Get to know your Xbox One in a few easy steps!

New Xbox One owners will find the console's basic functions easy to access, but unlocking the full power of the console can be a little more complex.

Beyond gaming, the Xbox One can augment your TV with voice commands, it can act as a media center, you can use it to create and edit clips from your favorite games, and there are tons of great apps available — even many of the same Windows Store apps as your Windows 10 PC.

Still, first you'll need to get yourself set up. So here's some of the most important things you should do first after opening that glossy box.

Make sure your Xbox Gamertag and Microsoft Account are set up properly

First things first, you'll need to set up an Xbox Gamertag that's connected to your Microsoft Account.

It's important to ensure that you have just one Microsoft Account across Xbox and Windows, particularly as these systems become more and more integrated. While setting up the Xbox One you'll be prompted to create a "Gamertag" — this is your identity on Xbox Live. You can only change this once for free, so pick a good one!

From Xbox 360

  • If you have an existing account from an Xbox 360, you can sign in with the same email address you used on that console.
  • If you don't remember your Xbox 360 account email, you can find it on the old console by going to the Guide Menu and selecting Account Management, your email will be listed under Windows Live ID.
  • If you don't have access to your Xbox 360, you might need to contact Xbox Live's support, or start afresh.

Note: If you somehow ended up with separate accounts for your Xbox 360 and Microsoft Account, you can move your Gamertag to your primary Microsoft account.

From Xbox One

  • If you're coming from an older Xbox One, just log in with your existing accounts and you'll be set to go

New Gamertag

  • If this is your first Xbox, you can create a new Gamertag connected to your Microsoft Account (if you use Windows 8 or Windows 10, you probably already have an account)
  • If you don't yet have a Microsoft Account, you'll have to create a new Microsoft Account. You can use an existing email address from another provider as the username, or create a new one via Microsoft.

Once your account is set up and integrated, you're ready to go!

Set up an Xbox Live Gold subscription

The Xbox One can be used offline, but many apps, services and features will require an online connection. By default, a new Xbox One user is signed up to a free Silver subscription, but by setting up a Gold subscription, you'll be able to access a ton of extra benefits. You can sign up to Xbox Live Gold any time from the main dashboard.

Xbox Live Gold subscriptions

  • If you already have Xbox Live Gold on your Xbox 360, it carries across to your Xbox One as well.
  • Xbox Live Gold is console-bound, in addition to account-bound, meaning that friends and family who use your Xbox also enjoy the benefits without setting up their own subscriptions.

Xbox Live Gold payments

  • You can also subscribe to Xbox Live via time cards sold by Microsoft and other retailers. These Xbox Live cards are often a little cheaper.
  • If you purchase a digital code for Xbox Live Gold from an external retailer, you can redeem the code online, after signing in with your Microsoft Account.
  • You can also redeem the code on your Xbox One by navigating to the store, hitting "Browse all games", and then by selecting "redeem code."
  • You can cancel your subscription at any time using the Microsoft Account services page.

Xbox Live Gold benefits

  • Xbox Live Gold members enjoy exclusive discounts, often up to 75% off. Xbox Live members are also treated to 4 free games per month, two Xbox One games and two backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles.
  • Xbox Live Gold members can access multiplayer games.
  • You can still use apps like YouTube and Netflix without Xbox Live Gold.

Buy Xbox Live Subscriptions at Amazon

Configure your network for open NAT

This step won't be necessary for the majority, but if you're having trouble connecting to your home network you might need to make some tweaks. Most domestic networking setups support the Xbox One out of the box, but here's a couple of tips to improve your experience if you have some networking knowledge.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Network.
  3. If your NAT type is "strict" or "moderate", you'll need to open the following ports on your router:

    • 53 (UDP and TCP)
    • 80 (TCP)
    • 88 (UDP)
    • 500 (UDP)
    • 3074 (UDP and TCP)
    • 3544 (UDP)
    • 4500 (UDP)

      The steps to change port availability differ for every router, so please consult your router manufacturer' specific instructions.

  4. Enable your router's UPNP setting setting to further improve connectivity to Xbox Live.

Note: Sometimes, simply opening the ports isn't enough, you might have to set up your Xbox One with a static IP address to ensure that the ports remain open for that particular device. has specific guides on configuring the open ports for your specific model of router, so feel free to consult them for more info.

Set up the Xbox app for PCs and mobile devices

Windows 10 comes with the Xbox app pre-installed, but there are also apps available for Windows 8.1, iOS and Android for use with your Xbox One.

  • You can find the Xbox app preinstalled on Windows 10 simply by typing "Xbox" into the Start Menu (or Cortana). The Windows 10 app gives you access to the store, your friends lists, Xbox to PC remote streaming, and much more. The app is also preinstalled on Windows 10 Mobile, with though with fewer features.
  • If you're on iOS, Android or Windows 8.1, you'll need to download the Xbox One Smartglass app. It comes with a lot of the features found in the Xbox app for Windows 10 devices.
  • Both SmartGlass and the Windows 10 Xbox app are useful for use as a TV or controller remote.

