1. Foreword

    Welcome to The Gentlemen's Complete And Unabridged Guide For The Softmodding Of The Microsoft Xbox (or ' The Guide: Softmodding The Microsoft Xbox')

    This guide is designed to help you take a completely unmodified Microsoft Xbox, and use a technique called 'softmodding' to modify it to play backups and allow the use of unofficial applications. This guide also contains instructions for installing Xbox Media Center ("XBMC for Xbox"), a media player by Team XBMC which allows your Xbox to play almost all formats of media files, including Xvid, DivX, Matroska and Quicktime. It also allows you to play DVDs without the use of the official Microsoft DVD Remote.

    This guide also covers the installation of the MC360 skin by Team Blackbolt. MC360 is a very popular skin for XBMC which provides an interface which almost exactly imitates that of the Microsoft Xbox 360.

  2. Table of Contents
    1. Foreword
    2. Table of Contents
    3. Introduction
      1. What is The Guide?
      2. What is The Microsoft Xbox?
      3. What is Softmodding and why would I want to do it?
      4. What is Xbox Media Center?
    4. Necessary Hardware and Items
      1. Unmodified Microsoft Xbox
      2. Original Xbox disc of Splinter Cell, MechAssault or 007: Agent Under Fire
      3. 'PC running Windows 98SE or higher'
      4. One of: USB flash memory device with a capacity of over 32MB, Xbox memory unit
      5. Male Xbox to Female USB cable
    5. Necessary Software
      1. Xbox Action Replay
      2. USB View
      3. Softmod Installer Deluxe 4.5 Nknave Edition
      4. Xbox Media Center 2.0.x
      5. FTP Client
      6. RAR unarchiver
    6. Necessary Skills
      1. How to manipulate files, folders and compressed archives
      2. How to use your FTP client
      3. How to navigate the official Xbox Dashboard
      4. How to set up a basic home network
    7. The Guide
      1. Preparing the Xbox
        1. Verify that the Xbox has dashboard version 5960
        2. Clear all Splinter Cell content from the HD.
        3. Allow enough space for software when the mod is complete.
      2. Installing the Action Replay software
        1. Extract the Action Replay software
        2. Install the Action Replay software
        3. Locate where the Action Replay software is installed on your PC hard drive
      3. Preparing the USB flash memory device to be used as an Xbox memory device
        1. Insert your USB flash memory device into your PC.
        2. Extract the USB View software
        3. Run USB View
        4. Identify which device is your USB flash memory device
        5. Locate, back up and open the driver configuration file for the Xbox memory device
        6. Alter the driver configuration file to refer to your USB flash memory device
        7. Replace the default driver for your USB flash memory device with the driver that you just created
      4. Preparing the USB flash memory device with the softmod software
        1. Open the Action Replay application
        2. Format the USB flash memory device
        3. Extract the softmod files
        4. Identify the files to copy to the USB flash memory device
        5. Copy the necessary files to the USB flash memory device
        6. Close the Action Replay application and remove the USB flash memory device
      5. Copying the softmod to the Xbox hard drive
        1. Connect the USB flash memory device to the USB cable
        2. Connect the USB cable to the Xbox
        3. Locate the content items on the USB flash memory device
        4. Copy the content items from the USB flash memory device to the Xbox hard drive
        5. Remove the USB cable from the Xbox
      6. Restoring the USB flash memory device to normal
        1. Plug the USB flash memory device into the PC.
        2. Locate the MaxDrive Xbox in the Device Manager
        3. Uninstall the MaxDrive Xbox driver
        4. Direct Windows to re-detect the USB flash memory device
        5. Uninstall the Action Replay application if it is no longer needed
      7. Triggering the softmod
        1. Insert your game into the Xbox and load it as normal
        2. Trigger the softmod
      8. Installing the softmod and UnleashX
        1. Select Backup / Restore Features
        2. Select Create EEPROM Backup
        3. Select Backup EEPROM
        4. Select Back to Main Menu
        5. Select Create MS Backup
        6. Select Install Softmod
        7. Select Knave's Ndure, Open Tray=Retail
        8. Select Install UnleashX as Dash
        9. Confirm that you want to continue the installation
        10. Wait
        11. Let it restart
        12. Press A one final time
        13. Wait again
      9. Setting up the FTP server and Network settings within UnleashX
        1. Select System
        2. Select Network
        3. Configure your network settings
        4. Restart the Xbox's network system
        5. Try to FTP into the Xbox
      10. Installing XBMC and setting it as the default dashboard
        1. Make sure your Xbox is on and connected to the network
        2. Connect to the Xbox using FTP
        3. Switch your remote pane to the E drive
        4. Extract XBMC
        5. Copy XBMC to the root of E and verify that the copy was succcessful
        6. Rename evoxdash.xbe to unleashx.xbe
        7. Rename default.xbe to evoxdash.xbe
        8. Ensure you have an evoxdash.xbe in E and restart the Xbox using the Power button
      11. Switching to the MC360 skin
        1. Select Settings
        2. Select Appearance
        3. Choose the MC360 skin
      12. Setting up the FTP server and Network settings within XBMC
        1. Navigate to the System blade
        2. Select Network
        3. Within the Network tab, enter the appropriate network settings
        4. Within the Servers tab, choose an FTP username and password
    8. Additional Information
      1. Xbox Drive Letter Layout
      2. Installing Applications
      3. My Xbox keeps asking me to set the time
      4. Access the original Xbox Dashboard
      5. What is 'Xbins', and where is 'our room'?
      6. What happens if there is no xboxdash.xbe?
  3. Introduction
    1. What is The Guide?

