Can you use any External Hard Drive for Xbox One?

Can you use any External Hard Drive for Xbox One?

You probably know that you have to install all Xbox one games on the internal drive of your console for the optimal experience. It doesn’t matter whether or not the game is on a physical dis or not.

Now, the problem with your console’s drive is the fast rate at which the storage space diminishes. And this is because most Xbox games are huge, like really huge. Take The Master Chief Selection which has a size of 62.74 GB for example. GTA V also has a size of 49.03 GB. 

You can use any external hard drive with your Xbox One as long as it meets Microsoft requirements like having a minimum capacity of 256 GB and USB 3.0.

When you consider the massive sizes of these games and then remember that your Xbox One may come with 500 Gb, 1 TB, or 2 Tb internal storage space, the need for an external hard drive quickly becomes apparent. 

There weren’t a lot of appealing solutions to the problem of low storage space on Xbox One in the past. It’s either you replace the internal drive of your console with a larger one, something that Microsoft doesn’t condone as it voids your Xbox One’s warranty. 

The second is for you to delete games and install them back whenever you want to play them. And this isn’t feasible for people with large libraries of games. 

Thankfully, Microsoft heard the complaints of aggrieved Xbox owners and decided to release models that support external hard times. You can even use two external drives on your Xbox one at once driving the problem of insufficient space into oblivion. 

How to use an external hard drive with Xbox One?

You probably opening your drawer to look for an external hard drive now that you know that you can use one with Xbox One. Or perhaps you don’t own one and are planning to order one.

Be patient for a bit, chap. Let me first tell you the requirements an external hard drive must meet before you can use it with your Xbox One. 

The first requirement is that your external hard drive must have a storage capacity of at least 256 GB. This isn’t a problem as most external drives come with a minimum capacity of 500 GB. And this means you’ll have enough space for your games and other content. 

Another requirement is that your external drive has to have a USB 3.0 port. The reason for this is simple and thoughtful as the transfer speed of USB 3.0 is very high (about 625MB/second or 5 GBit/second). 

This incredible speed ensures that your games and apps load super fast. I also think that Microsoft also wants to avoid bad publicity.

Before you know it, people can start complaining that Xbox Obe runs slowly with an external drive when in fact their drives have older USB ports. USB 3.0 is now supported on most modern external hard drives but still, check before buying one. 

There is also a cap of 16 TB on the storage capacity of external hard drives for Xbox One. This is very huge and means storage space will never be a problem again for Xbox owners. The size of the drive you go for will depend on your budget and how much space you need.

Portable or Desktop?

Currently, we have two different types of external hard drives available in the market. And they are the ‘desktop’ and ‘portable’ external hard drives. The portable types are compact, portable, and easy to transport. 

They also solely rely on the USB cable to carry both data and power. Desktop drives on the other hand are considerably larger and must be supplied with a different power source in addition to a USB cable. 

Since portable drives are smaller, they are usually more convenient. However, desktop drives tend to be faster. The speed of hard drives is measured in RPMs. The more the RPM, the faster the drive. Most portable drives tend to spin at 5400 RPM while desktop drives spin at 7200 RPM. 


Start by connecting your external hard drive to any of the free USB ports on the console of your Xbox One. You can do this regardless of whether your console is powered on or off.

Your console will then detect your console and a prompt will appear asking if you want to use your drive as external storage. 

You should choose ‘Yes’, after which your drive will be formatted. There are two things you have to know before formatting your drive. The first is that any data on your drive will be erased after formatting. 

The second is that you won’t be able to use your drive with anything else but your Xbox since the Xbox format is a proprietary one. This means that you’ll need to have a drive dedicated to your Xbox One.  

After formatting, a message will pop up by the console asking if you want apps and games to be downloaded to your external drive by default. The decision is up to you but you should probably choose yes as you’ll be able to free up space on your console’s drive. 

Also, there will be some improvement in-game speed, performance, and also shorter load times if the external drive is faster than your Xbox One internal drive.  

Managing Games and Apps

You can choose to move existing apps and games from your console’s internal drive to your external hard drive.

This can be done by choosing ‘My Games and Apps’ on the menu screen, then highlighting the games/apps you intend to move and press the ‘Menu’ button, then choose ‘Manage Game’ and then ‘Move to External’. The transfer process will be initiated after this.

Do you have to use a specific external hard drive for Xbox One?

You can use an external hard drive for your Xbox one as long as it meets the requirements above. I’ll advise you to buy your external drive from a reputable brand so you can be assured of its durability. It’ll be very frustrating to buy a drive then see it fail after some time. 

Recent Posts