How to add an Xbox One hard drive

Have you got too many games to fit onto your Xbox One’s internal HDD? Spending too much time deciding what to delete and not actually playing? Luckily you can quickly and easily plug a standard external hard drive in and expand your storage by a huge amount.

What hard drives can you use?

You can use basically any modern external hard drive. The only requirements are that it’s a USB 3.0 drive with over 250GB capacity. These can be either portable drives that get all their power from the USB cable or larger desktop drives that can reach higher capacities but need an additional power supply.

Seagate and Microsoft have partnered for a line of Xbox branded drives called Seagate Game Drive, but these can come at a premium and there’s no reason not to go for something a little cheaper.

How to plug it in

It’s as simple as using the standard USB cable that came with your hard drive. All Xbox One models, from the original Xbox One, to the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, have one USB port on the front and two ports at the back. We’d recommend using one at the back for something like a hard drive.

Setting up your Hard Drive on Xbox One

A few moments after plugging a drive in for the first time, you should see a pop-up notification asking you what you want to do. To use it for gaming, you need to select Format storage device, and then give the drive a name. You’ll also be asked if you want to install new games and apps to this drive by default or keep installing to the current location.

Once formatted, the drive will only be readable by Xbox One consoles. If you later want to use this drive with a computer, you will be prompted to format it again – and that will lose everything stored on it

Manage what’s on each drive

Once a drive is set up, you can probably just leave it to quietly do its thing in the background. There might come a point where you want to manage what’s on what drive though, especially if you plug in more than one external. Thankfully Microsoft has a simple and effective system for copying or moving games back and forth.

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the Guide menu and scroll right to the System tab to open the Settings app.

  2. Go to System | Storage.

  3. Select the drive that you want to move or copy from, and pick Transfer from the menu.

  4. Check all the games and apps that you want to transfer.

  5. Either Copy selected or Move selected and then pick the drive you wish to transfer to. Copying will mean you have the game on both drives, while Move will mean it only exists on the target drive.

  6. The Xbox One will now move games across one at a time in the background, so you can still play games and use apps. You can view the transfer progress in My games & Apps | Queue, which can be accessed from the main Dashboard or Guide menu.

Use your drive with other Xbox One consoles

One great feature is that once they’re formatted, external hard drives are plug and play. Simply take your hard drive and plug it into another Xbox and all the games on the drive will appear in My games & apps.

All you need to do to play them is log in with your Xbox Live account for digital games or pop the game’s disc into the console, and you can play without needing to install the game again. This is great if you’ve got multiple consoles, are upgrading to Xbox One X, or if you’re visiting a friend and want to show off a new game.

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