Play Xbox Games From an External Hard Drive [How to]

Xbox Series X|S games won’t run from an external drive

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Many users are wondering if is it possible to play Xbox games from an external hard drive, and in today’s guide, we’re going to answer this question.

How can I play Xbox games from an external hard drive?

Add a new drive and move the game to it

  1. Connect your USB HDD or SSD to the USB port on the console.
  2. Select Format storage device and enter the desired name for the drive.
    format storage device xbox series x
  3. Next, choose Keep current location.
    keep current location xbox series x
  4. Select Format storage device.
    format storage device xbox series x
  5. Next, press the Xbox button and select My games & apps.
  6. Select the game you want to move and press the View button.
  7. Choose Move or copy from the menu.
    move or copy xbox series x
  8. Ensure that the right game is selected and choose Move selected.
    move selected xbox series x
  9. Wait for the game to move.
  10. After the process is finished, you should be able to play it from the external drive.
Note icon NOTE
Only Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games can be played from external hard drives. This solution won’t work for Xbox Series X|S games.

Can you play games directly from an external hard drive on an Xbox?

On Xbox Series X|S, you can play games from previous generations from external hard drives. Newer games can only work from internal storage or expansion cards.

How to use an Xbox external hard drive?

To use an external hard drive with Xbox, simply connect it with a cable and format it as mentioned at the beginning of the guide.

How many games can a 1TB Xbox hold?

This depends on the size of the games, but 1TB Xbox should be able to hold around 25 games, maybe a bit more.

Can I use my external hard drive on another Xbox?

Yes, your external hard drive will work on other Xbox consoles without any additional configuration. You can even transfer Xbox games to another console if you want.

Do Xbox games load faster on an external hard drive?

No, external SSDs and hard drives are slower than internal storage or expansion cards on Xbox Series X|S. The internal drive is almost 7 times faster than an external SSD.

What external hard drives are compatible with Xbox?

Almost all external storage drives are compatible with Xbox. For games, you need to use USB 3.0 or newer with at least 128GB of storage. As for multimedia, you can use any USB drive, regardless of its speed or size.

As you can see, it’s not simple to play Xbox games from an external hard drive, because newer games need NVME storage to load faster, and external drives with USB connection can’t provide that.

However, Xbox One, Xbox 360 or Original Xbox games should be able to work from an external drive without too many issues. To play Xbox Series X|S games from external storage, you’ll need to use official expansion cards.

In case you’re having any problems with storage, we also have a great guide on how to fix game loading issues on Xbox Series X, so don’t miss it.

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