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Xbox 360 with third-party hard drive; will I get banned?

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November 27, 2008 4:43:55 AM

I have a 20 GB hard drive for the 360, and we're starting to run out of space. Since $180 for a 120 GB hard drive is a complete ripoff, our only option is to open up the hard drive case and put a Toshiba 120 GB hard drive in there. Would this get me banned from Xbox Live?

But if it will, my brother suggested having one hard drive for Live, and another for installing games onto. Would that work, or does the Xbox keep a record of the hard drive?
November 29, 2008 8:36:15 PM

The thing is, will there be enough space for airflow? I doubt you will find any room to put a hard drive in the 360.
Related resources
November 29, 2008 9:48:09 PM

You put the drive in the same casing as the original HD of course. You just replace it. Most 360's come with a removable external mount hard drive in a special casing with a proprietary connector. But inside the casing sits a normal 2.5" SATA laptop drive, albeit with unforgivably small capacity. But there is a SATA connector in the casing. It's not like they could afford to have Western Digital (the manufacturer of the OEM drive) build and entirely new hard drive with proprietary connections and such, especially not when all the necessary components are already available. Instead, they just locked it away and gave it a proprietary pass-through. Easy money for them. Total rip-off.
December 2, 2008 7:48:22 PM

what exactly are you doing that you need more than 120GB for XBOX if you don't mind me asking. For Songs and What not, the system does have a USB.. also Streaming capabilities. Other than some game demo's... what else do you have stored on there?
December 2, 2008 9:00:26 PM

If Microsoft is able to detect that you do not have a first party hard drive, they will most likely ban you.
December 9, 2008 9:16:33 PM

well with the new update you can install games to the HDD, i have a 60GB drive in mine and want to put in a 1TB drive for all my stuff.
December 10, 2008 1:12:39 AM

Flakes said:
well with the new update you can install games to the HDD, i have a 60GB drive in mine and want to put in a 1TB drive for all my stuff.
You have to keep the disc in the drive, so it's not really that convenient. Also, I can almost guarantee you'd get banned with a drive that large, ignoring the fact that you'll need a laptop drive anyways.
December 10, 2008 7:21:41 AM

well it is Sata i was just planning on leaving the HDD out of the case, and using converters if necessary.

it may not be too convenient but it does cut down the noise that little 360 makes.
December 10, 2008 3:33:23 PM

Flakes said:
well it is Sata i was just planning on leaving the HDD out of the case, and using converters if necessary.

it may not be too convenient but it does cut down the noise that little 360 makes.

Ah, I see; well there shouldn't really be a hardware compatibility issue then, but I'd imagine Microsoft would not be too happy with you using your own hard drive.
December 10, 2008 3:59:06 PM

I'm probably a dunce about this, but I can't believe it's legal for a company to ban third-party products that are within the bounds of the law.

Sure - they can make it tough on third-party users with proprietary hardware. That's their right as the manufacturer.

But banning a perfectly legal third-party item such as a hard drive seems anti-competetive, to say the least.

Again - I didn't do any research. Just thoughts.
December 10, 2008 4:52:11 PM

Ananan said:
I'm probably a dunce about this, but I can't believe it's legal for a company to ban third-party products that are within the bounds of the law.

Sure - they can make it tough on third-party users with proprietary hardware. That's their right as the manufacturer.

But banning a perfectly legal third-party item such as a hard drive seems anti-competetive, to say the least.

Again - I didn't do any research. Just thoughts.
Sure you can use your 360 with a third-party hard drive, but when using Xbox Live you are in agreement with Microsoft that you will follow all of their rules, and they reserve the right to take action if these rules are broken.
December 10, 2008 5:07:51 PM

MS will do whatever they want; they have a long history of anti-competetive behavior.

Still - banning someone from a publicly provided service for using a third-party device that's legal in any case of usage doesn't seem like it would stand up in court if someone chose to challenge it.

December 10, 2008 6:55:21 PM

Ananan said:
MS will do whatever they want; they have a long history of anti-competetive behavior.

