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Getting Started


XQEMU is a low-level, full-system emulator which emulates the actual hardware of the Xbox; this means that in order to actually run XQEMU, you must have a copy of the stuff that a real Xbox needs when it turns on:

  1. The MCPX Boot ROM image
  2. The flash ROM image (aka BIOS)
  3. A properly-formatted hard disk drive image
  4. Game disc image(s)

Unfortunately, distributing some of these items would violate copyright laws, so you'll need to acquire them on your own.


The XQEMU project does not endorse or promote piracy. We don't link to the copyrighted files, or discuss how to acquire them. The best way to acquire these files is to dump them from your real, physical Xbox. Please don't ask us how to get them.


MCPX Boot ROM Image

MD5 (mcpx_1.0.bin) = d49c52a4102f6df7bcf8d0617ac475ed

If your MCPX dump has an MD5 of 196a5f59a13382c185636e691d6c323d, you dumped it badly and it's a couple of bytes off. It should start with 0x33 0xC0 and end with 0x02 0xEE.

Flash ROM Image (aka BIOS)

Xbox 1.0 compatible bios (cromwell, 3944, 4034, 4036, ...). You can use a retail bios a debug bios. Just like a real Xbox, running a retail bios will not boot unofficial software.

Debug BIOS

People have reported success with the 'COMPLEX 4627' modified debug bios. It's convenient to note that this bios does not necessarily require a populated hard disk image to load an application from DVD (though an empty drive still needs to be attached), so you can skip the next step in some cases.

v1.0.2 1M dump: MD5 (Complex_4627Debug.bin) = 19b5c6d3d42a707bba620634fe6d4baf

or sometimes

1MB dump: MD5 (complex_4627debug.bin) = e8dd61cc6abdbd06aac185e371312dc1
Retail BIOS
1M dump: MD5 (3944.bin) = e8b39b98cf775496c1c76e4f7756e6ed

or sometimes

256k dump: MD5 (3944.bin) = 542c62cb976a4993c8c5027dff9638ce

Hard Disk Drive Image

You have options:

Option 1: Use a pre-built Xbox HDD image

You can use a pre-built 8G Xbox HDD image, free of any copyrighted content, and only containing a dummy dashboard. You can download this image from here!


By design, this particular drive image does not contain the official Xbox dashboard, but instead contains only a dummy dashboard. Because of this, you may see an error message when starting XQEMU with an unmodified retail BIOS image due to the system failing to find a properly signed dashboard.

If you would like to change your dashboard (perhaps to the official retail dashboard, or any alternative dashboard), or copy additional files over to the Xbox HDD, you can start XQEMU, using a modified BIOS image, and a disc containing an alternative dashboard. Then you can either install that dashboard, or connect to XQEMU using FTP to transfer your desired dashboard files to the HDD.

Option 2: Image your real Xbox HDD

This is the most authentic way to do it. Unlock your drive, connect it to a computer, and dd the entire contents of the drive straight to a file. This file can be used as-is with XQEMU.

Option 3: Build a new HDD image from scratch

You can also create an Xbox hard-disk image using XboxHDM:

  • Create an xboxhdm cd-rom with the dashboard files
  • If xboxhdm doesn't work for you, try to set the included "mkisofs.exe" to run in Windows XP compatibility mode
  • Create a blank hard-disk file: qemu-img create -f qcow2 xbox_harddisk.qcow2 8G
  • Run xboxhdm with qemu or something: i386-softmmu/qemu-system-i386 -hda xbox_harddisk.qcow2 -cdrom linux.iso

Building XQEMU from Source

Building on Windows


If you'd prefer to skip building from source and instead run a pre-built version of XQEMU for Windows, build artifacts are now available through Appveyor.

Start by installing and setting up MSYS2.


After installing MSYS2, you'll need to open MSYS2 MinGW 64-bit to perform building. Otherwise, you may see build failures for cc.exe.

Once MSYS2 has been installed, install all of the necessary packages by running:

pacman -S git python2 make autoconf automake-wrapper \
mingw-w64-x86_64-libtool mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-pkg-config \
mingw-w64-x86_64-glib2 mingw-w64-x86_64-libepoxy mingw-w64-x86_64-SDL \
mingw-w64-x86_64-SDL2 mingw-w64-x86_64-pixman

Clone the repo:

git clone

Then change directory:

cd xqemu

And build using the build script:

sh ./

Building on GNU/Linux


These instructions were tested with Ubuntu 18.04. Depending on the Linux distribution being used, these instructions may vary.

First enable deb-src via:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

In this file, uncomment first deb-src line. Now refresh packages:

sudo apt-get update

Install build deps:

sudo apt-get build-dep qemu
sudo apt-get install git libsdl2-dev libepoxy-dev

Then clone the repo:

git clone

Then change directory:

cd xqemu

And build using the build script:


Building on macOS

First make sure you've installed the Homebrew package manager, then update and install necessary packages:

brew update
brew install libffi gettext glib pixman pkg-config autoconf pixman sdl2 libepoxy

Clone the repo:

git clone

Then change directory:

cd xqemu

And build using the build script:


Launch XQEMU

XQEMU is launchable via the command-line interface (though a GUI launcher is in development!) You can launch with the following command:

./i386-softmmu/qemu-system-i386 \
    -cpu pentium3 \
    -machine xbox,bootrom=$MCPX \
    -m 64 \
    -bios $BIOS \
    -drive index=0,media=disk,file=$HDD,locked \
    -drive index=1,media=cdrom,file=$DISC \
    -usb -device usb-xbox-gamepad

Of course, on Windows the executable path will have a .exe extension.

Replace the variables $MCPX, $BIOS, $HDD, and $DISC with the appropriate file paths or define them as variables in your shell.

The Xbox boot animation sequence can be bypassed by adding the ,short-animation option to the -machine switch above.