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Microsoft Confirms Xbox USB Memory Support

Gordon Kelly by

Microsoft Confirms Xbox USB Memory Support

Keeping secrets under-wraps in the tech sector is close to impossible, but late last week Microsoft confirmed one of the happier rumours flying around the Interweb in recent weeks...

USB drive support is coming to the Xbox 360 through a firmware upgrade due on 6 April. The move will allow USB drives of over 1GB and up to 16GB to be connected and used for storing profiles, game saves, demos and more. USB HDDs can also be used, but again a maximum amount of 16GB can be used - any unallocated space will accessible via a PC or Mac.

"Since performance on flash based USB storage is usually better, I highly recommend using flash based instead of spinning media like a hard drive…it’s just going to give you a MUCH better experience," said Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb on his personal blog. "We’ve also enhanced the memory management functions, so you’ll be able to have better control on what you want to copy or move between storage devices."

Hryb pointed out two key aspects of the upgrade:

  • You can have 2 devices connected to the console at a time, enabling up to 32GB of simultaneous storage.

  • The system won’t just configure the device once it is connected to the console. You’ll need to head to the memory area in system settings, select your USB Device, and choose from Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or Customize (you can choose how much memory you want configured for Xbox360 from the free space on the device.)
Given point two, while simple, may deter some casual users Hryb said Microsoft has partnered with SanDisk to produce pre-configured Xbox memory sticks that will be released in May - no doubt at a premium.

All in all the move is extremely welcome. Obviously the limit of 16GB and inability to install full games to USB drives and SSDs is frustrating, but I guess Microsoft didn't want to completely lose its lucrative Xbox hard drive upgrade business...


via Major Nelson (Hryb's blog)

Go to comments


March 29, 2010, 12:13 pm

About time I say. If I had a 20GB 360 I'd be crying out for this.


March 29, 2010, 3:33 pm

I do have a 20GB 360 and this will indeed be very useful. Though the unnecessary restriction of not allowing you to install games to the USB drives is stupid.


March 29, 2010, 4:15 pm

I still use a 20gb drive, so this may prove useful!

20gb is very small when you have saves, Mass Effect Disc 1 and a couple of game demos installed :D

I think I'll get a larger hard drive when I buy a new console, the 120gb and 250gb prices are still very off putting.


March 29, 2010, 4:16 pm

Good news. If Microsoft continue removing the restrictions on the XBox I will have very few excuses not to buy one. I wish they would allow users to upgrade the hard drive (as I have done with my PS3), but this is just wishful thinking and I guess 250Gb should be enough anyway.

Chris Beach

March 29, 2010, 4:32 pm

a rather too small step in the right direction, wtf is the 16gb limit for? Please say its not something stupid like it uses FAT internally?

They're pushing lots of content, but then cripple it with overpriced small 'offical' drives. More and more 'large' DLC is making the problem worse.

Luan Bach

March 29, 2010, 4:41 pm

Most other sites reported that full games can be install to the USB drives.


March 29, 2010, 7:40 pm

@Luan Bach - the official Microsoft line states only game demos, so we're awaiting confirmation on this. It would seem a strange thing to omit from the official announcement.


March 29, 2010, 9:48 pm

@cjb, as the article states I would say it is a limitiation driven by "commercials", i.e. protecting the money they make from Hard Disk sales. I can't believe there is any technical reason for it.

@MrGodfrey, I would say the best reason to buy a 360 is to play games on it. Not sure I would recommend it for it's media abilities, especially if you already have a PS3. Therefore even 120Gb is probably more than enough!


March 30, 2010, 1:42 am


Love my Xbox for gaming but when it comes to media it doesn't get a look in over the PS3.

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