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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 17th May, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Upgrading your Creative Zen Xtra's hard drive.

Recently i had the misfortune to severely damage the hard drive on my Zen Xtra. I then went into research mode and found out that you can change the hard drive in the zen as easy as changing a hard drive in a pc (In fact it's probably easier!). I will take you through the steps so that you too can upgrade your hard drive. As far as i know the Zen will take any size of hard drive as long as it is a laptop drive that is 9.5mm deep 2.5" wide. I recomend the Hitachi Travelstars as they are reliable and cheap. I chose an 80GB Hitachi Travelstar but i'm fairly sure the 100GB version will work just as well.

DISCLAIMER:
I take NO responsibility for any damage that may occur to your mp3 player if you follow my instructions. Opening your Zen Xtra WILL invalidate your warrenty.
Proceed at your own risk


What you need:
  • A small 2mm philips head screwdriver, you can find these in precisive screwdriver sets or in spectacle repair kits. I suggest buying a spectacle repair kit if you don't already have one as they are commonly found in pound shops or diy stores very cheap.
  • A new laptop hard drive. I used an hitachi travelstar 80GB. (make sure it is a 9.5mm 2.5" drive otherwise it won't fit in the Zen Xtra)
  • A smallish flat head screwdriver.
  • The latest firmware update from Nomad World
  • USB Cable

Great now you've gathered the required tools, let's get started!

First of all we need to unmount the hard drive from the Zen, we do this by removing the front cover to expose the battery and 4 screws. (one of the screws has a warrenty sticker, removing this invalidates your warrenty)

http://img122.imageshack.us/img122/8767/11wa3.jpg
Slide the latch to the right to pop the front cover off.

http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/7985/25ig.jpg
We need to remove these 4 screws to unmount the hard drive.

http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/1360/34af1.jpg
Now turn your zen upside down and remove the two tiny screws on the back (you will need to remove the warrenty sticker to unscrew one of the screws). Be gentle with these screws they are very fragile and will fray easily. I would advise against using a flat head otherwise you will fray the heads.


http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/4421/43yh.jpg
Ok now slide the cover off and you will expose your hard drive and a copper foil type thing. Now grab your flat head screwdriver and slide it in the gap at the bottom where the hard drive connects to Zen. You need to lever the hard drive out of it's IDE connecter while lifting the hard drive up from the top of the Zen. It will slide out quite easily.

http://img124.imageshack.us/img124/3386/59su.jpg
Now grab your new hard drive and slide it back into the IDE connecter the same way you removed the old one. Take the copper foil thing from the other hard drive and stick onto your new hard drive in the same place.


Now hold the hard drive into the Zen and flip the Zen over so you can put the four big screws back in and mount the hard drive onto the Zen.

http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/8320/68me.jpg
Now flip it back over and put the back cover in. Careful not to put too much pressure on those screws they are very fragile!

Ok thats the hard part out of the way. Now you need to switch the Zen back on and select format all. This will only take a few seconds and when it's done it will flash the size of your hard drive for a split second.

Now select Reload OS. It will warn you that it will remove any data from the hard drive. Just accept it and it will then tell you to plug your Zen into the computer for the firmware update.

Now you need to connect your Zen to the PC and run the firmware update you downloaded from nomad world earlier.

NOTE: Plug your charge cable into the Zen and charge it for a couple of minutes otherwise the firmware update will not start.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/375/73nf.gif
The firmware update will take a few minutes and will reset your Zen several times, this is normal. Do not remove the usb or charge cable until the firmware update tells you it has completed.

When the firmware update has completed just click on close and your finished! Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy your MP3 player again! Just don't forget to go grab a beer because putting all your music back on the player takes forever! Especially if you have a massive MP3 collection like me!

http://img476.imageshack.us/img476/2213/88fw1.jpg


Super Bonus Hint!

If you have never upgraded your firmware before and use notmad explorer, you need to right click on your notmad manager icon in the task bar, select driver mode and select MTP plays for sure firmware 2.x otherwise the program will not recognise your is Zen connected to your computer!

This also means that you can access your music on any computer with windows media player 10 on it too which is pretty cool.
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Last edited by devilmyarse; 17th May, 2006 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 17th May, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Awesome walk-through! Thanks DMA!
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Old 17th May, 2006, 10:25 PM
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Thanks dude, much appreciaited. I'm sure i could potentially upgrade my iPod mini with a new HDD soon.
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Old 17th May, 2006, 10:31 PM
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IIRC, Hitachi supply the drives for iPods.
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Old 17th May, 2006, 11:39 PM
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I didn't know Ipod minis used hard drives. I thought they were flash based, or is that just the Nanos? What kind of drives do they take? Are they compact flash connected mini-drives?

BTW Thanks for the FP!
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Old 18th May, 2006, 11:50 AM
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The 5G (Video) iPod that I have uses a 1.8inch Toshiba hard disk. Toshiba have some 80GB 1.8 inch hard disks, which is pretty impressive. They're fairly low power consumption too, which is important in portable devices.
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Old 18th May, 2006, 08:29 PM
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Certainly, Hitachi was the 1.8" HDD supplier for the original iPods. No idea if there are any current models with Hitachi drives.
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Old 29th May, 2006, 01:04 PM
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Excellent work
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Old 2nd June, 2006, 10:19 AM
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hey Devilmyarse...
where's teh warranty sticker in the player ??..
i cant open the back screws...
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Old 29th June, 2006, 04:05 PM
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Oo i've been absent for a while. Hope this isn't too late but the warrenty stickers are above 1 of 4 screws you need to remove before you can open the case/unmount the hard drive. If you look at my pictures you will see the location of the screws are the 4 red circles. your warrenty sticker will be under one of those four. Good luck!
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 28th September, 2006, 01:39 AM
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This Modification is GREAT.
I wish I could find the same hard drive modification for a Creative Zen Vision W.
I recently went on Creative's site and couldn't find the firmeware I used for the Zen Xtra.
What happened?
I can figure out how to get a Hard Drive in the Zen Vision W.
What I need is the firmware to program it.


