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How to preserve a HDD based Game System

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Damien

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This guides a work in progress. It doesn't cover data recovery at this time.

It'll work on most hard drive based systems even if encrypted.

DISCLAIMER: if you mess it up, we are not responsible! Perform this at own risk!

  1. Most important! DO NOT EVEN USE THE SYSTEM! Using/Booting it can cause data to be overwritten/lost permanently, many of you may be eager to dig into the contents but this is how data is lost.
  2. Install Ubuntu Desktop 16.4 on a seperate drive, Windows can be risky and damage data to the point it is permanently lost! Linux/Ubuntu is the safest and best free option.
  3. Make sure your current HDD has enough free space to dump the drive you are wanting to preserve, If the drive is 80GB you need 80GB exactly free, more is best.
  4. Remove the hardrive from the system being cloned.
  5. Connect the HDD needing to be preserved to your Linux/Ubuntu setup. DO NOT CONNECT IT WITH WINDOWS!
  6. To locate your drive use command line and the command "sudo fdisk -l " (without quotes).
  7. *Example picture taken from PS3 Slim DECH-2500A 160GB HDD.

    Disk /dev/sdb: 149,1 GiB, 160041885696 bytes, 312581808 sectors*
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

    Above we see that the PS3 Hdd as /dev/sdb

    *Take note of the amount of sectors, as shown above in orange. You will need it later to confirm the dump is good.

    *For your understanding what you are actually typing: if = input/source of = output/destination - do not mess this up!

    Now that you understand, let's get cracking with dd and clone the hard drive :
    Type: sudo dd if=/dev/sdb of=/media/image_file_name_of_choice
    *dd does not show progress by default, just wait it out. Cloning can take up to a couple of hours depending on HDD size. Newer versions of dd can show progress, add:
    status=progress as parameter at the end.
  8. At this stage you may as well pat yourself on the back and get a cup of coffee or tea and wait it out.
  9. Make a backup of your new HDD dump once finished. Saving it to two or more HDD's is best.
  10. After the data is dumped use a free hex editor to make sure the image is good. HXD is a good choice. DO NOT EDIT IT.
  11. Return the original drive to your system and see what you have installed.

Many tools exist that can recover data, Original XBOX cannot be recovered at this time, and XBOX 360 recovery while tools exist they don't find all data. PS3 recovery is much more complex and not fully worked out yet so keep images safe.

Awhile back I spoke to Gerbilsoft who created a tool that can read and restore data from Wii RVT-H units and a few builds have been released there.

If you're in need for XBOX 360/PlayStation 3 data recovery we do have some custom written tools which may help, these have a higher chance of recovery than most public tools. If you're able to upload the image we're happy to look and attempt recovery at no cost to you. All data will be yours and we're happy to make agreements over any data including deleting the files/images our end once finished. You can use our contact form for more information https://www.prototopia.net/misc/contact/.
 

VowsInAshes

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Great guide, thanks a lot! I have a PS3 DECR and DECH 2500 unit with games and assets on them and this way I could preserve the content.
There’s a full game and an unreleased early game build on the DECH debug unit but from a small studio in Belgium so I highly doubt anyone cares to begin with.

The problem is the data in question isn’t really relevant to me but I’ll gladly share the content if anyone is willing to take it. What would you all suggest to do in a case like this? Starting with the PS3/360 generation we also received many small indie titles and many of them are so low profile that it doesn’t seem worth the effort of preserving them. I’m just curious on how to approach cases like this.

On the other hand I own a bunch of very high profile early game builds on PS4 but my plan is to keep them until I can do CFW dumps? The problem is that it’s not worth being sued so these have to stay on the original hardware well into the next generation until no one cares.

I’d appreciate any advice on how to handle these things, as I understand the importance of preservation but also how popularity and legality can become a deciding factor too.
 
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Damien

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Hey @VowsInAshes, backing up the HDD's is a great first step for any system. There is more to dumping PS3 than just copying the HDD contents sadly, they're encrypted too which means installing other stuff once cloned. If you ever need help with this please reach out to me.

