XBox One S

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.

A popular upgrade to any laptop or desktop Windows PC is to install a solid state drive (SSD) alongside or in place of an existing, magnetic hard drive (HDD). If you do this and find yourself suddenly with a spare 2.5- or 3.5-inch HDD, don't throw it away. With a little extra expenditure, you can use your drive to bump the storage on your Xbox One.

Even with the recent hardware revisions bringing 1TB and 2TB storage options, it's still way too easy to fill up your console. Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 are over 100GB each. So instead of buying another drive, spend a little less and repurpose an old one.

Updated April 17, 2017: We gave this post some fresh images and links but everything else is still accurate and relevant today.

What you need

hard drive

A drive

For the purposes of this tutorial, it doesn't matter if you're using a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drive. You'll more likely find the former on a laptop, the latter on a desktop. You can also use an SSD if you're replacing one of those for any reason.

An enclosure

There are a couple of different things you can do, but one common thread is that you need an enclosure for the formerly internal drive. It will act not only as protection but also as the interface between the console and the drive.

If you're using a 3.5-inch drive, you'll be looking for a powered enclosure, and as is the nature of the drive it'll be reasonably large. But it will not necessarily be expensive. I picked one up from a UK electronics retailer for £12. Essentially it's just a box with a small circuit board, a power supply and a USB output. Be sure to check that it's a USB 3.0 output, though. Check out the links below for a few options.

If you're looking at using a 2.5-inch drive, there are a few more options on what to use. You can pick up a USB 3.0 enclosure, which most likely won't require any external power and will look almost identical to an off-the-shelf external hard drive. This is a great choice if you intend to move the drive around. Check the links below for some suggestions.

With a 2.5-inch drive, you also have the option of a couple of enclosures that fit directly into the console. You get a shroud that plugs into the side USB port, houses the drive and also adds a couple of forward-facing USB ports. It's a nice option for a static drive that will look a little more pleasing to the eye than just a block attached with a cable. We've seen a couple of different ones, which are linked below.

Note that these enclosures only work with the original Xbox One, not the Xbox One S.

What's supported

As with any external drive you choose, it will need a USB 3.0 connection and you'll need something 256GB in size or bigger.

Whichever option you go for, the rest of the process is the same.

Formatting and using the drive

Xbox One external storage

The Xbox One should detect and ask you to format the drive when you first connect it. It's not necessary to format the drive on your PC, as well, but it won't hurt. Once the process is complete you'll be up and running and ready to start putting games on it.

For a complete guide on how to set up external storage with the Xbox One check out the link below.

How to choose and use an external hard drive for your Xbox One