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Here are some quick descriptions/explanations I found on the XS forum that I find useful.

Xbox Live is now checking each Xbox to see if the hard drive has been replaced. If your hard drive is any different than the one it came with, you will be banned, even if your new hard drive is locked.

This file is a disassembly of Xbox Live's security code as of today (March 6, 2004), and it shows that Microsoft is directing Xboxes to send their hard drives' identification back to Microsoft.

Note that at this moment I can't say yet if Microsoft is banning people based on their HDD. There are lots of theories and ideas about what Microsoft does or will do with this HDD-information and only the future will tell. At this moment many people with large HDD inform us they are still on LIVE while a few also told us they got banned.
Thanks to SmartXX and Xantium - SmartXX thread - Xbox-Scene thread

You can't boot a system with the original (unmodded) BIOS if the drive is not locked, therefore you can't play Xbox Live.
Thanks to BenJeremy

Read the tutorials at for details on swapping hard drives.
Thanks to Rohaq

The master passwordd is TEAMASSEMBLY case sensitive if you used ConfigMagic to lock or unlock a drive. If you put your Xbox hdd in your computer and make a ms dos boot disc with the unlock/lock tools and atapwd (not necessary but very usefull). Boot up with dos floppy you made, you can run the hdunlock.exe and use master passowrd TEAMASSEMBLY (case sensitive) then run hdlock.exe your Xbox hdd will be unlocked.
Thanks to spgurley

HDD "frozen" (security feature) means the drive will refuse to accept any security commands.
Example: An unlocked hd that is "frozen", set a password and reboot, the drive is still unlocked, no password is required.
ATTENTION: Don't play with passwords, it could make your drive useless!
Some manufacturers seem to set their drives to "frozen" by default, there's also a chance that some mainboards do this while booting.
Reason: To prevent accidential setting of a password (if you cannot set it, there's no risk of forgetting it).
Thanks to rkat

Can't Unlock Xbox Hard Drive?
Ever had an Xbox hard drive which didn't work as it wouldn't unlock and you didn't have the original eeprom / xbox to unlock it?
Well it seems one of our forum members has found a utility which removes ata passwords from a huge list of compatible hard drives and we have had many members test this with 100% success.
The downside at the moment is that you have to buy a "recovery licence" for a small fee for $50 but when you have a 160GB drive with all of your data thought to be lost it seems almost irrelevant.
For more information check out this link on Team Xecuter's forums here or check out the website directly. Thanks to Team Xecuter

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) aka BULK - Plain drive, packed with an antistatic bag, nothing else. Usually sold in stores where you can get pc parts.
RETAIL - Drive, packed with an box plus manual, driver disk, screws and sometimes ide cable. Usually sold at big electronic stores where you can also get audio CDs, DVDs, telephones, washing machines.
Thanks to merkosh

How And Why Do I Lock The Hard Drive?, How to lock your hard drive.
Go to thread [xbox-scene] (Outdated but still good)

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