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Xecuter X3 XBOX Modchip BIOS User's Manual

Glossary of XBOX Modchip Terms

This section covers various terms used throughout the world of modchips. This page is not done yet.

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These definitions have been highly modified and adapted from which has crappy popups and most of the definitions needed more information anyway. Let me know if there is something else you'd like to have defined here. I may add it.
ATA - Advanced Technology Attachment. This is a disk drive protocol and standard interface standard based on the IBM PC ISA 16-bit bus that has been around for a long time which is also used on computers. The ATA specification specifies the power and data signal types between a computer's motherboard and the integrated disk controller and drive. ATA connections only supports a master and slave device meaning you can have two harddrives or a harddrive and CD/DVD-ROM. (You could have two ROM type devices on a chain, but in an XBOX this is not a logical setup.)
Avalaunch - To me, this is the most popular dashboard. This "bootup" operating system includes an IRC, Telnet, Skins Server Browser, and XLINK KAI client, as well as an integrated FTP server. It also includes the ability to download game saves from right from the xbox into the game via the menu that comes up when you push "start". Displays game icons, plays shoutcast streams, and can play MP3 songs in the background. For a more complete list of features see:,, and the Official Avalaunch Manual (Version 2.2).pdf.
BIOS - Basic Input/Output System - A BIOS is the very first set of code that runs to "initialize" your harddrive, dvd-rom, memory, and other parts of a computer or XBOX. This BIOS contains the basic settings for and provides access to the various hardware components of the system. It tells your XBOX how to work. A hacked BIOS (not really legal and unofficial) allows unsigned code (homebrew or homemade applications and backups for example) to run. The X3 BIOS made by Team Xecuter for the X3 Modchip is probably one of the best in terms of features, support, and updates. The Team Xecuter folks actively develop and test their BIOS. The standard MS XBOX BIOS is stored on your XBOX hardware while the X3 BIOS is stored on the X3 chip which is used instead of the MS BIOS when the Modchip is turned on.
Cromwell - A clean BIOS replacement containing NO Microsoft code designed specifically to run Linux and other alternative OS's, It currently does not run games or ordinary xbox executables. This is a legal BIOS that cannot run backups.
Crossover Ethernet Cable - A regular ethernet cable connects a device to a network hub, switch, or router (with built in hub) with multiple ports. A cross-over cable is a regular ethernet cable that has had a couple of the wires "crossed" meaning they go to different locations in the plug/jack than a normal ethernet cable. People use this cable to connect two computers directly to each other, two XBOXes head-to-head, or a computer and XBOX to each other directly without the use of a hub, switch, or router. If you have a router, hub, or switch you will not use a cross-over cable 99% of the time. The XBOX System-Link cable is simply a cross-over cable that costs WAY too much. For more information about cross-over cables, please see:
d0 - A place on XBOX motherboard which 3rd generation modchips are connected to amongst other points which is located to the right of the LPC holes. If this is not connected to the XBOX motherboard correctly, the XBOX will boot to the original bios like there is no modchip there.
Dashboard - This is the first program runs when you start your xbox with nothing in the drive. The default Microsft dash is the familiar menu for dealing with game saves, XBOX/Audio/Video/Network settings, and audio CDs. Other dashboards provide many more features. See Avalaunch for example.
Dongle - The end of a cable that plugs directly into the XBOX, usually via the front controller ports. An example of dongles include the DVD remote receiver plug or the break-away part of the Standard XBOX controller plug. Think of "Dongles" and "Dangling off the end of a device."
EEPROM - Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory - This very important chip on your motherboard exists in the XBOX and computers. In your XBOX this chip is located directly 'above' the TSOP. This chip contains extremely information about your xbox (the hard drive lock key, region code, video mode, audio settings, and more). The contents of the EEPROM can be backed up and restored. If your modchip is active or is detected when you try to connect to XBOX Live you will be banned by XBOX Live. XBL bans your specific EEPROM from accessing the online services. Alternatives to XBL include XLINK KAI for online gaming.
Eject Fix - This is a feature in different BIOSes by different names that keeps the XBOX from rebooting when the disc is ejected. This lets you swap cds/dvds in a media player or other applications without the frustration of rebooting every time.
EvolutionX - EvolutionX refers to the BIOS or Dashboard by the same name depending on the context. See BIOS and Dashboard for the differences. The EvolutionX team developed both of these semi-full feaures components, however in my opinion the Avalaunch dashboard is 3X better and the X3 BIOS is 10X better. "Evox is the BIOS and EvolutionX is the dashboard" is false; Some people refer to the BIOS as Evox and others refer to the dashboard as Evox. Pay attention to context.
EvoX - See EvolutionX.
