Further to my post How NOT to upgrade your Xbox, I’m pleased to say I’ve got it working again. It’s taken a long time, a great deal of trial-and-error, and some head-scratching. To save at least one other person some hassle, here’s my ‘journey’ from a useless Xbox to one that runs Xbox Media Center, etc.

I’ll cut to the chase: you don’t want to be reading this post unless you’ve had the same problems as I had. It’s information you could have gone to bed without knowing. Trust me.

Problem: Error code 21 on an Xbox v1.0 with an Xecuter2 modchip installed.

Solution (briefly stated): Using ConfigMagic (comes with Slayer’s Evox Autoinstaller) to manually enter MAC address (made-up) and unlock Xbox hard disk (using code from backed-up hddinfo.txt file). Transfer of backed-up copy of BIOS.bin to C: drive of Xbox via FTP. Re-flashing of EEPROM using ConfigMagic.

Moral of the story: Always have a copy of your Xbox’s EEPROM backed-up somewhere!

In the process of playing about with the BIOS, trying to get rid of the ‘flubber’ animation when the Xbox first boots, I was playing around with ConfigMagic. This program comes as part of the excellent Slayer’s Evox Autoinstaller and enables you to lock/unlock your hard disk and flash your EEPROM from a file on your hard disk.

Once I’d accidentally flashed it with basically and empty EEPROM file, I was fairly stuck. I couldn’t re-unlock the hard disk nor could I FTP into the Xbox due to not having the information that had been previously part of the EEPROM. This information contains things like a long string of numbers that is unique to your hard disk, etc. Pretty much every site that came up when I searched on Google documented how to unlock the hard disk by connecting it to the PC and running the Liveinfo Linux distribution. That’s not an option for me – we’re laptop-only in our house!

In the end, because I’d backed-up everything on the Xbox before tinkering (always good practice) I was OK. I ended up editing the EEPROM on-the-fly, making up the MAC address of the Xbox along the lines of one suggested on this page. The unique Xbox HD key I got from a file called hddinfo which I found in the C:Backup directory in the overall Xbox backup I’d previously created. I then used the ConfigMagic program to lock the hard disk. When I rebooted it showed that the Xbox had a proper IP address (instead of which means it can’t connect).

This meant that all I needed to do was install a dashboard to allow XBMC to run. I thought this would be easy via Slayer’s Evox Autoinstaller, but it didn’t work. In the end, I simply formatted the disk, connected via FTP (with Slayer’s Evox Autoinstaller running) and transferred my backup over. Once I’d finished, I followed the instructions contained in the updated T3CH release of XBMC that I decided to install. This explains and easy way to create a shortcut from the default dashboard to the directory within which XBMC is situated (in my case, F:APPSXBMC)

So, with the xTV skin for XBMC documented at How To: Turn Your XBox Into An AppleTV I now have a wonderful home entertainment solution again! 🙂