How the Xbox 360 download queue works


When we launched the web marketplace in last November, we introduced the ability for Xbox LIVE members to browse Marketplace through and easily add game and video content to your Xbox 360 download queue. That meant when you turned on your Xbox 360 console, and signed into LIVE, you would immediately start downloading items you added from the web Marketplace. If you own more than one console, or travel with your Xbox LIVE profile on an MU or HDD, it’s possible that your downloads don’t start immediately upon sighing in to LIVE, and that has left you puzzled.


You may have added things to your queue and then signed in on a console and gone to your Active downloads only to notice things are not automatically starting to download like you thought.


Your active download screen may look something like this:

What does Assigned to another console mean? And how do you make items automatically download to the console you are signed into?


Let me back up a little bit and explain how web marketplace works.


After NXE launched, the very first console that you used to download any Marketplace items is seen as your main console. That means anytime you add items to your queue, they’ll automatically start downloading when you sign in with that console.


Now, for most people that is fine. But if you have more than one console, or you travel around a lot, your main console status may have been assigned to a console that was not in fact what you consider to be your main console. To be more specific, if you sign in with any other console, you’ll see the above message and your items will be pending and assigned to another console.


I’ll now show you how you can make whatever console you want your main console.

First, add something to your download queue from the web marketplace. Then, sign in to the console that you want to make your main console and navigate to active downloads (press the guide button -> Marketplace -> Active Downloads.) When you see the above screen shot showing the item you added to your queue assigned to another console, simply select it and press A and you’ll be greeted with this message:



From here Select Download All Items


Once you do that, your download will begin, but more importantly choosing Download All Items tells the Xbox LIVE service to make the console you are currently signed in to LIVE with your main console.


From that point forward, anytime you add items to your download queue from the web marketplace and you sign in on that console your downloads will begin the moment you sign in to LIVE. You can change what console the service considers your main console as frequently as you would like by repeating the above steps.


Of course if you select Download this item only, the service will download that one item and not change what console is your main console.


Hopefully this will help you understand how the Web Marketplace works in relation to your Active Downloads.



Edit: I made a few edits for clarity.


  • Logic Squirrel

    Lol i had this happen when i had my 360 returned to me after Microsoft was kind enough to fix the RROD for free.


  • DCOneFourSeven

    Another handy tip from your friendly neighbourhood Major.

    Shame that you still needed to cover this when e already did so in Xbox 101 a few weeks back.


  • Azrane1

    Great explanation, sir. I have a question, though.

    If you choose to download just one item to another console, is that item’s license (to use it while offline) linked to the console it’s downloaded on, or the main console?


  • phawx

    @Majornelson I sent you a message to you via Twitter, but I will ask here as well. When I change my main 360 to the one in my basement does the license transfer to the box as if I were doing it locally?

    Like say I change my main box to the one in my basement and my wife hops on to her gamertag, would it download to this box automatically or would I need to sign into it?


  • Fort Griffen

    Very interesting!


  • Major Nelson

    Xbox 101 is good…but this is better w/ screen shots.

    This processes is unrelated to licensing. It’s only around the download queue.


  • Baron Darwin

    Thanks for clearing that up.


  • SpaceNinjaDino

    Good to know. I have three 360s at my house and move profiles between them all the time.


  • A Place for Us

    TwilightWolf 77: Actually, I check Major Nelson and so it is good that Larry is contributing tips and stuff, even if it has been covered elsewhere.


  • a peeking duck

    Your blog needs more posts like this, not constant shilling of songs for the video game fisher price my first guitar crap.


  • smrnov

    So the console you choose to do the download to the first time will be the licensed console for offline usage? Similar to if you manually downloaded the item?


  • a peeking duck

    And this was useful to me since I just recently got a replacement console.


  • HunCity87

    I wish I had this problem…”I wonder which of my 360’s has DLC “X” on it….” I need to switch jobs I think


  • ptuco

    HunCity DE: Agreed. Why does anyone even need multiple consoles at home anyway? I get it if your spouse/child is a gamer and has their own setup, but what about other people?



    Doesn’t affect me but it’s cool to know how it works.


  • Jrocker23

    Very Interesting, thank you Major


  • Pixie Ninja

    I ran into this problem for the first time today, as my main console has a spot of RROD, and I got a backup machine last Christmas in order to avoid being without one over Christmas due to my last RROD too…

    Another similar problem I’ve ran into is installed games – they’re specific to the main console too, so the handful that I have installed won’t load from the hard drive. Even if I specifically request this, I get the message;

    “This game can only be played on the console and hard drive it was originally installed on.

    To play on this console, delete and reinstall the game”

    It seems a little bizarre to me, and I suspect I’ll just make do with booting from disk rather than have to delete and reinstall several times. All depends on if I get the same console back I suppose.


  • SegaMasterSystm

    @ptuco; I have two 360’s in my house.. I run a Vista MCE in my basement and it is my only source of tv in the house. Xbox’s are great for gaming and are excellent for MCE extenders. Sadly, this is one feature that seems to be overlooked very much.

    @phawx; You have to be signed in. The auto download will not start untill you sign in to the xboxlive service. So if you signed into the web marketplace and queued something up then that gamertag has to sign in on the xbox to resume the download.

    @majornelson; I really liked this one. Yes xbox101 is great but like you said. The pics are nice. I personally would like to see more of these posted here.


  • ProjectMayhem69

    Wow thanks Major that’s very handy to know. Now I just wonder why my pending items on my main assigned console tend to delay slightly before downloading when I power on my 360. Seemed faster before NXE though. Oh well I still love the new dashboard!