      This document is The Guide. Its purpose is to instruct you in a known working method to 'softmod' an unmodified Microsoft Xbox, install a replacement dashboard, and Xbox Media Center.

      It is designed to be detailed enough so that it can be easily followed by any user. However, it is assumed you are familiar with a number of basic computer usage skills.

      It is comprehensive and it is complete. It is not spread across a series of disparate pages, nor does the core guide rely on any external links which may no longer exist. It is not a series of out-of-date forum posts, nor is it covered in intrusive banner advertisements. It does not hide behind terms such as 'that place'.

      You do not need to pay nor register to view the guide.

      In its original form, it consists of one single HTML file and a series of images, so it can be easily saved in its entirety using any ordinary Web browser.

      You are reading Version 1, which was last updated on 5th March 2008.

    2. What is The Microsoft Xbox?

      The Microsoft Xbox is a games console produced by Microsoft Corporation. It was first made available in the North American territory on November 15th, 2001, where it competed with the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube.

      It contains an 8 Gigabyte capacity internal hard drive, and a DVD/CD-ROM drive. Depending on the date of manufacture of the Xbox, the DVD-ROM drive may or may not support DVD-R, DVD+R or CD-R formats. All Xboxes support pressed DVDs and CDs. It can support four Xbox controllers and is equipped with a 100Mbit Ethernet port.

      The built-in software does not allow the user to play DVDs unless the 'Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit' is present.

    3. What is Softmodding and why would I want to do it?

      Softmodding is a process whereby the internal software governing a closed system is rewritten, allowing the system to be augmented with new, unofficial functionality.

      This Xbox softmod is engaged using an 'exploit', a special set of data to which a piece of offical Xbox software reacts in an unforseen manner. In this case, specially designed savegame files are used to exploit a bug in any one of three specific Xbox games, allowing a piece of unofficial software to run in a mode which allows it to alter the internal Xbox software.

      An unmodified Xbox can only use official Xbox software on pressed DVDs, play CD music tracks from pressed CDs (depending on your drive it may play CD music tracks from CD-R) and play pressed DVDs when used with the 'Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit'.

      A modified Xbox can play backups and use unofficial software. There is a wide range of unofficial software for the Xbox available on the Internet. This includes games, emulators, media players and entire Linux distributions.

      This guide assists in the installation of Xbox Media Center, a very high quality media player and all-purpose dashboard.

      Softmodding is not without danger. If the process is not completed correctly, your Xbox may not be able to boot to the official Dashboard or be able to play any games.

    4. What is Xbox Media Center?

      From the XBMC website:

      XBMC is a free open source (GPL) multimedia player for the Xbox™ from Microsoft. Currently XBMC can be used to play/view most common video/audio/picture formats such as MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD, MP3, AAC, JPG, GIF plus many more less known formats directly from a CD/DVD in Xbox DVD-ROM drive or of Xbox hard-drive, XBMC can also stream files from a PC over a local network and even stream media streams directly from the internet. XBMC has playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast and many audio visualizations. All these features enable the Xbox™ running XBMC to fully function as a multimedia jukebox.

      XBMC is easy to install and use, it's very convenient and flexible plus offers a great price/performance ratio. XBMC is of course also completely free of any adware or spyware.

      XBMC supports a near exhaustive selection of formats, containers and codecs, listed here.

      XBMC is also a very capable dashboard, featuring a file manager, FTP server and the ability to launch other Xbox applications. It can also boot Xbox games from the DVD drive.

  4. Necessary Hardware and Items
    1. Unmodified Microsoft Xbox

      You will require an unmodified Microsoft Xbox.

      If your Xbox is already softmodded, or in an indeterminate state from a previous softmodding attempt, try to restore the original Xbox state as much as possible. The softmod which was previously attempted may have included removal instructions.

      The softmodding process may cause irreperable damage to your Xbox firmware if you attempt to softmod an Xbox which is already fitted with a modchip. Refer to your modchip's documentation for removal/disabling instructions.