Flashing - literally uploading or transfering a new BIOS file (usually ending in .bin) to the BIOS hardware on a modchip or TSOP.
FRAG - Flashing Red And Green - This refers to the LED light on your XBOX flashing after screwing up an installation of a modchip. This usually means you did not connect a wire to the right place, did not use enough solder, did not get a good "solid" solder connection known as a 'cold solder joint' which needs to be resoldered, bad BIOS file (wrong version of the BIOS for you modchip or corrupted file), lifted traces, or you crossed a couple of traces. See Troubleshooting.
FTP - File Transfer Protocol - This refers to the language a FTP client and server speak to eachother which is used for transfering files from one place to another. You will have to have a FTP client such as FileZilla (free/opensource/no spyware) in order to get files from XBINS such as BIOS, Dashboard, and XBOX applications. You also use the FTP client to transfer files across a network to your XBOX when you use a BIOS or Dashboard that supports FTP such as X3 (X3 Modchip BIOS) or Avalaunch Dashboard.
HDD - Hard Disk Drive - This is where your saved games, music, and other files including Dashboard are stored on your XBOX.
HDD Swap - Usually this means taking out your existing hard drive and putting in a newer/bigger/faster ATA (NOT Serial-ATA) compatible computer harddrive.
Homebrew Mods - Possibly "Homemade" Older modchips. Not "cheapmods". This was a manual method of modifying your XBOX before there were the professionally designed modchips of today.
IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics - Another name ATA originally used by Compaq. Before IDE, Hard Drives used to have the controller on a seperate card instead of an integrated circuit on under the HDD itself. This required two cables, one for data and one for controlling the HDD.
IGR - In Game Reset - Causing your XBOX to reboot by pressing buttons on controller (usually both triggers + start + back OR triggers + start + black) to either reset the xbox (X2 & X3 bios IGR) or return to dash without the reset switch (Evolutionx IGR).
LCD - Liquid Crystal Display - This is a simple backlit display screen like a medium/large digital clock which is not to be confused with TFT LCD.
LED - Light Emitting Diode - These are the lights that glow in the bezel around the eject button for example.
Locked - XBOX hard drives are encrypted to make it more difficult for people to put in a newer, better, and bigger drive. This process is termed locking which requires an encryption key which can decode the information on the drive. Not all harddrives support locking, so check out this database if you are going to upgrade:
LPC - Low Pin Count - This refers to standardized port designed and/or termed by Intel allowing for legacy free computers to have legacy devices; Another way of putting this is a computer with only USB ports can have a PS2, Serial, Parallel, Game port, etc ports attached through some circuitry into the LPC port. The LPC port can also be used to connect an IR port, Smart Card Reader, or External BIOS. The last one is the most important use for this document since these points are used in a 3rd generation chip install to connect mode of the modchip with fewer wires. This port header in the XBOX has 2 columns and 8 rows of pins (except one is not used.) The v1.0 XBOX has the holes filled with solder which can be carefully removed. This requires a little more work than usual, but is worth it because it is a very clean installation.
LPT - Local Printer Terminal - This is a printer port on computers or a communications port on the modchip used for external programmers.
Matrix - A Cheapmod chip with pogopins. Manufactured by Team Xodus. I prefer the X3 by Team Xecuter.
Media Flags - Each XBOX game has a value or flag that specifies what media the game is on. The XBOX BIOS checks this flag to make sure the game is being played from the right location. Retail games have flags for DVDs. In order to play backups you legally own you have to patch it to run off the hard drive (change the media flag); OR if you have the X3 BIOS, the BIOS takes care of this for you. DVD2XBOX also takes care of patching most games.
MediaXMenu - This popular open source dashboard and multigame launcher has a powerful scripting language and HIGHLY customizable skins. Users are able to play music, display video game preview icons, and videos. Check out the MXM forum on
MenuX - This is a hacked version of Microsofts's Game Demo menus used for multigame discs.
Modchip - When added to an XBOX, a modchip enables the XBOX to boot to a user defined BIOS. This is a customization for your own personal equipment for personal use. It is up to you to make sure that you follow all laws. Modifying your own equipment should not be against the law, but what you do with it can be. I am not a lawyer and am not giving you legal advice. Every modchip shares the feature of booting up some BIOS. Many modchips have other features like LCD support and the X3 Modchip has a development team that creates the X3 BIOS which has tons of features which make it very useful and a pleasure to use.
Molex - This is the standardized power connector with 4-pins attached to the hard drive, the Red wire is +5V, the Yellow wire is +12V and the Black Wires are Ground.
MXM - See MediaXMenu.