But for now just dumping the HDD will be great. It means even if the HDD fails we can still decrypt the data later. (long as we have access to the original PS3)

We would be glad to see any data saved, even the PS4 stuff but for copyright reasons we understand that couldn't be released at this time. We try to respect developers and try to prevent any content that can still be played online being abused. That and anything that may cause lost sales as we care about that.

If an NDA/No disclosure agreement is needed we're happy to do this too.

Regards,
Damien/Demon
 

VowsInAshes

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Thanks for your quick reply! Sorry for my lack of knowledge but as far as I understand I need to get the eid_root_key from the debug PS3 which is why I haven’t bothered to dump anything yet (that and I doubt there’s any interest in new and less known indie games).

(All the data on the debug PS3 is available to anyone who is willing to guide me through the whole process in return if that sounds fair.)

As for the PS4 stuff: it’ll be released one way or another when the dust has settled. There are several current and big IPs involved and I don’t want my name attached to that. I don’t think there’s any way around that unfortunately. I’ve already done “backups” for those and they are playable on two different PlayStation 4s so far. Unlike the PS3 stuff I have great personal interest in sharing those in the future and I know many others will appreciate the games since they are well known.
 
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Damien

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Not a problem, we all start here and we try to help the next person along the line :D

Pretty much, to dump you'll first need to dump the hard drive with the above guide.

Once dumped, make sure the hdd image is the correct size, once this is done move onto the next step.

If a PS3 TEST, Download the 3.55 DEX downgrade (http://www.mediafire.com/file/3yju6qdmjjm5c2i/3.55DEXDOWNGRADERB4E.PUP) rename to PS3UPDAT.PUP and put in /PS3/UPDATE/ on a FAT32 formatted USB stick.
(DO NOT USE THIS ON A TOOL/1000A/1400A if a 1000A/1400A read below)

Run this, the system will downgrade to 3.55.

Once done download REBUG 4.81 D-REX: https://rebug.me/official-rebug-4-81-2-cobra-7-5-toolbox-2-02-12-jan-10th-2017/ (Don't install CEX! use: rebug.me/?wpfb_dl=185) rename to PS3UPDAT.PUP and place on the USB under PS3/UPDATE

Once installed, install MultiMan under PKG's, then rebug toolbox. Using rebug toolbox dump the eid_root_key and use multiman to copy to FTP I forget the file location will edit this later.


For DECR's/1000A/1400A skip straight to install Rebug DECR LE (https://rebug.me/official-rebug-4-81-1-decr-le-cobra-7-31-toolbox-2-02-10-decr-ed-jan-2nd-2017/) (this one: rebug.me/?wpfb_dl=180 )

Then install multiman/rebug tool box as above with a tool.

Do not install rebug without cloning the HDD first as this writes data which can wipe data that can be saved. Once you've done this I can help with decrypting the images etc and I have rstudio to save further work, if you're happy with this.

I've tried to make this simple as possible will ask someone to quickly verify this info first.

I've not direct the downloads to rebug as per request on their site but copying that will link to it.
 

Dracarys

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Maybe come into the Discord, it might be easier to walk you through the steps there
 

HI_RICKY

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nice job, any chance work on PS4 ? :)
 

VowsInAshes

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Maybe come into the Discord, it might be easier to walk you through the steps there
Thank you for the kind offer but I can already predict that I won’t be active there as I tend to neglect everything but forums. :D Though I can also use Discord if it’s highly recommended just for this whole HDD backup process.

Once Damien can verify the steps I should be able to do it. I’ve already installed CFW on devices before, so as long as the steps are documented there shouldn’t be any issues. I’m not the expert here though.

Again thank you all for your nice and supportive posts. On AG I was used to answers like ‘why would you own a dev kit if you don’t know how to do backups’, which is a fair point but not helpful.

Whenever possible I’ll make sure to share what I can with this community.
 
