Following up on Microsoft’s Xbox Live banning owners of modified consoles, the news is making the rounds in the tech press of the emergence of supposed workarounds from the modding community. There seems to be a lot of misinformation.
What is known is that the ban, which permanently suspends Xbox Live (XBL) accounts, affects any user who has modified firmware on their DVD drive, and it affects them whether they used that console to play illegal copies of games or not.
I have to add, that the majority of the people who perform such modifications are aware they run the risk of being banned from XBL, since you have to be pretty tech-savvy to execute them. The sensationalistic report in the BBC about some poor kid who “feels gutted”, painting Microsoft as a big bully? It’s not like that.
What actually happens if you have gotten banned?
• You can’t go on Xbox Live
• You can’t install games to the hard disk drive
• Disk based games will no longer play off of the hard drive
• You might not be able to use Windows Media Centre extender
• You cannot get any more game updates
The so-called new fixes to get you unbanned are actually either not new, or not yet existent.
CPU Key Replacement
The first fix involves using special software tools to replace the CPU key, and has been known for 2 years. It does not work for any consoles banned within the past six months or so. There is a detailed description of the hack at the Xbox Scene forum , but to give you a taste of what is involved here is a snippet:
__“use nandpro and dump nand from unbanned console.
flash xell and use jtag hack to obtain cpu key.
use flashtool to extract file system.__
dump nand from 8955 console.
use flashtool to patch nand dump with kv.bin from unbanned console.
save patched file (patched_kv.bin).
open degraded + 1888 fs.
create 1888 downgrader image (downgrader.bin) from your patched_kv.bin file.
flash downgrader.bin to 8955 console.
attach hdd + ethernet cable and boot console.
connect to live and update to 8955 dashboard.
console is now fully working”
The other “fix” being talked up is a report of new custom firmware being worked on, but not yet released. Dubbed iXtreme LT, it is said to have minimal patching, only what is required to allow backup discs to boot, the idea being to have as few differences between authorized and hacked firmware as possible.
Installing the firmware would allow gamers with modded Xbox 360s to play home-burned DVDs and unauthorized copies of games online without Microsoft being able to detect them. Whether it will allow banned accounts to use XBL or just prevent banning is not known, and there is currently no estimated date of availability, which means it may never be available.
For now, there is no unban fix. Sorry.