XBox 360 is a gaming console that uses standard yet slightly modified PC hardware and a custom Microsoft operating system.
The hard disk drives used by the most recent XBox 360 S model are standard SATA 2.5 inch hard disk drives. Common Seagate and Western Digital drives are commonly used by XBox 360.
The physical SATA interface is not modified on the XBox plattform, but the firmware and logical structure of the disk is, for example:
1) The drives have 3 non-standard partitions
2) There are security descriptors in the sectors 16-22 and allegedly in the negative sectors of the System Area (SA) of the disk.
3) The file system is the XTAF or FATX file system. See: http://www.arkem.org...e-reference.pdf
4) The drive's firmware in the flash memory is modified.
As a result of these storage modifications it is hard or impossible to:
1) Mount XBox hard drives in regular Operating Systems, and consequently impossible to:
a) Erase all personally identifiable data (e.g. who knows where the Kinect's photos of the user's face and room are stored)
b ) Read all of the contents of the XBox hard drive (e.g. to make a backup)
c) Write to all areas of the drive (e.g. to restore a backup)
d) transfer the full contents of one drive drive to another, (e.g. to save recovered data from a failing drive to a new drive).
2) Buy a standard hard drive and use it in an XBox:
a) The XBox OS checks for the custom firmware responses and refuses to use standard drives.
b ) New drives with custom firmware and SA can be bought from Microsoft but they cost over 2x more than the standard drives (even for the same model number), leading to a common corporate rip-off.
WORK TO DATE:
In order to free us from these limitations, loss of privacy (hidden storage areas) and corporate rip-offs, several solutions have been devised:
There is an utility that can interpret the XFAT file system called an Xplorer360. See:
There is a utility to save and restore the XBox firmware via the SATA interface (on Western Digital hard drives ONLY): See:
I would like to investigate what changes were done to the drive's firmware and System Area, e.g. how many sectors were hidden and allocated for hiden storage area by the XBox OS.
I have 2 identical Seagate drives, (the ST9250315AS). One drive is an original Microsoft XBox hard drive with the custom firmware and custom SA and the other one is a standard hard drive with standard firmware, straight from Seagate.
Both drives are fully functional.
I have the RS-232C to TTL-3.3V converter cable and I can access both drives via the serial port and a terminal (the F3 T> prompt appears)
I lack the knowledge how to us read/dump the custom firmware and SA via the terminal Seagate Diagnostic Commands.
If some expert in these matters could help me to READ all the hidden goodies from these two drives then I would post them here for all the world to compare and learn.
This post has been edited by verpies: 18 March 2012 - 09:56 AM