    2. Original Xbox disc of Splinter Cell, MechAssault or 007: Agent Under Fire

      You will need an original Xbox disc of one of Splinter Cell, MechAssault or 007: Agent Under Fire for the in order to trigger the softmod.

      The softmod will not work with Classics or other budget range rereleases.

      This Guide assumes you are using Splinter Cell.

      The only changes to the method when MechAssault and 007: Agent Under Fire are the files you need to retrieve from the Softmod Installer Deluxe archive, and the method used to trigger the softmod (as each game has its own unique savegame loading menu).

    3. 'PC running Windows 98SE or higher'

      The softmodding method described in this Guide uses a utility called Xbox Action Replay to copy the softmod data to an Xbox memory unit. This utility may be available for other operating systems, but this Guide will assume the version you are using is for Windows.

      The official website for the Action Replay software (codejunkies.com) states that TO USE ACTION REPLAY MAX FOR XBOX YOU MUST HAVE ACCESS TO AN INTERNET ENABLED PC WITH WINDOWS 98 OR HIGHER, AND ONE FREE USB SLOT. Internet access is not required to install the softmod.

      It may be possible to run the application virtualised if you can give the virtual OS full access to the USB interface.

    4. One of: USB flash memory device with a capacity of over 32MB, Xbox memory unit

      You will require a USB flash memory device with a capacity of over 32MB.

      There is no special USB flash memory device designed for the Microsoft Xbox: you can use any ordinary USB flash memory device such as one you use for holding documents, music or other files.

      Be aware that not all USB flash memory devices are guaranteed to be compatible with the Xbox file system. It is advisable to have multiple USB flash memory devices to hand in advance.

      The USB flash memory device will not be damaged by the process described in the Guide. However, all files stored on the device beforehand will become irretrievably lost upon the formatting stage.

      You can alternatively use an Xbox memory unit.

    5. Male Xbox to Female USB cable

      You will need a specific and uncommon type of cable: one with a male Xbox connector (as you would find on the end of your Xbox controller cable) on one end, and a female USB connector (as you would find on your PC) on the other.

      These are available from many online shops, such as Play-Asia. It is also possible to construct your own if you have the necessary cable halves.

      This cable is to allow the USB flash memory device to be connected to the Xbox; if you choose to use an Xbox memory unit, you will need the appropriate cable to connect it to your PC.

  5. Necessary Software
    1. Xbox Action Replay

      This is a Windows application by Datel that allows you to copy Xbox savegames to and from Xbox memory units.

      It can also write to a USB flash memory device if Windows is set up with the appropriate drivers to recognise it as an Xbox memory unit.

      It is used here to copy a trigger save game together with the softmod itself to a storage device compatible with the Xbox.

      It is commonly found in an archive named XBOXAR_USsetup1_31.zip. You can download it from here.

    2. USB View

      USB View is a Windows tool by Microsoft that allows you to view in-depth details of all USB devices connected to the system.

      It is used to find the Product and Vendor ID of the USB flash memory device you use. You can subtitute USB View for another method of finding these two numbers.

      It is commonly found in an archive named usbview.zip. You can download it from here.

    3. Softmod Installer Deluxe 4.5 Nknave Edition

      This is the softmod itself.

      The archive contains a number of documents and tools to assist in softmodding and other modifications (such as replacing the stock Xbox hard drive with another). However, there are only two specific files within the archive which are of interest: the softmod itself and a game-specific launcher.

      It is commonly found as an archive named Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.4.5.Nknave.Edition.Xbox-Hq.rar. You can download it from here.

    4. Xbox Media Center 2.0.x

      The full XBMC Xbox application is not distributed in binary form by the original developers: all Xbox executables are unofficial releases. This means that there are several different XBMC releases and it can be difficult to locate any specific release.

      This Guide will assist with the installation of XBMC, and it assumes that the specific release you use includes the MC360 skin. One such release is known as the 'Fat' release (compare to the 'Slim' release which is without many extra skins), and can found as the archive XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CH.rar.

      You can download it from here.

    5. FTP Client

      To transfer files to and from the Xbox, you will need an FTP client.

    6. RAR unarchiver

      Some of the software used in this Guide is commonly found in .rar archives; you will need an application which allows you to deal with these, such as WinRAR.

  6. Necessary Skills
    1. How to manipulate files, folders and compressed archives

      Familiarise yourself with how to use your unarchival software. Make sure you know how to unarchive archives while preserving the directory structure including empty directories.

    2. How to use your FTP client

      Familiarise yourself with the use of your FTP client.

    3. How to navigate the official Xbox Dashboard

      Familiarise yourself with how to use the savegame management menu on your Xbox.

    4. How to set up a basic home network

      You will need to know how to set up a basic home network in order to log into the softmodded Xbox's FTP server to transfer files.

      This can be through a router, or a direct connection through a crossover cable.

