External USB Hard Drive For Xbox 360
December 2, 2008 7:20 PM   Subscribe

I need an external USB hard drive that will work on my Xbox 360.

Ohai! So listen, I have an Xbox 360, which is great. I also have a 2GB thumbdrive/memory stick (whatever you want to call it) that I sometimes enjoy putting DivX movies or TV shows on in order to watch them on the aforementioned Xbox 360. I also like to listen to MP3s on my Xbox 360. I think these are all good healthy natural things, but I would like to not have to be constantly deleting stuff from the thumbdrive in order to make room to put other stuff on there. So, basically, I need a larger drive.

I know you can get fairly big thumbdrives these days, and they are relatively inexpensive, but I'd much prefer an external HDD (say, 100GB or more), because those are handy for plenty of things. I already have a 100GB Maxtor OneTouch but the problem is, it simply doesn't work on the Xbox. The 360 just plain refuses to recognise it. So I'm wondering if this is going to be the case with any other external USB HDD I happen to run out and purchase. Sandisk 2GB Titanium = good, Maxtor 100GB OneTouch = bad.

Could this be because the Maxtor has an external power supply? If I was to get a plain old USB-powered external HDD, would I have more luck? I'd love to hear from other Xbox 360 owners about which external HDDs, if any, work flawlessly on their 360's. Thanks in advance!
posted by turgid dahlia to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Oh and yes, I know I can stream stuff directly from a Windows Media PC, which I don't have, or by using third-party software, but I've tried that and wasn't entirely happy with the results.)
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:29 PM on December 2, 2008

Best answer: If anything, I'd expect it to be more likely that a bus-powered drive wouldn't work, but that self-powered drives would.

Is your OneTouch formatted NTFS, by any chance? Because 360's can only handle FAT32.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:32 PM on December 2, 2008

Response by poster: You know, that's a very good question, and my answer is "Umm, I'm not totally certain, but probably." Of course, if I wanted to make sure it is FAT32, I would have to suck everything off it, format it, and then put everything back on, and I simply don't have the disk space available on my PC for such an operation. So I'm still going to need another external drive anyway, but yeah, that NTFS/FAT32 thing is a good tip, thanks!

More fool me for figuring a modern Microsoft product would be compatible with the now-ubiquitous Microsoft disk format!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:48 PM on December 2, 2008

Looks like Tomorrowful is on the right track, but I wanted to pipe in and mention that that forum also mentions using a network. If your 360 can be networked to a computer, you can just stream files over it and save yourself the hassle.
posted by spiderskull at 8:20 PM on December 2, 2008

You can check if a disk is formatted FAT32 without wiping it. Right click it in My Computer and hit Properties.
posted by DMan at 8:56 PM on December 2, 2008

I have never had a hard drive or flash drive not be recognized by the 360. I've used wall-powered, bus-powered, all sizes, all brands. It even seems to recognize FAT32, NTFS, and even HFS+ surprisingly. Not sure what trouble you're having, but it's not due to the power.
posted by joshrholloway at 9:08 PM on December 2, 2008

Hmm... I I read that link you posted, spiderskull... and I'm almost 100% sure I've plugged in an HFS+ drive and it's worked. Maybe I'm imagining it...
posted by joshrholloway at 9:10 PM on December 2, 2008

Okay, okay... my bad. It seems the Xbox 360 can read FAT32 and HFS+, but oddly, as pointed out, not NTFS. My bad.
posted by joshrholloway at 9:14 PM on December 2, 2008

Guess: The HFS+ support was put in to work with iPods, but nobody ever actually demanded NTFS support specifically.

At any rate: Network streaming works great, apparently - I've only done music, but a friend of mine streams video constantly and loves it. I'd recommend making sure it's a wired connection if you're going to do movies, though; even 802.11g doesn't always take care of video sufficiently, in my experience.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:37 PM on December 2, 2008

look for "windows media connect" it's essentially an uPnP file server (what your Xbox 360 needs to talk to). It'll run on XP whatever, no upgrading to WMP11 (ick!) required. It'll let you share a directory or whatever. Works fine for me for video (including HD).
posted by defcom1 at 10:47 PM on December 2, 2008

I plug in a wall-powered, FAT32 drive and it works fine.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:48 AM on December 3, 2008

You may find that windows cannot format a drive to fat32 over 32GB, for some bogus drive-safety rules.
I got around this by downloading an ubuntu liveCD and using the linux disc formatting tool. it was quick and easy, and sorted everything out.
posted by Iananan at 2:57 PM on December 3, 2008

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