Josh Hendrickson / How-To Geek Xbox One games are enormous. Red Dead Redemption 2 alone is 107 GB. If you have a data cap, downloading the same game multiple times is wasteful. Instead, transfer your games between consoles using external drives to save data.
Copy Your Games to Save Time and Data
When giving someone a new Xbox One, we recommend installing games for them first. Whether it’s a Christmas morning surprise for your kids or a birthday gift for your spouse, their games will be ready to play immediately. When you play an Xbox game for the first time, the console immediately rips most of the disc to the hard drive. Your Xbox then downloads everything else it needs to play the game. Incredibly, that additional content can lead to games 100 GB or larger such as Final Fantasy 15, Gears of War 4, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. If you have more than Xbox One, installing your games on each could mean downloading them multiple times but depending on your internet speeds that may take a long time. Worse yet, if you have a data cap, you risk going over. For example, Comcast enforces a 1 TB (1000 GB) data cap, and a downloading a single Xbox One game can use a tenth of that. Thankfully, Microsoft added external hard drive support for Xbox One. And while you usually would use this to expand storage, you can also use it to move or copy a game from one Xbox to another. This is also helpful if you’re upgrading to an Xbox One X from an original Xbox One or Xbox One S.
How To Transfer Every Game at Once (Or Just Some)
Transferring your games is a pretty straightforward affair. First, plug in your external drive you plan to use, and format it if prompted. Warning: The formatting process will erase the data on the drive. Microsoft requires you use a USB 3.0 drive with at least 256 GB of storage. Given the sheer size of games, we recommend getting at least a 1 TB drive. From the Xbox Home screen, press the Xbox button on your controller (the circular button with the Xbox logo that lights up). Choose the Settings gear to the far right, followed by “Settings.” Select “System” and then “Storage.” Here, you’ll select the hard drive your games currently reside on. If you’ve never used an external hard drive before, you’ll select the Internal option. We’ll choose the “xbox” hard drive. In the submenu that appears, choose the “Transfer” option. Select the individual games you want to transfer or choose “Select All” to transfer all games. Choose “Copy Selected” to copy game files to the external drive. You can use “Move Selected” to move the game files to the external drive and delete the source copy from their original location, but you only want to do this if you’re freeing up space, such as a full internal hard drive. You may notice that the top of the screen indicates games will be transferred to your internal drive, but don’t worry about that. The next step prompts you for a destination. Select the drive you to transfer your games to. In this case, we’re choosing an empty external hard drive named “External2.” You’ll see a confirmation detailing the number of games to transfer. If the information is correct, select “Copy” or “Move.” The option shown is dependent on your earlier choices. If you used the “Copy” option, your games would exist on both the destination drive and the source drive. If you used “Move” your games will be wiped from the source drive and moved to the destination drive. Double check your choices before moving on. The Xbox One will start copying or moving the game files to the external drive. You won’t see a confirmation or progress bar, however. If you press the Xbox button, you should see the first game transferring. Depending on how many games you are transferring and the speed of your external storage device, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. To check if you have any games still transferring, go to “My games & apps.” Select “Queue” in the sidebar. If you have any games left to transfer, they’ll be displayed here Depending on the speed of your external storage and your internet connection copying your games from one drive to another may be faster than downloading them again. But more importantly, you’ll avoid going over a data cap if you have one. READ NEXT
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This page will help you transfer your data, games, and saves from an Xbox One (or Xbox One S) to an Xbox One X. advertisement If you’ve just purchased an Xbox One X, you’d probably love to jump in and begin playing games in 4K, with better framerates, without having to reconfigure all of the system settings and game data to get it set up just the way you like it. Well, you are in luck, because transferring your data and settings from Xbox One and Xbox One S to your brand new Xbox One X is pretty simple, so follow the How-To guide below, and you’ll be gaming in no time! There are two ways to transfer the console data and settings from Xbox One to Xbox One X: by using an external hard drive, or transferring data over your home network. In this How-To Guide, we’ll cover the following steps:
- Updating your current Xbox One or Xbox One S
- Formatting a compatible hard drive
- Transferring data to the hard drive
- Moving system settings to the hard drive
- Transferring the data from hard drive to Xbox One X
- Transferring data directly, via home network
How to Transfer Xbox One Data to Xbox One X Via Hard Drive
This tutorial will explain how to transfer your Xbox One system data to your Xbox One X via an Xbox One compatible hard drive.
Making Sure Your Xbox One Is Up To Date
advertisement You’ll need the latest Xbox One system update in order to transfer your settings. Connect to a network and check the System Settings to ensure your console has the latest update. Read our guide on How To Update Your Xbox One if you’re unsure of how to proceed.
Formatting an Xbox One Compatible Hard Drive
The Xbox One X transfer process requires an external hard drive to have USB 3.0 support and a capacity of at least 256GB, so make sure to have one handy before beginning. Connect the hard drive to one of the USB ports on your current Xbox One or Xbox One S, whichever console you wish to transfer data from. The console should automatically prompt you to format your hard drive, but if it doesn’t, have no fear! Navigate to System > Storage, then select the drive you wish to use and press the A button on your Xbox One controller and select Format.
Transferring Data to the Xbox One Compatible Hard Drive
Once your hard drive is properly formatted for use on Xbox One, navigate to the Storage menu of System Settings and select your main Xbox One hard drive (the one marked «Internal»). Select it and press the A button to open a small dropdown menu, then select Transfer. advertisement If you want to transfer all of your game and app data to your external hard drive, you can simply hit Select All on the Transfer screen. You can also select individual titles and programs if you know you won’t be playing all the games you currently have installed on your Xbox One X. Once you’ve made your selections, choose to either CopySelected or Move Selected. The first option will duplicate all of the data you’ve selected, while the latter will remove it from the original Xbox One drive after the transfer.
Transferring Your Xbox One System Settings to the External Hard Drive and Moving Them to Xbox One X
To transfer your System Settings (preferences, themes, etc), select Backup & Transfer on the System settings menu, then select Back Up My Settings. On the next screen, make sure your external hard drive is selected under the Storage Device tab in the right column. Choose Back Up To Device to copy your system settings. advertisement
Transferring Your Data From the Hard Drive to Xbox One X
After all of the games, apps, and settings you want have been transferred to your external hard drive, detach it from your Xbox One / Xbox One S and connect it to your Xbox One X while it is powered off. Turn on your Xbox One X and, after the initial boot-up, you should receive a prompt to retrieve the data and update your Xbox One X.
How to Transfer Xbox One Data Over a Home Network
If you don’t have a hard drive you want to devote to your Xbox setup (by far the faster route), you also have the option to back up and transfer your data via your home network.
Setting Up Both Consoles on the Same Network
Power on both your Xbox One/S and your Xbox One X and make sure they’re connected to the same local network. NOTE: You can use either a wired connection or a wireless one. advertisement
Step 02: Backup & Transfer Via Network
Navigate to the System section of the Settings menu, then select Backup & Transfer. Select the Network Transfer option and select the console you wish to send your data to from the menu, then choose the data you wish to transfer. Choose Copy Selected and pick the drive you want to move the data to and hit Copy to begin the transfer.
More How-To Guides for Xbox One
For other resources, be sure to check out our guides on How To Know If A Game is Xbox One X Enhanced, How To Set Up Parental Controls on Xbox One, and our breakdown pitting PlayStation 4 Pro VS Xbox One X.
Up Next: How To Check Which Xbox One X Features Your TV Supports
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