Xbox Softmod Kit Tutorial

UPDATE: APRIL 2024: We now have a new method of softmodding your original Xbox that does not require a game disc or even a disc drive. Now available at our VGS store: https://www.videogamestart.us/product/xbox-softmod-kit


Welcome to the Original Xbox Softmod Kit tutorial, below is a video and a written tutorial on installing the softmod. After you complete the original Xbox softmod you'll be able to start customizing and take advantage of the Xbox Softmod Features i.e. Emulators, ROMs, Play Import Games, Play Backup Games and XBMC to stream multimedia to your TV.
The customizing is done by installing and transferring files to the Xbox which is included in this tutorial

Visit the Xbox softmod glossary to better understand any vocabulary words.

1. Requirements

To start the Xbox soft-mod installation you will need the Xbox Softmod Kit which consists of the Xbox memory card/usb flash drive and the game Splinter Cell. Learn more

*If your Xbox is connected w/ HD component cables go into video settings of the Xbox and set 480p to no, 720p to no & 1080i to no. Continue to install the softmod without restarting. If that does not work then re-apply the video settings and restart the Xbox and then continue to install the softmod. After the softmod is complete you are able to change to the higher HD settings (i.e. 720p & 1080i). If you continue to have issues installing the softmod with your HD cables then you may need A/V cables (RCA/composite, yellow, white, red) or you can just plug the "green" cable directly to where the yellow input goes. You can also try the older and less common option, an RF adapter. These connections are just for the softmod install only, you can connect your HD cables and HD settings after the softmod is installed. 

  • Original Xbox Softmod Kit memory card/usb flash drive
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 

2. Original Xbox Dashboard 5960 (free update)

Dashboard 5960 is required to mod the original Xbox. Dash 5960 was the latest update for the Xbox and is only found in Xbox Live games released as early as November 9, 2004 (Halo 2 release date). Your original Xbox may already be updated, either way here is a short Dashboard 5960 tutorial on how to check, as well as the complete list of original Xbox games that can update your Xbox to Dashboard 5960. Updating to dash 5960 is free and easy, you do "not" need an internet connection nor an account to do so.

update xbox dashboard 5960

3. Xbox Softmod Files
    ATTENTION: Before you begin make sure the Original Xbox Softmod Kit memory card/usb flash drive is disconnected from the Xbox. We ask this because next we want you to delete all game saves from the original Xbox hard disk. Again, this has nothing to do with the memory card/usb flash drive so keep it disconnected. Removing game saves is not required but if you don't succeed in soft-modding the original Xbox on the 1st attempt then on the 2nd attempt you'll want to delete all the game saves from the original Xbox hard disk to make sure. 




    Now lets continue...
    3.1 Turn the Xbox off. 
    3.2 Connect the Xbox controller to controller port 1 (1st player). 
    3.3 Insert the memory card into the Xbox controller. If you are using the usb flash drive continue to connect it to Xbox controller port 2 (player 2) with the proper cable attached. *The Xbox Softmod Kit we offer provides the usb adapter.
    3.4 Power on your original Xbox.
    3.5 Select "Memory" from the main dashboard. 
    3.6 Select "controller" which is shown on the left side of the screen.
    3.7 Next step is to copy the two files from the Xbox Softmod Kit memory card/usb flash drive to the Xbox hard disk. Pay close attention! You will need to use the D-Pad to select the files. First you must highlight one file at a time. Highlight the file on the Xbox Softmod Kit memory card/usb flash drive by pressing 'right' → on the D-Pad. When you select the correct file you will see the option to 'copy'. If you do not see the option to copy it is because you have not highlighted the correct file. (the picture below shows two files circled in pink, those are the two files that are supposed to be selected to copy)
    3.8 When you have highlighted the correct file choose copy, do this for the two files. The files are 'Linux Installer' and 'Splinter Cell'. Once you have chosen to copy the files, it will automatically start copying it to the Xbox hard disk. 
    3.9 Once both files have been copied properly remove the Xbox Softmod Kit memory card/usb flash drive from the Xbox.
    3.10 Now check to see if the two files have been copied to the Xbox hard disk. This is done by selecting hard disk 

