Do External Hard drives Work With Your Xbox One?


Do you find yourself needing to delete countless games from Xbox Game Pass that you would rather not delete? Game files are so big now as they take more and more space.

Can’t you just use an external hard drive for your Xbox One?

External hard drives can be used for the Xbox One, all external SDD must have a 3.0 USB connection and be at least 256GB, and the Xbox One Supports Up To 16TB off space. There is a here is is a limit of two storage devices for your Xbox One at one time and the SDD must be formatted before use.

So you will be glad to know you can use an external hard drive for your Xbox One! This allows you not only more storage capacity but gives you faster loading times for games.

I will discuss the actual process of setting up an external SDD, what drives are compatible, and everything else external SDD related.

What Are Xbox One External Hard Drives Requirements?

Now all this information is directly from the official Microsoft troubleshooting website (click here to see)

  • Drive has to be 128 GB or larger capacity(however other pages have said 256 GB). Either way, you should use a bigger drive as 128GB could only store a few titles
  • Must be a USB 3.0 connection, as games require swift data transfer speeds. This won’t be an issue as 3.0 has been the standard for a while
  • You can only connect three storage devices to your Xbox One(PS4 the limit is one), but other Microsoft pages have said it’s only 2 so perhaps stick to that
  • Maximum storage is 16TB. This is a ridiculous amount anyway and could store more games than you could ever play.

Any drive that fits these requirements will work fine for your Xbox One and you might have one in the house. The vast majority made in the last few years are at least 500GB and USB 3.0 so finding a compatible unit is not an issue.

The external hard drives I personally recommend are found at the end of this article but in general this one (Amazon Link) the WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive is considered one of the best values for money as it’s both quick and you get a lot of storage for your money.

How To Use An External Hard Drive For Xbox One

Now, with your external HDD, you’re ready to connect it to your Xbox One! Remember, that before you can use an external HDD the drive must be formatted which will delete all prior data on the drive. So maks sure you get backups!

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Xbox One’s USB Port. You will see an on-screen prompt pop-up
  2. Select Format storage device
  3. Choose a name for your drive using your Xbox keyboard
  4. Select install new things here to automatically install future games & content onto your drive
  5. Finally select Format storage device

Congratulations! Your external HDD is now configured for all Xbox One games, apps & DLC to automatically be installed onto your external drive.

Check out this handy YouTube tutorial on how to set up your external HDD with your Xbox if you would prefer it in video

How To Move Xbox One Games To An External Hard Drive

When your external drive is finished being installed and formatted now you can move existing Xbox games from your internal hard drive to your external hard drive.

This saves you the time from redownloading them via Xbox Live, I recommended transferring all your games over.

  1. Open the Settings application on your Xbox One
  2. Go to the System tab
  3. Click on Storage
  4. Move to the right to select the drive to transfer content from
  5. Select Transfer
  6. Select all the items you want to transfer. If you want to move all the items select all
  7. Choose move selected to transfer the items between the console and drive
  8. Choose the external drive
  9. Press Move to initiate the transfer

After you’re done transferring your games, the “My Games & Apps” menu will display the amount of free storage and percentage of used storage towards the left side of your screen

If you prefer a YouTube video check out this swift excellent tutorial down below

What Happens If You Discconect An External HDD From The Xbox One

Now be very careful not to disconnect the external hard drive when the console is on as serious data loss or corruption to your files could occur, especially if a file is being downloaded

Whenever you want to disconnect the hard drive do the following

  • Make Sure nothing is downloading before unplugging the external HDD
  • Fully turn off the system before unplugging the external HDD

Why Buy An External HDD For Your Xbox One?

With An External HDD, This Means More Games For You To Enjoy!

You might be thinking, why should I buy an external hard drive at all? Well, to start 2-4 TB of memory is a LOT better than the standard 1TB of memory you get with your Xbox One S/X.

If you’re like most gamers due to the best deal in gaming, game pass(read about it here) you will find yourself constantly needing to delete games to make space for new games. Red Dead Redemption 2 needs an insane 107 GB of space even with the disc! That’s more than 1/10th of the internal memory of your Xbox One!

Having an external hard drive gives the freedom of playing all those fantastic game pass games you have your eye on, but cannot afford the space. 4TB is enough for around 40 AAA games which is more than enough for most people ever to play.

So if you buy an HDD never choose between deleting one of your games to make room for new Games Pass game ever again!

I speak more it in this post here but disc-less gaming is only going to become more and more important, just look at Microsoft project xCloud project(take a look) so it just makes sense future-proofing yourself with a bigger HDD.

Games Can Run Faster For An External HDD!

Did you know that using an external hard drive could give you faster game loading times for your Xbox One? Maybe you thought internal hard drive always loads quicker but you would be mistaken.

This is due to the external USB 3.0 connection offering quicker loading speeds than the SATA II drive inside your console. Also, the external drive does not have to run the OS of your Xbox One or apps so it has more power to dedicate just to loading games.

Although if you have an Xbox One X an external drives performance is comparable to your internal drive, as the internal drive has the more powerful SATA III connection and has loading speeds comparable to external disks.

Check out a comparison review by Hogarth between the loading times of HDD & SDD for the Xbox One

External Drives Makes Bringing Games To Other Systems Easy

With modern gaming, discs have become less and less relevant due to the numerous account restrictions and massive files. However, using an external hard drive you can easily play installed games on someone else’s Xbox One.

The only thing you need is to be logged in to an account that owns the games, which allows you to enjoy all your Xbox One games installed into your hard drive on a friends console. Although, if the games are disc-based, you do need the disc to play them.

How To Back Up Your Xbox One Using A HDD

Now you would backup your Xbox One to save all your key system settings and account settings. Just in case anything happens to your precious Xbox One, or if you want to transfer your data to a new Xbox.

This info is from the official Microsoft website.

Create Your Backup

  1. Connect an external hard drive to your Xbox One
  2. Press the Xbox button to open your guide
  3. Go to  System > Settings > System > Backup & transfer > Back up my settings and fellow the on-screen instructions to save your backup to your storage device

Apply Your Backup

If you’re resetting your console

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Xbox
  2. Turn on your console
  3. Go to System > Settings > System > Console info and choose Reset console.

If your transferring settings from your existing Xbox to a new Xbox

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Xbox before you turn it on
  2. Turn on the new Xbox
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions

Now if your Xbox is already set up and running and you want to change it using the backup settings from your other Xbox, keep your external hard drive connected and nd go to System > Settings > System > Console info and choose Reset console

Follow the video here to get a visual explanation on how to transfer your existing Xbox One data to a new Xbox console

Recommended Products

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 (Amazon Link Here)

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive(Amazon Link Here)

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB Portable External Hard Drive(Amazon Link Here)

Recent Posts