I got 404 from ebay with 1.2.06 undocumented firmware. It didn't appear in bug fixes log. So I quickly did a backup of hidden partition with HD Clone. Then upgraded to 1.6.53 with locking down to the hard drive. Then again I did a backup of the hidden partition holding 1.6.53 operating system. After that, I restored the 1.2.06 image to start 1.4.03 firmware upgrade for downgrading bootloader and disabling HDD lockdown. Downgraded bootloader with 1.4.03 file. I used 1.4.03 firmware file as it is the best version of bootloader for making it work with 1.6.53 firmware with no trouble and having the hard drive lockdown function being disabled. HOW TO DOWNGRADE
Use "HDclone" from this file HD Clone
How to unpack the program: the main archive file WD_Firm.zip (password: ☤ﮝﻻ⋩ﻛԷ따덕ڦ㏶쳥) contains another archive file called Firm.zip (password: ☃✧〠Ⓙ〶✰ǬⓆ). Unpack the file Reports.rar from Firm.zip and change its extension to exe. Then run it to install the program. If those passwords don't work just let me know. This hell was needed to prevent the installer from being deleted due to copyrights.
Take out the hard drive and connect it directly to PC through ide-zif adaptor.
Run "HD Clone"->Restore partition->choose the folder where 1.2.06 image is located: first click on the needed drive from the left panel. Then using the right panel go to the folder with the needed image folder and click on it-> click Next (if the button is not active, it means you didn't choose the image)->in the next window "Target partition" click "Show all partitions" to uncover the hidden partition->find the hard drive of your Archos and click on the smaller partition called "unnamed". Its size has to be around 102MB->click Next->Start->Start copying->(Waiting)->Automatically->Quite HDClone.
Place the hard drive back into Archos and start it. Choose "repair" if recovery menu appears. Then use 1.4.03 firmware file (rename it to a404.aos) to downgrade the bootloader. You're DONE!
Now, do the same steps to place the newest OS 1.6.53 onto the drive without locking down your HD to the unit.a404(1.2.06).zipa404(1.4.03).aosa404(1.6.53).aosDemoLock_1_1_06(a404).exeDemoLock_UK_1_1_06(a404).exeDemoRecovery_1_1_05(a404).exePOS Archos 404.exe
My next step is to use the plugin files I used for my 504. I will update this post soon once I connect my Western digital 2.5" hard drive to the player through IDE-ZIP adaptor.
Also I've found 3 archive files like on 504 in POS directory:DemoLock_1_1_06.exe, DemoLock_UK_1_1_06.exe, DemoRecovery_1_1_05.exe. Someday I got an answer from Archos where they have shared their ftp address ftp://support.archos.com
. I found some archive there called POS Archos 404.exe with some txt file inside called "Important Archos 404.txt". All those files are password protected. I have no clue what kind of password that could be. But I'm working on it.
I've done some experiment. No good news about using same plugin files from different model name. I couldn't use plugins files from 504 for my 404. Simply because I couldn't make my 404 generate the same Product Key like it was done on 504. Here's the simple explanation:
I used a hard disk with the serial number SB0403SJGENBUD. Using that S/N 504 shows me its product key as C8U5-LBXN-W29K-JG. But after I connected the HD to 404 using a handmade converter (pictures below), it showed the following product number: F8U5-LBXN-W29K-MG. The difference is 2 symbols. I defined that whichever drive you put into 504, the product key would start with C. The same thing happens to 404, as the first symbol will always be F. For 704Wifi it is G, and for 704TV it is H.
So if I want to unlock the plugins in my 404, I will need someone who would share his 404 plugins and HD serial number with me. So guys, please share them with me.
Here's how I connected 2.5 hard drive to 404.http://www.4shared.com/img/OCc-Cx26ce/s ... 8/DSC00284
To remake ZIF-IDE convertor I replaced ide pins with an ide connector from my broken 504. Then I removed ZIF connector and soldered the ribbon. It was needed to properly connect the hard drive and the player. Here's how I remade the original convertor:http://www.4shared.com/img/H4MwICCmba/s ... 8/DSC00285http://www.4shared.com/img/eJ3zSq9oce/s ... 0/DSC00286http://www.4shared.com/img/KCeH6hFcce/s ... 8/DSC00287http://www.4shared.com/img/4Jm57fLIce/s ... 8/DSC00288
I had to remove all the elements from the converter as they were not needed anymore. I separated the HD's power pins to power the HD with external 5V power supply. In case you want to make the same converter, you should disconnect the power pins on ide connector to separate them from player's 3.3v power contacts.
After placing the original hard drive back you should attentively look at the original short ZIF ribbon to properly connect the HD. There's a hint on some of sides of the yellow ribbon.