    original xbox softmod kit

    original xbox softmod kit

    4. Enter Linux Installer
    4.1 Repeat Step: Remove the Xbox Softmod memory card from the Xbox controller. 
    4.2 Repeat Step: Check to see if the two files have been copied to the Xbox hard disk. 
    4.3 Insert the Splinter Cell game into the Xbox disc drive.
    4.4 Let the game start, when you are at the main menu select 'Start Game'.  
    4.5 You should now be seeing 'LINUX' under the profiles menu (see picture below). 
    4.6 Select 'LINUX'.
    4.7 Select “CHECK POINTS”, press the 'A' button one time. (do not keep on pressing button 'A' or the screen may freeze.) *if the screen freezes start from step #4 again.
    4.8 The softmod installer will now appear.

    sc softmod exploit files

    splinter cell soft mod linux softmod

    splinter cell exploit check points

    5. Backup eeprom

    Backing up the eeprom is very easy but it's also very important.
    5.1 Make sure to backup the eeprom. It is an important file that might be used in the future. 
    5.2 Select 1st Backup eeprom. 
    5.3 Select Backup eeprom. 
    5.4 Select Yes. 
    5.5 Select Yes again. After backing up the eeprom can be found in E:\backups\eeprom\backup\. 
    5.6 Select Backup eeprom. 
    5.7 Select Return to main menu. 
    5.8 Select Basic Install (if basic install does not work then use minimal install). 
    5.9 Choose UnleashX as your dashboard (UnleashX offers the option to use file explorer, a very useful option for when transferring files it's also user friendly and highly recommended).
    5.10 Read the screens to know what is happening and keep proceeding. The Xbox will then start the installation; this will take about 7 minutes. Once the installation is complete a message will show to either turn off the Xbox or select ok. 
    5.11 Select ok. 
    5.12 Once it is shut off press the Eject button to take the Splinter Cell game out. 
    5.13 You will get a screen that says Press A. Press it. Read the message that comes up and select ok. 
    5.14 Once it is done making the Shadow C, you will receive a message of completion. Read each message that comes up after you select ok.


    ***If you wish to remove the softmod or uninstall please follow the following tutorial: Remove or uninstall Xbox Softmod properly.

    The Xbox Softmod Kit has successfully installed your original Xbox. Continue reading to customize your original Xbox to your liking.

    Tutorial Part 2 - Adding Emulators & Customizing

    How to Transfer/Install Files to Xbox
    There are several ways to transfer files such as Emulators, ROMs and homebrew apps to the original Xbox. The easiest being via FTP program (free). An FTP program is easy to use with our tutorial. To network (FTP) into your Xbox you will need a computer or iOS device see (option #5). We show several ways to transfer files to the Xbox starting with the simplest. Transferring files is everything, there's no need to install a homebrew app, once it's transferred it automatically installs as well. *internet is not required to FTP

    Option #1 - Wired Xbox, Wired Computer: An Ethernet cable is simply any internet cable. As modern technology advances Wi-Fi (wireless signal) has replaced the need for these cables but they are still used. Setting up an FTP connection is easy, simply connect the Xbox and your computer/device to your the same router. *this is the same connection setup for streaming multimedia to the original Xbox via XBMC

     Option #1
    original xbox ftp ethernet router modem connection softmod transfer emulators
    This is the most common connection, and it's also what is on the video tutorial. It shows both the computer and original Xbox making a wired connection to the same router, each using an Ethernet cable. In the photo (above & left) aside from the computer and Xbox you see a two boxes, this was an older setup. A more modern setup will have both the modem and router as one unit.
    *if your computer is already connected to the modem/router via Wi-Fi than use option #2 below. (Internet is not required to FTP/transfer files)

    Option #2 - Wired Xbox, Wireless Computer: A modern Cable or DSL modem does not require a router because they are one in the same. In this case your computer/device can access the modem/router via wireless. Then the only wired connection necessary is the Xbox to the modem/router. (Internet is not required to FTP/transfer files)

    Option #2
    original xbox ftp transfer files connection softmod modded

    Option #3 - Direct Connection, Xbox to Computer via Crossover Cable: A crossover cable or system link cable is used to make a direct connection from computer to Xbox. A crossover cable will not work with a modem/router. A crossover cable is NOT an ethernet or internet cable, although they look very similar. A crossover cable can also be used from Xbox to Xbox to transfer files or to play multi-player system-link Xbox games (Internet is not required to FTP/transfer files)