  7. The Guide
    1. Preparing the Xbox

      The aim of this stage is to have a Xbox with Dashboard version 5960, at least 32,000 free blocks of hard drive space (The Xbox has a total capacity of approximately 340,000 blocks) and no Splinter Cell content whatsoever.

      1. Verify that the Xbox has dashboard version 5960

        In order to install the softmod, the Xbox must have a dashboard version of 5960. Without this, the softmod will refuse to install.

        Turn your Xbox on, and go to the Settings menu, then System Info. Let the Microsoft copyright message scroll up the screen; the information you need is at the end of this message.

        The D: number is what we're interested in. It should read D:1.00.5960.01.

        If you do not have this version of the dashboard, try running recent demo disks and accepting any Xbox updates you're prompted to run. A definite sign of running an older Xbox is that the main menu only features three options instead of four. (The missing option being Xbox Live)

      2. Clear all Splinter Cell content from the HD.

        The softmod must be the only Splinter Cell content you have on your Xbox hard drive. You must delete any Splinter Cell profiles you have, together with any downloaded maps. Make sure to also delete the Splinter Cell group itself.

      3. Allow enough space for software when the mod is complete.

        I advise that you allow 32,000 free blocks of hard drive space before installing the mod.

        Delete any saves or soundtracks you don't need.

    2. Installing the Action Replay software

      The aim of this stage is to install the Action Replay software on your computer to prepare it for copying files. This stage also creates the driver files needed in the next stage.

      Before you install any software or drivers on your PC, you may choose to create a System Restore Point to restore your computer's state.

      1. Extract the Action Replay software

        The Action Replay software is a Windows application by Datel designed to copy Xbox saves to and from Xbox memory devices.

        It is contained within the archive XBOXAR_USsetup1_31.zip. Extract all the files within to somewhere on your PC hard drive.

      2. Install the Action Replay software

        You need to install the Action Replay software on your PC before you can use it.

        Run setup.exe, and make a note of where you install the software.

        If you attempt to run the Action Replay software at this point, you may get an error named 'The USB Device failed to enumerate'. This means that you do not have an Xbox memory device plugged into your PC. Close the program.

      3. Locate where the Action Replay software is installed on your PC hard drive

        You need to open a window displaying the contents of this folder. It will prove useful later.

    3. Preparing the USB flash memory device to be used as an Xbox memory device

      The aim of this stage is to convince Windows that your USB flash memory device is actually an Xbox memory device so that it can be used as a medium for Xbox saves.

      This destroys all data on the USB flash memory device. Back up any important files first.

      1. Insert your USB flash memory device into your PC.

        Back up any important files now.

      2. Extract the USB View software

        USB View is a tool by Microsoft that allows you to view the details of all USB devices connected to the system. We're going to use it to find out some hidden numbers contained within your USB flash memory device.

        USB View is stored within the archive usbview.zip. Extract all the files within to somewhere on your PC hard drive.

      3. Run USB View

        USB View does not require installation. To run it, double click on usbview.exe.

      4. Identify which device is your USB flash memory device

        USB View provides information on ALL USB devices attached to your computer. You need to find the information for the USB flash memory device you want to use with your Xbox.

        The above image shows the information for my USB flash memory device. It's listed as a USB Mass Storage Device.

        There are two important numbers in this display: idVendor: 0x04E8 and idProduct: 0x9826. Write them down now.

        These two numbers help Windows determine who made your device and what it is. They also help Windows determine what driver to load up when you insert the device. In order to trick Windows into loading the driver for an Xbox memory device when this ordinary USB flash memory device is inserted, we're going to 'make our own driver'.

        If you can't find your device in the list, try unplugging everything except your USB flash memory device and seeing what remains.

      5. Locate, back up and open the driver configuration file for the Xbox memory device

        When you installed the Action Replay software, you installed a driver that tells Windows how to write to Xbox memory devices. We need to rewrite one of these files slightly.

        Find your Action Replay software installation directory. You should still have it open from a previous stage. The drivers are stored in the Drivers directory.

        There should be two files in this directory: xbreader.inf and xbreader.sys. Copy these to another directory before you edit them.

        Right click on xbreader.inf and instruct Windows to open the file in Notepad.

        The file should begin:

        ;MaxDrive XBox PC Drivers
        ;
        ;(c) 2003 Datel Design & Development
        ;
        If Notepad shows a screenful of gibberish characters, you opened the wrong file.

      6. Alter the driver configuration file to refer to your USB flash memory device

        We need to alter one of the lines in this file.

        Locate the following on line 26:

        [_Devices]
        
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_05FD&PID_DBAE
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_05FD&PID_0316
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_045E&PID_0280
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_045E&PID_0381
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_0738&PID_4507
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_040B&PID_6520
        We need to edit the top line of this set.

        We're going to replace the four characters after VID_ and PID_ with the four characters in the idVendor: and idProduct: after the 0x.

