Recover borked HDD after Xbox 360 ban

[Incudie] tipped us off about a method to fix a borked HDD in your Xbox 360. Many of the one million consoles banned earlier in the month also had the hard disks scrambled making off-line gaming impossible as well. It turns out that this is caused by having a ban flag in the NAND chip on the motherboard. It has been discovered that because of wear levelling, the NAND will have two copies of the “secdata.bin” file which stores the ban flag. Please note, this will NOT allow the console to use Xbox Live, it just re-enables the HDD.

The quick and dirty of the fix is as follows: First the NAND is dumped from your Xbox 360 to a computer. After verifying the file, it can be opened in a HEX editor and the two copies of “secdata.bin” located. Once identified by date, the older version is injected on top of the newer to overwrite the ban flag.

Looks like this is not for the faint of heart, but if you got banned for modding in the first place this should be easy to pull off.

Update: Looks like xbox-scene now has a collection of apps to help you with this process. [Thanks CollinstheClown]


  1. xeracy says:

    It was only a matter of time…

  2. Mark says:

    Just wanted to clarify that offline gaming was still possible, however the ban flag prevented the storage and playing of games from the harddrive.

  3. Johannes says:

    Nice hack! :D
    I have a borked xbox laying around somewhere (got it 2ndhand), might try this sometime!

  4. sohbetlim says:

    these is a only lamer

  5. octel says:

    I am seeing people dumping their banned xboxes on craigslist for as low as $50!

  6. wdfowty says:

    There is a god! Praise the heavens!

  7. giveaphuk says:

    Good to see microsoft is once again being eco-friendly & reducing the amount of electronic waste in the world NOT!!

    a big ups to the ppl who figured this out!!

  8. RandomNut says:

    You have created a market for unbanning tools for the xbox360.

  9. Midnight says:

    Strangest thing to me is that there is noone suiing microsoft over destroying their HD over a product that is legally owned.

    I guess in the US laws are different and in Europe noone gives a rats ass

  10. injulen says:

    My console was one of the ones banned, I purchased it second hand with a premodded dvd firmware. My HDD has had no problems at all, I am able to play offline, save + load games, play downloaded demos from before I was banned, etc.

  11. akirhol says:

    There are far more than two copies of secdata.bin, depends on the box. Mine had 27 on a 16MB NAND, someone else with a 256MB NAND only had 13 (probably because it was newer… less updates).

    The ban doesn’t cripple the HDD completely, you can still use it besides HDD game installs. However, anything saved after the ban flag is set in the secdata.bin will not be signed by the console and will show corrupted in any other console, regardless of whether you are using the HDD or a memory unit. The NAND fix removes the ban flag, so profiles are no longer corrupt across consoles and you can once again install to HDD.

    Odds are it fixes the media center abilities being disabled too, but I’ve not tested this since the 360 is a piece of crap for a media extender.

  12. Taylor says:

    @midnight: modding your console is a violation of the user agreement that you agree to when you sign up for xbox live. you really can’t do too much legally because you broke the agreement.

  13. Peter says:

    @Taylor: Yes I shouldn’t be able to use Live as I violated their TOS, but damn it, I should be able to continue to use *my* hardware. They have no right to disable any of it.

    If Microsoft doesn’t like that they can start leasing their hardware instead of selling it.

  14. DLiver420 says:

    After 4 years of loyalty, Microsoft has driven me back to Sony. Say goodbye to the gold membership payments and the $100-200 I spent on downloadable content and game accessories each year.
    Now the monthly payment I gave MS is paying Gamefly for the PS3 games I like after I test them out on the (now-banned) XBox.

  15. jimmy john says:

    Correct, you do not agree to any EULA when purchasing the hardware, you only agree to a EULA when signing up for Live. So M$ overstepped their bounds by breaking functionality of feature not even related to live. AFAIK, you can bork your console by just connecting it to the internet and getting an update, no live account needed thus not having ever accepted any agreement.

    Even if if you accept the EULA, it does not give them the right to cripple hardware if you violate the EULA. Whats next frying your computers motherboard if it detects that you violated the windows EULA.

    BTW, back in the 80s, some copy protections would format hard drives if they thought the software was copied, those companies were taken to court and lost.

  16. Drone says:

    Micro$oft should be sued – BIG TIME. They have NO right crippling your hardware under any XBox Live EULA. What they can do is (1) ban you from XBox Live, and/or (2) turn you over to the Police for violating the DMCA.

