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Modding my Xbox

29 May 2024

I softmodded my Xbox. There were some things that were annoying at best and frustrating at worst so I'm going to save you some hassle on the off chance that you're looking to mod an Xbox. I'm not going to rehash the whole process here but the tl;dr version is you put some files on a memory card and plug it into the Xbox then press some buttons and that's it. Easy, right? Wrong. I don't have a memory card, nor do I have a way to plug one into my computer. Turns out Xbox memory cards are just weird USB flash drives though so I was able to solder a USB port to a chopped off controller plug and use a regular old USB flash drive. The old there is literal, the Xbox apparently doesn't support flash drives bigger than 4 GB. Or maybe it does, I didn't test it. I used one that was 128 MB. If you have a memory card you can also just solder a USB cable to it and not sacrifice a controller breakaway cable. Somehow working out the pinouts and soldering the adapter was the easy part though, getting the files onto the "memory card" was the real challenge. The Xbox uses a proprietary filesystem called FATX which is probably just FAT with a green coat of paint given that the Xbox runs green painted boneless Windows 2000. You *should* be able to just install support for this filesystem in Arch Linux but the package is broken. I tried fixing it just enough to install but I didn't want to start poking at the code so I reluctantly pulled up a Windows 10 VM and used FATXplorer. These last two sentences were about 30 minutes of swearing at a computer for no good reason.

This entire blog post exists solely to distribute a disk image of the "memory card" with the mod files on it to all zero of you reading this who would find it useful. Just use dd or whatever to throw it on a "memory card" of your own. This file is from a 4 GB "memory card" I set up just now but I think MBR doesn't care if you throw it on something smaller? The actual files are only like 8 MB or so. One more thing: this is "Xbox Softmodding Tool v1.2.1", whatever that means. I have no idea what I'm doing.

xboxsoftmod- (7z, 6314 KiB, ~4 GB uncompressed)