Xbox One Hard Drive Extracted

I’m taking apart my Xbox One (2013) for two potential projects: first is to see if I can improve its performance by upgrading its spinning platter hard drive to a flash memory solid state drive. The second is to take a look at the components within to see if I can build a slimmer “Luggable” Xbox gaming console.

On the hardware side, I referred to iFixit guide for replacing an Xbox One HDD. The guide also linked to information on how to format and partition the new drive, but I’m not going to mess with the file system. My preparation consisted of telling the Xbox to do a system reset and clear all of my personal data off the drive, just in case I make a mistake. I hope it also increases the odds of success. Some people who have tried messing with Xbox system partitions reported problems that may have been correlated to having an active account on the system. Maybe data on disk are encrypted with information related to the account? I don’t know and I’m not going to mess with it. I’m starting with a fresh slate.

After I reset the system, but before I tried opening it up, I timed the boot-up sequence. There were 64 seconds between the time I pressed power button to the initial setup screen. I will use this as my benchmark for SSD performance impact.

While following iFixit excellent directions taking the case apart, I see my biggest challenge for a “Luggable Xbox”. Its front panel controls are on a thin sheet of printed circuit board. Including eject button for the now-dead optical drive (don’t care) tactile button to pair a controller (important) and capacitive touch power button (very important). This custom piece of flexible circuit is securely encased inside the front panel, composed of multiple pieces of hard plastic held together with melted rivets. Freeing without damage would be difficult, and capacitive touch calibration is sensitive to surrounding environment. If I remove it from this panel, the power button touchpad may never work again. These are risks I have to keep in mind if I want to build an alternative enclosure.

Putting “Luggable Xbox” project idea aside for today, I finished extracted the original hard drive to see if it is compatible with my SSD upgrade candidate.

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