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So you've heard rumors of, or perhaps seen friends with, a pimped out Xbox
running Xbox Media Center
. They are streaming their favorite TV shows, movies, mp3s, and pictures all to their kickass home theater, and now you want some of that action. This guide is written to help you get from a standard Microsoft Xbox to a Xbox Media Center in a relatively short time with the least amount of headaches.
I've compiled a step-by-step guide with a complete parts/software list for everything you'll need to get, to know, and to do, so that you can consider yourself amongst the XBMC elite. I have a set up a discussion here
for those of you with any questions about this guide or to answer any problems you may encounter.
Items You'll Need
- Microsoft Xbox ($150)
- Networked PC Computer ($???)
- Original MechAssault game ($20)
- Datel Xbox Action Replay ($25)
- Krayzie's NDURE installer ($0)
- Xbox Media Center (XBMC) ($0)
- FlashFXP ($0)
- 7-Zip ($0)
- uTorrent ($0)
(note: many advanced users prefer to use a USB memory stick alongside an adapter to transfer the save to their Xbox. Read how to do this here)
WARNING: Attempting to modify your Xbox is done at your own risk as it is possible to damage your console through the steps outlined in this guide. It also can affect your Xbox Live account. If you have Xbox Live and want to play a game on it, you MUST start your Xbox with the game in the tray. Do not start the Xbox and then put the game in. Doing so will result in you being banned from XBL.
1. Get an Xbox!
Either you can go out and buy a new Xbox, a used Xbox, or use your existing Xbox. Once you are done with the XBMC modifications, it'll be worth its weight in gold. Now, you should make sure you are fairly familiar with the Xbox and the controller. This guide will refer to the Xbox "Dashboard", which refers to the software that loads (hint: it's green) when you turn on your Xbox without a game in it.
2. Buy the necessary equipment
There are two purchases that you need to make to get your Xbox running XBMC. You need to buy a game called MechAssault
(also can be done with 007: Agent Under Fire
and Splinter Cell
using a very similar process, but that is outside of the scope of this guide. For more information about using the other games, read the readme.txt that comes with the NDURE installer), and you need to get an Xbox Action Replay
2.1 : Buy MechAssault
You must find an original copy of MechAssault that can be used to modify your original Xbox. This game may be hard to find, so your best bet may be from a friend or from a used store or renting it. You have to make sure that the version of the game is correct before you make your purchase otherwise you might waste $20 or so. The reason is because Microsoft has "fixed" MechAssault in subsequent versions so that the exploit cannot be run. Please read this forum
for more info.
The newer copies of MechAssault say either "Game of the Year" or will be designated as "Platinum Hits" and these will not work
.You need a copy of MechAssault that is listed as either Part No. X08-82261
. Take a look at the pictures below to find out where to read the part number on the box and disc. You should note that sometimes when buying used games the disc will be matched with a different case, so you should make sure the part number on the disc is the proper one.
NOTE: To be certain that your copy of MechAssault will work, take a look at the laser etching on the inner ring of the disc. If you see MS02301L then it will work, if it is MS02308L then it will not.
You will need to hang on to your copy of MechAssault if you ever want to undo the modifications you've made to your Xbox, but otherwise this game can sit on your shelf as it is will not be needed after you've performed the exploit.
2.2 : Buy an Xbox Action Replay
The Xbox Action Replay is a device that allows you to load game saves from your PC to your Xbox using your PC's USB interface and an included 8 MB memory card. It is available for approx. $25 at most stores that sell games.
Once you've successfully performed the exploit, technically, you do not have any reason to keep this device as it will not be needed. However, you may want to keep it on hand in case you want to perform another exploit on another Xbox (or use it for its intended purpose).
You can also make your own USB controller adapter and use the Action Replay software. This works fine. Here is one method
. This will save a trip to the store, but you will still have to download the Action Replay software.
3. Download the required shareware
Before we get started with the mod, you will need to get 3 pieces of shareware software that will become necessary later: mIRC, FlashFXP, and WinRAR. If you have any of these already, then you can use your existing copy.
3.1 : Download/Install uTorrent
uTorrent is a freeware BitTorrent client. This application is needed to download files off of the Internet using the BitTorrent protocol. In this guide, it is used to download Krayzie's NDURE Installer. Read about it on Wikipedia
3.2 : Download/Install FlashFXP
FlashFXP is a great FTP transfer tool that you will use to move files back and forth between your PC and Xbox.
Note: The main reason FlashFXP is used is because it is well known. Once your 30 days with FlashFXP is up, either buy FlashFXP or switch to Filezilla. Filezilla is a free, open-source, FTP client.
3.3 : Download/Install 7-Zip
7-Zipis a free, open-source archive manager that you will need to uncompress .RAR files. This is much like a .ZIP file that you may already be familiar with. It can be downloaded here
4. Download the Xbox software
There are two key pieces of software that need to be loaded onto your Xbox for your mod to be considered complete, the NDURE installer and Xbox Media Center. There is a website created by an XBMC used know as T3CH that provides current, compiled, XBMC releases.
