What format is Xbox One external hard drive?
The Xbox One comes with a standard HDD with either 500GB or 1TB capacities. However, sometimes, that just isn’t enough. To boost your storage capabilities, you will first need a surface understanding of storage formats and formatting. Good thing we’ve got this brief crash course for you.
The Xbox One console is only compatible with external drives that use the NT File System (NTFS), which most modern external hard drives use. Any external drive that uses the older FAT32 file system will have to be reformatted into NTFS, which will erase any data on it. Microsoft has also ensured that drives formatted for the Xbox One are not accessible via PC.
We briefly touch on the Xbox One’s compatibility with external hard drives, as well as some of the underlying technologies. We also take you through a short step by step guide to formatting an external drive for use on your Xbox.
Why won’t my Xbox read my external hard drive?
There are a few reasons why your console might not read the external drive you are trying to hook up to it. The main reason, particularly in the context of this article, is the issue of formatting. Hard drives use a variety of file systems to store data. The two most common file systems are the NT File System (NTFS) and the File Allocation Table (FAT), the most common version of which is FAT32.
Now, here is where the problem of formatting rears its head. While MOST modern external drives use NTFS, some still employ the older FAT32 system. Unfortunately, if your drive is part of the latter group, then it will not be detected by the console.
Another thing that can result in your Xbox failing to detect any connected drives is if any major console updates are yet to be installed.
According to the official Xbox support page, you will need to access the device’s “Profile & system” settings to check for any downloaded updates. If the system indicates that updates are available, then they must be installed. Next, you must restart the console, access the settings menus once more, and head to “storage” to see if the external drive has been connected.
The support page also indicates that, sometimes, external storage devices may be undetectable because of some power management settings. This is especially true if the console is on “instant-on” mode. Microsoft advises that users access the “power mode & startup” settings and make sure that the “When Xbox is off, turn off storage” option is unchecked. Once again, you then restart the console and check the storage settings to see if the drive is available.
Sometimes, although rarely, the console’s failure to detect your external drive is simply a result of using a faulty or damaged USB port. Try changing ports and see if that will make a difference.
Sometimes, it is simply just a case of the console needing to be switched on and off again before it can detect the drive. This is also pretty rare, but you never know.
Can you use an external hard drive on the Xbox One?
You can absolutely use an external drive on the Xbox One. In fact, the console boasts three USB 3.0 ports. This means that you can hook up to three hard drives and take your overall storage capacity to dizzying new heights.
While the Xbox is made by Microsoft, its compatibility with external storage devices is not like that of your typical Windows computer. For the Xbox to be able to use your external drive for games, apps, and other media, various requirements must be satisfied. Firstly, the external drive must have a USB 3.0 interface. Speed is important if you are going to be transferring files and running games from the hard drive. Anything earlier than USB 3.0 is not supported because gameplay would not be practical in those conditions.
The second requirement the drive must satisfy is concerned with storage capacity. Not only must the hard drive of choice have USB 3.0 connectivity, but it must have at least 128 GB of storage capacity. Xbox One games are pretty bulky (35-50GB) so you need something that can hold a couple of titles at least.
The third requirement is that the drive must have a partition. It is very rare for an external drive that has passed the first two requirements to fail at this stage though. This is because most external drives come with preformatted partitions out of the box.
How do I format my external hard drive for Xbox One to PC?
The tricky thing about formatting a drive for use on an Xbox is that it is actually a somewhat complete repurposing of the drive. This goes as far as making the drive unrecognizable to a PC whenever you plug it in.
This was an intentional move by Microsoft, who wanted to protect the game data that would be on such a drive. Though annoying, the fact that they would do something like this makes sense because people having direct access to such data via PC could be the first stage of rampant piracy.
Do not fret though, friend. A solution is ready at hand. Unfortunately, it will involve formatting once again. This brings us to the first step, which involves migrating any data you wish to keep from the desired drive to the console’s internal HDD, or any other external hard drives that may be connected to the remaining two USB ports.
Once you have migrated your files, it is then time to format the drive. However, this time, you do this by plugging the drive into your Windows computer and running Launch Disk Management from the Start Menu.
Simply open the Start Menu and type “disk management” and you will immediately be presented with the option to “Create and format hard disk partitions”. Click on that option and the Disk Management application will then launch.
Within the Disk management application, you will see all of the hard disk drives connected to your computer. In the bottom half of the application, you will see a drive that is unnamed and featuring no storage capacity details. This is your Xbox One external drive.
Right-click on this drive’s name to present some options. From this list of options, click on “Initialize disk” to begin the formatting process. When prompted, make sure to choose GUID Partition Table (GPT) rather than Master Boot Record because the former is the default in Windows.
Next, you must create a volume and finish up the formatting process. After the initialization, click on the external drive’s “Unallocated” space to launch a menu. From the available options, pick “New Simple Volume”, which launches a Simple Volume formatting wizard that guides you through the rest of the formatting.