Create an Avatar and Gamerpic

Gaming is often a social experience, and the team at Microsoft gave us Xbox Avatars to help us feel visually represented on Xbox Live. Avatars are 3D cartoon characters you can customize and display on your Xbox Live profile. You can purchase props, licensed clothes and gaming accessories for your Avatar to stand out from the crowd, and then use your Avatar to pose for a unique profile picture.

Create and upload game clips and screenshots

You can create your own gaming memories using the Xbox One's GameDVR and UPLOAD Studio apps. These apps come preinstalled on your Xbox, and provide robust storage and editing tools.

  • You can access your clips by going to the Game DVR app in your apps list, or by saying "Xbox, go to Game DVR" to Kinect.
  • If you have Kinect, simply say "Xbox, take a screenshot" or "Xbox, record that" to create captures.
  • If you want to use the controller, double tap the home button while you're running a game to bring up the new guide. Sadly, this method seems to pause some games, making screenshotting difficult. Press Y to save a screenshot, press X to record the last 30 seconds of gameplay.

    Note: This even works while playing an Xbox 360 game via backwards compatibility.

If you want to capture more of the Xbox One's 5-minute video recording buffer, you'll need to take slightly different steps:

  1. Open the new guide again by double tapping the home button, then navigate down to the "Snap" menu at the bottom.
  2. Select to snap the Game DVR app. You can do this with Kinect by saying "Xbox, snap Game DVR".

  3. From the Game DVR, you can set it to begin recording a new clip (which you can end manually again by snapping the app), capture the last 5 minutes of DVR recording, or use it as a shortcut for accessing all your captures.

Set up your Xbox One to stream media from your PC and mobile devices

You can use the Xbox One to stream content from your devices. On Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, this is achieved simply by selecting the casting button seen in Windows 10 video apps, then selecting the Xbox One mapped to the same network. To access media content on a PC or server from your Xbox One requires a few settings tweaks in Windows.

  1. First, you need to open the Media Player app, accessed via the Games and Apps section at the bottom of the main dashboard.
  2. From here you can browse PC folders set up to share content over your home network.

  3. To set up a PC for media sharing, type "Media Streaming Options" into your Windows Start Menu.
  4. Find your Xbox One in the list, then tick to allow access.

  5. From here you can customize which Windows libraries you want to share, such as Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos.
  6. When you're done, hit next and follow the extra steps to create a Windows HomeGroup. Your folders should now be accessible via the Xbox One media player app.

Note: Apps like TubeCast and MyTube for Windows 10 and Windows Phone allow you to load YouTube videos directly to your Xbox One, avoiding the clunky keyboard of the native YouTube app. Be sure to try it out!

Calibrate Kinect

Kinect is no longer be bundled with the Xbox One, but if you're planning on using one from your old Xbox One or bought a new Kinect, you'll be able to use it to change channels, switch between apps, and as a full-body controller in some games. But first you'll need to calibrate it.

  1. Head to the Xbox settings via the Xbox Guide Menu, from here navigate to "Kinect & Devices", and then "Kinect".
  2. Select "Kinect does not hear me", or "I have moved Kinect" to calibrate the Kinect for positioning and voice commands.
  3. Be sure to turn up your speakers when calibrating Kinect, ideally your Kinect should be in a fixed location for the best experience. If you move it, you'll have to calibrate it again.

Set up your TV and OneGuide for use on Xbox One

Where are the games?

On Xbox One, games need to be installed either from physical discs or digital downloads from the store. Modern games tend to have quite large file sizes, so investing in an external storage drive might be something to consider.

Install a game from a disc

  1. Insert the disc into the Xbox One. The disc will show up below the main window on the dashboard home screen.
  2. Select the disc icon to begin installation.
  3. After installation is complete, select the Games Library from the bottom of the dashboard.
  4. Select the game to launch it.

Install a game from the Xbox Store

  1. Open the Store app.
  2. Select Browse all games
  3. Select the game you with to install.
  4. Select the Buy button to purchase the game.
  5. Enter your passkey if prompted.
  6. Select Confirm. Your Xbox will begin downloading the game. Note: You can check download progress by returning to the home screen and selecting Queue
  7. Once the game has finished downloading, select the Games Library from the bottom of the dashboard.
  8. Select the **game ** to launch it.

Note: Some games will enjoy improved load times if installed to an external USB 3.0 HDD/SSD with speeds faster than the Xbox One's internal 5400 RPM SATA II HDD, as USB 3.0 can exceed the data transfer of the Xbox One's comparatively slow SATA HDD.

Here are some other Windows Central Xbox Help guides!

If you have any specific Xbox One questions, either drop them in the comments below, post a message in our Xbox Forums or send a tweet to @JezCorden and I'll do my best to help!