Windows Hack Procedure

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There are two methods available for Hacking your PhatBox/Kenwood Keg under Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.

The newest, and simplest method is to use the PhatHack DMS Tools for Windows available from the forums. Full documentation is available within the available ZIP file and additional information is contained within the same forum post.

These tools will run under x86 and x64 operating systems, including Windows Vista.


Alternatively you can use the Windows Script Method outlined below:

  • Download the latest Windows PhatBox hack scripts.
  • The exe is self extracting but you can also use WinRAR to extract the files.


  • Extract the contents of the hack files into a working directory


  • Open a DOS prompt (Start, Run, CMD.EXE)


NOTE: During the hack process, you will start each step with the DMS removed from the cradle. Knowing this now will save you time and trouble later. Also, whenever you remove your DMS from the cradle, be sure to use Windows' "Safely Remove Hardware" feature, which is an icon that should appear in your tooltray (near the clock). You must not be actively using the drive (i.e. viewing it in Windows Explorer or in a DOS window), and may need to try the removal procedure several times before it succeeds.

  • Backup your original DMS using the BackupDMS.bat file. This will create a file called phtsys.tar.gz. Make a COPY of this file - it's too important to risk losing.
    • Although the hacking process makes backup copies of several files, it will also overwrite these backups if you re-run the hack procedure. Please make separate copies of [Phatdata]:\profiles\profile.ini, (other files to be added later).
    • If you have room on your computer, you may want copy the contents of the [Phatdata] partition into a temporary location. This can be used later to quickly bring your new DMS into service as a clone of your current DMS.


NOTE: Some anti-virus programs may interfere with the next step. Please disable your anti-virus if possible before proceeding.

  • Prepare your DMS by running DMSHack.bat. This step will modify some of your existing files, and copy new files onto the DMS. Please follow the instructions carefully
    • If the process cannot find your DMS, please cancel it (Control-C) and restart from scratch. This means removing the DMS cartridge from the cradle, and it may help to do a clean reboot of the machine.


  • Once your DMS has been prepared, it is time to apply the hack to your PhatBox. Insert the DMS into the PhatBox and turn your stereo ON, selecting the Phatbox as your music source.
    • At this point, your stereo should act as if your PhatBox is playing music, although you shouldn't hear any sound. This is normal. Leave the system on until you hear the "hack complete" announcement, or 5-10 minutes elapse without the announcement.
    • During the hack process, your PhatBox may reboot itself one or more times. If this occurs, and your headunit switches to a different source, please switch back to the PhatBox.


  • After you hear the "hack complete" announcement, or you have waited 10 minutes with no announcement, turn off your stereo and remove the DMS from the Phatbox after the lights have gone out on it. Insert your DMS into the docking cradle and review the contents of the [Phatsys]:\log folder. Specifically, look at the patchverify.log and patch.log files. If these files do not exist, review the [Phatsys]:\bootload.log file to see if the Phatbox is starting correctly.
    • If the patchverify.log file shows that most of the steps completed, but the last one or two are "Unverified", try corrupting the [Phatsys]:\ramdisk.sig file. You can corrupt this file by opening it in Windows Notepad and typing anything over it's contents. Even a few characters will suffice.
    • NOTE: Please make a backup copy of your ramdisk.sig file before corrupting it.
    • If the hack did not succeed (i.e. you do not see a "Verified" result after each step), please re-insert your DMS into the Phatbox and let the hack process run again.
    • If the PhatBox did not boot correctly (as indicated in the bootload.log file), you should probably restore your DMS to it's original state and ask for advice on the forums.