Still - banning someone from a publicly provided service for using a third-party device that's legal in any case of usage doesn't seem like it would stand up in court if someone chose to challenge it.
I don't think you understand how terms of service work; if you want to use Xbox Live, you have to play by Microsoft's rules. Once you agree to the terms of service, Microsoft can do whatever they want as long as they fall within the boundaries of the contract you've agreed to. If you don't like it, tough ****; Microsoft isn't the only one selling game consoles, you know.
December 11, 2008 1:30:58 AM

Since you're obviously an expert - what does the Xbox live ToS say?

Does it specifically say "No third party hard drives"?
December 11, 2008 8:06:17 AM

It probably says no third party hardware at all. MS want you to pay the premium for their branded add-ons.
December 11, 2008 9:13:15 AM

What does it say (is blocked as a "games" website at work :(  )


Let's not also forget that opening up your 360 will void the warranty - and with the problems the 360's got, I'm not sure I'd want to void it!
December 11, 2008 10:35:24 AM

16. Service Operation and Equipment.

The Service may only be accessed with an original Xbox, an Xbox 360 console, a personal computer, or other device authorized by us, or by logging into your account via Xbox.com . You agree that you are using only authorized software and hardware to access the Service, that your software and hardware have not been modified in any unauthorized way (e.g., through unauthorized repairs, unauthorized upgrades, or unauthorized downloads), and that we have the right to send data , applications or other content to any software or hardware that you are using to access the Service for the express purpose of detecting an unauthorized modification. Any attempt to disassemble, decompile, create derivative works of, reverse engineer, modify, further sublicense, distribute, or use for other purposes the Service, any game , application, or other content available or accessible through the Service, or any hardware or software associated with the Service or with an original Xbox or Xbox 360 console is strictly prohibited and may result in cancellation of your account and/or your ability to access the Service, and the pursuit of other legal remedies by Microsoft. Microsoft may take any legal action it deems appropriate against users who violate Microsoft's systems or network security ,this contract or any additional terms incorporated or referenced in this contract, and such users may also incur criminal or civil liability.

Sort through it yourself -

But it clearly states that "a personal computer" can access Xbox live; a PC couldn't do that without a HD, and a HD that can run Windows has obviously been ceritifed by MS.

This sentence -

"Any attempt to disassemble, decompile, create derivative works of, reverse engineer, modify, further sublicense, distribute, or use for other purposes the Service, any game , application, or other content available or accessible through the Service, or any hardware or software associated with the Service or with an original Xbox or Xbox 360 console is strictly prohibited and may result in cancellation of your account and/or your ability to access the Service, and the pursuit of other legal remedies by Microsoft."

- is only meant to confuse end users. That's pathetic legalese gibberish that has about as much chance of standing up in court as... my cousin's $%^. The only way MS wins that is with $.

The initial point of this thread was not about voiding your warrenty by opening your Xbox anyway.
It was about third party HDs.
December 11, 2008 2:07:55 PM

I'm interested at how you arrived at your legal analysis. I struggle to see where the duty of care arises between Microsoft and the end user. AFAIK, the Live account is seperate from the purchase of the Xbox console?
December 11, 2008 6:26:08 PM

I would have thought micorsofts standpoint was obvious - the sentance above prohibits unauthorized hardware and unauthorized upgrades, so I would think that doing a custom upgrade on your HDD would be frowned upon by microsoft....

At the end of the day, micorsoft provide the service, so they get to make the rules - they're there for a reason, which is to stop people gaining a competitive advantage, however the number of poeple with rapid fire mods on COD seems to continue....
Anonymous
January 30, 2009 11:45:57 PM

I think you have a very good chance in court. First of all ms doesnt warranty the third party dvd drives or hard drives meaning they dont have any obligations, responsibility or control over what happens with them. So modding something that is not ms should not fall into the ms contract. You are not violating ms equipment. It should be 100 percent legit. Comments? Oh yeah its funny how the ps3 is made for expanding hard drives....
January 31, 2009 4:16:57 AM

I am going to send Microsoft an email kindly asking if they could please authorize me to use a laptop hard drive in place of the 360 one. I'll post their response if I do it.
February 1, 2009 8:55:26 AM

