Page 1 of 1

Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:50 am
by PhilTheStampede
Not sure if this is the right place or whether it's been covered, but I've asked this in about 8 different subs, sites, and discords and nobody seems to know what's what.

So what is the actual difference? What is removed to make it "hdd ready"? Can a full ISO run just fine? How will taking away Xbox Live checks affect me adding DLC?

For now, I've settled on just using the full ISO and testing it when I have everything set up, but I'd like to know exactly what I'm working with before I waste tons of time :P

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:15 am
by Coldly-Indifferent
The same Xbox game files that are used to make a XISO for burning to disc media are those you'd FTP or transfer some other way to the HDD.

Assuming your Xbox is modded: with it on disc there is nothing to stop you launching that on the Xbox and simply copying the files from it to a named folder in "Games". It will launch from there 90% of the time without any problem. However there are a number of Xbox games that won't run from the HDD without patching.

For that reason the best way of using a burned disc is to boot the app: DVD2Xbox and use that to install it from the disc. DVD2Xbox includes the ACL (Action Control List) patching files necessary to do that. There are over 200 of those if you include the different patches for the NTSC and PAL versions of any particular game. DVD2Xbox by default only comes with a dozen so you need to find a source for the full ACL library somewhere.

It will actually patch all games as it includes a generic patch which is applied to all games that do not have a specific ACL patch.

You'll often find Xbox games have already been ACL patched both if it is provided as a XISO or as extracted game files. In that case there will be an extra XBE file that is not present in the original game. You'll have the ACL patched "default.xbe" for the game but also the original default.xbe renamed by DVD2Xbox to "default.xbe_orig".

The only other different files you might see are those which are patched for 480p support on the Xbox v1.6. That has problems with about two dozen games (Panzer Dragon Orta is the best known example) if they're launched via disc or from the HDD using XBMC or UnleashX dashboards. It is actually a bit more complicated than that but in short they will not play in 480p.

Rocky5 wrote a 480p for v1.6 Launcher Script you can use with XBMC to patch most of those games if they're found on the HDD so they'll use another launcher instead that, for whatever reason, allows the game to play in 480p on a v1.6. I have no doubt there are XISOs out there with these patches already applied. So if you see game files/extracted XISO files with a CDXMedia file or other additional launcher files/folders that is likely what has happened.

Those 480p v1.6 patched games will still run on any other Xbox version.

The original game files might also include a dashupdater.xbe and an updater.xbe but those providing XISOs or game files often remove them for safety reasons or minimize space. If you're stupid enough to try to use the dashupdater.xbe on a softmod you're in for a world of pain sorting that out. The updater.xbe is for the game but was made redundant when Xbox Live support ended.

The only way to add Xbox DLC that I know of is via a DLC installer which you can still find reasonably easily online.
That puts all the available DLC files into an app which is launched and used to install whatever DLC you want via a simple menu. It usually installs that to the TDATA folder so will be shown in the Game Saves Manager.

Quite a lot of games' DLC is redundant now as it consists of online only multiplayer maps and in-game equipment not found in the single layer game.

With XISO/game files found online the only other difference you might see is that Demo files for other games might be removed to save space. There are games where that demo content is greater than the actual game's files.

I hope that covers what you wanted to know. If there is anything I've missed I'm sure somebody else here will chip in.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:40 pm
by PhilTheStampede
I only found a few sources online, but one source had HDD Ready and a few comments about how games like Doom 3 looked all fucked up. The other source has 7gb ISO files that have one single 7 gig file in each zip. So, I'm not sure what is in that, but it sounds like it will likely include the file you mentioned that would cause me issues on a softmodded Xbox, which is what I was planning to do, but if softmodding isn't the best option, then that's not what I want to do.

For instance, I want to play Doom 3. If it's DVD2XBOX version doesn't work properly, I'd want to just use the ISO file, which, if I'm following you, contains a .xbe file that causes some kind of issue.

To be honest, I've been going through and digitizing all of my old consoles and I usually get prepped while they are shipping. Right now, I have a green Halo edition Xbox on its way. What would YOU do if you wanted to be able to play games without any graphical or audio issues, with DLC? Let's say Doom 3, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Halo 2, and KotOR for examples, all of which have DLC, and all of which could potentially give one issue or another.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:37 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
I think you've found some bad information or misunderstood something along the way.

To play a Xbox game from anything other than the original disc the Xbox must be either chipped, TSOPed or softmodded.

Any problems with specific games is usually due to the Xbox v1.6 Xcalibur video chip it uses. Rocky5's previously mentioned 480p v1.6 launcher XBMC script addresses that problem. There are a few games for which no launcher seems to work but all that means is that it will have to be played at 480i ie. it can still be played.

There are a few genuinely regional locked games too where the PAL version won't play on a NTSC/NSTC region changed Xbox or visa versa. That means some PAL versions are not playable in 480p because that option is a NTSC Xbox exclusive feature.

HDD Ready probably just means it has been ACL (Action Control List)* patched and, if necessary, includes the v1.6 patch too.

