Restoring Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility

Original Xbox compatibility on the Xbox 360 console works via an emulator that is stored on Xbox 360 HDDs. The emulator is only added when HDDs are formatted at the Microsoft factory, so if you create your own, custom HDD, the emulator will not be present.

The emulator is not required for normal operation of the Xbox 360 console. If it’s missing, the only thing that will be affected is your ability to play original Xbox games.

Here’s how to get them working again. Make sure you have your Xbox 360 HDD connected to your PC and FATXplorer downloaded with the integration driver installed.

Step 1: Create the partition

The emulator has its own dedicated partition. This is often referred to as “partition 2”. FATXplorer calls it the “Backwards Compatibility Partition”.

There are two ways to add this partition.

  1. During the formatting process using FATXplorer’s Formatting Tools. Only do it this way when you are starting fresh.
  2. By using the Toolkit View’s Partition Tools to add the partition. This is the best way and can be done in a second with no loss of data on other partitions.

Step 2: Copy emulator files

An empty partition is not enough to get backwards compatibility going. We need to add the emulator files that are normally added at the factory.

There are 2 sets of files to choose from – the original version for unmodded consoles, and the hacked version for modded consoles. You can use the original version on modded consoles too, but you should use the hacked version as it unlocks more features and removes limitations. See the readme in the downloads for more details and installation instructions.

Original Version Download

Hacked Version Download

Step 3: Done!

With the partition created and emulator files added, original Xbox games should now run.

If this doesn’t work for you or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment on this page.


Q: Can I add the Backwards Compatibility Partition to my USB or MU?

A: Unfortunately, the Backwards Compatibility Partition is exclusive to HDDs. You can’t add it to your USB, external HDD, or MU.

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