NDURE must be downloaded from bitTorrent or Xbins. (The use of Xbins is outside the scope of this guide, however it will provide more recent files than bitTorrent. Read how to use it here
.) I recommend you familiarize yourself with the BitTorrent
protocol and how to download files using this protocol if you are not already. Don't worry, it's not too complicated to use. Instead of downloading files directly, you must first download a torrent
file (has a .torrent file extension) first, then open this file using a BitTorrent client such as uTorrent
to manage the downloading of the actual
4.1 : Download Krayzie's NDURE exploit
Do a search for "NDURE" on PizzaTorrent
to download a torrent file called something like "Xbox Softmod Krayzie NDURE" with a file size of approximately 36MB. Open the torrent with uTorrent to download Krayzie's softmod installer. It will likely be zipped AND rarred so you'll have to unzip and unrar it to somewhere on your PC. This package includes the files necessary to mod your Xbox using either Mech Assault, Splinter Cell, or Agent Under Fire. There will be one folder for each of these options.
4.2 : Download Xbox Media Center (XBMC)
Xbox Media Center
Download Xbox Media Center from http://t3ch.yi.se
. There are several versions. You should download either the most current SVN release, or the stable 188.8.131.52 release. For new users I recommend the stable release. The software will be rarred, so use 7-Zip to extract the files.
5. Install Krayzie's exploit on your Xbox
Now that we've collected all of the necessary hardware, software, and game necessary to perform the XBMC modification, we can get started with the actual mod. The first step of the mod is to load the NDURE gamesave file onto your Xbox using Action Replay. Actually, this "file" is a gamesave that runs within your copy of Mech Assault.
5.1 Install and run Action Replay on your PC
Action Replay should come with an install CD that you need to install first before you get started. Follow the instructions provided by the install software, and once finished, insert the Action Replay device complete with the memory card into your PC's USB port, then start the Action Replay software.
5.2 Copy Krayzie's Exploit to the Action Replay memory Card
You should see three columns in the Action Replay window. Drag-and-drop the ZIP file labeled udata.zip
, located at "\Krayzie Ndure Pack\MA\MA save" from the compressed files downloaded from Step 4.3
into the center column labeled "PC database" (You must drag from My Computer and drop in the center column). Now scroll down the list until you see "MechAssault" and a child item labeled "Run Linux".
"Run Linux" is the title of the game save that you will load up within MechAssault. Drag and drop this file from the "PC Database" column to the "Memory Card" column on the left. This process can take several minutes as the memory card is written. A dialog should tell you when it is complete, then proceed to step 5.3.
5.3 Copy Krayzie's NDURE exploit from the memory card to the Xbox
NOTE: You must delete all previous MechAssault gamesaves from the Xbox before continuing. Also, you must remove all Xbox Live Mech Assault downloaded content.
You now must move the "Run Linux" game save from the memory card to your Xbox hard drive.
Insert the memory card into your Xbox controller, power on your Xbox (without a game), and you should see the familiar Xbox dashboard welcome screen. Select the section labeled "memory" and follow the following three screen captures to get the gamesave from the card to the Xbox.
NOTE: When attempting to copy the gamesave from the memory card, make sure to press right on the directional pad to select the smaller MechAssault circle, as in the second screen capture above. Use common sense and you can figure this out easily.
6. Perform the exploit
Up until now, you have not done anything to your Xbox other than load the gamesave. Step 6 crucial as this is where the actual exploit will take place. Before following the next stemps make sure you have dashboard 5960 or greater. You can update your dashboard by running a Live game and connecting to the Live service (you don't have to be signed up with Live). Or you can run a newer game like Halo 2 that will update the dashboard automatically. To check your dashboard version, power on your Xbox without a game in it, select settings, and then system info. Read the text, and at the bottom it will say D: xxxx, which is your dashboard version.
6.1 Run Linux
Put your copy of MechAssault into your Xbox and it should load up. From the main menu in Mech Assault select the option labeled "campaign". Now, you should see the familiar gamesave title "Run Linux". Load this gamesave by highlight it and pressing "A".
6.2 Start the Exploit
After you selected "Run Linux" you will end up at what looks to be a new program. This is installer's main menu. This program is the UnleashX dashboard written as an alternative dashboard to the Xbox dashboard with a set of scripts prepared by a person who refers to himself online as Krayzie. The exploit is bundled with this dashboard and can be accessed from the menu option labeled Install Softmod.
NOTE: Some newer versions of the script ask you which dashboard to install either UnleashX or EvolutionX; this install covers UnleashX. The UnleashX dashboard is suggested as it does not have functions that will wipe out your xbox (BIOS (EEPROM) Flashing, etc.)
