Microsoft wants the software monopoly on the Xbox platform. Nobody should be able to publish unlicensed software, because Microsoft wants to gain money with the games to amortize the hardware losses, and because they do not want anyone to release non-Internet Explorer browsers and non-Windows Media Player multimedia software.

Of the three consoles of its generation, Xbox, Playstation 2 and GameCube, the Xbox is the one whose security system has been compromised first, the one that is now easiest to modify for a hobbyist, the one with the most security system workarounds, and the one with the most powerful hacks.

Modchip Buying -
What to look for for the LEAST problematic install!
Installation Samples
Extending the life expectancy of a modchipped v1.6 xbox.
D0 Locations
Top 10 reasons for Modding
History of M$ Fixes & How Hackers WON!

When purchasing a MODCHIP, try to find one with a BIOS already flashed into the chip.   This will take one of the most commonly failed modchip steps out; FLASHING THE BIOS! 

Here is a SAMPLE (Aladdin Extreme) list of items to look for when looking at the features of a modchip:

        Pre flashed with the EVOX EXTREME (This is HARD to find, and is illegal!)
        EVOX EXTREME HDD Patch - install a bigger hard disk      (Now at the 2000 GB Limit)
        Easy to install and minimal soldering skill required (only 3 wires and the LPC pin header)
        One ModChip for ALL current existing XBox versions and regions
        Plays DVD / CD Imports
        Plays DVD-R / CD-R Backups
        Plays original and Backup DVD Movies
        Plays unsigned code - Run Debug Executables
        LBA48 Hack  (If you plan on using a larger than 137GB Hard Drive)
        No-patch hack 1
        No-patch hack 2
        IGR function enabled (In Game Reset)
        ETH function enabled (Eject Trick Hack)
        Auto patch new media flag Titles
        Macrovision Off
        DVD Reset
        EvoX HDD Patch - install a bigger hard disk        (not bigger than 2000 GB / Or Not bigger than 137GB no LBA48)
        Auto detect EvoX Dashboard
        Built in Mod-disable switch for X-BOX Live Disc (ON / OFF modus to deactivate the Modchip function)
        ActionReplay ready (for all who use AR cheatcodes)
        Does not affect the original functionality of your XBox
        Flash upgradable

Compatible with all XBox versions (all NTSC and all PAL)

Modding your Xbox is Illegal! - Piracy is one of the main reasons it is illegal!

The first thing you want to do is decide what CHIP you want to install.  There are many avaialble, and make sure your Xbox version is supported.

There is no real guide to installation, except the instructions you get from the place you bought it from.  Basic solder skills and a steady hand is a plus!   The instructions will help you determine the version of Xbox for the install, and that isn't always easy.

Solderless adapters are not as reliable as wired/soldered in.  If you plan on using a solderless mod, then your xbox should not be moved around a lot.

Most Modchips will not come with a BIOS, other than a basic Cromwell bios.  You will need to "flash" the bios with EvoX, or other bios for loading a Dashboard other than the one your Xbox has on it. 
Cromwell and the related "FlashBIOSes" do not boot backups or original Xbox games. They cannot boot dashboards, or any XDK/OpenXDK written homebrew apps.

The very first thing you should do, after modding an Xbox, is BACK UP THE HARD DRIVE, and the EEPROM!!!   If you do not, no one will feel sorry for you when you say the Microsoft Dashboard, this and that doesn't work anymore.  Once the mod chip is installed, and verified working, you need to boot to a DVD with an FTP client, like EvoX's Remote-X.  You must back up your entire C Drive to your PC somewhere.  Then use the MENU ITEM that says BACKUP, all that does is an eeprom backup, and HDD KEY backup, it is not an entire backup if drive C.

Do not put ANYTHING in your original drive's E partition, it's only around 700MB if that, is for game saves!  If you plan to upgrade the hard disk, you can put some applciations there.  It should be about 5GB with a larger HDD.

Evolution-X is really two different things: a Modchip BIOS, and a replacement dashboard. Technically, Evolution-X is the dashboard, and Evo-X refers to the BIOS.