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Damien

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The steps are correct, I asked an expert on the PS3 to double check :) just make sure not to mix the TEST/DECR firmware up as this could cause damage.
 

VowsInAshes

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The steps are correct, I asked an expert on the PS3 to double check :) just make sure not to mix the TEST/DECR firmware up as this could cause damage.
Hey Damien,

after tinkering around for hours with Ubuntu for the first time, I eventually managed to get a successful HDD dump (all sectors and the file size are alright).

So I'm trying to proceed with downgrading my PS3 but the updat.pup you've linked me to isn't being recognized by the system (PS3 Test DECH-2500 Version 4.00).

Since you've also kindly offered to decrypt it, can I already ask what to do with the HDD dump? Because it'll take a while if I have to upload it anywhere...

I know you must be busy as well so please feel free to redirect me to someone else if you currently don't have any spare time. I don't want to be that one annoying person. :D
 

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Or you can use TestDisk, way more powerful and reliable (I use it for all my data recovery, it always succeeded where dd failed, especially with damaged drives).
 

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On a general note: Try to avoid USB adapters to hook up those HDDs, from my experience that's just asking for trouble. Especially wrt security things, see below. More direct connection = moar better.

Advanced topics one may look into: Locked HDDs, as encountered on e.g. the first Xbox, or some car navigation devices. Keys may be just a master password, or device specific. The common approach is: Boot the device (unlocking the disc in the process), pull the data cable but not the power, connect to your PC, boot PC ("the hotswap method"). In the case of the Xbox, you can also dump an Eeprom, derive the key from that and unlock the drive from the PC side, no hotswapping necessary. Or you can snarf the password off the bus, but that's really advanced.
Once the drive's unlocked, you can then start dd-ing as usual, or you might - depending on whether the device using the HDD cares - even be able to remove the pesky password (search for "ATA securtiy commands", "hdparm") to not be bothered by it in the future.

NB: This is just me throwing some keywords out there for you to google, not a tutorial since a) I'm lazy and b) this would be getting a bit device specific. But feel free to ask.
 
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Braintrash

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Windows is dangerous for everything. People should simply avoid it.
 

Damien

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Hey Damien,

after tinkering around for hours with Ubuntu for the first time, I eventually managed to get a successful HDD dump (all sectors and the file size are alright).

So I'm trying to proceed with downgrading my PS3 but the updat.pup you've linked me to isn't being recognized by the system (PS3 Test DECH-2500 Version 4.00).

Since you've also kindly offered to decrypt it, can I already ask what to do with the HDD dump? Because it'll take a while if I have to upload it anywhere...

I know you must be busy as well so please feel free to redirect me to someone else if you currently don't have any spare time. I don't want to be that one annoying person. :D
So sorry for missing this, we'll need to dump the eid_root_key to decrypt the HDD's data. I'm not sure why the 3.55 DEX OFW downgrader isn't working. Did you rename it to PS3UPDAT.PUP? and was it on a FAT32 USB under /PS3/UPDATE/?
 

VowsInAshes

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So sorry for missing this, we'll need to dump the eid_root_key to decrypt the HDD's data. I'm not sure why the 3.55 DEX OFW downgrader isn't working. Did you rename it to PS3UPDAT.PUP? and was it on a FAT32 USB under /PS3/UPDATE/?
No problem at all. I've managed to do it. I'm currently installing Multiman and toolbox, so I should have the eid_root_key in a few minutes!
 

Damien

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No problem at all. I've managed to do it. I'm currently installing Multiman and toolbox, so I should have the eid_root_key in a few minutes!

That's great to hear! If you need server space or anything to upload the image to please let me know. It saves fighting the likes of mega/google drive then :)
 

VowsInAshes

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That's great to hear! If you need server space or anything to upload the image to please let me know. It saves fighting the likes of mega/google drive then :)
Yes please I could really need that, I'd be ready to start uploading everything in about 10 minutes.
 
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