Some of these hacks are HIGHLY
DANGEROUS to install and/or use! As an example of what I mean by a
danger, a mistake with the installation of some hacks can cause an Error 21
to occur every time the Xbox boots to the hard drive. (I'm not sure if
things could be messed up so badly that even game discs wouldn't run
Not only are some of the hacks dangerous to install, but they can also be
dangerous to leave on the hard drive even once they are installed. Older
font hacks are suseptible to the dreaded clock loop. I only imagine that
newer font hacks that boot directly in a modified state could be trouble if
a new game resulted in an accidental upgrade to a newer dashboard that
prevents the hack from working. The best thing is for a hack to boot the
Xbox into a relatively unmodified state so that even if a hack was somehow
made inoperable by a dashboard update, the dashboard update would likely not
be hindered by the hack, so a saved game exploit could still be used. Such
hacks are also the safest to install, because a problem with installation
tends to still let the Xbox boot into a relatively unmodified state.
Here's a quick run-down on the safety level of some different hacks:
- Easter Egg Exploit ("EEE")
If you have a Kernel earlier than 5713, the Easter Egg Exploit as documented
on this page is recommended, at least if you are looking for something
100% safe which is exactly what most people entering the Xbox hacking
scene want. It is a bit of work to trigger each time, but it is
totally safe to install (at least as long as there aren't other font-based
hacks getting involved). Other hacks can be installed if you're feeling
more daring (or in the case of an old audio hack, if you're willing to
sacrifice custom sound tracks).
- Audio hack (for dash 4920 and older)
- Definitely-going-to-occur limitation
of being unable to use custom soundtracks. However, pretty safe to
install as any errors are unlikely to cause the dashboard to not load.
However, a lack of A/V cables could cause this hack to break so that the
hack won't work, requiring re-installation of the hack to be able to
continue to run unsigned code. (How often do you use the
Xbox without any A/V cables plugged in, though?)
- Quite dangerous to install, but once installed the hack should be
pretty stable, except programs (like Xbox Live) looking in C:\fonts\ may
have trouble even if the system has no active hacks. (The way to not have
the hack active would be by having the system launch a game disc, not an
executable from the hard drive, upon bootup.) Also, if a newer dashboard
came out, it is easy to imagine problems for UDE2 users.
- Older font hacks (designed for Dashboards versions 4920 and earlier)
- The worst. Dangerous to install, and also dangerous to
leave uninstalled as if the Xbox loses track of time (which will happen if
the Xbox is unplugged for some number of hours) then the dreaded clock
Realize that installation of the procedures to run unsigned code as part
of the system's boot sequence is dangerous: Unsurprisingly an error
can result in your Xbox not being able to boot up normally. Some
methods (like UDE2) have certain risks that other methods (like EEE) do
not. If you're not using one of the hacks declared by this site to be
very safe to install, be extremely careful with this process!
I have personally witnessed Xboxes that have been unsuccessful in loading the
dashboard when booting the hard drive. One had an Error 21, and the other
simply could not load fonts successfully when using the MechInstaller hack.
In both times, MechAssault was still able to boot and so the changes on the
hard drive were able to be reversed by me and get the system working again.
I do believe I have heard of people unable to even boot a game, though. I
suspect that may be from Error 5 or 6 or 13 or whatever error number it is
that means that the hard drive is unlocked, and that in the worst-case
scenerio one can still boot a game, but I'm not sure. If a hack on this
page isn't described by this page as very safe to install, I recommend
extreme caution before proceding with a hack!
What may work on one Xbox may not work on another!
Despite these dangers or, in the cause of the audio hack, known limitations, a
successfully installed XBE hack is a very nice thing because even the most
inconvenient XBE hack (I suppose this would be a hack exploiting the sound
track copying of a dashboard version 4920 or earlier) is more convenient than
running a saved game exploit every time.
Which hack to use?
The key features to choosing a hack include:
- Some hacks that work great on one Xbox won't work at all on another. This
has been known to limit the number of usable XBE Hacks down to zero options
or just one option for some Xboxes.
- Safety of installation
- Does the Xbox boot to an unmodified state?
- Safety of leaving the hack installed
Could the hack be corrupted if the Xbox is unplugged for hours on end? Does
the hack cause a modified state right when the Xbox boots, which could be
trouble if the dashboard is upgraded by a game (whether done
intentionally, or not)?
- Ease of use
- No doubt that UDE2 runs unsigned code easier than the EEE hack. However,
hacks initiated by the audio copying menu tend to have an easier way to run
an Xbox in an unmodified state. Users of mod-chips may not care if UDE2 can
run unsigned code more easily because the features of a mod-chip may allow
for an easy way to run unsigned code.