  17. Krusty says:

    In 2005, $ony lost a court case in Australia over mod chips – “The High Court has ruled that chipping the console so that it can play imported games does not breach copyright law. ”

    I wonder how Micro$oft would go in Australia – I can see this ending in tears!

  18. hd says:

    If only somebody can figure out how to do this with an arduino…

  19. Hackius says:

    @Taylor: EU laws prevent EULAS from limiting your rights to hardware. That’s why phones have to be unlocked by the service provider in the EU.

  20. philpem says:

    No court in the land would hit M$ with a banhammer.

    Extreme power + extreme money + extreme evil = M$

  21. philpem says:

    OK what I should have said is:
    “if any court tells M$ to do something they don’t want to do, they’ll just move anything they’re doing in that country to Outer Elbonia.”

  22. Chris says:

    @Drone – the DMCA has no powere once you’re off of US soil. I can sit here in Canada and do everything i want that would break the DMCA, and they can’t do anything about it. THere are a lot more countries that have the xbox360 than just the US, and all of them got the XBox Live banhammer last week. My local police couldn’t care less if you sent them a note saying i broke the DMCA…

  23. Liam says:

    I was caught up in the ban wave last year, no hardware problems, if they are now taking away features that are not related to live surely that is illegal? They are breaking your property.

  24. Taylor says:

    Yes the ps3 is starting to look pretty nice right Now…. But really you can mod your box alll you want as long as you don’t touch any firmware or anything. I’ve modded several boxes myself and have a moddded box and they haven’t banned me or any of the boxes I’ve modded.

  25. tj says:

    With the x360 there is GTA IV DLC and one semi-fail-safe hardware revision.

    The hardware is slower than the other next-gen system and there are less features. Why would you buy or resurrect one unless you’re some soccer kid or trailer trash who wants to play backups because they have no skills to make money?

    If I owned a studio I wouldn’t even develop titles for it.

  26. octel says:

    Fly away, troll.

  27. ejonesss says:

    i was wondering a couple things.

    1. if it is just a drive that is banned couldnt you before you mod the box just make a backup of the drive to an iso image so if banned you format and restore the drive from the iso image?

    2. if the banned flag is written to the nand chip you could before modding the box you block the write signal to the chip so the ban flag can not be written.

    some chips have a pin that has to be enabled to write and others use a voltage.

    the pin based enabler couldnt the pin be held to read only mode by soldering to ground or the power rail of the chip?

    the voltage based enabler couldnt a voltage regulator be connected to the power pin to keep the voltage constant?

    the voltage based write enablers usually puts 12 volts into a 5 volt chip to enable the write mode .

    for chips like that you should be able to lift the power pin from the power pad on the board and wire to a 7805 5 volt regulator.

    all of that works as long as the box does not need to preform a write test upon startup.

  28. Xb0xGuru says:

    For those interested, Abington IP is looking to issue a class action lawsuit against Microsoft :

    1. The secdata.bin on the NAND is what’s written to – if it was as simple as a DVD drive ban you could just swap it out.
    2. This has already been thought of :

  29. winblows. says:

    That’s it, I’m on my way to the evil land of Redmond to personally teabag Bill Gates evil mug.

  30. BigD145 says:

    @Peter You are leasing it. Most EULA’s are little more than leases that only require a one-time payment with possible subsequent payment to take care of wear and tear. You do not own what you buy in a store.

  31. wdfowty says:

    update: there are now tools that will do all hex editing for you in a nice little gui. check out xboxscene for more info

  32. Marty says:

    @BigD145 I’m happy to accept my console is leased to me, only if MS are happy to accept it to always repair it for free when it breaks down. Further to the point, they should also be replacing damaged media free of charge as by the same argument we don’t own that either.

    Fact is they won’t – MS want their cake and eat it and frankly, it’s what’s really put a lot of people’s noses out of joint.

    I really wish MS would grow a pair and stop going after the little guy. It’s the pre-owned market which is costing them the most amount of money, since the stores who offer pre-owned content keep all proceeds, therefore it’s actually worse than piracy since not only do the developers/manufacturers not make any money from the deal, but someone else is making a huge profit from the venture. Make selling pre-owned software/hardware illegal and we’ll see what happens to the industry.

  33. yourmum says:

    lolololol thanks microshit cuz i didnt even realy play xbox not to mention they never detected me using mods such as rapid fire drive firmware lag switches avatar mods hahahahaha neva buying a 360 again unless i get really bored one day should have neva got rid of my trusty ps3 was with sony since it all began

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