    If you need further assistance on options 1, 2 & 3 visit the tutorial from xbox-hq.com on How to Network (FTP) a Xbox from PC or How to FTP using a Apple Mac

    Option #4 - Make a Disc: You may be able to create a disc with the files you want to transfer. The Xbox is capable of ripping files from the disc to the hard drive. Your Xbox may look the same on the outside but it all depends on the type of DVD drive you have inside your Xbox. There are three types of DVD drives each with its share of pros and cons, Philips, Thompson and Samsung. CD-RW is recommended, it is the best recognized throughout all three drives.

    original xbox dvd drives

    Thomson Drive:
    Will not read CD-R
    Will only read some (generally expensive media) CD-RW
    Reads all DVD-R/DVD-RW
    Reads all DVD+R/DVD+RW

    Philips Drive:
    May or may not read CD-R (my Xbox has a Philips drive and reads a music CD that was burned on CD-R)
    Will read some (generally expensive media) CD-RW
    Reads all DVD-R/DVD-RW
    Does not read DVD+R/DVD+RW

    Samsung Drive:
    Reads all CD-R and CD-RW
    Reads all DVD-R/DVD-RW
    Does not read DVD+R/CD+RW

    Hitachi Drive: (Rare)
    Will not read CD-R
    Reads DVD-R
    May be able to read DVD+R
    The Hitachi drive is rare. All other CD & DVD formats are left unknown. 

    Option #5 - Wired Xbox, Wireless Apple iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad)
    This option should be a last resort since it's for the more computer savvy. It does not require a computer but it still requires a router/modem that gives out wireless/Wi-Fi signal. It's similar to option #2. Here's the iOS tutorial for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users.

    Download FTP Program

    FTP (File Transfer Protocol): FTP is what's used to transfer files between a computer and the Xbox. The FTP program is required to install programs, apps on to the Xbox. The Xbox homebrew apps/emulators install automatically when transferred. *internet is not required to FTP

    Note: transferring an original Xbox game ISO cannot be done via FTP program. It must be done through dedicated programs. Windows users use Qwix and Mac users use Xdisc 1.0.

    FTP for Windows (choose one)

    FTP for Mac (choose one)

    FTP for Linux i.e. Ubuntu

    *If these links expire then Google search the program name or search for it at download.cnet.com

    Using FTP Program

    Below are the settings used on an Xbox console. The Xbox IP address looks similar to 192.168.#.# , only the last two digits are the ones that usually differ. Every Xbox has a different IP address. Whether you're using UnleashX or EvolutionX dashboard you should see you IP address right on the dashboard, in the video above EvolutonX dashboard is being used. If you're using UnleashX then the IP address will show up at the bottom right corner. If you're still having trouble locating your IP address, open us your Xbox dashboard (unleashx/evolutionx), select settings and find the IP address under network configuration. On the Xbox under Network Settings change the Type to DHCP (as opposed to static). In the Xbox settings the IP is listed two times, make sure both IP addresses match. Watch the video above.

    *Make sure when transferring an emulator file to the Xbox that the folder is already unzipped, then create a ROMs folder inside that emulator folder. The setup should look something like this for each emulator you install Xbox E:/Emulators/"your emulator"/"roms".

    Server/URL/Host/IP address: 192.168.#.# (enter the Xbox IP address)
    Port: 21
    Username: xbox
    Password: xbox

    ftp original xbox transfer files emulators roms install

    1. On your computer make sure all your firewalls are turned off and also any anti-virus software. It is only a precaution in case its blocking the FTP program from transferring files. You may turn them on afterwards.

    2. Open the FTP Program (whichever one you chose) and choose new session or quick connect. It should bring up a window like the image to the right.

    3. Type in the Xbox IP address in the "Server or URL" box. Keep the Port at 21. If the Xbox dashboard is at default setting then the username and password will be "xbox" all in lowercase.

    4. Now select connect. If its a success you will see the Xbox folders aligned on the screen. Now simply drag the files into the Xbox folders accordingly.

