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How Do I Format External Hard Drive for Xbox One Successfully? Here Is the Guide

Adding an external hard drive to Xbox One console is a smart way to free up space for new games. To do so, you'll have to select and format an external hard drive for Xbox One. And this is what we are going to talk about on this page. Follow us to learn how to select an external hard drive, how to format and set it up for gaming in Xbox One on your own now.

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Updated by Cici on Dec 11, 2023
Written by Tracy King

Note that when Xbox One gets out of space for new games, it's not a smart choice to delete purchased games for freeing up space. You have a better way out which is to upgrade Xbox One SSD and format an external hard drive to Xbox One.

With the new external hard drive, you can download and install new games, and play games on Xbox One without any problems. Follow this guide, you'll learn how to select a suitable external hard drive and set it up for Xbox One games on your own immediately. 

If you've already purchased an external hard drive, jump to #2 to start the Xbox One external hard drive setup process.
If your external hard drive has been used and contains files on it, back up those files to another secure location first.  

#1. Tips to Select External Hard Drive for Xbox One

According to most Xbox One users, when the internal hard drive runs out of storage space in Xbox One, the best way is to add an external hard drive. 

However, to guarantee a fast loading speed and smooth gaming experience, we don't recommend that you can randomly add an old USB 2.0 external hard drive to Xbox One. 

There are some Xbox One external hard requirements that you should follow. And here, we collect them are in the below list.

Tips for Select Xbox One External Hard Drive: List of Referral External Hard Drive for Xbox One:
  • USB type: 3.0 or newer.
  • Capacity: 256GB-16TB are all acceptable, but 1TB or 2TB will be the best.
  • Speed: 5400P RM - 7200 PM are standard, 10000 RPM or higher will be the best.
  • Type: External SSD will be the best.
  • Interface: SATA III will be better than SATA II.
  • Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance - Best budget Xbox One external hard drive
  • Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive - Official Xbox One external hard drive
  • WD Black P10 1-5TB Game Drive
  • Silicon Power Armor A62
  • WD 4TB My Passport Portable
  • Samsung T7 Portable SSD
  • Seagate Expansion 8TB

Further Reading: Xbox External Hard Drive Not WorkingXbox One Stuck on Green Screen

#2. Preparations Before Formatting External Hard Drive for Xbox One

Before you start, here are some tips that you should check and get the external hard drive ready before formatting it for Xbox One. Let's see: 

First Move. Check If External Hard Drive Is Partitioned and Its File System

  1. 1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer.
  2. 2. Right-click This PC and select "Manage". Click "Disk Management" in Device Manager.
  3. 3. Check if the external hard drive displays as unallocated. 
  • If not, move to the next step. 
  • If yes, partition the external hard drive in the next move. 

External hard drive shows as unalocated

4. If the external hard drive contains a partition, check if its file system is NTFS. 

If it's FAT32 or exFAT, convert it to NTFS for Xbox one in the next Move. 

Check File System of External hard drive

Second Move. Partition External Hard Drive or Convert It to NTFS

Note that if the external hard drive doesn't have a partition or its file system is not supported by Xbox One, you cannot format it for Xbox One. 

#Partition External Hard Drive

To save time and energy, we're here to show you an easier way of partitioning external hard drive with the help of EaseUS Partition Master.

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Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master to check for free space at the Partition Manager section.

  • If your hard drive has unallocated space, jump to Step 3 to create partition.
  • If the hard drive has no unallocated space, continue with Step 2.

Step 2. Shrink a disk partition to create unallocated space.

Right-click on the target drive partition with a lot free space and select "Resize/Move".

decrease partition step 1

Drag either end of the partition rightwards or leftwards to shrink the partition size so as to get ample unallocated space. You can visually know how much space you've decreased in the "Partition size" area. Click "OK".

decrease partition step 2

Click "Execute xx Task" and then "Apply" to save all the changes.

decrease partition step 3

Go back to Partition Manager, there should be unallocated space appearing on the same disk and you can continue with the next step to create new partition on your hard drive.

Step 3. Create a new partition with unallocated space on the target hard drive.

