Xbox One HDD Upgrade: How to upgrade your Xbox One storage

An additional 2TB or more at your fingertips

Both the Xbox One and PS4 come with a 500GB as standard. When you first get your console 500GB might seem like plenty, but with AAA game install sizes reaching the 40GB mark for the huge open-world titles, that 500GB hard drive will soon fill up.

Plus, we hate the thought of having to delete games to make space for new ones. Especially when games of that size take an absolute aeon to download over a standard Wi-Fi connection.

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So, you might be wondering what’s the best way to upgrade the external storage on your Xbox One.

Well, unlike the PS4, where you’ll need to get your screwdriver out, Microsoft has made the Xbox One compatible with external hard drives instead.

It’s a quick and easy process that we’re going to help you through with our Xbox One HDD upgrade guide.

SEE ALSO: PS4 HDD Upgrade – How to upgrade your PS4 hard drive

Here’s what will happen on your Xbox One UI as you install:


Step 1 – Choose your external hard drive

The first step to upgrading your Xbox One’s internal storage is choosing which external hard drive you want to use. And there are plenty to choose from.

Microsoft’s only caveats for what the Xbox One will support is that it has to be at least 256GB in size and be USB 3.0 compatible.

The Xbox One can actually support up to two 256GB or larger USB 3.0 drives, meaning you can expand your internal storage exponentially if you’re willing to fork out a couple of hundred quid.

We’ve opted for the 2TB WD My Passport Ultra Metal Edition. It’s USB 3.0 and at 2TB it quadruples the available storage on our Xbox One.

Buy Now: 2TB WD Metal Edition at (£83) | ($99)

Plus, it’s only £100, making it one of the more affordable 2TB USB 3.0 hard drives.

Actually, if you opt for the non-metal version, you can get them for around £80 from various online retailers.

Buy Now: 2TB WD non-metal at (£71) | ($88)

The WD My Passport Ultra is a 5400RPM drive, the same as the Xbox One’s built-in drive, meaning you won’t notice any performance difference between your internal and external drives.

You could pay more for a 7200RPM hard drive, but they’re considerably more money than the 54000RPM options.

Buy Now: WD 2 TB (7200RPM) at (£93) | ($122)

Xbox One HDD Upgrade

Step 2 – Plug it into your Xbox One

The Xbox One has three USB ports that you could attach your shiny new external hard drive to. We opted for one of the rear ones so we could tuck the hard drive out of sight.

When your Xbox One is turned on, plug the hard drive into one of the USB 3.0 ports. The Xbox One will notify you that the external hard drive’s been connected.

Although you might be tempted to interact with the pop-up, to quickly and easily format your new hard drive, go to the settings menu.

SEE ALSO: Xbox One vs Xbox 360

Xbox One HDD Upgrade

Step 3 – Format the hard drive for game installations

Head to Settings, then System and then choose the Manage Storage option. You’ll then see your internal hard drive on the left-hand side, and the new external one on the right.

At the moment, you can only store pictures, music and video files on the external hard drive, so you’ll need to format it in order to be able to store games on it.

Select it and you’ll be presented with a dropdown menu. Choose the Format for Games & Apps option and then select Format Storage Device.

You’ll be asked to give it a name, and then decide whether you want it to be the default installation drive or stick with the internal hard drive for now. You can always change it at a later date.

Xbox One HDD Upgrade

If you stick with the internal hard drive, as soon as it fills up content will automatically start spilling over into your external hard drive.

But if you start storing your games on your external hard drive, you can then take that drive to a friend’s house and start playing your own games over there – if you sign into Xbox Live first anyway.

Once you’ve made your choice, select the Format Storage Device option again.

The little Xbox One loading circle will show for a moment and then you’ll have yourself a new location for all your games.

SEE ALSO: Upcoming Xbox One Games 2015

Xbox One HDD Upgrade

Step 4 – Reap the benefits

Your Xbox One has now gone from a rather meagre 500GB capacity to 2.5TB – give or take a GB or two for system admin.

That 2TB means an additional 100 or so games, based on an average 20-25GB install per AAA title. Or around 50 larger games like the 40GB Assassin’s Creed Unity.

We noticed that there’s a slight speed increase in game load speeds with titles stored on the external hard drive. That’s because the WD drive’s USB 3.0 connection is faster than the SATA II connection between the Xbox One and the internal hard drive.

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