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Old 18th January, 2007, 05:42 PM
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I ve tried to install the new firmware but during the installation there was a probleme whith the close of the application.
And now i can't access to the nomad explorer software and on my nomad i can access only to rescue mode.
Could you help me please
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Old 2nd February, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Hi arnolemr!

I ran in to the same problems when I tried to upgrade my firmware.
The cause of my problem was that I had installed Windows Media Player 11.
It causes the firmware upgrade to *******up.

But not to worry there is a “simple” way to fix this.

Uninstall all the Creative software on your PC (the once for your mp3 player).
Uninstall WMP11.
Make sure that you have WMP10 installed (it contains drivers you’ll need. The default version in XP is WMP9).
Connect your player and XP should find it as a new device and have the correct drivers for it.
Run the firmware update.

That’s what solved the problem for me.
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Old 2nd March, 2007, 08:13 PM
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Player Not Connected

I replaced my hard drive with one that's the same capacity, 40GB. I keep getting "your player is not connected, please connect your player" when I try to install the firmware. The computer does recognize my player b/c it pops up a window asking if I want to sync it. HELP!!!!
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Old 17th March, 2007, 08:44 AM
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i follow this to the T and all i'm getting is harddisk problem when i'm trying to format it. i have a hitachi travelstar 80gb HTS541680J9AT00. any help will be nice thanx
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Old 22nd May, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Thanks so much ..I just replaced my HD except ..

[QUOTE=devilmyarse]Recently i had the misfortune to severely damage the hard drive on my Zen Xtra. I then went into research mode and found out that you can change the hard drive in the zen as easy as changing a hard drive in a pc (In fact it's probably easier!). I will take you through the steps so that you too can upgrade your hard drive. As far as i know the Zen will take any size of hard drive as long as it is a laptop drive that is 9.5mm deep 2.5" wide. I recomend the Hitachi Travelstars as they are reliable and cheap. I chose an 80GB Hitachi Travelstar but i'm fairly sure the 100GB version will work just as well.

thanks so much for your clear instruction .. I would not have tried otherwise but it does works.

I am not downloading my songs into Zen with MediaSource. I have Notmad but it mess up all the Chinese characters that I loaded into Zen. very odd, while MediaSource has no problem. However, I notice the loading speed is very slow ..almost like it is working in a USB 1.0 speed rather the usual 2.0 speed..do you know of any ways I can tell whether I am downloading my songs in USB 2.0 rather than 1.0 ? I believe the speed was much faster before my new 80g harddrive.

I am not actually testing with my spare 80G drive and if everything is ok I will get a 120g one for the Zen ..can you think of any problem using a 120g?

Again, thanks so much for your article and the pictures. Your work is very clear.

Cheers
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Old 22nd May, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Thanks for your great article ...

thanks so much for your clear instruction .. I would not have tried otherwise but it does works.

I am not downloading my songs into Zen with MediaSource. I have Notmad but it mess up all the Chinese characters that I loaded into Zen. very odd, while MediaSource has no problem. However, I notice the loading speed is very slow ..almost like it is working in a USB 1.0 speed rather the usual 2.0 speed..do you know of any ways I can tell whether I am downloading my songs in USB 2.0 rather than 1.0 ? I believe the speed was much faster before my new 80g harddrive.

I am not actually testing with my spare 80G drive and if everything is ok I will get a 120g one for the Zen ..can you think of any problem using a 120g?

Again, thanks so much for your article and the pictures. Your work is very clear.

Cheers
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Old 22nd May, 2007, 10:54 PM
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Gotta love those Creative Zen's, my Zen Touch 40GB is working a treat
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Old 4th June, 2007, 06:21 AM
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Wink 120G works great on Zen Xtra

I followed all the above info that you guys so graciously posted and the results were BEAUTIFUL! I also got into trouble with the Media 11 being installed and the Creative software. But, the easy fix was to install the new firmware by using my wife's laptop that did NOT have any Creative software or Media 11 EVER installed. Once I got the firmware updated, I came back to my computer where I could load my Xtra using either Windows Explorer, Media 11, or my trusted and beloved RealPlayer.

So far I have installed over 40G on the Xtra and will soon be adding many many more gigs of music and extra storage backup for pictures (I am an amateur photographer and it will be nice to carry my pics around on the Xtra and show them on friends computers!)

Thanks again for all the advice, and it is SWEET knowing that IPod has a long way to go before it will ever see 120G !!!

Total cost (Xtra 80 bucks refurbished, Fujitsu 120G 80 bucks on sale = 160 bucks for a 120G mp3 player !!!!)

Go, Creative!

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Old 4th June, 2007, 12:08 PM
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I'm glad it all worked out so well for you! If I had the money I would be sorely tempted by the idea of a 120Gb Zen!
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