        I will change the line

        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_05FD&PID_DBAE
        to
        %S_DeviceDesc1%=_Install1, USB\VID_04E8&PID_9826
        to match the idVendor: and idProduct: numbers I was told by USB View.

        Now save the file.

      7. Replace the default driver for your USB flash memory device with the driver that you just created

        You need to locate the entry for your USB flash memory device in the Device Manager. (The Device Manager is located in Control Panel -> System -> Hardware tab)

        Right click on the entry for your USB flash memory device and select Update Driver...

        You need to convince Windows that the driver you're selecting is better than the one that it has automatically installed even though it's not digitally signed.

        MaxDrive Xbox is the name of the driver you're trying to install.

        When MaxDrive Xbox appears in the list of installed USB devices in the Device Manager, you've successfully installed your new driver.

      You have just convinced Windows that your USB flash memory device is an official Xbox memory device. This allows you to copy Xbox saves to it using the Action Replay application.

    4. Preparing the USB flash memory device with the softmod software

      The aim of this stage is to produce an Xbox formatted USB flash memory device containing two save games: the SID 4.5 nKnave Loader (the softmod itself), and the SID 4.5 nKnave Launcher (the special save game which launches the softmod).

      1. Open the Action Replay application

        Start the Action Replay application.

        Don't bother looking in the Start menu: it should be in the parent directory to the one you're currently looking at... (You are following The Guide to the letter, are you not?)

        If the replacement driver worked, you should see the word Memcard in the left pane. This represents your new 'Xbox memory device'.

      2. Format the USB flash memory device

        We need to format the USB flash memory device with the Xbox filesystem. Right click on the word Memcard and select Format from the popup menu.

        During all file operations in the Action Replay application the green Memory Card capsule above the left pane acts as a progress bar. It will slowly change colour as the current operation completes.

        If you don't format it to the Xbox file system, any attempt to write the softmod will be met with a error telling you there isn't enough space on the memory unit.

      3. Extract the softmod files

        The softmod files are contained in the archive Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.4.5.Nknave.Edition.Xbox-Hq.rar. Extract it to a directory on your PC.

      4. Identify the files to copy to the USB flash memory device

        Within the archive, there is a directory called SID 4.5 Nknave Edition. It contains the following five files:

        SID45.NK.Loader.SplinterCell.PAL.zip
        SID45.NK.Loader.SplinterCell.NTSC.zip
        SID45.NK.Loader.Mechassault.zip
        SID45.NK.Loader.007AUF.zip
        SID45.NK.Loader.Launcher.zip

        Each of these .zips holds a single piece of Xbox content. In the next step, you need to copy SID45.NK.Loader.Launcher.zip and the .zip relating your game (I'm using Splinter Cell PAL: SID45.NK.Loader.SplinterCell.PAL.zip) to the USB flash memory device.

      5. Copy the necessary files to the USB flash memory device

        To copy the files to the USB flash memory device, drag the .zip file from an ordinary Windows Explorer window onto the left hand pane below the word Memcard and wait for the progress indicator to fill.

        Do not extract the files from the individual .zip archives.

        As each file is added to the USB flash memory device, a short title should appear below the word Memcard

      6. Close the Action Replay application and remove the USB flash memory device

        Right now.

    5. Copying the softmod to the Xbox hard drive

      The aim of this stage is to have both the SID 4.5 nKnave Loader (the softmod itself), and the SID 4.5 nKnave Launcher (the special save game which launches the softmod) present on the Xbox hard drive as the only two Splinter Cell content items.

      1. Connect the USB flash memory device to the USB cable

        Don't force it; it's a special cable you've got there.

      2. Connect the USB cable to the Xbox

        It should work in any controller port. Make sure to leave at least one controller plugged in.

        It's best to have an Xbox controller plugged into port 1 throughout the modding process. There's no guarantee that any unofficial software will allow you to control it from another port.

      3. Locate the content items on the USB flash memory device

        If your USB flash memory device is working correctly with your cable, it should appear as a single Xbox memory device in a non-existent controller in the port you plugged the cable in.

        If this doesn't happen, your USB flash memory device isn't compatible with the Xbox. You'll have to restart from "Preparing the USB flash memory device to be used as an Xbox memory device" using a different USB flash memory device.

      4. Copy the content items from the USB flash memory device to the Xbox hard drive

        Copy these items to the Xbox hard drive one at a time. To copy an item, move the cursor onto the small icon to the right of the large icon, press A, then select Copy, then select Xbox hard drive.

      5. Remove the USB cable from the Xbox

        You no longer need to use the USB cable or USB flash memory device.

    6. Restoring the USB flash memory device to normal

      The aim of this stage is restore the USB flash memory device and drivers to how they were before they were used as a modding tool.

      Skip this step if you would like your USB flash memory device to remain as a modding tool. You can also use it to copy cheat saves from the Action Replay application on the PC to the Xbox hard drive.

