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How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One



In 2014 Microsoft’s Xbox One entertainment console was off to a rocky start. A convoluted message and ever-shifting priorities had left the console’s launch in shambles the year before. One thing the Xbox One did have going for it was Microsoft’s stance on storage. There was only a single Xbox One console with 500GB of storage. Gamers that purchased titles often had to keep removing them to make space for newer games. To remedy the situation Microsoft added support for external hard drives to the console. Anyone can add more storage to their Xbox One through an external hard drive. It’s a feature Xbox One users prize today, even as Microsoft rolls out consoles with 1TB and 2TB hard drives.


Read: Hard Drives Arrive in June Xbox One Update

It’s easy enough to add an external hard drive to your pool of storage. Plug one in and the Xbox One’s software checks it out to see if it meets the console’s requirements. Hard drives paired with the system need to have USB 3.0 transfer speeds, after all. Once users have agreed to add the hard drive to their console’s storage, the Xbox One formats the drive and changes how it works. After you’ve added a drive to your Xbox One to store games, it can’t be used with any Windows PC regularly.

Read: 12 Common Xbox One Problems & Fixes

Microsoft tells you that you won’t be able to continue using your external drive after you’ve added it to your Xbox One storage pool. What it doesn’t tell you is how to get your hard drive to work with Windows when you no longer want to use it as extra storage for your console.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Storing Games on Xbox One: Before We Begin

Fixing your hard drive so that it’ll work on your computer again isn’t a straight forward process.

To be clear, the Xbox One hasn’t broken your hard drive. Instead, it’s changed the method in which that hard drive communicates with other devices. The Xbox One has its own way of talking to a drive that PCs simply don’t understand. This is so Microsoft can be sure users don’t abuse the external storage feature to hack the Xbox One’s software or alter games in any way.

Read: How to Delete Xbox One Games

The only thing that you need to do is switch your hard drive back to something that your PC can understand.

Before you do any of this, you absolutely want to move your games and apps back to your console, if they are still on the hard drive. In the My Games and Apps menu you can see what titles are stored on the console’s internal hard drive and what is on your USB hard drive. Highlight each game that you’d like to move by pressing the Menu button and selecting Manage to move your games. Anything that’s still on your drive will be erased during this process.

For this tutorial you’ll need a Windows PC.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After storing Games on Xbox One: The Fix

Connect your USB hard drive to your PC.

Press the Windows key on your keyboard or click on the Windows button in your Taskbar to open the Start Menu. Instead of clicking on an app or program. Type “Disk Management” into the search box. Press enter.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One (14)

Welcome to the Disk Management Utility. This screen allows you to format and fix hard drives that are connected to your PC. Remember the drive you used with the console isn’t broken, it just doesn’t know how to talk to Windows any more. From this utility, you need to give it back that ability and ditch the formatting that the Xbox One taught it. Click cancel if any pop-up windows surface inside the utility.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One (1)

Now find the drive in the list of installed drives at the bottom of the tool. In our example, our hard drive is Disk 2. The drive will have a red arrow next to its name and say that it has not been initialized. Right-click on its name.

Select Initialize in the pop-up menu.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One (3)

Don’t change any options in this screen. Just click Ok.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One (4)

Next you’ll need to create a Volume. Right-click on the drive in the menu and select New Simple Volume.

How to Fix Your Hard Drive After Using it for Xbox One (13)

Click Next.

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Click Next again.

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Click Next once more.

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Click Next one more time.

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Select Finish.

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Read: Xbox One Review [Early 2016]

You should immediately get a notification saying that you’ve connected a new external hard drive to your Windows PCs. Going forward, your hard drive will work the same way it did before you paired it with your  console, if you ever need to store games for the console on it again, you’ll need to have the Xbox One format it again and erase everything on it.

8 Best Free Xbox Games: January 2018



Many free-to-play games revolve around strategy or civilization building. Warframe is one of the free Xbox games that you can download now that doesn’t. It’s a third-person shooter.

