How to Soft Mod an XBox Without a Memory Card

Written by nicholas wyatt
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How to Soft Mod an XBox Without a Memory Card
Soft mod your Xbox using a hot swapping technique (hard disk image by dinostock from

Soft modding your Xbox makes a viable alternative to purchasing and installing a modchip. This method is usually easier and takes less time to set up and install. After you have successfully soft modded your Xbox, you can back up games to your hard drive, install emulators of your favourite older console games, install media players, and add other home brew applications.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • ATA connection for your computer
  • CD burner
  • Blank CD-R
  • ISO Recorder v2
  • XboxHDM v1.9
  • NDURE 3.0
  • Torx 20 screwdriver
  • Supplies to open computer

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  1. 1

    Open your web browser on your computer, navigate to RapidShare and click on "Slow Download" to save Xbox hard drive manager to your computer. Navigate to Xbox ISO Zone and click on "Slow Download" to save NDURE to your computer. Navigate to Softonic and click on "Download" to save ISO Recorder to your computer. Navigate to RARLAB and choose the WinRAR version that applies to your system; click on it to download.

  2. 2

    Use WinRAR to extract Xbox hard drive manager. Extract it by dragging and dropping the file to your desktop.

  3. 3

    Install ISO Recorder and open the program.

  4. 4

    Boot up your Xbox and go to the "Settings" menu. Select "System Info." Scroll down to the bottom of the page and make note of your kernel version. It should be:



    If it isn't, you need to download the newest Xbox Dashboard. To do this, simply put in a game containing Xbox Live and it will automatically update the dash.

  5. 5

    Run the Ndure 3.0 program and click "Next" when prompted. This will take you into the "Options" menu. Put a check mark by the items that have a "X" next to them:

    X - Basic Files

    X - Retail Files

    X - Add ShadowC

    Kernel Specific Fonts

    X - 4034 (This is the kernel version that is in your "System Info")

    X - Default boot xonlinedash console (If you have Xbox Live)


    X - Add UDDAE

    Select Kernel Specific ST.DB

    X - 4034 (your Kernel version)

    X - Add NDURE Toolset

    X - Create XBOXHDM Installer

  6. 6

    Select "Next" and choose to save NDURE in the folder "/xboxhdm/linux/." Click "Next" and NDURE will be installed. Once the program is installed, you will get a message saying it is completed. Afterward, click "Next" and "Finish" to close NDURE.

  7. 7

    Navigate to the main "xboxhdm" folder and locate a bat file labelled "make-iso-win." Execute this program by double clicking the file. Once the program completes, you will have an Xbox ISO file in the "xboxhdm" folder titled linux.

  8. 8

    Insert a blank CD-R into your CD burner. Right-click the "linux ISO file" and select "Copy Image to CD." Click "Next" when prompted to on the burning screens and wait for the Xbox ISO image to record. Once the disc is complete, leave it in your CD/DVD drive.

  9. 9

    Disconnect all cables from your Xbox. Turn the console upside down. Peel off the rubber pads and stickers and unscrew six torx screws. Gently turn the Xbox right side up again and take the cover off of the console. Place your Xbox close to your computer to allow enough slack in the IDE cable while connecting to your computer. Reconnect the Xbox power, and video/audio cables.

  10. 10

    Boot your computer on; while it's starting up, press "F8" or the key designated to go into the set-up menu. Confirm that the computer BIOS is set up to boot from the CD. Connect your Xbox hard drive IDE cable to your primary IDE channel. Confirm that your CD drive is not connected to the primary IDE connection. Confirm the primary master IDE connection is vacant. Shut down the computer once you have verified that the cables are properly connected.

  11. 11

    Boot your Xbox and your computer at the same time. Your Xbox should boot into the Microsoft Dashboard and your computer should boot into the XboxHDM main menu.

  12. 12

    Open the disc tray on the Xbox and insert any audio CD. Copy one track to the hard drive and play the song for a few seconds once copied. Pause the song; your Xbox hard drive will now be unlocked and ready for a hotswap.

  13. 13

    Disconnect the IDE cable from the back of your Xbox and connect it to the primary IDE slot on your computer. Do not turn off the Xbox or disconnect the power cable.

  14. 14

    Type in the command "xbrowser" into your computer to verify that your Xbox is unlocked. Type "1" to enter the VGA console. Once the NDURE script is loaded, make a backup of your Xbox C:/ drive by choosing "Option 4." This will back up your C:/ drive to E:/ drive. Once the backup finishes, go back into the installer menu.

  15. 15

    Choose "Option 1" to install NDURE. This portion of the program will take three steps to complete. Let the computer copy the files to the Xbox hard drive. When the program is done, you will get a message saying "Done, now exiting." Once you see the message, power down your computer and Xbox. Reconnect the Xbox hard drive and boot your Xbox back on. You now have a modded Xbox done without using a memory card.

Tips and warnings

  • Opening your Xbox and installing home brew software violates your Xbox warranty.

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