      1. Plug the USB flash memory device into the PC.

        Windows should detect it as a MaxDrive Xbox again.

      2. Locate the MaxDrive Xbox in the Device Manager

        It's under Universal Serial Bus controllers.

      3. Uninstall the MaxDrive Xbox driver

        Right click on the MaxDrive Xbox entry and click Uninstall.

      4. Direct Windows to re-detect the USB flash memory device

        You can use either Add New Hardware, or simply unplug and plug in the device.

        It should be detected as a USB Mass Storage Device, albeit unformatted. Format it as you wish.

      5. Uninstall the Action Replay application if it is no longer needed

        The Action Replay application is useless now. Discard?

    7. Triggering the softmod

      The aim of this stage is to cause the Xbox to load the SID 4.5 nKnave softmod menu.

      1. Insert your game into the Xbox and load it as normal

        The magic doesn't happen yet.

      2. Trigger the softmod

        For Splinter Cell: Select START GAME, select the LINUX profile, and press A on Check Points (not Levels), and then press A again.

        Different games have a different triggering method that I'm not familiar with. You will have to look these up.

      Standing upright, index finger outstretched and yelling "KURAE!" optional.

      If you've followed the instructions up to this point, you should see the screen above.

      If so, congratulations. You've done the hard bit. The rest is very, very simple. ^_^

      This menu is the SID softmod menu. It is used to install and uninstall the softmod unto the Xbox. As long as both the special game content items are still on your hard drive, you can always return here to manage the softmod. I recommend you do not delete them after your modding is complete.

      The next stage will install the softmod. There is a small chance that following the next stage may irreparably damage your Xbox. It has never happened to me, nor to anybody I have personally instructed to use this method. You are reminded that you follow these instructions at your own risk.

    8. Installing the softmod and UnleashX

      The aim of this stage is to mod the Xbox using the SID menu and install a new dashboard called UnleashX.

      1. Select Backup / Restore Features

        This will cause a new menu to be displayed.

      2. Select Create EEPROM Backup

        This will take you another menu:

      3. Select Backup EEPROM

        This will very almost instantaneous.

      4. Select Back to Main Menu

        You'll be returned to the Backup / Restore Features menu.

      5. Select Create MS Backup

        A series of progress bars will be displayed while the copying is in progress.

      6. Select Install Softmod

        It's like the last bit of an adventure game...

      7. Select Knave's Ndure, Open Tray=Retail

        The menu you're looking at now:

        Single Boot
        Dual Boot, Open=Gamesave Menu
        Knave's Ndure, Open Tray=Retail
        determines how the Xbox reacts to the method you used to turn it on.

        Knave's Ndure is what I use. It sets up the following functions: If you turn on the Xbox by pressing the Power button (the lower of the two), the Xbox will boot softmodded. If you turn on the Xbox by pressing the Eject button, it will load the Xbox Live menu. If you have booted to the Xbox Live menu, you can play on Live without being banned. (NB. I haven't tried playing online myself. Who knows what might actually happen if you try it.)

      8. Select Install UnleashX as Dash

        UnleashX and EvolutionX are dashboards: replacement menus for the Xbox. UnleashX is a lot simpler to use than EvolutionX and is the dash I will be using.

      9. Confirm that you want to continue the installation

        The softmod installer has just checked that you can install the softmod safely. You must have let it take backups for it to allow you to continue.

      10. Wait

        It'll tell you when it's done.

      11. Let it restart

      12. Press A one final time

        Before we see UnleashX, we have to press A once more.

      13. Wait again

        It'll tell you when it's done.

      Say hello to UnleashX.

      You have successfully modded your Xbox. You can now run backups, copy over emulators, the whole shebang. Congratulations.

      This isn't where this guide ends, however. I won't leave you twisting in the wind. Next up: we have to get the FTP working, and copy over XBMC.

    9. Setting up the FTP server and Network settings within UnleashX

      The aim of this stage is to connect the Xbox to your LAN so you can connect to it using through FTP and copy files to it using your PC.

      1. Select System

      2. Select Network

      3. Configure your network settings

        If you have an ordinary home router, you will want to set your Type to DHCP.

        Beyond that, I don't know how your network works, so don't ask me.

      4. Restart the Xbox's network system

        The settings you've chosen won't take effect immediately.

        Navigate to the network settings screen shown above.

        Select Restart Network to cause the Xbox to renegotiate its position on your network.

      5. Try to FTP into the Xbox

        Use your favourite FTP client to try and log into the Xbox's FTP server.

        You chose the username, password, IP and port on the Network settings screen.

        If you can see the C and E directories, you've got it.

    10. Installing XBMC and setting it as the default dashboard

      The aim of this stage is to have a completed Xbox mod running XBMC, ready to play movies, music and games.