If it is provided as the game files, generally intended for FTPing to to the Xbox there is nothing to stop you making a XISO from them instead. You just need either Qwix or C-Xbox Tools, PC programs that are specifically designed to do that amongst other things. That XISO can then be burned (ImgBurn recommended) on DVD-R media and can be played from the disc or installed using DVD2Xbox as described.

There might be a problem with some games which include an already ACL patched "default.xbe" if you want to play the game from the burned disc. I've never tried that but if it is a problem that "default.xbe_org" is the original game "default.xbe" so all you'd have to do is backup/rename the patched default.xbe and rename the original one back to "default.xbe", create a new XISO and burn the disc again.

Any issue like that are not connected with whether the Xbox is chipped,TSOPed or softmodded.

The problems you described are likely non-issues. If the files you have are from an original Xbox game disc the game should play just as well as it did originally. The only issues are those I've mentioned which are specific either to the v1.6 or regional. The patches described fix any display problems most of the time and AFAIK do not introduce any new ones.

DLC is added to those games, as said, once installed, as game save data (TDATA folder). Without testing particular DLC I do not know and doubt anyone one else her will know if there are specific problems with any DLC if the game is being played from a burned disc or install on the HDD. However as both have to access the same UDATA/TDATA game save folders created on the HDD when you first run a game by any method as long as there are no regional differences in those files' ID I can not see any reason why HDD installed or played from disc would make any difference.

The DLC installer I mentioned includes both extra DLC and game update DLC too. I've had a look at it and Doom 3 has no game update but there is a 16MB DLC installer package. A guide is included in that which is pretty self-explanatory.



I think I've found the place you download the files from and I'm currently downloading to test them myself.

Doom 3 is marked with a ! and I assume that is because there are comments from other downloaders which say it is graphically corrupt and unplayable. Sound familiar?

I might be wrong but I suspect they just need DVD2Xbox ACL patching but could be a regional problem too as I believe the source is Polish so they'll likely be PAL.


I finished downloading from the HDD ready place and its fine.

The folder you see with the '7' is a 7Zip folder not a 7GB one. :)

If you've not come across 7Zip it is 'simply' another file compression format type like ZIP or RAR. Its is very popular, particularly in gaming circles because it is considered to do a better job than ZIP and has more inbuilt options. I recommend you install it or an alternative which can open 7Zip folders instead of relying on your Windows tools. PeaZip and a whole slew of others can do that but it makes more sense to use the original 7Zip, IMHO.

The Doom 3 7Zip folder is actually only just over 2GB and decompressed under 3GB. Once 7Zip has done its job you should end up with an ordinary folder named "Doom 3". Inside that are all the normal game files you would expect.

To burn it to disc you need to create the XISO from that folder so find Qwix 101 or C-Xbox Tools v2.7 and use that to create the XISO. If you need help using it ask.

Once created launch ImgBurn > "Write image file to disc", browser to the Doom 3 folder and burn it at x4 speed or whatever is the lowest speed the media you're using supports (usually that is x4). It must be on DVD-R to guarantee compatibility with all Xbox disc drives but if you have DVD+R and you don't mind risking a wasted disc you can try that as the next most compatible type.

When burned fire up your Xbox and away you go.

I actually used DVD-RW which my Hitachi disc drive likes so I didn't have to waste any disc media on this either.

As far as I've tested it:-

1). The game plays perfectly from disc on a NTSC set PAL v1.6 chipped Xbox (480p Component cable)
2). Installed from that disc using DVD2Xbox - likewise plays perfectly from the ACL patched default.xbe and the original.
default.xbe_org when renamed. That suggest whatever the reported problem was it was not because it had not
been ACL patched.

I have no good reason to think playing it on a softmod instead would produce any different result but I will do that later. Installing the Doom 3 folder by FTP instead of via a disc seems pointless to test because the game files are clearly OK.

I'd bet now, knowing that they're good, it was FTPing that caused the problems for the other users. There are always troublesome files that won't FTP first time with any biggish file transfer to the Xbox. I'd guess one or more files did not FTP and they did not think to check let alone re-queue and try them again.

As for the DLC - I installed that too. It is just two multiplayer maps "Surface" and "Communications" installed in TDATA/41560020/$c.

Hope this info helps.

EDIT3 (30.01.20)

Just finished testing the disc on a softmod - SID 5 updated later by AID. Xbox v1.1.

From disc or HDD installed, patched or not all works and plays fine. The Samsung 605B disc drive initially had problems reading the DVD-RW (as expected) but eventually, and to my surprise, the game played perfectly from the disc and I could also use DVD2Xbox to install it to the HDD without any read problems too.

In short: the Doom 3 download you found is absolutely fine.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:39 am
by PhilTheStampede
Wow, dude. Thank you for going through all that trouble clearing things up and potentially helping me troubleshoot if I run into issues with FTPing, which was what I was originally planning to do.

Also, for the record, though it doesn't seem as relevant now, I found a completeish ISO set where every file was varying in zip size, but inside, they were all 7 gigs. That was a separate place from the one HDD Ready spot you and I looked at.


Either way, I really appreciate the help.

