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2014 CTS Lux - 2008 CTS DI Luxury Performance II
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Discussion Starter #1
Well my goal with this today was to dump the hard drive and hopefully be able to upgrade the size, Dump the drive and upload the Nav/software updates directly to it. and possibly disable the dvd/nav restrictions while driving through some registry entries.

So i removed it a took it apart, Hard Drive is a 40gb IDE Hitachi buried in the bottom of the chassis:mad:

Took a few crappy pic's sorry

We Need to get the Service manual For this Radio or some way to access the Windows environment / possible from a testmode disc or something like the Pioneer's

Well i Hooked up the drive windows device manager sees it but it wont show up under disc management:rant2: I Guess it has some type of secuirty sector lock on it.

Lets use this thread for all the hacking info on this unit

Service menu FAV+CONFIG+INFO 3424

Maybe we can get the nav restrictions bypassed like we did on the 07+ Escalades
 

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2014 CTS Lux - 2008 CTS DI Luxury Performance II
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Discussion Starter #3
A Little bit ive done some stuff with the pioneers. Check out the Avic411 com
We just need some type of boot disc to get us in to windows then we could probably update the software/maps and maybe disable the safety things
 

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2017 XT5 Platinum, 2011 & 2007 DTS Performance, PAST: 2008 CTS Performance
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Thanks for opening the system up and show us some pics. Did you have to break any seals (like warranty stickers) to open the case? Did you notice any additional headers or ports inside the device?

First of all, Regarding Windows Automotive 5.0, it shares components with Windows Mobile, however it's not a fully-capable OS. Windows Automotive is actually more of a framework that allows developers (like Alpine) to design a user interface that can interact with the hardware components - Display, Hard Drive, Audio System, GPS, etc. In other words, the user interface was developed by Alpine, not Microsoft. This means it's very unlikely that a Windows User Interface / GUI could be found or accessed in the system.

Secondly, the Windows Automotive Framework requires signed packages to operate. They specifically did this to prevent people from modifying the OS and running their own software. If someone wanted to develop thier own apps, it probably would be possible, but it would mean you would have to get the Windows Automotive SDK and start from scratch... in other words, you would lose all existing functionality in the system, and it would be A LOT of work (unless someone was able to source the development code from Alpine, which of course is extremely unlikeley).

Now, there could be some good news:

In the hidden menu, there is a function where you can re-initialize the drive.

You can launch these features only if you have a Nav Disc available..... which I had to order after I accidentally messed up the Nav database using the hidden menus. During the Nav Database Download, it asks if you want to perform a "HDD Init"

The HDD Init formats the drive, however I bet it would also partition the drive at the same time. What I would like to find out is:
1 - If you put a blank 40GB hard drive in, does it partition and format it properly?
2 - If you put a larger drive in, does it partition appropriately, or does it partition based on a 40GB drive (leaving the extra space above 40GB unused)?


On a Side-Note, the 2010 Chevy Equinox / GMC Terrain / Cadillac SRX / Buick Lacrosse, and 2011 Buick Regal / Saab 9-5 / Chevy Cruze all use the same silverbox Alpine system as the CTS.

The biggest difference is these systems use an OS called T-Kernel, and not Windows Automotive. I wonder why Alpine decided to stop using Windows Automotive. I'll admit I prefer the visual appearance of the CTS' system (things like: the buttons, the "music note background" on the Audio screen, and the overall Nav Appearance) over the system found in the equinox/terrain/srx/etc.
 

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08 CTS4 DI
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Gramzster, thanks for the informative post. Another hard disk related question I have is is it possible to do either a block-level or file-level backup of the hard disk? I don't want to shell out $200 for an update disc in case I screw up the filesystem. Also in case of drive hardware failure, a 40GB IDE drive by itself shouldn't be expensive, but I'd imagine it is when priced as an automotive part; would be nice to have a backup.

Any idea what the processor/memory specs of the Alpine box are? What would be really great is if we could get this to run Android, etc. I unfortunately have just enough technical skill to be truly dangerous, so I'm not even going to attempt to hack it until I'm certain it can be backed up.
 