The XBE Hacks
XBE Hacks take advantage of known flaws in an official, signed-by-Microsoft
executable so that unsigned code can be run. The XBE files exploited by
these hacks use a digital signature of fffe0000 so that a kernel will run
them. Originally these hacks targetted the official Microsoft-created
dashboard, but after Microsoft sealed up the logical holes in the
programming logic as they released new versions of their dashboard, the
hackers started targetting the executable that updates the dashboard to a
Microsoft seems to have the edge on hackers in this contest over power, as
Microsoft can create a new kernel that will insist on using only
dashboards newer than a date that Microsoft chooses, and newer dashboards
can fix any known mistake that hackers document and use to run unsigned
code. However, for older Xboxes, the hacks remain.
Some font hacks (the exception I can think of is the Double Dash) will alter
the boot sequence. Realize the danger in this: If a soft modder installs
this incorrectly (like trying to run an incorrectly signed XBE file) than
the Xbox may not boot to the dashboard. I believe, especially in the case
of a clock loop situation or when using UPDATE.XBE, that such a problem
may even result in the Xbox not being able to boot official games, so even
a Saved Game Exploit will not be sufficient to repair the Xbox. Be
careful with these!
Some noteworthy links
Right now these are the XBE Hacks. Some of these may be found at
exploits page. Others may be found at X-S forums or "The
Works on any kernel known to date
Works on every single official Xbox kernel released to date,
up to and including 5838 (version 1.6 Xboxes).
Considered dangerous to install, because this modifies the
What works on one Xbox may not work on another!
Works only on kernel versions prior to 5713
Works on any dashboard known to date (or, in some cases, maybe only the
newer dashes) - these use Habibi signature
Newer font hacks, courtesy of rmenhal, are said to completely
eliminate the clock loop problems of older hacks.
Considered dangerous to install, because this modifies to
What works on one Xbox may not work on another!
I believe this is just like UDE2, except that it works on
different executables. As I seem to remember seeing a
reference to UDE as updatefonts70.tar.gz, I suspect that
perhaps this just turned into UDE2 and UDE is an old
version that is not used anymore, or that UDE and UDE2 are
essentially the same hack now and the difference is just
what Microsoft-created executable is being used with the
font hack known as UDE(2). So, for further information,
check out the UDE threads linked to, and see the UDE2 page
on this site, and draw your own conclusions.
- Easter Egg Exploit ("EEE")
On the page about this hack are instructions on how to
initiate a secret that Microsoft put in its dashboard.
This secret will work on unhacked Xboxes and can be
experienced even by users of other unrelated hacks.
A bit cumbersome to initiate, but really the safest hack to
install and 100% safe to use. Unfortunately the
installation instructions have been a bit cumbersome
(especially those instructions that suggest deleting all the
files on the C: which I'm sure weren't meant maliciously,
but that just introduces unnecessary risk). See the
directions on installing EEE.
Some other newer hacks (may or may not be made by rhmenhal)
Works only on dashboard versions 4920 and earlier (and, therefore, only
on kernels prior to 5713).
Audio Hacks - these use Habibi signature (or audio signature in
Known issue, but little-known issue, that hack can corrupt itself so that it needs
to be re-installed (using another hack like EEE
or a saved game exploit) in order to run unsigned code again.
Causes the inability to use custom soundtracks in games (until
this hack is uninstalled).
Otherwise, a very safe hack as the Xbox is booted to a relatively
There are different audio hacks. Some are better than others.
See the Audio Hack Overview
Older font hacks
Tray Decision Code
E:\Dual-Habibi.XBE will run E:\Default.XBE if the tray of the Xbox's
Game Disc (DVD) drive is closed or C:\MSXBoxDash.XBE if the tray is
in an opened state.
It seemed that "Tray Decision Code" was being explored as
some of the hacks were created (this is probably discussed in the
UDE thread, and this history behind the executable is why this
executable is being mentioned on the XBEHacks page), but later the
decision was made to separate the "Tray Decision Code"
from the hacks and release it as a separate thing available from a
It seems to me that the point was missed: That the original idea was
to have "Tray Decision Code" prior to patching the
signature checking to Habibi, so that the official Microsoft
dashboard could still be run and connect to the "Xbox
Live!" service.. krayzie says that doesn't work, though, as
"connecting to live will get you banned."
Considering that, there are other ways to run other executables,
including XSelect 0.9. However, using the little power button to
run E:\Default.XBE or the big Eject button to run C:\MSXboxDash.XBE
is the earliest way to choose what gets run of an Xbox that has the
power turned off.
Soft Modders rely on using XBE Hacks and/or
Saved Game exploits that exploit a commercial
game's saved game handling.