      These are also general instructions for setting any Xbox application as the default dash. Don't put something as the default dash if you can't administer files from it! Stick with UnleashX or XBMC.

      1. Make sure your Xbox is on and connected to the network

        The FTP server is only running while UnleashX is active. You can't use FTP while you're playing a game.

      2. Connect to the Xbox using FTP

        You should see at least drives C: and E: listed as directories in the root.

        The C: drive is a reserved drive for the Xbox internal files. If you haphazardly alter the C: drive your Xbox may not boot and instead report 'Error 21'.

        The E: drive is the place where you should be manipulating files. The Xbox uses it to store savegames and other content, and you can use it also to store applications, games and any other files you choose.

      3. Switch your remote pane to the E drive

        You should see a number of files and directories here already:

        TDATA          - Xbox user data directory (save games, etc.)
        UDATA          - Xbox user data directory (save games, etc.)
        CACHE          - Xbox cache directory
        Backup         - Backup of Xbox from before softmod
        evoxdash.xbe   - UnleashX executable
        Config.xml     - UnleashX configuration file
        .xbe files are Xbox executables: they are the Xbox analogue to Windows .exe files.

        You can run an .xbe using any replacement dashboard, such as UnleashX or XBMC.

        All Xbox applications, emulators and games you will come across will be an .xbe.

        There's nothing special about XBMC or UnleashX: you can run XBMC as the main dash and use UnleashX as a seperate maintainance utility if you wish or you can use UnleashX as the main dash and XBMC as a media player program.

        evoxdash.xbe is a special executable: it is ran when you press the Power button to turn the Xbox on.

        It is currently the UnleashX dashboard we installed during the softmod. (It would be EvolutionX, had we chosen it during the installation)

        However, we want to install XBMC as the new default dashboard, we have to deal with this evoxdash.xbe before we can upload a new one.

      4. Extract XBMC

        XBMC is contained within the archive XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CH.rar.

        Extract all the files within to a directory on your PC hard drive. Locate the XBMC directory, it should have a number of directories and default.xbe.

      5. Copy XBMC to the root of E and verify that the copy was succcessful

        Copy all of the files and directories from within the newly extracted XBMC directory to E.

        Your E drive should now contain the following:

        TDATA
        UDATA
        CACHE
        Backup
        credits
        language
        media
        screensavers
        scripts
        skin
        sounds
        system
        UserData
        visualisations
        web
        default.xbe    - This is XBMC
        evoxdash.xbe   - This is UnleashX
        Config.xml

      6. Rename evoxdash.xbe to unleashx.xbe

        You shouldn't delete the UnleashX executable: it's incredibly useful. It has a number of specialist features that XBMC doesn't.

        It has greater compatibility with some .xbes; it can run a Xebian Linux image, for example. That's not to say that XBMC has poor compatibility: Xebian is the only thing I can remember that it cannot run.

        Bear in mind that you now have NO evoxdash.xbe. You should not leave your Xbox in this state and accidentally restart.

      7. Rename default.xbe to evoxdash.xbe

        Now XBMC is the default dashboard.

      8. Ensure you have an evoxdash.xbe in E and restart the Xbox using the Power button

        We've set everything up, now we need to see if it works.

      If you've followed the instructions up to this point, you should see XBMC boot up... but it's in a weird Need For Speed 3 slick black shiny skin.

      That fellow is the XBMC default skin: 'Project Mayhem'. The FAT distribution of XBMC comes with the MC360 skin included. Let's switch to it.

    11. Switching to the MC360 skin

      The aim of this stage is to have a completed Xbox mod running XBMC, with the MC360 Xbox 360 styled skin by Team Blackbolt, and ready to play movies, music and games.

      1. Select Settings

        It's at the bottom.

      2. Select Appearance

        It's at the bottom right.

      3. Choose the MC360 skin

        There were four different skins included in the distribution of XBMC I used... three of them are Project Mayhem. Keep going until you find MC360 and select it.

      It is done.

    12. Setting up the FTP server and Network settings within XBMC

      The aim of this stage is to configure the Network settings again through XBMC so you can connect to it using through FTP and copy files to it using your PC.

      1. Navigate to the System blade

        It's the magenta coloured 'blade' to the farthest right.

      2. Select Network

      3. Within the Network tab, enter the appropriate network settings

        A static IP allocation is shown here, but the Xbox also supports DHCP.

      4. Within the Servers tab, choose an FTP username and password

        The default password is 'xbox'.

      It is done.

  8. Additional Information
    1. Xbox Drive Letter Layout

      When you FTP into your Xbox, you should note that the Xbox has several drive letters.

      Drive C: is the main Xbox drive: the 'brain'. It contains the some of the files that allow the Xbox to boot up correctly.

      No savegames or soundtracks will be or should ever be stored here. You should never attempt to modify the files on your C: drive manually unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. The Softmod Installer Deluxe menu can automatically apply all necessary changes to the C: drive during the softmod installation or uninstallation.

