Posted by: kurtsh | December 7, 2014

HOWTO: Set up a new External Hard Drive on your Xbox One for Games & Apps

imageI bought a brand new Seagate 4.5TB USB3.0 External Hard Drive explicitly for use on my Xbox One.  (It was on sale at the time for $139, if you can believe that.)

I plugged it in and *boing*, the Xbox One recognized it but according to my Xbox One’s Settings it was only useful for ‘videos, music, and photos’.  That’s NOT what I wanted:  Most of my storage was occupied by games consuming as much as 65GB EACH.  Now according to most 3rd party articles, the External Hard Drive needed to be “formatted” specifically by the Xbox One in order to load games and apps on it so I searched the XB1 console interface for a way to “format” the hard drive for this purpose since when I plugged it in, I received no prompt asking me if I wanted to format the new drive.

I couldn’t find a thing. <sigh>

So I started doing some Bing searches to try to figure out what went wrong and how to get my Xbox One to recognize the drive for “Games & Apps” not just “Videos, Music, & Photos”.  All I turned up was this:

You don’t really need to bother clicking the article above because it didn’t help me at all.  I found a somewhat helpful video tutorial that someone named David “Briar Rabbit” did that at least provided me with some context.


This is the screen I was apparently trying to get to, but never saw when I plugged in my drive. 

I decided to take the hard drive to my PC, plug it in, and take a look at it through the Disk Manager.  (run “diskmgmt.msc”)  There was an existing NTFS partition on there that Seagate preinstalled on the drive.

WARNING: Making changes using the Disk Manager can be very dangerous & result in data loss if you don’t know what you’re doing.  It is infamously easy for an inexperienced user to accidentally delete the partition of ad important hard drive connected to their PC instead of the intended External Hard Drive they just plugged in.  This process will DELETE ALL DATA on the hard drive you target with this tool so make sure you do all of this on the right hard drive.

I opened Disk Manager & deleted the existing partition on the External Hard Drive, then disconnected the drive and brought it back to the Xbox One.

Sure enough, once I plugged it in, and the Xbox One examined it for a few seconds, the all-important “We see you have external storage. Let’s set it up.” screen appeared. 

At this point, I was able to format the drive and start using it as my default storage location for future games & application installations.  YAY!

So there you have it.  I never saw where this was documented on or so I decided to quickly write this up.  It’s a little annoying that this isn’t managed through the Xbox One interface, and even more annoying that the average human would still be confused by this, just because the Xbox One appears to recognize any drive with a pre-existing partition on it as for video/music/photos only. 

I’d say some improvements are necessary for Xbox One storage management.


%d bloggers like this: