Recovering Data from an Xbox Hard Drive

After getting the Xbox HD connected to my Windows 7 PC it was now time to get any game saves and content from it.

Before I started the recovery from my dying hard drive I needed somewhere to put it. All I had available at the time was a 16GB USB Memory Stick which I formatted on the Xbox as an Xbox Storage Device.

Windows 7 doesn’t understand the FATX filesystem on the hard drive so I needed to use a separate piece of software to recover the data. The first one I tried is the awesomely titled Party Buffalo Drive Explorer (PBDE). Connect your Xbox drive and start the software. You might need to run it as an Administrative user to be able to get access to the drive. Now open the connected Xbox drive by going to ‘File > Open > Device Selector’. If you have an image of your Xbox HD instead you can open this instead by choosing ‘File’. Select your drive and press ‘OK’

Select your Xbox HD

Select your Xbox HD

Once it’s spent a few moments reading your drive you should get a list of folders appear in the left pane:

The list of folders on the Xbox HD

The list of folders on the Xbox HD

The core files for each game or application are located in the ‘Data\Content\0000000000000000\’ folder. Here you will find all the installation files and any downloaded content. I chose to ignore my game installation files as I could always recreate these by installing the games from disk onto a new HD. The folders starting with ‘E’ in this list contain the user specific files. Here would be your settings, avatar items and game saves. There are two users on my Xbox so there are two folders.


For any games where I’d purchased DLC I browsed to the game in question and looked for a folder with the description of ‘Marketplace Content’.

Looking for DLC folders

Looking for DLC folders. The Deus Ex HR DLC content is in the second folder.

To backup the data to your computer right-click on a folder and select ‘Extract’. Choose a destination for the files and press ‘OK’. You will now witness one of the best progress bars ever as your files are copied.

Extracting Files the Nyan Cat way.

Extracting Files using the Nyan Cat way.

Now the data was safely off the Xbox drive I needed to copy it over to the USB drive. I closed PBDE and disconnected the failing Xbox HD. After plugging in the USB drive I started PBDE back up and copied the files to the same path they originally came from. Close PBDE and connect the drive to the Xbox. Use the storage browser on the Xbox to see if the files are back.

Backup an entire xbox HD

Backup an entire xbox HD

If you don’t want to risk damaging your failing XBox HD any more or want to fully back up a working drive you can select the ‘Backup to Image’ option. I found that this crashed every time it got to the damaged section of my HD so I recovered my files by extracting the data from a directly connected drive. I did eventually get an image at a later date by using gddrescue on my Linux laptop which was able to ignore the bad sectors.


Now all you need to do is wait for your new Xbox 360 320GB HD to arrive so you can install of your games again!

6 thoughts on “Recovering Data from an Xbox Hard Drive

  1. Pingback: Connecting An Xbox 360 Slim Hard Drive To Your PC | KPH Online

  2. Hi. Thanks for this page. Has helped a lot. Maybe you might be able to help a bit more with this question?

    I accidentally deleted my game info from my xbox. I have hooked up the HD to the PC, and using Party Buffalo found my old profile directory. It looks like it has just been renamed 000000000… can I just rename this folder to the same name as the new folder created (when I re-downloaded my profile), or would it be better to copy the files/folders from the old directory into the new one? Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Graham,

      Good Question… Not sure, but I’d copy the content to the new profile rather than rename the existing one. The Xbox knows the new ID is ‘you’ so I imagine it would read the content in it as yours. The IDs for games and game saves would be the same regardless of the profile so would still be valid.

      If you have deleted content I’d definitely recommend making an image of the drive and working with that. You may be able to recover the original profile folder with PBDEs undeletion option although I’ve not used it myself.

      Good luck with the recovery!

  3. hi there , when i go to device selector and select my hardrive its not showing any files on the left side just harddrive without show or hide buttom and when i select my hardrive its shows “value cannot be null” and “parameter name : full_path” please help . thx

    • Hi,

      I’m not sure what may be causing that 🙁 It’s been a while since I’ve needed to use the software.
      Does the connected disk show in the Disk Management screen ( If it doesn’t it may indicate that the disk is corrupted too badly or the controller isn’t working correctly.

      You may get more success if you can image the drive and use Party Buffalo Drive Explorer with the image rather than the disk.

      Let us know if you manage to get any further!


  4. I am having an issue with my third party Xbox 360 hard drive. I used to work fine but now the Xbox won’t boot with the hard drive installed. Does this sound like it is a corrupt hard drive?

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