Halo Xbox Setup

Most players recognize that Halo 1 runs best on the original hardware in a LAN setting. There are a few variants of the original version that are designed for competitive play, including Halo 1: NHE, Halo 1 Final & Halo 1.5

This section covers how to install modded versions of the game and how to set up to play on LAN.


The best way to play on the original Xbox console is with a CRT television or certain CRT monitors. If you’re playing on Xbox 360, you will be able to use an LCD monitor, however unless you have a modded console you will be restricted to playing the vanilla disc version. When looking for a CRT television, keep in mind that the ideal size is 20″-24″. Popular models include:

  • Sony Trinitron
  • Sony WEGA (FS170, FS120)
  • Toshiba 20AF42
  • Samsung TXR2035

The most important thing is that the TV’s screen is flat and supports S-Video or Component. Don’t use composite (Yellow/Red/White) cables unless you have to. Third-party component cables can be purchased on Amazon or Ebay (note: they usually have cheap build quality, so you may want to buy a couple extra). Don’t get the old “bubble screen” CRT TV’s, and don’t get a TV that’s rated for “HD” (these generally tend to have some lag).

For System Link, if you want to play on/off host (where one box hosts and the match and the other box joins), simply connect the two consoles using a crossover cable (this is a specific type of ethernet cable with different pin configuration on each end – an ordinary ethernet cable will not work without adding a network switch into the mix). To use the neutral host mode in NHE (where one dedicated box hosts the match, and the two competing boxes join so that they’re both off-host), connect all 3 consoles to a network switch. All network cables should be approximately the same length. It is recommended to use a simple, unmanaged network switch instead of a router or other commercial-grade network gear (unless you know what you’re doing). Here’s a good inexpensive network switch for NHE, recommended by Devilman: D-Link 5-Port Unmanaged Gigbabit Switch (GO-SW-5G)

Installing the Softmod on your Xbox Console

The first step towards playing modified versions of the game is to configure a “softmod” on your Xbox console. Use the button below to go to user Atlas’ guide on se7ensins.com:

Xbox Softmodding Guide

If you are having trouble getting the softmod set up on your Xbox, go to the Community page and join the Discord channel to get in touch with players who can help.

(Optional) How to Null Your Eeprom

In order to prevent your Xbox being “bricked” (aka rendered completely useless) by hard drive failure, it is highly recommended that you “null” your EEPROM. Without this step, you will be unable to replace your hard drive with a new one (the system will reject it as it stores the hardware ID of the drive it shipped with).

Devilman’s guide to nulling your Xbox’s EEPROM can be found here:

How to Null your EEPROM

Installing a Modded Version of Halo

First, download the modded version of Halo 1 that you want to install. The most popular version is Halo: Neutral Host Edition (NHE), available here:

Halo 1 NHE Official Site

The basic idea behind installing a modded version of the game involves transferring the game files from your PC over the network to your Xbox via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). First, download an FTP client such as WinSCP or Filezilla. Next, follow these instructions to transfer the game files:

  1. Make sure your Xbox and computer are both connected to the same network (ex: both your Xbox and your PC are connected to the same router, either via ethernet or wifi).
  2. Get your Xbox’s IP address by booting it up to the softmod dashboard. If you don’t see an IP address on the main menu, go to “System” -> “Settings” -> “Network”. Set the network type to DHCP and reboot your Xbox (hold both triggers, Back button & Black button). After the reboot you should see your console’s IP address at the bottom of the main menu.
  3. Open your FTP client (ex: WinSCP or Filezilla) on your PC and set up the connection to your Xbox as follows (settings may be named differently depending on your FTP software):
  • The “host” is your console’s IP Address
  • The username and password are both “xbox” by default
  • Protocol: FTP
  • Encryption: Use plain FTP
  • Logon Type: Normal
  • Port: 21

Hit “Connect” – after a moment you should see some directories and files in the file explorer panel in the FTP client. Depending on your FTP client, the left hand panel will usually contain local files and folders on your PC. The right hand panel displays the files and folders that are on your Xbox. In the Xbox’s parent directory you will see folders representing the different partitions on the hard drive. For example, your DVD drive is “D” and the “E” folder is where games and homebrew apps are installed.

To install a modded version of Halo, copy it to the E\Games directory. The executable file to launch the game is called “default.xbe”. For example, the correct path for a Halo 1 NHE installation should look like this: E\Games\Halo 1 – NHE\default.xbe

It should be noted that when you switch between different mods and/or vanilla, you may need to clear your cache. Failing to do so could result in “Dirty Disc” errors when loading into a match from the System Link menu. To clear the cache, simply find the partition that contains files named “cache000map,” cache001.map,” etc. This can be the X, Y or Z partition. Go up to the root directory on the Xbox and check each of these folders for those cache files and delete them.