Xbox One Storage - What to do?

Platforms: Microsoft Xbox One | PC

Featuring the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus and the 2TB Samsung M3.

When the Xbox One was announced with a 500gb internal hard drive as standard, most Xbox 360 users thought “yeah, good, games are getting bigger, seems about right”. Sadly there were two things that we either didn’t know or simply fully understand. Front and centre the usable storage space on that 500GB built in hard drive is actually only around 320GB, primarily due to the large requirements for the multiple Windows 8 based operating systems - it would be fine though, as that’s more than even the latest Xbox 360 had right? Wrong. The second change from the original 360 days is that almost every game installs some - if not all of its data - on the HDD before the entire game can be played. Back on the 360 this was an option, a choice, not a mandatory requirement, but with this now the case the management of your storage will in time become “a thing”.

As a result of the the third key factor in all of this, this new storage-management reality came all too quickly - in just under a year after launch to be precise. The sheer size of the latest round of Xbox Games is nothing like we’ve seen previously on consoles (same for PS4 of course) and our graphic below highlights several examples of this; Halo MCC 50+ GB, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 40+ GB; almost every game install neatly highlights how little distance that 320GB internal drive is going to take you. Add to this the indie releases which are starting to clock in at over 2GB, a whole host of apps such as YouTube and not to mention you have your free game every month as a gold member, sometimes even a couple!


Now that's a lot of games with some HUGE installs

Space is at an absolute premium and the last thing anyone really wants to be doing is taking the back off your new shiny Xbox One, potentially voiding your warranty in the meantime, just to avoid having to keep adding and deleting titles from the HDD as you play them. So what are the options? Well, Microsoft rather nicely embedded a few USB 3.0 ports on the Xbox One and have been busily updating their operating systems firmware since launch, sometimes with multiple releases in a calendar month. One of those releases included a update which allowed external storage to be added, formatted accordingly and managed in the Xbox One settings area on the dashboard. The only requirements being that your device must be up to USB 3.0 compatible (USB 2.0 will be fine just slower, more on that shortly) and over 256mb in size. This opens up a wealth of possibilities for storage, and this is where drives like the 4TB Seagate USB 3.0 drive step in to save the day.

Boasting that incredibly high amount of storage space - four terabytes! - the drive is more than equipped to handle the demands of the most hardcore of gamers. Even if you are the type of person who plays every game that comes out regardless you will struggle to fill this drive up. Fair to say that if you took all the games available to play on the Xbox One you might just about fill it up. Sure some games like GTA V still require around 12GB on the internal drive so not every ounce of data can be added to the external but that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Setting up the storage device on the Xbox One is a doddle

To add to all this storage you have a lightning fast USB 3.0 connection which allows this drive to transfer data at faster rate than your internal Xbox One drive can; as a result performance is actually improved by using such a drive.

Over the last few years external HDDs required separate power and were quite chunky things which when sat in a TV unit next to an Xbox One may well have the wife asking questions. Then came the introduction of USB powered drives but they were notoriously smaller than their independently mains powered cousins, and expensive to boot. Now though the latest batch of 1TB+ portable drives are not only of a hefty size but they are all powered by USB, therefore no leads, no mess, no menacing glare from the other half.

The drive itself comes with a short (really short) USB which despite its size will be plenty long enough if you intend on sitting the drive next to your Xbox One, taking advantage of the USB 3.0 port situated on the left of the console as it is facing you. Genuinely all you need to do is hook one side up to the drive, the other to the console and boom, it’s on. Pop into ‘storage’ via your settings on the dashboard and it will inform you that your new 4TB drive is ready to rock (3.8TB usable space). To use the marketing term plug and play does the drive a disservice but it’s true; plug in, press x to confirm you wish to format it to be compatible with Xbox One and you are away - so simple.

There are alternatives, such as the Samsung 2TB slimline M3, a marginally slower drive with half the storage (and it’s less than half the price) but naturally, should your wallet stretch to it, for maximum storage you can do no wrong with the Seagate 4TB backup drive. The drive is a great little portable size, uses the power generated from the Xbox One itself, is simple to setup and to top it all off is actually quicker than than the drive inside your Xbox One.

An external portable drive to expand that Xbox One capacity is an absolute no-brainer. The 4TB Seagate featured in this article, along with the 2TB Samsung drive mentioned are both available at and here are some handy links to get you going.

Seagate 4TB USB 3.0
Samsung 2TB USB 3.0

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