  • Once the hack has successfully finished, you can begin the process of preparing your new DMS.
    • If you are replacing the drive in your existing DMS cartridge, it is easily disassembled.
      • Try to work on an anti-static surface. A wrist grounding strap is also recommended.
      • Remove the 4 screws on the back of the DMS cartridge.
      • Holding the DMS together, turn it over so that it is face up.
      • Lift the front of the DMS cartridge - it should come apart with almost no resistance
      • Gently lift the drive out of the DMS cartridge by lifting on the connector at the bottom of the DMS.
      • Remove the DMS connector from the drive. Apply even pressure to pull them apart, being careful not to bend any of the hard drive's pins.
      • Remove the rubber shock protectors from the original hard drive.
      • Place your original hard drive into an anti-static bag for safe-keeping. Label the bag clearly so you don't mistakenly use the drive at a later date. THIS DRIVE IS CRITICAL, AND SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE GOLD.
      • If possible, place the rubber shock protectors onto the new hard drive. They may not fit all drive models correctly, but it is best to use them if you can without causing any damage or deformation to the drive or the DMS cartridge.
      • Using gentle, even force, insert the new hard drive's pins into the DMS connector
      • Place the new hard drive into the bottom half of the DMS cartridge.
      • Make sure that the release lever is still properly aligned, and the spring beneath it is still in the correct position.
      • Replace the upper half of the DMS cartridge.
      • Holding the cartridge together, flip it face down.
      • Replace the screws, making sure not to over-tighten them. You do not want to strip the threads on the cartridge.
    • You may also be able to construct a new DMS cartridge using parts available from Pacific Coast Parts, but stock availability is spotty at best.


NOTE: Make absolutely sure that the following procedures are NEVER performed on your original hard drive. There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to the chance of destroying the original drive's data.

  • From the DOS prompt, run the NewDMS.bat script. This partitions, formats and copies system files onto the new hard drive. Needless to say, running this on your original hard drive will ruin your day.


  • Once the new hard drive has been prepared, it is recommended that you delete the contents of the [Phatsys] partition and replace them with the current firmware and headunit files for your particular stereo. These can be found on the Firmware page. Simply download all of the files that match your configuration and extract their contents onto your [Phatsys] partition.
    • Be sure to delete the forcesettings and forceupdate files from the [Phatsys] partition.
    • At this point, it is unnecessary to copy ANY music or other data onto your new DMS. Your goal at the moment is to confirm that it is able to boot your Phatbox correctly.


  • May need to unplug PhatBox cable for at least 10 seconds. In VW cars Phatbox is powered up all the time, so new DMS will not boot unless PhatBox was completely powered off after firmware patch.


  • Place the fresh DMS into your PhatBox, turn on your stereo and select the PhatBox as your source. If it attempts to play music and does not give you an "Eject", "No CD" or other message indicating a boot failure, you should be good to go. A "Corrupt Track" message is a good sign.
    • If you get a boot failure message, load your DMS into the cradle and review the bootload.log file.


  • After you get a successful boot of the new DMS, there are a few details left to clean up.
    • Extract the original backup of your factory DMS into a temporary location. This file is named phtsys.tar.gz
    • Copy the plugins and tts directories from this temporary location onto your new [Phatsys] partition.
    • If you backed up the contents of the original [Phatdata] partition, you can copy them onto the new [Phatdata]. Once that has completed, your new DMS should perform identically to your original DMS.


  • Take a drive, enjoying the fact that you have plenty of room for new music on your hacked DMS!


Troubleshooting steps

  • If you remove the DMS too early, that can make your log files incomplete or unuseable. Running a chkdsk on phtsys will correct that. Then you can reattempt the hack by sticking the DMS back into the phatbox. (you don't have to run the scripts again.)


  • If your DMS that you've run DMSHack on stops working (you get a NO CD or Eject message on your head unit for exmaple) you will likely need to corrupt your ramdisk.sig


  • When these steps don't work, please start a new thread in the DMS Hacks section of the forums and ask for help. Post the bootload.log contents and the patch.log contents (Click the button in the post options that looks like # and paste the text between the code brackets to help it be readable. do this for each log file.) We'll try and help as quickly as possible.