(1) First, select the option to back up your EEPROM it is the first option on the top (the software will not install unless you backup the EEPROM), select YES on the next screen and then OK on the following screen:
The UnleashX dash will then load a portion of the EvolutionX dashboard to backup the EEPROM (you should see the first screen - if you see the second just select backup):
There are no bells or whistles to let you know things worked, if you do not get an error then things worked. Depending on the script version you have, it will either return to the Ndure installer OR it will sit at the 2nd screen above, hit the eject button and it should return to the Ndure installer IF it does not you can restart your xbox (if you see the 2nd screen it is safe).
(2) When you return to the install screen it is suggested you backup the EEPROM to the MU (Memory Unit) and keep it in a safe place - you will need this in case anything goes wrong and MU's are cheap.
(3) install the softmod. The installer will guide you through the install procedure and keep you updated on its progress. Once the mod is complete you will be prompted to reset your Xbox and remove the game. The installer will then make a shadow copy of your C drive. After reboot, you will now have a modded Xbox!
Krayzie's installer is really well put together, and you only have to follow the instructions that popup once you've started the mod. Please use this
forum on xbox-scene to correspond with Krayzie directly or to read what others have experienced when modding their Xbox.
6.3 OPTIONAL: Uninstallation and troubleshooting
After step 6.2 is complete your Xbox is setup so that you can get to the UnleashX install dashboard by launching "Run Linux" as you did in step 6.1.
You can disable the exploit by selecting "Switch softmod on/off" from the menu.
This menu has FTP functionality which may come in handy if something goes wrong. For now, we can move on.
6.4 Backup your Xbox Information (Not Optional for recovery)
It is strongly recomened that you backup the Xbox information before you do anything else. This backup information needs to be safely stored somewhere other than on your Xbox in case of a hardware failure, hard drive corruption (or user errors). Without this information you may not be able to recover from such a problem without extensive knowledge of electronics, or great expense.
To backup the information FTP into your xbox, using the steps below. In the Xbox directory you should see E: drive, under that drive you should see BACKUP as a directory. This directory and all content needs to be copied from the XBox onto a computer (and burned to a CDROM). Inside this directory make sure that you have EEPROM and CDRIVE. The CDRIVE directory should contain about 175Meg of files (this is your original XBOX hard drive before the exploit) and the EEPROM directory should contain about 2.23Meg of files (This is a copy of your eeprom contents - special serial numbers and keys, will detail this in the FAQ)
7. Install XBMC on your Xbox
Powering on your Xbox without a game loaded should now bring you to the EvolutionX dashboard. Many people could be happy to leave EvolutionX as their default dashboard on their modified Xbox but I very much prefer to install Xbox Media Center because of the aforementioned amazing media streaming capabilities.
This is possible because you now have access to your Xbox's hard drive through FTP access over your network. Cool, eh?
7.1 Connect the Xbox to your network
If you haven't already, you need to connect your Xbox to your network (or at least your PC) so that you can get FTP access. If you have a typical home network with a router, then your Xbox should be accessible by an IP address assigned by DHCP on your router. (Read this
if you don't have a home network and will have to connect your Xbox to your PC using a crossover cable).
Determine your Xbox's IP Address by going into the "settings" section in EvolutionX where it should be listed. You can check to see if your Xbox is available on your network by "pinging" this IP address from the command prompt on your PC. To do this open the command prompt (Hint: It's under accessories in the start menu) and type ping ipadress of xbox.
7.2 Copy XBMC to the Xbox using FlashFXP
Go to the location on your PC where you download your copy of the XBMC .RAR file. Using WinRAR, extract the files to your PC.
Start FlashFXP and navigate locally to the location where you extracted XBMC on your PC. Now, open a new FTP connection to your Xbox by clicking the lightning bolt and then selecting quick connect. Enter in the IP address from step 7.1 and username: xbox
with password: xbox
. You should now be able to get access to the Xbox's directory structure. Be sure to uncheck Use Passive Mode on the options tab. If you do not do this, your transfers will take forever.
Navigate to /E/Dashboard/ on your Xbox. This is where EvolutionX is installed, so to have XBMC replace EvolutionX, you simply have to copy the XBMC files to this location, overwriting the existing files. Now select all of the files from XBMC that are located on your PC and transfer them to the /E/Dashboard/ directory on your Xbox. This will take several minutes, so please be patient.
Once this is complete and you power cycle your Xbox, Xbox Media Center should start up.
You can configure Xbox Media Center from within the dashboard itself or the setting can be modified directly in the XboxMediaCenter.xml file located in the root of the application directory on the Xbox.
8. Configure your network shares
To start streaming your media from your PC or home network it is as simple as creating network shares of your media folders on your PC. You should be able to navigate to the computers on your network using the SMB network options from within XBMC. Also, you can create shortcuts to you media folders in XBMC so you don't have to navigate through so many folders to get at all of your media. For more information about this, go here
Congratulations, you now have a pimped out Xbox running Xbox Media Center!
There are many capabilities that have not been mentioned in this guide, and I leave you to discover the splendor that is the modified Xbox with Xbox Media Center.