 Right-click on the unallocated space and choose "Create".

create partition step 1

Customize the partition size, partition drive letter, partition label, file system (NTFS, FAT32, EXT2/3/4, exFAT) and more in the Advanced Settings. Click "OK".

create partition step 2

Finally, click "Execute * Task" and "Apply" to complete creating partition with the unallocated space on your disk. Repeat the steps to partition a hard drive and get many more partitions.

create partition step 3

#Convert FAT32 External Hard Drive to NTFS

If the external hard drive is with FAT32, you can directly convert it to NTFS with EaseUS Partition Master:

If the external hard drive is with exFAT, you'll need to format it to NTFS. Here are the steps:

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#3. How to Format External Hard Drive for Xbox One

Step 1. Find the USB port on the Xbox One models.

Normally, it's at the front, sides, or back of Xbox One.

Find USB port on Xbox One model

Step 2. Start or boot up your Xbox One by pressing its power button.

Step 3. Connect the external hard drive to Xbox One via its USB 3.0 cable.

Connect external hard drive to Xbox One Model

Step 4. Select "Format storage device" once Xbox One pops up the question "Use for media, or use games & apps?"

Select to format external hard drive

Step 5. At the Give your device a name section, name the external hard drive within 12 characters. Once done, press "A" to continue.

Name external hard drive

Step 6. At the Install things on ** Ext by default section, select "Install new things here". 

By doing so, it will use space on the external hard drive to installing new games.

Use external hard drive to install new games

You can also change the default location for saving games and files in Xbox One at any time.

Step 7. At the Format * Ext section, select "Format storage device" to confirm the formatting operation.

Confirm to format external hard drive

Wait for the system to format your external hard drive and Xbox One will notify you when the external hard drive is ready. 

Now, you are all good to run Xbox One to download and install your favored new games. The system will automatically install your games to the newly formatted and added external hard drive.

Bonus Tip: How Do I Format Xbox One External Hard Drive for PC

Sometimes, when you updated the internal Xbox One hard drive with bigger storage, the external hard drive may not be necessary anymore. To make use of the external hard drive for normal file storage again, you'll have to format it for PC.

However, it seems that the drive shows up in Disk Management but as Disk Unknown Not Initialized. So how to fix this issue?

To make it works on Windows PC, the best way is to initialize it and re-partition the disk. Here is how to do so with the help of EaseUS Partition Master:

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Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 1

Step 2. Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 2

Step 3. In the Warning window, click "Yes" to continue.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 3

Step 4. Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 4

After this, you can use the external hard drive as a normal storage device now.

You May Also Like: Xbox One Not Reading Disc

Formatting External Hard Drive for Xbox One Is Easy with Correct Methods

On this page, we included the complete process of how to improve the Xbox One storage for a bettering gaming experience.

  • 1st, you should select a proper external hard drive.
  • 2nd, you need to get the external hard drive ready.
  • 3rd, you can format an external hard drive in Xbox One as a new storage location.

After this, you can install games and enjoy better gaming time with the formatted external hard drive in Xbox One now. 

As you can see, the whole process isn't complex. All you need is to be careful. Take EaseUS Partition Master to format the external hard drive and follow this guide to upgrade the Xbox One storage, enjoying a faster and better gaming experience now. 

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FAQs on How to Format External Hard Drive for Xbox One

If you have further questions about formatting the external hard drive for Xbox One, follow the questions here and find answers listed below:

1. Does Xbox One use exFAT or NTFS?

Xbox One uses exFAT for gaming storage. However, most drives are formatted as NTFS by default, if you tend to use a drive for storing games or gaming content, you'll need to format it as exFAT.

2. How do you format a Seagate hard drive for Xbox One?

To format Seagate hard drive on PC for Xbox One:

  • Connect the Seagate hard drive to PC and launch EaseUS Partition Master.
  • Right-click on the Seagate hard drive and select "Format".
  • Set the file system as "exFAT", tick "Perform a quick format", and click "OK".
  • Select "Execute Task".

To format Seagate hard drive on Xbox One settings:

  • Connect Seagate hard drive to Xbox on as an external disk.
  • Launch Xbox One, select "Format storage device" if it detects the new drive.
  • Press "A" to continue, select "Install new things here".
  • Click "Format storage device" to confirm the formatting.

3. How long doe sit take to format a hard drive on Xbox One?

The duration of formatting a disk on Xbox One is highly based on how much data that you have on a drive. 

  • If your hard drive is empty, the format duration will take 3-5 minutes to finish.
  • If your drive contains 100GB - 1TB data, it will take you about 20minutes - 1 hour or so to finish formatting the drive.

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About the Author

Updated by Cici

Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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