  • Plyr58

    Gee, this would be useful info if TWC wasn’t about to charge me out the rear here in Greensboro for downloads. Don’t even know if I will be able to play online anymore. :(


  • Marco8YNWA

    I can’t download anything from because im under 18, why do Microsoft have this rule please? Isn’t it the same as downloading it from the console? Any help would be great.


  • Col J Matrix UK

    I had this problem a while ago and subsequently posted the solution in the tech support forums after being on the phone 5 times to different 360 tech representatives, who kept telling me to use the license transfer tool, and of course once you’ve done it, you can’t do it again for a little while ;)

    Glad to see the solution up here, it can really drive you nuts.


  • Xbox Sonic

    thank you Larry, very useful tips.


  • Aryzona Bay

    Thanks a lot Major, this was driving me nuts. Also of note this fixed my problem with queued Halo 3 community files as well.


  • N0RDS

    The two things a really wish about Marketplace is SCREENSHOT OF THEMES!! And faster loading page, my web browsing over internet its pretty fast but on markeplace its pretty slow.


  • arn0dbz

    Thx Major ^^


  • Mystakill

    @Pixie Ninja:

    That issue is related to the copy-to-HDD feature, which signs the copied ISO image with information from the console with which the disc was copied to the HDD. Since the original disc is still required to run the game, I’m not sure why Microsoft thought that adding yet another layer of extraneous DRM was helpful to its customers. This is similar to preventing license migrations within an abritrary 12-month timeframe, which punishes customers who just gave Microsoft *more money*.

    At the moment, I’ve spent over two weeks waiting for CS to get back to me on an out-of-cycle license migration for my DLC because the service center neglected to do to the transfer before sending back my last refurb. I recently replaced that 360 after yet another RRoD with a new Arcade unit because I didn’t relish getting back into the dead pool for a fifth 360 refurb.

    CS initially refused to perform the migration, and an email to Larry went unanswered/unforwarded. Now that I’ve got the BBB involved, they call when I’m not home even though I’ve given them my hours and an alternate phone number; that’s been SOP for all of my interactions with Microsoft support. I tried calling the direct line of the person working my issue, but he’s either unavailable or the phone system isn’t working and rings constantly without hitting the voice mail system.

    Microsoft really needs more public-facing, native-language-speaking support folks, who have the authority to actually get things done. Some guy in India named “Steve”, who is barely understandable, who can’t deviate from his scripts, and has no access to fix my issues is not helpful and is costing Microsoft money and customer satisfaction. I will not be buying Microsoft’s next console due to piss-poort hardware, piss-poor DRM, and piss-poor support.


  • Mystakill

    Live theme previews have long been a requested feature, but at this point I’d prefer to see the dashboard and/or download speed improved. It’s painful to sift through the Marketplace when it takes so long to download or display content. I can only imagine how much money that’s costing Microsoft.



    What I want is an immediate starting of download when I queue something on the marketplace from my computer.If I am signed in on my dashboard and I queue something on my computer,will it immediately start now after this,or will I have to sign out and then back in again on the dashboard to start the download.That is just annoying and a major bug.


  • Spybreaker

    I had this happen after getting a replacement 360 from repair. It was odd since everything was licensed and the tech support people didn’t know anything about it. A work around for me was to delete it and then download it again with the download history. Thanks for the tip, I registered so I could post this, THANK YOU I don’t have this problem anymore! Why don’t they just say “/use this xbox” after download all?!


  • prOnBoy

    Thank Major, great blog post – good to see posts from you that are not just updates of market content.

    Would be nice if we could also sort out the HDD install issue as well that a couple of posters have mentioned. HDD install is a fantastic feature and shouldn’t be tied to a single console when quite a few of us move our hard drived around between consoles.



  • Mystakill

    While we’re throwing out ideas related to downloads, I’d prefer that the download queue be system-wide and run in the background regardless of who’s logged in. That’s one of my favorite features from the PSN store. Currently, whenever one of my kids logs in, my downloads stop and I have to login again to get the download queue started again.

    Also, the confirmation dialog after a download is initiated is a time-waster. Just show a pop-up at the bottom of the screen and return to the previous dialog.

    Queue re-ordering would also be nice. The current process of activating a bunch of downloads in the order that I want, and ending with what I want done first, is pretty cumbersome.

    Does anybody at Microsoft actually use the dashboard and/or take customer feedback into consideration? These flaws seem pretty obvious to me…


  • Snowraver

    That’s interesting. It’s good to know because I have on one occasion not recovered a profile at a friend’s house because I didn’t want that console to be the main one associated with the game. Thanks for the tip!


  • Zeipher Burger

    I was wondering why it said “Assigned to another console” even after transferring my licenses to my new jasper console. Good timing.


  • China White II

    Major Nelson, get your team to fix this!! rather then puttign up quick fixes. I’ve had to send in my Arcade 360, and I’m using my friends at the moment. I just tried downloading the new Resident Evil 5 DLC and it won;t download at all, did what you said no go. Simply tie the DLC to gamertag rather then console, if that gamertag isn’t signed in then it won’t work. This is a joke, do I really have to wait for my console to get back now?

    It is quite worrying really, if this wasn’t my friends console but a new one I bought I can’t play Resi 5 content poor show very poor show!


  • Anonymous

    I was actually having this issue, and no one knew what I was talking about.
    Thank you kind sir!


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