Technically, it's Microsoft's own rules, and yes, I believe they'd consider a modification of their hard drive casing to use a different hard drive inside to be an "unauthorized upgrade." I'm not really sure it could be construed as uncompetitive behavior; yes, they do have a form of monopoly in terms of Xbox Live. However, they aren't exactly supressing any sort of hard drive market, and they aren't the ones making such hard drives. So yeah, Microsoft is, again, being irritating with their rules. But then again, they are their own rules.
July 7, 2009 1:15:41 PM

This "hack" uses the same 120GB HD drive that you would have if you bought the official xbox 120GB HD. I doubt it'll get you banned from xbox live. You're using the same hardware and firmware as the original. They probably could never tell.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/150970/upgrade_your_xbox...
Anonymous
October 25, 2009 4:36:41 AM

I don't think you guys know what you're talking about. In any TOS the "hardware" used to access the "service" only includes any hardware strictly necessary and being utilized in the strictest sense to access the service. In this case, that means the Xbox 360 itself, not the hard drive, which is a peripheral used for storage, and thus not mentioned in the TOS. Nor is it an upgrade. An upgrade would be a modification to the console. I say again, this is a peripheral.

But all of that is moot, because without physically coming out to look at your console, there's no way M$ would even know you're using a third party HD. The reasoning behind that is that the WD1200BEVS is the same IO interface and cylinder design as the proprietary 360 120G hard drive, and that is the very same drive that everyone uses to make their third party HDs. In other words, once you dump the firmware from an official HD and use an HD editing tool like HDHacker to replace the manufacturer's firmware in your 3rd party HD, it is an exact replica of the original. Buy an HD case and connector on Ebay or any one of a hundred mod sites and snap it in, and it's just like you spent the full 180 bucks, while only carrying a price tag of about 70 dollars.

If you buy the 3rd party HDs from one of these sites outright, you could spend more or less, but you'd still be getting the same thing as if you purchased an official one, just without the embossed logo. So in other words, not only does M$ not have a legal leg to stand on in this situation (not that they need it) but they'll never even know.

I say, mod away.
Anonymous
October 25, 2009 1:16:01 PM

THe irony here is that MS made their money from companies reverse-engineered IBM's PC to make theirs able to use MS-DOS (Compaq was the biggest of them in the early 80s). Plus, DOS wasn't even their own creation. You do have to wonder why they didn't see with the prices they're charging for peripherals that people will find cheaper alternatives. Aarick is right. If you buy the same harddrive and transfer the original firmware to it, voila. You don't need a harddrive to access XboxLive, I do believe you need one to download content. I may be wrong.
October 29, 2009 6:54:50 AM

Heyyou27 said:
If Microsoft is able to detect that you do not have a first party hard drive, they will most likely ban you.


Could you tell us the difference between the first party and the third party xbox 360 hard drive???

source: http://www.gameyeeeah.com
November 8, 2009 11:43:21 PM

Are you kidding? If you mod your XBox 360 or add/change the HDD and want to use Live, you're definitely going to get banned at some point. Microsoft has hardware and software identifiers everywhere in their console to help them determine if anything has been changed. With each new wave of bannings that you hear about means they've written more identifiers into the system to catch anything trying to masquerade as a virginal console.

For those of you who think it's illegal to be banned from Live, think again. Microsoft's got a stable of lawyers that make a ton of money writing ironclad TOS's and making sure their "closed" system remains that way. It's perhaps "annoying" or "irritating" to play by such rules, but it's a long step towards leveling a playing field for everyone who wants a fair gaming environment.

Cheaters, pirates and modders will get caught sooner or later if they keep playing with fire by insisting on using an online service. If you want to do whatever you want to your 360, then stay offline. Permanently.

Consider the consequences of a console ban:
You might end up with these reported significant disadvantages -

* Cannot go on Xbox Live.
* Cannot install games to the HDD.
* Cannot use Windows Media Center extender.
* Cannot be used to get achievements from backups without corrupting your profile.
* And it corrupts game saves in many ways.
November 9, 2009 8:35:12 PM

At this point, it doesn't look like you will get banned so much as they might try to disable it. It is not cheating or copyright infringement of any kind, BUT they might decide just not to recognize third party memory or hard drives so that you won't be able to use them and you will lose anything saved on those media.
December 29, 2009 12:10:09 AM

According to the terms of service, and if we follow it word for word, then a console using third party adapters would also be banned. Attaching a linksys or dlink adapter to an xbox console would infringe on this agreement as they are not MS products directly accessing XB live. The modem may also be an infringement on this agreement. This can be used in a court of law and be seen as a contradictory action.

