Only when these steps are done, you can continue to create the partitions below.

Create Partition 0

If you want to use xplorer360 with the 120 WDBEVS drive, you can now do that:

1) First add the missing partition manually starting at byte 0x80000 of your WD BEVS. You need to make it look like:

58 54 41 46 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 00 00 00 01 

So, the easy way to do this: open your drive with winhex(, registration required to allow write changes disk ) by pressing F9, select your WD BEVS drive, press <ALT>+G, use position 80000 (hexadec) and then edit these 16 bytes starting at 0x80000 to look like above. Save it, restart the xplorer360 Beta 6 and the FATX error should be gone and you should see 2 partitions now. However, there'll be no data shown yet. if you are using a 120 gb version.

2) To get the data shown for an 120 gb wd BEVS you have to patch/hack xplorer360. Exit xplorer360 and fire up your hexeditor again, but this time open the xplorer360.exe itself with it. Make sure you're using the beta v6 version. At offset 0xF0C2 you'll find:

68 77 03

You need to change these 3 bytes into:

00 C2 1A

Save it (make a backup !), restart it and you can now see the contents of the WD BEVS 120 gb, at least I can. BTW, this 'hack' won't work with the 20 gb version, so it's best to make a backup of the xplorer360.exe and use the 'unhacked' original version if you want to access a 20 gb hdd !

Create Partition 2

I did some analysis myself and got it working too Here's how I did it:

1. Open your drive with Winhex (like described before)

2. Goto the Edit -> Define block. Choose beginning 120EB1000 and end 130EAFFFF and press 'ok'

3. Goto the Edit -> Fill block. Choose 'Fill with hex values', enter 00 and press 'ok'. This will clear the partition.

4. Now we have to add the partition headers. Goto (alt+g) offset 120EB0000 and edit to make it look like:

120EB0000 58 54 41 46 FF FF FF FF 00 00 00 20 00 00 00 01 

5. Save it. Now we're almost done, only have to fix up the 'cluster map'. To do this, goto offset 120EB1000 and edit it to make it look like:

120EB1000 FF FF FF F8 FF FF FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 
120EB1010 FF FF FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 

Save it and then your drive will show partition 2 in xplorer360! Dump all files from partition 2 from some HDD that has the emulator on it (either a 20 gb or 120 gb, doesn't matter), save those files from partition 2 to your PC. Attach your WD BEVS drive, and drag the 'index' file alone first to partition 2! After you've added this particular first file, you can add the rest to the partition.

After you've copied all files (you should be able to use all xplorer versions by the way, doesn't matter which one, hexedited/modded or not), your emulator should work.

Create Partition 3

Format the drive in Xbox 360, System -> Memory -> Hard Drive -> Press Y button, and enter serial number to allow format.

Restore partition 2 and partition 3 as described above.