How to expand Xbox One storage using an old hard drive

Xbox One S Hard Drive
Xbox One S Hard Drive (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you have an old PC drive laying around, don't throw it away! Your Xbox One can make good use of it as a storage device. And the process of getting the drive up and running on your Xbox is easy.

Products used in this guide

How to install and format a drive for use with Xbox One

hard drive

Hard Drive (Image credit: Windows Central)

Whether you're using a 2.5-inch drive or 3.5-inch drive, the enclosure you purchase will include everything you need to get going, but there are a couple of important differences.

A 2.5-inch drive enclosure will likely not need any external power, so the included cable is all you'll need to connect it to your Xbox One. A 3.5-inch drive enclosure will require external power (and will probably also support 2.5-inch drives, too), so you'll need to be aware of this before taking the plunge. The power supply will be included, but you'll need to have a spare outlet.

In both cases, installing the drive is a simple process. The enclosure will have a SATA connection for power and data installed on its circuit board, so all you have to do is connect the drive and fix the enclosure closed.

Xbox One external storage

From there on it's over to the Xbox One to get it set up for use. Just follow these steps:

  1. Connect the drive to a vacant USB port on your Xbox One.
  2. Select Yes when asked how to configure the drive.
  3. Enter the name you want for your drive.
  4. If you want to install games on it by default, select Yes when prompted.

Once you complete these steps your drive will be formatted and ready to install Xbox One games on. As with any other external drive, you can move these games between consoles you own, and you'll now have a lot more space to install your favorite titles on.

Our top equipment picks

Here's the gear you need to complete the steps in this guide. It's worth noting that if you don't have an old drive to reuse, then you're better just buying a USB 3.0 external hard drive such as the 2TB Seagate Game Drive as this method won't really save you any money and is a little less convenient.

Reusing an old PC drive is a great way to save money and get more space to install games on your Xbox One. Your PC might be better suited with faster solid-state drives (SSDs), but that old HDD can still have a purpose, whether it's a 3.5-inch or a 2.5-inch drive.

Additional equipment

If you're reusing a smaller 2.5-inch HDD, perhaps from a laptop, you can spend even less and forego the need for external power.

Sabrent Ultra Slim USB 3.0 to 2.5-Inch SATA External Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure ($10 at Amazon)

Well built, portable, self-powered and easy to use to expand your Xbox One storage at low cost.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at