Help me recover my accidentally Xbox saved games!
July 19, 2010 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to recover accidentally deleted Xbox gamer profiles and game saves from a flash drive?

Over the weekend I sold off my old 1st gen Xbox 360 and replaced it with the latest, smaller/quieter 360.

In the process, I moved (not copied) everything I cared about off my old 20 GB Xbox HD to a 16 GB flash drive, so that I could then move it from the flash drive to the new 250 GB Xbox HD.

To make a long story short, I wound up "recovering" my gamer tag via Xbox Live, and thought that included everything I'd need/want for my profile, so I went ahead and removed (read: deleted) my profile off the flash drive, because I figured I was done with it.

Well, little did I know that the profile data that I moved off my old HD to the flash drive, and eventually deleted, contained saved game data, and when I went to start up Red Dead Redemption, my heart sank as it told me that it couldn't find a single player saved game anywhere.

As a last ditch effort, I decided to download a few file recovery programs LH recommened (Recuva, PC Inpsector File Recovery, and Restoration) to see what those would find.

Recuva found a bunch of stuff that seems like it could be Xbox-related (I could definitely see gamer pictures, and at least one generic "Data" file that's exactly the size of what my profile was), but it also found a bunch of non-Xbox-related stuff, so here's my question:

Assuming I can filter out the non-Xbox stuff, does anyone know if I simply recover/restore the files in their original directory structure, place them back on the flash drive, and pop it back into my 360 if it will recognize them and let me do what I need? Or, does Microsoft/the Xbox have some rudimentary or proprietary way of formatting a thumb drive to allow you to use it for storage that it wouldn't be that simple?

FWIW, I've read about tampering with save games, and it sounds like it's shady enough that I'm not really willing to risk them resetting my gamerscore or banning me or what have you.

Also, if need be, I can still get access to my old 20 GB HD.
posted by mrhaydel to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fail. Obviously the title of my question was meant to be "Help me recover my accidentally deleted Xbox saved games!".

posted by mrhaydel at 6:55 AM on July 19, 2010

Basically, not really. The XBox isn't intended to be a fully-functional computing platform, it's intended to be a sandbox for authorized applications. Even if you could recover the files perfectly, which is doubtful, getting them back where they're supposed to be in a way that the system is going to play nicely with (i.e. not ban you for) is, as far as I can tell, not something that anyone's put a lot of time into trying.

Sorry, but this is just one of the drawbacks of using a closed system. There are a ton of advantages, don't get me wrong, and on balance I love my XBox, but this is one of the drawbacks.
posted by valkyryn at 7:08 AM on July 19, 2010

If you can get the old drive and it hasn't been erased then you should be able to use the transfer kit.
posted by phearlez at 7:41 AM on July 19, 2010


That would work even if I moved the data off that old HD to the flash drive?

Meaning, I left my old HD as empty as possible.
posted by mrhaydel at 7:50 AM on July 19, 2010

does anyone know if I simply recover/restore the files in their original directory structure, place them back on the flash drive, and pop it back into my 360 if it will recognize them and let me do what I need

Read the first page of this article and see if it applies to your situation:
We moved across a folder of files from one drive to another, and the data was completely ignored: the 360 simply treated the device as though it was completely empty. However, the files can be backed up on your PC, and then copied back onto the same flash drive.
If I were you I'd try to copy all the deleted files in the flash disk to your PC HDD using Recuva/Restoration and then copy them back to the same flash disk and show it to your 360. However, before doing that, it's probably safer to create a bit-identical image of the flash disk (perhaps using dd or something like that - I don't know if what I'm suggesting is even possible) just so that you can always return to the current state of affairs if your attempts prove unfruitful.

Please note: I have no idea if what I'm proposing will work, so please do not attempt it unless you really can't find a more reassuring solution.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2010

Also, I hope you haven't used your flash drive after deleting your profile from it, because that could mean you overwrote some of the files and thus rendered them unusable by your console. Still, it's worth a shot regardless.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2010


Thanks for the link. That's pretty much what I did: I copied all of the recovered files to my PC's HDD, and then put them back on to the same flash disk, and tried to see if the 360 would recognize it, and I think my problem really was that the files I recovered were really just those placeholder files that the article mentions are there just to take up the space allocated.

So, in the end, I think I'm just toast. Oh well. Another game, another day.
posted by mrhaydel at 5:30 AM on July 20, 2010

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