      Drive E: is the 'user' drive. The Xbox uses this drive to store your Xbox savegames and soundtracks. In addition to this, you can use the E: drive to store any additional games, applications or media as you see fit. However, you are not advised to tamper with the existing directory structure that you are presented with after the softmod is installed. Removing directories that the Xbox relies on for saving game data may result in games refusing to save or unpredictable data loss.

      Drives X:, Y: and Z: are cache drives. These should not be relied on for permanent storage. From time to time, you may be advised to 'clear the Xbox cache'. To do this you delete all files within the X:, Y: and Z: drives.

    2. Installing Applications

      Xbox applications are distributed in one or both of the following forms: the 'source' distribution or the 'binary' distribution. In almost all cases, you will want to download the 'binary' distribution.

      The 'binary' distribution contains all the files needed to run an application on the Xbox, whereas the 'source' distribution contains the source code files and project intermediates necessary to create the 'binary' using the Microsoft Xbox Development Kit software: you cannot copy the files within the 'source' distribution to your Xbox and expect them to run.

      Within a 'binary' distribution archive, you will find the application .xbe itself (commonly named 'default.xbe'), and possibly various other directories containing libraries, configuation files, scripts, graphics or sounds.

      You can copy an application to any safe drive on the Xbox at any location you choose, your only obligation is to ensure that the directory structure relative to the .xbe files is preserved on the Xbox as it was within the distribution archive. For example:

      You have an archive named chess.zip containing an application you want to copy to the Xbox hard drive. It contains the following structure:

      default.xbe
      chess.ini
      graphics\
       - default.tga
       - alternate.tga
      music\
       - 1.mp3
       - 2.mp3
      If you wanted to copy this to the Xbox hard drive at E:\games\chess\, you would need to ensure that the copy created the following directory structure:
      E:\
       - games\
         - chess\
           - default.xbe
           - chess.ini
           - graphics\
             - default.tga
             - alternate.tga
           - music\
             - 1.mp3
             - 2.mp3

      The Guide describes a method for installing XBMC to the root of the Xbox E:\ drive. This is so that XBMC's default.xbe can be renamed to evoxdash.xbe allowing XBMC to be used as the default dashboard.

      If you do not wish to use XBMC as the default dashboard, you can copy XBMC to an alternate location.

      Very few Xbox applications (such as Xebian Linux) have their own installation methods. You will need to read the documentation accompanying each application you wish to use.

    3. My Xbox keeps asking me to set the time

      The Xbox has a built in rechargeable battery which it uses to retain the current time. This battery will constantly charge while the Xbox is plugged in.

      If the Xbox is not plugged in for a period of approximately four hours, this battery will run down and the Xbox will lose track of the current time. When this happens, it will ask you to set the system clock. After setting the system clock, the Xbox will return you to the official Xbox Dashboard, not your custom dashboard.

      If you simply turn your Xbox off and on again at this point, the Xbox will ask you for the time again and again.

      To stop the Xbox asking you for the time, you must set the time (you cannot leave it as it is when the time menu appears), then leave the Xbox powered up for at least a minute. After a minute has passed, you can restart the Xbox using the power button to launch the custom dashboard.

      To avoid this happening in future, keep your Xbox plugged in.

    4. Access the original Xbox Dashboard

      After the softmod is installed, you cannot access the regular official Xbox Dashboard by simply turning on your Xbox. However, it is not completely unavailable to you if you need it to arrange your savegames or soundtracks.

      It is located in C:\xboxdash.xbe and can be run as any other application.

      If you are running the MC360 skin for XBMC, you can assign this dashboard to a dedicated item on a system menu activated by holding the right analogue stick down.

      To assign C:\xboxdash.xbe to the right stick menu, navigate to the System blade, then select My Programs. Within the General tab you can specify what .xbe you want to launch when you select Dashboard from the right analogue stick menu.

    5. What is 'Xbins', and where is 'our room'?

      Xbins (xbins.org) is a website and collection of various services which distribute homebrew Xbox applications using the Internet.

      The files provided by Xbins are only available through an FTP server which you will be granted access to after visiting their IRC channel which is referred to in official documentation as 'our room', or 'that place'.

      Before using Xbins, you must familiarise yourself with their rules and codes of conduct available on their FAQ page.

      At the time of writing, the Xbins IRC channel is #xbins on EFNet.

    6. What happens if there is no xboxdash.xbe?

      Softmod Installer Deluxe sets up your Xbox to boot from the following .xbe files if they exist: E:\evoxdash.xbe, E:\dash\default.xbe, and E:\dashboard\default.xbe. If the first of these is not found, the next is sought, and so on.

      If none of these files exist, you will be presented with an emergency recovery menu allowing you to restore your Xbox to a good configuration.