FATXplorer 3.0 – 2019 Progress Update
Hi everyone, it’s been a while since the last update, so I wanted to provide an update on where things are.
Original Xbox Support
The hype around this feature is real and it’s really cool how the OG Xbox scene has come back to life. It’s important to me that original Xbox support is as complete as possible because so many people have expressed interest in it. The partition layout was easy to figure out. The complexity came from the beginning sectors of the disk. There is a wealth of data: refurb information, manufacturing information, cache databases, XBL profile/machine information, and network configuration. After poking around quite a bit, I have mapped out basically 99% of it. It’s relatively undocumented data and I’ve found some things that may not have been discovered before. The plan is to provide some kind of viewer so everyone will be able to see this data. Some of you may find it quite interesting!
Partitions: Aside from being able to look at all of that disk data, 3.0 will have full support for all official Microsoft stock partitions, and also customizations by the homebrew community (the partition table, larger disks with F drive). You’ll also be able to format/customize your partitions.
Disk Unlocking: I have researched the possibility of adding a disk locker/unlocker and came to the conclusion that some IDE/SATA -> USB adapters do not support the ATA commands needed to carry out these operations. FATXplorer will not be able to unlock your disk if it is locked.
Driver: The current version of FATXplorer uses an older file system driver. It still works just fine, but doesn’t take full advantage of Windows 8 & 10 features. The new driver in 3.0 will have full compatibility with Windows 10, so if you’ve experienced any strange behavior with the current version, 3.0 should work better for you.
Requirements: 3.0 has a minimum requirement of Windows 7 SP1. It was originally going to be Windows 8, but Windows 7 is still quite popular, so some small concessions were made to make it work on Windows 7. XP and Vista support will not be available.
Licensing: 3.0 is a free upgrade to current license holders. You’ll still be able to use it on all PCs that you own. I am floating the possibility of creating a new licensing option: a “day pass” that will grant you full access to FATXplorer, for 1 day, at a low price. This may be useful to people who just need to use FATXplorer for something, like a disk content transfer, and don’t plan to use it again. This is just an idea for now, but if this is something you or a friend may like, please leave a comment voicing your support!
AF/4K Disks: 3.0 will have support for AF disks (AF means Advanced Format, not the expletive you may be thinking of?). If you have an AF disk, you may see better read/write speeds compared to the current version of FATXplorer. Please note that Microsoft OEM disks are not AF, but if you’ve purchased a drive within the past few years, it probably is. (FATXplorer will tell you if your disk is AF.)
Old Code: Some of FATXplorer’s code is, believe it or not, 10 years old now! The reason the 3.0 update is taking longer than usual is because the project has essentially been restarted. This is not a bad thing – it will help make FATXplorer work well for the next 10 years! It comes at a good time with the developments Microsoft has done with .NET Core, particularly with integrating Windows UI frameworks into it.
New Recovery Features
These will come a bit later, but there will be a new feature to help find “lost” files, such as old game builds that are still on-disk, but separated from the directory tree. If you’re a preservationist and have some disks that may have interesting files on them, please reach out so I can add you to a list to try out new recovery features when they’re ready.
The website has been slow and, by 2019 standards, looks dated. A new website is coming. The plan is to keep all existing posts and comments. This may happen before 3.0 releases.
Thank you to those who continue to voice their support for FATXplorer and original Xbox support. I know the wait has been painful, but I think you will be pleased with what is coming.?