How to Unlock an Xbox 360 HDD

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The Xbox 360 has a hard drive that is used to save game data and run the operating system. Removing the Xbox’s hard disk drive (HDD) so it can be used on a computer requires “unlocking” it first. This can only be done on an Xbox 360 that has been modified by the user to run programs not sanctioned by Microsoft in conjunction with a PC. The procedure is straightforward but requires some experience in using a command line interface on a PC.

Things You'll Need

  • PC
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Phillips-head jeweler's screwdriver
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Floppy disk

Preparing the Floppy Disk

  • Download a Xbox HDD unlocker program to the PC’s desktop--for example, the HDD Unlocker program (see the link in Resources). Double-click on the file when it has fully downloaded to decompress it to a folder on the desktop.

  • Download a floppy disk bootdisk program for Windows to the PC’s desktop--for example, the Win989-Winxp program; this program will work on old as well as new versions of Windows (see the link in Resources). Double-click on the file when it has fully downloaded to decompress it to a program on the desktop.

  • Place a floppy disk into the floppy disk slot on the front of the computer.

  • Double-click on the floppy disk bootdisk program’s icon to launch it. Follow the menu commands to install the program onto the floppy disk. Press a key on the keyboard to exit the floppy disk bootdisk program when told to do so on the screen.

  • Double-click on the icon of the floppy disk that is on the desktop to open its window. Double-click on the Xbox HDD unlocker program folder that is on the desktop to open its window.

  • Drag the following files out of the Xbox HDD unlocker program’s window into the floppy disk’s window: hdunlock.exe, hdunlock.pas, hddisabl.exe, and hdddisabl.pas. Wait up to a half-hour for the files to copy. Remove the floppy disk from the computer.

Preparing the Xbox 360 HDD

  • Turn on the modified Xbox 360. Navigate from the Home menu to “System Utils.” Select “Backup” from beneath “System Utils.” Press the “X” button on the controller. Wait up to an hour for a directory of the hard drive to be made.

  • Click on “hddinfo.txt” that appears in a screen when the backup has been completed. Press the “X” button on the controller. Write down the information presented in the window, minus the last 24 O’s, on a piece of paper with the pencil.

  • Navigate back to the Home menu. Turn off the Xbox 360. Remove all of the cables from the Xbox 360.

  • Push down on the release latch at one side of the hard drive compartment. Pull the hard drive compartment off the Xbox 360.

  • Pull the hard drive cage out of the slot inside of the hard drive compartment. Remove the screws from around the hard drive cage with the Phillips-head jeweler’s screwdriver. Slide the Xbox 360 hard drive out of the hard drive cage.

Unlocking the Xbox 360 Hard Drive on the PC

  • Open the side or back panel of the PC with the Phillips screwdriver. Remove the screw from the side of an empty hard drive bay. Pull the hard drive tray out of the hard drive bay.

  • Remove the screws from the sides of the hard drive tray with the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver.

  • Slide the Xbox 360 hard drive into the hard drive tray headfirst. Attach the screws to the side of the hard drive tray with the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver. Set the switch on the back of the Xbox 360 hard drive to the “Slave” position with the tip of the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver.

  • Pull the two plugs out of the empty hard drive bay. Attach the two plugs to the appropriate connections on the back of the Xbox 360 hard drive. Push the hard drive tray into the hard drive bay. Reattach the screw. Place the side or back panel on the PC. Reattach the screws.

  • Insert the floppy disk into the floppy disk slot on the computer. Turn the computer on. Press a key on the keyboard when prompted to do so on the screen.

  • Enter “hdunlock” and press the “Enter” key. Select the Xbox 360 hard drive from the list of choices presented on the screen. Press the “Enter” key.

  • Enter the text that you have written down. Press the “Enter” key. Wait for the text on the screen to say “Done."

  • Enter “hddisabl” and press the “Enter” key.

  • Select the Xbox 360 hard drive from the list of choices presented on the screen. Press the “Enter” key.

  • Enter the text that you have written down. Press the “Enter” key.

  • Enter "exit" and press the “Enter” key. Remove the floppy disk. Turn off the PC.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear an anti-static strap to keep static electricity from harming the internal components of the PC.
  • You can use a USB floppy disk drive if the PC doesn’t have a floppy disk drive built-in.
  • Modifying the Xbox 360 voids the Microsoft warranty.

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