    *don't be afraid to open and browse the Xbox folders, the main folder should have other folders inside such as application, emulators, games etc. It's usually the E: folder that contains them but it may vary. 

    Download Cool Stuff

    Unzip/Extract Folder

    To extract simply means to release the files that are inside of the zipped/compressed folder. Emulators must be extracted/unzipped before being transferred to the Xbox. Emulators are often downloaded as zipped or compressed files, you can extract them with a program such as WinRAR for Windows or UnRarX for Mac OS X.

    How to Use WinRAR on Windows Computer - Video Tutorial
    How to Use UnRarX on Mac OS X - Video Tutorial


    Emulators are more or less the program versions of a video game system. To play a ROM you must have the appropriate emulator installed on the Xbox. Usually, when emulators are downloaded they come in a zip folder. You must extract the emulator folders before transferring them to the Xbox.

    View the Complete List of Emulators to Download for the Original Xbox 

    *Emulators can also be downloaded at xbins.org or digiex.net


    ROMs are the software version of a video game. To play ROMs you must have the appropriate emulator installed on the Xbox. ROMs can easily be found with an internet search. When you find and download the ROM file that you're looking for, place it inside the "roms" folder within the emulator folder in your Xbox file system. Create a "roms" folder if it's not already in the emulator folder. *if a ROM comes zipped its usually okay, if it does not work then extract/unzip the ROM file and make another attempt.

    Xbox Media Center / Hombrew Apps / Utilities

    Homebrew apps or utilities refers to programs that run on a modded original Xbox. Xbox Media Center is in fact a homebrew app and one of the best. Below are the links to download Xbox Media Center. *Xbox Media Center, XBMC and XBMC4Xbox are the same program, XBMC4Xbox is now the official name. 

    When Xbox Media Center is finally installed you will be able to stream content to the Xbox. Here is a written tutorial on connecting the computer and the Xbox to the same network to be able to stream videos, music and photos. Take note, the later versions of Xbox Media Center do not need to use the steps 4 & 5. There is also a XBMC video tutorial you may find helpful.

    Download XBMC4Xbox 3.5.3 for Original Xbox at Digiex.net

    Download HomeBrew Apps and Utilities for Original Xbox at Digiex.net

    Homebrew Games

    Homebrew games refers to original Xbox games that were modified to run on a modded original Xbox. Some of these games are PC ports which can now be played on the original Xbox. *homebrew games can also be found via IRC and peer-to-peer browsers

    More Downloads

    For all other downloads concerning your modded original Xbox visit

    How to Transfer Original Xbox Games

    Even though FTP is involved, transferring original Xbox game in (file format i.e. ISO) is not like transferring Emulators. Trying to transfer the game like an emulator or program will not work. To transfer you must be on the default softmod dashboard i.e. EvolutionX or UnleashX, the game transfer will not work while on another dashboard such as XBMC.

    If you want to return to the softmod dashboard from XBMC then simply look in XBMC settings and find the files manager. The files manager will allow you to see all the files on the original Xbox. Scroll to E: dashboards and select the dashboard.

    Windows (PC) users use Qwix to transfer original Xbox games to the Xbox.

    Mac OS X users use Xdisc to transfer original Xbox games to the Xbox.

    When Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is finally installed you will be able to stream content to the Xbox. Here is a written tutorial on connecting the computer and the Xbox to the same network to be able to stream videos, music and photos. Take note, the later versions of Xbox Media Center (XBMC) do not need to use the steps 4 & 5. There is also a Xbox video tutorial you may find helpful.

    Xbox Linux Project & XDSL (xbox damn small linux)

    Xbox Linux Project is a project for XDSL (xbox damn small linux) on your softmodded Xbox via burning the ISO file onto a disc or FTP. XDSL is one of the most popular Linux operating systems for the original Xbox. It will allow you to browse the web and do common computer tasks on your original Xbox.

    How To: Install XDSL on the Original Xbox via Softmod

    How To: Upgrade Original Xbox Hard Drive (HDD)

    The original Xbox has an 8GB stock hard drive. However, a softmodded Xbox can only use a bit more than 4.5GB, the other memory is used to run the Xbox properly. Below we provide a tutorial to upgrade your original Xbox HDD.

    Upgrade Original Xbox Hard Drive (HDD) via Softmod