Microsoft Turns On External Storage Support in Xbox One June Update

The company is readying an update that will finally allow Xbox One owners to make more room for their content by plugging in external hard drives.

Xbox One

Coinciding with the release of the cheaper, Kinect-less Xbox One in June, Microsoft is readying a new update that will enable external storage support on the console. Xbox Live's Larry Hryb, also known as Major Nelson, announced in a blog post that next month, Xbox One owners will be able to plug in additional storage.

"Your Xbox One system will soon support up to two external hard drives at once," said Hryb. "Simply plug in your 256 GB or larger USB 3.0 external hard drive and once formatted, copy and move games, apps and game add-ons to increase your storage capacity at home." Xbox One currently ships with a 500GB hard drive that can fill up fast as the console's game and apps library continues to grow.

External drive support also makes it more convenient to move downloaded games and content between Xbox One households, asserted Hryb. "The great benefit here is there's no need to wait to re-download your game and all the DLC. With external storage support in June, you can also choose to copy full games and all of the associated content in one easy step."

On Twitter, Hryb revealed that can users can also name their hard drives. As proof, he offered a screenshot of a 1.8TB drive named "Angry Toast" along with an unnamed 3.6TB drive.

In a another tweet, Hryb assured that both solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) are supported, as are units that draw power from Xbox One or require a separate power supply. "I am using bus powered drives," he said.

It's a departure for Microsoft to allow generic mass storage devices to plug into its Xbox hardware. In the past, the only storage expansion options, discounting workarounds and hardware hacks, were specialized units from Microsoft or USB drives of up to 32GB in size.

Xbox One users with an expansive collection of gamertags that they follow will also find it easier to tell who's who. "Now with real names feature you can recognize people on your friends list and more easily discover people you already know who are on Xbox Live," said Hryb.

Microsoft won't be unmasking Xbox Live members outright; privacy controls let users control how (or if) real names are displayed. "You'll be able to share with all your friends, a subset of your choosing, friends of friends or none at all," he added. "The choice is yours."

Also new is automatic log-in upon startup, an oft-requested and time-saving feature. The company is also bringing "the entire OneGuide experience and Universal Remote Control to SmartGlass," the companion mobile app, said Hryb.

In addition, Microsoft is making it easier to keep tabs on friends without turning on the Xbox One. "We're bringing hero stats and activity feed front and center, and adding more ways for you to compare achievements via SmartGlass whether you're on a friend's profile or viewing a game from the activity feed," he said.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...