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Serial port analysis of XBox 360 S Seagate HDDs

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INTRODUCTION

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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/xbox360-file-reference.pdf

4) The drive's firmware in the flash memory is modified.

CONSEQUENCES

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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:

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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:

http://wiki-scene.com/Xplorer360

There is a utility to save and restore the XBox firmware via the SATA interface (on Western Digital hard drives ONLY): See:

http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/HddHackr_analysis.html

http://www.ixtreme.net/downloads-tutorials/1108-hddhackr-v1-22-build-20091022-inc-250gb-hddss.html

INVESTIGATION

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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.

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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.

Welcome to the club :) (the one with people that lack that kind of knowledge :().

Maybe SEDIV can help?

http://forum.hddguru.com/sediv-hdd-seagate-terminal-for-windows-t11980.html

http://sediv2008.narod.ru/

jaclaz

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Maybe of some use (or maybe completley NOT :ph34r: ), an old howto:

(do not even THINK of using it "as is" on newish HD's)

jaclaz

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Ok, so im really sorry about the bump, but I'm currently working a very similar project. The only problem is that I don't have an Xbox's Seagate drive to compare to. As I've been researching, it would seem to me that all the information changes that are in the firmware are contained in sectors 16-22 of the hard drive itself. In my searches I have not been able to find a dump of these sectors from a seagate drive.

I have discovered that it is possible to use a hex editor to read these sectors myself, but without a drive to compare to, it has basically been useless. I have also set up a serial connection with the drive, and have discovered how to change the serial number and a few other things, but the limit i have at the moment is that seagate drives are limited to 8 character serial numbers. since this is the case, the hitatchi security sector dumps that are common on the net are useless because their serial numbers are 15 characters. In order for me to proceed on this front, i feel that i need an official seagate xbox drive to work from.

I know it's a long shot, but if the OP is still interested in this project and has been keeping tabs on this thread, please respond, so that we may be mutally benefitted.

again, sorry for the bump. thanks for any help in advance.

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