How to Move Game Files to Another Xbox One

An Xbox One on an original Xbox OneJosh Hendrickson

Xbox One games are huge. Red Dead Redemption 2 alone is 107 GB. If you have a data limit, downloading the same game multiple times is a waste of time. Instead, transfer your games between the consoles using external drives to back up the data.

Copy your games to save time and save your data

When we give a new Xbox One to someone, we recommend to install games for them first. Whether it's a morning surprise for your kids or a birthday present for your spouse, their games will be ready to be played immediately. When you play an Xbox game for the first time, the console immediately extracts most of the disk from the hard disk. Your Xbox then downloads everything it needs to play the game. Incredibly, this additional content can lead to games of 100 GB or more, such as Final Fantasy 15, Gears of War 4 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

If you own more than Xbox One, installing your games on each of them may mean downloading them multiple times, but depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this may take some time. Even worse, if you have a data limit, you risk going over. For example, Comcast applies a data limit of 1TB (1,000GB), and downloading a single Xbox One game can use a tenth. Fortunately, Microsoft has added external hard drive support for Xbox One. And although you usually use it to increase storage capacity, you can also use it to move or copy a game from one Xbox to another.

This is also useful if you are upgrading to a Xbox One X from an Xbox One or an Xbox One of origin.

How to transfer each game at a time (or just a few)

Transferring your games is a pretty simple matter. Start by connecting the external drive you intend to use and format it if prompted.

Warning: The formatting process will erase the data on the drive.

Microsoft requires that you use a USB 3.0 drive with at least 256 GB of storage. Given the size of the games, we recommend getting at least one 1 TB disk.

On the Xbox Home screen, press the Xbox button on your controller (the circular button with the Xbox logo on). Choose the Settings gear on the far right, followed by "Settings."

Xbox submenu with arrows pointing to settings and settings option.

Select "System" and then "Storage".

Menus Xbox settings with arrows pointing to system and storage options.

Here you will select the hard drive on which your games currently reside. If you have never used an external hard drive before, select the Internal option. We will choose the hard drive "xbox".

Xbox system storage menu with call on the hard disk containing the games.

In the sub-menu that appears, choose the "Transfer" option.

System storage submenu with call transfer option.

Select the individual games you want to transfer or choose "Select All" to transfer all games. Choose "Copy Selection" to copy the game files to the external drive. You can use "Move Selection" to move the game files to the external drive and remove the source copy from its original location. However, you only want to do this if you free up space, such as a complete internal hard drive.

You may notice that the top of the screen indicates that the games will be transferred to your internal drive, but do not worry about it. The next step invites you to choose a destination.

Transfer menu with caption on manage transfer options.

Select the drive on which you want to transfer your games. In this case, we choose an empty external hard drive named "External2".

Transfer submenu with box around the empty hard drive.

You will see a confirmation detailing the number of games to transfer. If the information is correct, select "Copy" or "Move". The option displayed depends on your previous 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 erased from the source drive and moved to the destination drive. Check your choices before continuing.

transfer confirmation screen with legend around the movement area

Xbox One will start copying or moving game files to the external drive. However, you will not see a confirmation bar or progress bar. If you press the Xbox button, the first game should be transferred.

Xbox one home sub menu with caption around the game Abzu in transfer.

Depending on the number of games you transfer and the speed of your external storage device, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. To check if games are still being transferred, go to "My Games and Apps".

Xbox One application with dialog box around My Games and Applications option.

Select "Queue" in the sidebar. If you still have games to transfer, they will be displayed here

Xbox My games and applications menu with box around the queue option.

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 will avoid exceeding a data limit if you have one.

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