My dos centavos.
December 29, 2009 3:55:47 AM

I'm not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure most TOS things are meant to say, to the best of their ability, that the company can do whatever they want. For instance take world of warcraft... They are basically renting you an account.. Its not yours.. Says so in the contract.. I can see them banning you from xbox live for any modifications what so ever.. You are just a mere blip on their bank account if you were cheating and broke the rules..

They would look at you as a lost cause I guess.. They weren't going to make any money off of you anyway if you were buying other companies items... They figure they have already lost you as a customer... It also might be a tactic to make you buy another console.. If they only make money off consoles like... From an average user every few years... It won't hurt them to ban your xbox and pray you buy a 2nd one.

Is it right they can do this? Its not right to me morally, but thats the way the world goes round. i can justify from their end that you are cheating and you deserve to be punished.. I can look at it from the buyers perspective that its just stupid to overpay 100$ for an option.
December 31, 2009 5:29:10 AM

I think the important thing to note as far as bannings go, as the ToS has a catch all, they can ban you for "any reason or no reason" Reguardless of what else it says.

Oh and yes, you must have storage to connect to live. You cannot connect without a profile, and you cant have a profile without..... some kind of storage.

As of now, the only 3rd party storage device I know they could detect is the datel memory card, which datel claims they will have patched asap anyway. The current MS solution for 3rd party devices is blocked function, not banning anyway. Anyone who claims they know for a fact they were banned because of a home made hdd, is probably full of ***, as the ban notice does not tell you WHY you were banned, ever. Anyone who suspects they may have been banned for making their own hdd, should consider that anyone who reports you for cheating, which happens if you are good at all, can get you banned.

There is 1 way I know they can tell if you have a modded hard drive, if you edit your data incorrectly while it is hooked up to pc, either moving game saves or giving yourself achievements, it can easily set off a flag.

If they could detect a properly flashed hard drive, then anyone who buys a used drive anywhere should tread lightly, as that drive may have been "refurbished" at any point.
January 1, 2010 5:54:18 AM

^^ No, M$ has started to ban consoles for using third party devices; no different then when they started to ban people for sharing game saves around...

The 360 is junk anyway; I can't name a single exclusive title its had in the past year. Nice run, beat the PS3 for a few years, but its essentially dead in my opinion.
January 3, 2010 3:53:25 AM

gamerk316 said:
^^ No, M$ has started to ban consoles for using third party devices; no different then when they started to ban people for sharing game saves around...

The 360 is junk anyway; I can't name a single exclusive title its had in the past year. Nice run, beat the PS3 for a few years, but its essentially dead in my opinion.



ok in the past year (2009) the xbox 360 had the exclusive games:

Halo Wars
Halo 3 ODST
Forza Motorsport 3
Ninja Blade
GTAIV DLC
Lips #1 Hits
Fable 2 DLC
Race Pro
MagnaCarta 2
Stoked

Just to name a few!

where have you been? under a rock! silly ps3 fan boy.... (and dont call me a 360 fanboy i have all 3, 360, PS3, wii)
January 10, 2010 9:00:21 PM

They won't be able to ban you considering you aren't cheating, or trying to play pirated games. The "ban waves" people speak of ban Xbox 360's that have "unrecognized content", or "unofficial video game content". Unless you are upgrading your hard drive to download illegal material, you aren't going to get banned. They won't be able to ever tell if you are running a different hard drive considering you are simply mirroring a HDDSS.BIN (Hard Drive Security Sector) from an official MS certified hard drive. Even if, they do ban you, they can not ban your Xbox 360 or your Xbox Live account, SINCE, nothing you are doing with either of those are illegal in anyway, shape, or form. They would have to ban the hard drive. That is more work than it is to just let this slide. The only possible way for Microsoft to figure out if you are using a different hard drive is if they personally come to your house and look at the hard drive.