Is there a faster, better, safer, more consistent way to transfer to the hard drive from my computer? For the PS2, I used a SATA to USB cable and a program called HDL Dumb (yes, it was called Dumb. I didn't use Dump). That method would likely not have caused as many issues and you suggested could have been encountered by the user's who likely had FTP issues with the games they mentioned.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:58 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
Once set up and working FTP is the best and fastest method to get stuff to the Xbox. You certainly would not want to use anything else for bulk transfers.

But when transferring large amounts of stuff with lots of small files some will simply not copy first time. Re-queuing them and 99% of the time they'll transfer without any problems. I've had up to 10% of the files of a 10+GB transfer having to be re-queued

But why they didn't do that first idea. I've tried all the recommended FTP settings both on Xbox, PC and FTP client (FileZilla and CoreFTP) and it still happens regularly.

Using XBMC as a main dash or app can help because sometimes those failed to transfer files have Xbox 'illegal' character set use and XBMC will fix that up to a point. It also reconnects more reliably too and you will see a lot of that when FTPing to the Xbox.

UnleashX is faster but with bulk transfers it seems to slow down gradually and disconnect/reconnect regularly producing more of those failed to transfer cases. Some people still use Avalaunch when FTPing as that is said to be the fastest of the lot.

If you are not set up permanently for FTPing from PC to the Xbox (I'm not) it takes time to swap the ethernet cables around, boot up the Xbox, check the settings, launch the FTP client, get connected, then actually start the FTPing.

I can burn the ISO of a small sized game (2GB) to disc and have DVD2Xbox ready to install it and be done, sometimes, before the FTP client has finished. Unlike FTPing once DVD2Xbox is copying the disc to the HDD you can leave it and have a mug of tea, empty the washing machine or play with the cat while you wait. :) If there are any FTP failures to transfer you've got to be there to re-queue them and that will inevitably add extra time too.

I still prefer to use Xplorer360 with a <4GB Xbox compatible flash drive for small transfers like apps and skins. Xplorer360 is painfully slow but again you do not have to be there so whilst far slower it can still be more convenient.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:31 am
by PhilTheStampede
So how do you know when files fail to transfer? Do you just need to check the amount of files for each game before and after?

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:05 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
If you use FileZilla you will get immediate information at the bottom of the screen about how many files there are to transfer, how many have been successfully transferred and how many have failed.

When the ones which have been FTPed successfully first time are done you are told that some files failed to transfer. All you have to do is click on the "Failed transfers" button at the bottom left and they will all be listed. Use the "Reset and requeue all" right mouse context menu option on that list and then process that queue.

It will FTP them directly to where they were meant to be so you do not have to worry about that at all.

Other FTP clients might use slightly different methods of re-queuing failed FTP file transfers ie. it might all be done from the context menu or the option to retry the failed transfers offered directly. But it is generally fairly similar and simple to understand.

There can be 'difficult' files or folders that fail to FTP multiple times and precious little general user useful indication is ever provided as to why. The most likely explanation is that, as said, the file or folder contains names with unsupported character sets or simply the file path is too long.

You'd think that was impossible if you're dealing with files that are meant for the Xbox but different dashboards react differently to certain file types and naming styles.That means if who ever prepared the files used XBMC and you used XBMC there should be no problem but if you use an UnleashX or an alternative dash instead it can happen.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:22 pm
by PhilTheStampede
Interesting. So it's both possible that the person with the issues in the game we discussed was using a simple FTP transfer and didn't notice or didn't get notified of failed transfers and that they could be using a different dashboard setup than you are. I tried using the regular built-in FTP for my PS2, but it only worked like half the time. It was weird, so I just started using a USB rather than pulling the whole thing apart every time I wanted to add stuff. I haven't tried any other FTP besides, I guess, the one built into Hakchi for the SNES mini. So this will be interesting. I hope the port on the back of the Xbox is faster than the network adapter's on the PS2 otherwise this will take a while.

You're sure I can't just use my SATA to USB cable? It was so fast and had no issues lol

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:59 am
by Coldly-Indifferent
How were you thinking about setting up and using a cable like that?

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:08 am
by PhilTheStampede
Well, like I said earlier, I can connect the hard drive directly to the PC and the PS2 has a program to put files onto it because once it's formatted by the PS2, the PC can't see it, I guess. So I was hoping there was a way to just hook it up and put games on it after it's been formatted instead of FTPing. Can the PC see it if I just hook it up directly I wonder?

I'm not sure because I'm still a few weeks away from even being able to test anything, but I know what hard drive I'm getting and I know I can hook it up to my computer with my cable.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:24 pm
by Coldly-Indifferent
This sounds like a XBHDM USB (XBox Hard Drive Maker) sort of thing - something I know practically nothing about.

This thread seems relevant but whether XBHDM can do what you want and any better than the other methods I have no idea.

Re: Xbox ISO vs HDD ready?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:26 pm
by PhilTheStampede
Well, thanks man. You've been coldy indifferent in helping. Just kidding. I appreciate all the responses and insight. Cheers!

Edit: Seems as though this is what I was looking for. Though, the ETA is up in the air. ... ss-update/