This material is presented from Lifehacker site with article Transform Your Classic Xbox into a Killer Media Center. Quoted items are as shown below:
Gather the materials
The softmod takes advantage of a game exploit using a saved game you'll
download and move onto your Xbox, so it requires a few specific items.
Here's what you'll need:
- A classic Xbox (duh)—Those of you without an Xbox
but interested in building a media center on the cheap, you could
easily score on on eBay for under $100.
- An original (not a copy) of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell game.—(Not
the Pandora's Tomorrow or Chaos Theory versions.) Other games work,
like Mech Assault and 007: Agent Under Fire, but I used Splinter Cell
(the Platinum Hits edition) so that's the only one I can vouch for. (I
had the game already, but there are a ton for sale at Amazon, many for under 10 bucks.)
- The Action Replay kit—Action Replay is a USB interface
to an Xbox memory card that lets you load pre-saved, unlocked games and
cheats onto the card. You see where this is going. I snagged one on Amazon for about $40.
- A home network router with a free Ethernet port and a network cable. Chances are you've already got one of these. Plug one end of the cable into your router, and the other into your Xbox.
Install the softmod and Xbox Media Center
Once you've got the materials together, you're most of the way there. Onto the modding.
- Determine the location of the softmod installer and XBMC downloads.
Never in my online life have I had to go through such a rigamarole to
get ahold of files. These Xbox hackers are careful people: in short,
you have to log onto an IRC channel, issue a command to query the FTP
server location, and get temporary login details in order to acquire
the files (the equivalent of finding hidden door and using a secret
knock). So, using your favorite IRC client (I went with the Chatzilla Firefox extension), type:
Once connected to EFNet, type:
/msg xbins !list
You will receive a private message with 2 sets of FTP login details. One is for the softmod installer, the other is for XBMC.
- Download and extract the softmod installer and XBMC.
Whether it's FileZilla, FireFTP, SmartFTP or Transmit, use your
favorite FTP client to hit up the first file location you got from
xbins and download the softmod archive, which is located at:
/XBOX/Console Based Applications/exploits/Packages/Softmod Installer Deluxe/Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.v2.0.Xbox-Hq.rar
Then, disconnect and login to the second FTP server to grab the XBMC archive,
XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CH.rar. Using your favorite RAR extractor (I recommend 7-Zip), extract the files to your PC.
- Move the saved game exploit onto a memory card with Action Replay.
Now, break out the Action Replay software that comes on CD in the
package and install it on your PC. Plug in the USB cable and the 8MB
memory card that came with it. From your
Softmod.Installer.Deluxe.v2.0.Xbox-Hqfolder, drag and drop two files into the "PC Database" column of the Action Replay software: the one named
SID.Splinter.Cell.v2.0.NTSC.Xbox-Hq.zip, and the one named
(Note: If you're in the US, you'll need the NTSC version of the first
file; UK folks, go with the PAL version.) That will add a
"LINUX_Profile" saved game to the Splinter Cell folder, as well as a
"Linux Installer" folder. Drag and drop the Linux Installer to the
Memory Card column, as shown (click to enlarge):
- Transfer the Linux Installer to your Xbox hard drive.
Pop the memory card out of the Action Replay kit and plug it into one
of your Xbox's controllers. Make sure the disc tray is empty and start
up the 'box. Go into the Memory area and drill down to the controller's
memory card. When you see the Linux installer saved game, hit the right
button pad once to select the game, then select "Copy" from the menu to
copy it to the Xbox's hard drive, as shown.
Shut down your Xbox and head back to your computer. Repeat the same
process with the Splinter Cell LINUX_Profile: copy it to your Memory
Card (you'll have to delete the Linux Installer first, the card isn't
big enough to accomodate both), then plug the card into the Xbox
controller, boot up the 'box and copy the saved game to your Xbox's
hard drive. Turn off the Xbox. Now the magic happens.
- Use the Splinter Cell exploit. Insert the Splinter
Cell game disk into your Xbox, and start the game. When it comes time
to choose the profile, underneath your regular aliases, you'll see a
new one named "Linux":
Select Linux and then select "Check points" (not "Levels"). After a few seconds, Your Xbox will display an UnleashX intro screen and control panel. This is the Linux-based Xbox dashboard, which will look like this:
Before we hit that magical menu item—Install Softmod—do two things
first. Hit up the "Create MS Backup" item first, and when that's
complete, hit the "Create Mod Backup." (Better safe than sorry.)
Finally, the moment you've been waiting for: select the "Install
Softmod" menu item. Don't turn off your Xbox during the process, and
when the status bar completes and disappears, you're all good.
Now choose "Install UnleashX" from the menu to replace the standard
Microsoft dashboard with UnleashX permanently. Restart your Xbox and
pat yourself on the back. UnleashX will boot up instead of the
Microsoft dashboard, and it's got all sorts of goodies in store for you:
Using only the UnleashX dashboard and its default apps, you can
watch DVDs using your controller, and under Applications, you can rip
DVDs to your Xbox's hard drive. But what we're really interested in is
its FTP server.
- Configure the Xbox's network settings and start the FTP server.
The first order of business is to get your Xbox talking to your PC so
you can start transferring files. First make sure your Xbox is plugged
into your working, online home network router. Then, using the soft pad
to navigate UnleashX menus and the green A button to select items, go
to System > Settings > Network. There make sure Enable is set to
Yes, Type set to DHCP and FTP Server is set to Yes, as shown:
Note: These are the most common network settings, but yours may differ depending on your home network.
Restart your Xbox to save your settings. When you boot back up into
UnleashX, you should see your Xbox's new IP address appear on the lower
right hand corner of the screen. Take note of it.
- Install XBMC on your Xbox. Back at your PC, fire
up your favorite FTP client and log into your Xbox. The server location
will be the IP address shown on the UnleashX screen, and your username
and password will be in the Xbox's network Settings (xbox/xbox, by
default.) Navigate to
/E/Apps/folder. Back on your local machine, extract the XBMC archive you downloaded, and from the
XBMC-2.0.1-FINAL-FAT-T3CHfolder you unrar'ed, grab the entire
XBMCsubfolder and FTP it to the Xbox's
Restart your Xbox. When it's up, navigate to the Applications
section, and you'll see Xbox Media Center listed. Select it to launch.
Revel in how much you rule
From here you get treated to XBMC's beautiful and (mostly) intuitive
interface for navigating your Videos, Music, and Pictures.
To access your media library, you can either move files onto the
Xbox hard drive itself (which has its size limits), or browse and play
media on a shared drive on your network. Using Windows
built-in sharing (or Mac OS X's Windows Sharing), you can use XBMC's
SMB (Samba) support to play videos that you record with your PC's
capture card in the den or download via BitTorrent from the Mac in the
bedroom. As you'll see, XBMC is very configurable and full of useful
Check out a quick screenshot tour of XBMC goodness below:
My XBMC has only been online for a few hours so I've only scratched the surface here.
References and thanks
This has to be the zillionth Xbox softmod tutorial that's ever been
posted online, and I have to thank all the forum users and prior
tutorial writers for providing the information I needed to get the job
done. However, the two best references that finally got me off my duff
and really held my hand through the process include:
- Modding the Xbox in 10 minutes [Techfreaks]—great, thorough howto that only lacked information on using ActionReplay.
- XBMC Wiki—the comprehensive resource for working your XBMC. I'm still pawing through this wiki customizing my new media center.
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