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CTS4 3.6DI, Black
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Another hard disk related question I have is is it possible to do either a block-level or file-level backup of the hard disk?
A disk cloning program like Ghost should work. I doubt very much that there is anything special hardware on the drive to make it work in the system so everything must be on the drive spindles themselves. In all likelyhood, a file back-up may not cut it but a block level clone from ghost should preserve the necessary formatting and information. The one thing I foresee that might screw things up is if the NAV/Audio system also requires the serial number/model info of the drive to remain constant between initializations.

I would be very curious if the drive could be replaced with a much larger drive. I don't have the NAV unit in my CTS so I'm not in any danger of running out of room right now but it would be a handy thing to know.

-dolynick
 

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Dolynick, I figured it should work, but I'm not going to be a test case and have to buy a nav upgrade disc to restore it if it doesn't. :)

If anyone who has a nav upgrade disc (to restore a borked hard drive if necessary) can confirm to me that cloning the drive does work (at least to be able to clone it back later) I'd be happy to start hacking away. :)
 

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I hate to be a killjoy, but why are you guys so interested in this? Just for the experimentation? If you want a larger hard drive, just plug one into the usb port. The usb port in the console does not provide enough power for anything more than a flash drive, so you would need a power adapter for the hard drive as well. But there is a 12v socket in the console there too. And it would be exponentially easier than what you guys are trying to tackle.
 

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JimmyH, just off the top of my head, my ultimate goal would be to replace the stock OS with Android, which would (in conjunction with tethering to my phone's data connection over the USB port) allow for such things as a touchscreen interface for Pandora/Slacker/Grooveshark, etc; Google Maps Navigation (which is honestly much better than the GM/Alpine navigation software in regards to finding POIs, routing, mapping, etc).; integrated, synced address book, better weather apps, etc., etc. So for me this would be purely a software modification, but first I need to make sure I'll be able to restore the original software whenever I decide to sell the car. The whole thing may be a pipe dream, but won't know without trying.
 

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2010 Black Raven CTS4 Premium
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I hate to be a killjoy, but why are you guys so interested in this? Just for the experimentation? If you want a larger hard drive, just plug one into the usb port. The usb port in the console does not provide enough power for anything more than a flash drive, so you would need a power adapter for the hard drive as well. But there is a 12v socket in the console there too. And it would be exponentially easier than what you guys are trying to tackle.
FYI it wil support more than flash drive. It won't power a 2.5" or 3.5" HDD but it will power a 1.8" hard drive (like what is used in iPods and some laptops) without a power adapter. The don't have the same current draw. I've been using a 1.8" hard drive for years in the cars I've had for this reason.
 

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Good to know. I never had one to try. Does it charge an ipod? I never really tried my ipod in the usb port. I was perfectly happy with the 16gb flash drive I plugged in. It held my entire pop/rock music collection. And I had all my classical on the in-dash hard drive.

As for modifying the radio, I get why you are trying to do it. If you have the know-how and the time, hacking can be fun. I just hope you realize what you are in for :D Personally, unless you are an advanced coder/hacker with the all the equipment necessary, I think you are wasting your time.
 

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JimmyH, with all due respect, in regards to comments that have to be prepended with "I hate to be a killjoy" or appended with "I think you are wasting your time" when all you're doing is offering an opinion on a project, with no supporting evidence as to why it won't work, perhaps you should consider not making the comment at all. You come across as simply negative and argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. If you have anything constructive to contribute on the other hand, I (and likely others) would appreciate it.
 

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2010 Black Raven CTS4 Premium
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Good to know. I never had one to try. Does it charge an ipod? I never really tried my ipod in the usb port. I was perfectly happy with the 16gb flash drive I plugged in. It held my entire pop/rock music collection. And I had all my classical on the in-dash hard drive.

As for modifying the radio, I get why you are trying to do it. If you have the know-how and the time, hacking can be fun. I just hope you realize what you are in for :D Personally, unless you are an advanced coder/hacker with the all the equipment necessary, I think you are wasting your time.

