Second Xbox update in September automatically deletes captures after 90 days, makes it easier to back them up

Xbox logo on a red background.
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox revealed that a brand new game capture policy goes into effect as of today. 
  • With this change, game captures are deleted after 90 days but it's also now easier to backup captures with OneDrive.
  • You can easily check the status of your captures from the Captures App on your Xbox. 

Microsoft revealed a brand new policy for Xbox screen captures via the Xbox Wire blog page, in which it was explained that Xbox automatically deletes captures after 90 days, but also makes it easier to back them up with One Drive. 

"Starting today we’re updating the way the Xbox network retains game captures. Game captures stored on the Xbox network will be deleted after 90 days... Alongside this new retention approach, we’re making it easier than ever to back up all your game captures to either OneDrive or an external storage device of your choice."

It's now a lot easier to back up Xbox screen captures onto OneDrive. (Image credit: Microsoft)

OneDrive is Microsoft's file hosting service similar to Google Drive or Dropbox, where people pay for storage plans in order to keep documents, images, and other files stored on the cloud. 

The process for backing up Xbox screenshots to OneDrive is a simple one.

  1. Press the Xbox button
  2. Go to My Games & apps.
  3. Select See all
  4. Now select Apps.
  5. Follow that up by clicking on Captures.
  6. Finally, select Tell me more and you'll be taken to a screen where you can change settings so that Xbox automatically backs up your screenshots and captures to OneDrive. 

Once this is all set up, you won't have to worry about your captures getting deleted as they will be accessible on OneDrive while also clearing room on your Xbox. You can always check the status of your capture backups by opening the Captures app and looking to see which ones have an indicator explaining that they will be deleted soon. 

Windows Central's take

Xbox Series X|S doesn't have a very good screen capture feature. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Of all of the mainstream game console companies, Xbox has one of the very worst screen capture features. The software doesn't immediately take a screenshot when you press the button, the interface is clunky, and sharing options are limited. Things are a little better thanks to this new screen capture policy, but the change also causes some new frustrations.

I take hundreds of screenshots and captures on my Xbox each day, some for work and some for my own enjoyment. Due to the fact that I cover video games, I often dive back into my library of older screenshots to find the perfect pictures for articles and other content, sometimes months after I've played a game.  

Making it so that these images immediately get deleted off my console after 90 days is frustrating for me because this forces me to set up the automatic OneDrive backup, which will, in turn, make me run out of OneDrive space relatively quickly. So now I'll soon be forced to face a new problem of either needing to clean up my screenshots or upgrading my OneDrive storage payment — both of which are tedious or annoying in their own way. 

Xbox still has a long way to go before its capture feature is what it should be in this day and age. I love that automatic OneDrive backups are now possible, but it would have been better if it was an optional feature rather than more of a mandatory one for keeping your screenshots. As it its, it might cause more hassle for people trying to keep up a collection of screenshots from the best Xbox games.  

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).