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Copyright-Free Xbox HDD Image

This repository serves as a way to document how to create an Xbox HDD image, mostly for use with XQEMU, free of any copyrighted content.


If you're in a hurry, you can download a pre-built image here.

Do It Yourself

If you would like to create an image for yourself, containing your own files, you can follow these instructions. It's a bit hands-on, but if you've read this far you're probably okay with that. This will involve building a dummy dashboard, using XboxHDM to create a helper bootable ISO, and a QEMU VM to run the ISO and create the drive.

You may want to start by building the dummy dashboard using nxdk. Make sure to update the Makefile with the path to your nxdk install. Otherwise, copy your desired dashboard and optionally and "E drive" files you want on the drive over to this directory.

Next you'll want to run the make-iso-*.sh script that comes with XboxHDM v1.9. This script will create a bootable ISO image. You can run XboxHDM natively on Linux or Windows (not tested by me), but I chose to simply run it inside of a Docker container:

docker build -t xboxhdm .
docker run --rm -it -v ${PWD}:/work xboxhdm

Create a working directory:

mkdir /tmp/xboxhdm
pushd /tmp/xboxhdm

Unzip XboxHDM:

unzip /work/
cd xboxhdm

Now copy over the dummy dash and create the empty TDATA and UDATA folders:

cp /work/xboxdash.xbe linux/C/
mkdir -p linux/E/TDATA linux/E/UDATA

Finally, run the tool and copy over the resulting file:

cp linux.iso /work

Now we should have a file called "linux.iso" in this directory. You could burn this to a CD, and run it on your PC after connecting a real HDD, but we aren't going to do that. Instead, to create a virtual disk image, we will use a virtual machine: QEMU!

But before we can boot it, we need to create a virtual hard disk. Use qemu-img to create an 8G qcow2 formatted image:

qemu-img create -f qcow2 xbox_hdd.qcow2 8G

Now you have an empty virtual drive. Let's fire up our virtual machine:

qemu-system-i386 \
	-drive index=0,media=disk,file=xbox_hdd.qcow2 \
	-drive index=1,media=cdrom,file=linux.iso

Next follow the on-screen instructions, which basically go as follows:

  • Enter 2 to boot in text mode
  • Type xboxhd at the command prompt to start the helper script
  • Enter 'yes' to confirm
  • Enter 1 to "build a new Xbox HD from scratch"
  • Continue to confirm through the warnings
  • Confirm building a new partition table, formatting partitions, and copying files
  • 8 to quit
  • Type poweroff at the command prompt

You should finally have a freshly minted, copyright-free Xbox hard disk image!