In short, unless you are doing anything illegal with your Xbox (playing pirated games, modding your Xbox to cheat in a video game, or anything of that nature) since your upgrade you won't get banned.

To all you nay-sayers, this way of working around buying a ridiculously expensive hard drive has been out for years. It is just now catching popularity. Plus, if MS really cared they wouldn't allow PCWorld, Gizmodo, Joystiq, and various other big blog/magazines write about this. In fact, the companies that post it up would of been sued for the fact that they are showing their viewers how to "illegally" work around Microsoft.
January 11, 2010 2:06:08 AM

With everything I have seen about this everyone seems to be missing the whole point. M$ has designed a very faulty and unstable system that us consumers are stuck with. We have to go through them for repairs at inflated pricing. We have to buy very cheap items example hard drives at hugely inflates prices. Then we have the disks which were damaged by dvd drives. Then we have the failing video problems and finally the famous RROD. If am auto maker had all these problems with their cars there would be a product recall issued by the government watch dogs. Where are they for this problem which is a world wide problem. These agency's are supose to be watching out for the consumer, where are they. We should be complaining to the government about this. If enough people make eenough noise about this maybe M$ will be forced to do something. Also maybe the monopoly laws may be invoked about the lack of third party suppliers. :ouch: 
February 2, 2010 1:09:33 PM

The point you're missing Bill is that the problems they've had they've rectified. You'd struggle to get a recent build to RROD and the dvd drive problems were dealt with. The RROD was dealt with with regard to the extended warranty which makes far better consumer and business sense.

The inflated prices can't be argued with but MS aren't the only ones at it. Sony do the same, so do Apple. In fact, find me a first-party perhipheral that isn't inflated?

Going back to the original subject. MS could bad you if it were detectable. Presuming you use the recommended drive and follow the instructions carefully, the drive will be a replica of an original bar the size elements. I've never heard of anyone being banned for it, they are more concerned with flashed dvd-drives. However, as MS don't give you a reason for the ban, its tricky to tell.

The question is also asked of if MS could tell you had a 3rd party drive on the system, whats not to say its hooked in legitimately? You can use FAT32 drive to read music from and the like.

I'd like to see gamerk316 give some sources to his/her claims. 3rd party peripherals, other than modchips, haven't been banned and sharing save games/gamertags is a completely different area ( as all can be done on first party firmware) (that statement isn't directly true as Datel stuff is blocked, but not banned, you just can't use it). Again, source please.

And yeah, you can connect to XBL without a memory card or HDD. The newer arcade units (for awhile now) come with 256Mb onboard memory for storage. Gamertags can be stored there as well as anything else that fits.





Anonymous
February 3, 2010 12:31:35 PM

May i note that they can check the HDDSS.BIN file of your hard disk, i read a few "How to's" and if u download a HDDSS.BIN of the internet (like thousands others do) they see alot of the same serial number.

But if u copy it from a other hard disk, like a 20gb and place it on a 120gb, u only get a 20gb..

Somewhere on the line they change it, other shops sell it for 60 euro and not for 120 euro (120gb version) but how did they get that HDDSS.BIN :heink: 

btw,
Your altering hardware of the xbox so they have a reason to ban u. (mine opinion)
February 3, 2010 8:57:16 PM

Microsoft reserves complete and sole discretion with respect to the operation of the Service. Microsoft may, among other things: (a) restrict or limit access to the Service; (b) retrieve information from the original Xbox, Xbox 360 console, personal computer, and any connected peripheral device used to log onto the Service as necessary to operate and protect the security of the Service, and to enforce this contract; and (c) upgrade, modify, withdraw, suspend, or discontinue any functionality or feature of the Service, any game or other content available or accessible through the Service, or any hardware or software associated with the Service or with an original Xbox or Xbox 360 console, or personal computer, from time to time without notice, which may involve the automatic download of related software directly to your original Xbox, Xbox 360 console, or personal computer, including software that prevents you from accessing the Service, playing pirated games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.

the above passage is from the microsoft TOS section 16. Service Operation and Equipment, the last part clearly states unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.... a 3rd party drive is not authorized so microsoft are well within there rights to ban people.
February 6, 2010 1:44:54 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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