The BIOS Size for a simple mod chip is 256K.  You can get 512K and 1025K bios chips so that you can switch between a different bios, or use a bios with many features.

A Bios is an EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory), also known as an E-Square (because an EEPROM has four cells): is an EPROM chip that is erasable at RUNTIME.  For example, you can update the PROGRAM or update the configuration programmatically, without taking the device out of circuit to erase and reprogram.  EEPROM cells typically have a finite service life, which means that they do wear out. Usually, reading them doesn't wear them out, just writing to them. They are characterized both by RETENTION, and WRITE CYCLES (ENDURANCE).  RETENTION means, if you programmed it once today, how long would the device retain the data. WRITE CYCLES means how many times you can write to a particular cell and be guaranteed that it will reliably store the data. WRITE CYCLE LIMITATIONS are typically 1 or so million for cheaper parts, 10 or so million for more expensive parts.

Xbox v1.0/v1.1 have an 8Mbit (1024k) onboard bios chip, of different brands.  This is nice, because you CAN bank switch this bios if need be.  You could, essentally, have the original bios and a modded bios in the same chip.  If you have seen the ERROR section for LED FLASH errors, the bios may be stored in all banks of this chip, we knoe at least TWO banks do.  That would be 1024/4 = four cells of 256k, so essentially, four duplicates of the bios.  So, if one bank goes bad, you can switch to one of the others and the Xbox would be fixed.

Xbox v1.2/v1.3/v1.4/v1.5/v1.6 have a 2Mbit (256k) bios chip of different brands.  Once this goes, you do not have a quick fix like with the 1MB bios as described above.  This can also be flashed with a MODDED bios, but if it doesn't take, you now have a brick.


Here is a picture of an Aladdin Chip soldered to the LPC Bus:

Four more wires need to be soldered:

L2 goes to Pin40 of the IDE BUS
L1 goes to left side of R2G10
BT goes to right side of R3G3
D0 Goes to D0 Point


Here is a Duox Mod Chip that is WIRED in:

This is the DuoX Soldered to the MainBoard, and showd D0 Point

The other wire is BT, but this one goes to the Eject Button.

A DuoX installed with a Header:

This is an alternative LFRAME (D0) point on the backside of a v1.6 motherboard that's a lot easier to solder then the one on top (a 'via') near the Xyclops chip.

Soldering a D0 Point on V1.2 Xbox
Soldering the LPC Wires + D0 Install
Install: Xenium SP / Solderless 1.6

Desoldering: A Surface Mounted Chip

D0 V1.0 and V1.1

D0 V1.2 to V1.5

The history of Microsoft's reactions to the font vulnerability is the perfect lesson of how to do it wrong.

1. After MechInstaller had been released, Microsoft fixed the buffer vulnerability in the Dashboard and distributed this new version over the Xbox Live network and shipped it with new Xboxes.

2. For the hackers, this was no major problem: It was possible to downgrade the Dashboard of a new Xbox to the vulnerable version. Just run Linux using a savegame exploit, and "dd" the old image. Some people felt downgrading on new Xboxes was not piracy, because after all, Microsoft upgraded Xbox Live users' hard disks to the new version without asking.

3. As the next step, Microsoft blacklisted the old Dashboard in the new kernel. It was impossible to just "dd" an old Dashboard image onto newer Xboxes.

4. Still no major problem for hackers: The second executable on the hard disk, "xonlinedash", which is used for Xbox Live configuration, had the same bug, so it was possible to copy the old "xonlinedash" and to rename it to "xboxdash" to make it crash because of the faulty fonts.

5. Microsoft consequently blacklisted the vulnerable version of "xonlinedash".

6. Again, no major problem for hackers: All Xbox Live games come with the "dashupdate" application, which adds Xbox Live functionality to the Dashboard for the first Xboxes which came without it. This update application has the same font bug, and it can be run from hard disk. So it is possible to copy the file from any Xbox Live game DVD, rename it to "xboxdash" and let it crash.

7. Microsoft could not blacklist this one. Xbox Live enabled games run the update application every time they start, making sure the Xbox has the Xbox Live functionality. Blacklisting "dashupdate" would break these games.

The security system of the Xbox has been a complete failure, the hackers won.