The Tenno have just awoken after centuries of sleeping in stasis. Warframe takes its name from the suits that the Tenno use to do battle with the game’s other races. There’s the Greiner, who are clones of humans. The Corpus belong to a technology company with lots of robotic innovation at their disposal. Sentients consist of an alien race that’s back to do battle.

Warframe features both player-vs-player combat and a single player experience.

Download Warframe from the Xbox Store 



  1. Alberto

    11/10/2016 at 2:06 am

    Thanks guys, it works!

  2. Andrew

    01/19/2017 at 7:57 pm

    I followed these steps and it allowed the computer to read it. It looks and seems like it’s back to normal. However, it now won’t be recognised by my Sony Blu Ray player that it worked with previously. I’ve tried quick formatting it to NTFS, Fat32, EXFAT and even the more longer standard format process but still won’t be recognised. The computer reads it just fine.

    I also have a separate hard drive that I’ve reformatted exactly the same and the Sony Blu Ray reads it – therefore it seems that the Xbox has done something to render it incompatible even after it’s been restored like this guide shows.

    Nice work Microsoft!

    • Thomas

      01/31/2017 at 5:35 am

      There were changes to the partition table made. You need to delete the partitions and set up (a) new partition(s). Then format the new partition(s) the format you, better: your Bluray player likes.

  3. Gee Sakai

    03/14/2017 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks. I upgraded my external usb3.0 hard drive on my Xbox one S from an older WD elements 1TB drive to a newer WD 2TB ‘white’ matching drive. I found I couldn’t read the old drive on my PC with Windows 7. I followed your steps exactly and brought​ my old drive back to life with a fresh NTFS format after following all steps you outlined using Windows disk management utility. Very useful article.

  4. Shabe

    04/12/2017 at 10:11 am

    I tried this and for some reason when I right click simple volume isn’t an option only spanned and striped and both of those options are greyed out and I can’t click on them and its doing this when the drive is in GPT or MBR and neither will allow me to allocate the space can someone help me out?

    • Shane

      04/12/2017 at 10:12 am

      OK so my name is Shane not Shabe… Stupid typos

  5. Arnav K

    05/19/2017 at 8:35 pm

    Guys for Windows 7 its “Create and format hard disk partitions” its ‘Disk Manage ment’ only but the name you get after searching for it is different.

  6. Ethan M

    06/28/2017 at 2:33 pm

    hi, when i right click on my hard drive name in the disk management window there is no ‘initialize’ option in the box that shows up. the only clickable options shown are ‘convert to dynamic disk’, ‘convert to gpt disk’,’offline’,’properties’, and ‘help’. the other options shown are ‘new spanned/striped/mirrored/RAID-5 volume’ but those are not clickable. i’m doing this on a windows 10 pc by the way, any and all help is appreciated!

    • Monty

      10/29/2017 at 6:12 am

      Mine is the same. Any luck?

  7. JP joncas

    10/08/2017 at 8:28 am

    thanks a lot guys !! Worked for me :D

  8. Dylan McCombs

    01/31/2018 at 1:38 pm

    I was able to initialize my drive, but there’s no New Simple Volume option. Anyone know what I can do so my computer can read it? (It’s a Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive if that helps.)

  9. Rhys H

    01/04/2019 at 12:41 pm

    *Simple method*

    I have just had the same issue of the had drive not being recognized and I wanted to let people with this problem know there is a far easier method than this.

    *Firstly you will have to erase all data off of hard drive and secondly this is method for windows OS.*

    1) go to Western digital web page and scroll down to bottom of page then select “downloads”.

    2) from here select “WD drive utilities for windows”, download this and install it.

    3) once drive utilities is installed run the program and select “drive erase” tab.

    4) tick the ‘i understand etc.’ box and select “erase drive” and the drive should now automatically work as it should.

  10. jacob

    01/31/2019 at 8:51 pm

    So when doing this I selected the wrong partition style and it’s not letting me do any of the steps above. What do I do?

  11. Rizz

    06/20/2019 at 6:14 pm

    I know this is really old and no one will probably see this but this helped me a ton! Thannk you so much!

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