Newbie - New/Beginner, n00bie, n008ie, or n00b - This is a "net-speak" term used to describe someone that is new to a subject. You can choose to be offended by it or just accept it. It's up to you. I think it accurately describes anyone with the "wide-eyed deer in the headlights" look they get when trying to figure something out for the first time. The only real negative connocation I can think of is that Newbies don't usually RTFM (See RTFM.) before asking questions because they want a straight forward step by step answer to be found for them. Everyone is occassionally guilty of this. Just try to RTFM before you ask questions.
NTSC - National Television System Committee refers to both the global region the XBOX comes from as well as the video signal standard that is produced. Using the wrong setting for this on your XBOX can cause you severe headaches.
NTSC-NA - This refers to North America including the USA (AKA: NTSC-U).
NTSC-J - This refers to Japan video signal out at 60Hz.
PAL - Phase Alternation by Line - This refers to both the global region the XBOX comes from as well as the video signal that is produced. PAL XBOXes come from Europe, the video signal output by an PAL Xbox is 50Hz. PAL and NTSC signals are not compatible because of this difference in frequency.
Pot Tweaking - No this does not refer to any green substances. This involves turning a potentiometer(fancy variable resister) in an XBOX DVD drive to make it read discs better. However, this process is very risky and you are likely to burn out the laser in your drive.
Programmer - This involves any way to externally flash your modchip, using a pc and other connections.
PSU - Power Supply Unit - The power in your wall is AC which is too chaotic for computers to work. The PSU is responsible for changing the power to DC and cleaning it so that your computer (or XBOX) can have a stable supply of energy.
RTFM - Read The (Funny, Flexible, F'ing, FU$%!ng, etc.) Manual - People with very little patience for newbies (new-beginner's) to a topic or request for help usally say this to someone that asks way too many questions that can be found in the manual. Manuals aren't always easy to read, but you really should try to read everything you can find in the manual and via google before asking questions. Chances are someone else asked already and the answer is out there. If you make an honest effort then take this comment RTFM with a grain of salt and just try to find out what manual and where in the manual you need to look. Just try and try hard first before you start asking the extremely technical people questions. On the otherhand some people tend to have more patience with newbies than others do. I try to be as patient as I can, all I ask is that you don't take offense if I ask you to read something rather than spelling everything out for you because I have lots to do day-to-day.
"The Usual Places" - Places for obtaining xbox files. Often newsgroups, irc rooms (such as #xbins on EFnet IRC network), and possibly bit torrents.
Torx - A star-shaped screwdriver tip/receptacle in the head of screws that comes in many sizes starting with the letter "T". Some modern electronics use Torx screws as they are easy for robotic assembly drivers to align. Torx bits come in many common hardware tool sets. The XBOX uses a T-10 and T-20 I believe.
Trace - A path of electrically conductive material such as copper, silver, or gold on the surface of or sandwiched between layers inside a PCB, (Printed Circuit Board). Traces carry electrical signals from one electronic component to another using as little space as possible. In other words, traces are all the small lines you see on a PCB such as a XBOX motherboard. These are delicate so please be very careful with them.
TSOP - Thin Small Outline Package - This bios chip on the motherboard can be flashed with a hacked bios as a cheap alternative to a modchip. Switches can even be installed. This can be dangerous and difficult. I prefer the modchip installation to leave the TSOP untouched.
Tunneling - This is an internet term which means setting up a link across different networks so that the two computers (or XBOXes) at either end can talk to eachother just like they were on the same network. This sets up a type of Virtual Private Network connection.
XBins - #xbins is channel on IRC for homebrew games, applications, dashboards, BIOSes, and other XBOX files. See the link for more information.
XDK (SDK) - XBOX Developer Kit (Software Developer Kit) - This is a Microsoft licensed development platform used to make games and apps for the XBOX.
X2/X3 - See Xecuter/Xecuter2/Xecuter3.
Xecuter/Xecuter2/Xecuter3 - An excellent bios and modchip series made by Team Xecuter. AKA: The whole reason for this guide to exist in the first place.
Xlink Kai: "XLink Kai is a global gaming network - bringing together XBox, Playstation 2, Gamecube and PSP users, in one integrated community. It is software running on your PC or Macintosh that allows you to play system-link enabled games online for free. Kai is the only service that is not console specific, and boasts one of the friendliest communites available." -- This is an excerpt from their website: In other words this software program runs on your computer which "tunnels" a connection to other Xlink Kai users. When running on your computer properly configured, you can play "System Link" games with other users across the internet without using XBOX Live. It can be a little tricky to setup, but a hell of a lot of fun. Games appear as if they are on your local network just like setting up a VPN which as far as I know is legal. Lots of companies setup VPN connections for various reasons and, for personal non profit use, I am not aware of any problems. I do not believe this requires any modchip or anything like that to use it. Support the Xlink Kai community!
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Copyright ©2005 Tor Nichols.  All Rights Reserved.