I don't have an iPod (and probably never will - but that's a whole different topic), so not sure if it will charge one. I use my portable hard drive, or my phone (which has a 16GB flash card in it) or flash drives in the USB port


I for one would never take on what others in this thread are trying to do unless I had 2 CTSs :). I work in the IT world (although I am long past my coding days) but I want my car to just work. That said, if someone gets some of this stuff to work, and writes up a reasonable how-to I can follow - I might just try it. So more power to you all.
 

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2017 XT5 Platinum, 2011 & 2007 DTS Performance, PAST: 2008 CTS Performance
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There are 3 components to the nav system: The Firmware, The Applications (Audio and Nav), and the Databases (Nav and Gracenotes).

The firmware and audio/nav applications are stored in flash on the nav system. These are installed using a navdisc, through a bootloader. While you technically COULD modify the firmware file, it is too risky and chances are you won't be able to recover if a problem occurs. Plus, if Windows Automotive requires signed packages to launch, chances are the packages would be rejected by the nav system even before they are loaded.

The only way I've seen the bootloader launched is through the system software reading the nav disc (while the nav system is running), or through the hidden menu... which is also part of the system software. If you were able load a new firmware and damage the system software, that probably will also eliminate chances of accessing the bootloader and recovering the system.

Also, don't forget if you wanted to load software, such as android onto the system, the android OS would have be compiled for the hardware in the nav system..... which is pretty unlikely without documentation of the entire nav system hardware and the appropriate devloper kits.

The hard drive stores recorded music and the nav/gracenotes databases. You can consider it secondary storage, as the application files are not stored on the drive.
 

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I for one would never take on what others in this thread are trying to do unless I had 2 CTSs :). I work in the IT world (although I am long past my coding days) but I want my car to just work. That said, if someone gets some of this stuff to work, and writes up a reasonable how-to I can follow - I might just try it. So more power to you all.
I stick to hacking around with computers. I have 5, so if I break one, I have others to fall back on :D

I did like using the thumb drive in the usb port. i thought it worked very well. The only thing I missed about it versus the ipod was having playlists. I just made do with playing albums or shuffling. The only bad part was when I first plugged it it, it took about 10-15 minutes for it to index the whole drive. So I think that would preclude using multiple flash drives while you are on the road.
 

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I stick to hacking around with computers. I have 5, so if I break one, I have others to fall back on :D

I did like using the thumb drive in the usb port. i thought it worked very well. The only thing I missed about it versus the ipod was having playlists. I just made do with playing albums or shuffling. The only bad part was when I first plugged it it, it took about 10-15 minutes for it to index the whole drive. So I think that would preclude using multiple flash drives while you are on the road.
Me too, I have 8 computer in my house and I am a constant tinkerer with those, But I have redundacy and it won't mess up an $50K investments I've made :).

Yeah, I imagine a lot of music on multiple drives would get a little frustrating on the road. I actually tend to just load different songs to the hard drive. I wish it had more room and more playlist capability (can only have 6, and they can only have 100 songs or less. I can do with 100 songs, but I'd like more than 6 custom playlists - at least I can have artist, album, genre favorite lists).
 

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I dig this thread! -- Just was looking into who else may have been thinking the same thing as I was.

I am curious why Windows Automotive 5 doesn't show up in my MSDN account -- I assume it must be a form of CE or something (or like you said above, WM5 or 6).

You know, if you were to use GParted, you could do a partition copy from one disk to the other, and then have GParted resize the partition. That may work for those that are looking to make it a larger disk.

Other reasons for a larger disk:

Store all of your DVD rips on your hard disk
Store your entire music collection on your hard disk

Other reasons for OS control:

Use real Google or bing maps for navigation real time
Get real time traffic updates without having to pay XM Traffic their 4 bucks a month.
Tether with your cell phone for internet access for streaming of Pandora, and other internet services -- via blutooth, etc.

Then, if everyone really started to want to do it, create a simple market place framework where people can create their own apps, and put them up for others.

Replied for the subscription and support of this :) Didn't mean to hijack your thread ;)
 

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Try using a cloning software Acronis True Image 2011, it has a feature that enables you to clone to a larger HDD without corrupting the data.
 
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