April 6th 2010 9:00 am PT

Xbox 360 System Update – USB Memory Support


We’ve just released a system update for the Xbox 360 over Xbox LIVE.


As previously announced, this system update contains support for USB Memory storage devices.


Sometime over the next few hours when you sign in to Xbox LIVE you’ll receive a prompt to accept this mandatory update. If you are signed into LIVE already, you may be signed out and asked to accept the update and you’ll be back online in a few moments.


Read the FAQ on Xbox.com which may answer some of your questions.


Post your comments here, or drop by the Xbox forums to share your experience with this new feature.


Edit: Most USB memory will work, or you can purchase one of the official SanDisk 8 or 16 GB flash drives that are pre-configured and also come with a free month of LIVE.



Xbox 360 By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • tojinomo

    Tried both a 1 gig usb flash drive, and a 100 gig usb drive. Both work (only up to 16 gig of course). Pretty good so far.

  • theuglyteradon

    Hey Major, is there any chance you’ll be posting a full list of what has changed in this Spring update?

  • CyberKnight

    If you have a stick and use half of it for the Xbox, and you put media files on the “standard” partition, will the Xbox be able to see and play media files from the standard partition as well as using the Xbox-formatted partition for game saves at the same time?

  • ZaneXXX

    We are getting closer to the shutdown of old xbox live titles on April 15th. Please give us information on what changes will be made afterward asap. Increased friends list and functionality are very high on my list of wants.

  • PiaCarrot jawp

    KiloOscarZulu, you can know it by top-right corner of menu.
    Disc, HDD, USB Memory or Memory Unit is shown to tell where your game be loaded from.

  • rikietje


  • AnimalNikki89

    @chiruno99 i hope we can, its hassel having to import it everytime etc

  • KiloOscarZulu

    Thanks PiaCarrot jawp. However I did prefer it when it explicitly told me that I was playing from the hdd instead of just “Play Game”

  • AMT

    Good question CyberKnight. I am thinking that only 360 portion would be visable once formatted, but that would be nice to have that option of having music on the rest of the drive :) I will check this later as well.

  • HeLLeVeN

    Thanks MS, downloading Blur Beta to usb flash drive.

  • SCS 85

    The 16 GB limit kinda sucks… and I’m still not able to install DOAX2.

  • Joergen8

    The 360 portion on the USB drive isnt a logical drive in PC terms, it’s just a bunch of Xbox 360 encrypted files of various sizes in a hidden folder. I sure hope the encryption is strong.. I’d hate to see rampant savegame and installed game haxing (wallhacks etc).

  • SilentHunter382

    Well though the memory is small but I will be using this feature for any GoD games that I buy. :)

  • BloodOmen360

    Too little too late, already moved my gaming needs to my 320 gb PS3 when I refused to be ripped off when I wanted to switch my 13 Gb HD for a bigger one. If I want DLC I have enough space and don’t need to plug in extra USB devices. My 360 is now collecting dust, waiting for the occasional exclusive (and only if they’re not also on PC). Oh, and that 320 Gb HD for my PS3 cost me much less of what an official MS 120 Gb costs. Hell, it cost me even less than an official 16 Gb USB drive will cost in my country…

  • Joecr

    To bad the new file management is only for moving files. I’d like to be able to copy files as well with the new system as it would make making a backup copy easier, or making a copy to take to another console & use when signed into live.

  • Shonk jr

    One new feature of the update it seems to store a list of installed
    arcade games instead of re-scanning them every time you dash it

    171 arcade games usually takes 20-30 secs on powerup its instant now
    so they are in a stored text file or something now

  • DieLustigeWitwe

    Joecr, you can copy many files, but not all. User profiles cannot be copied (only moved) some game save cannot be copied, and definitely games you ripped to the hard drive cannot be copied. But I was able to copy most all my DLC, like Rock Band tracks, and game add-ons for RE5, ME2, and GTA IV.

  • Shonk jr

    Major the usb drives are formated fat32 with a 16k cluster size
    on my 16gig drive access speed would be far better with a 64k cluster size

    Can we move the Xbox 360 hidden folder to a pc
    format it to a 64k cluster size then move the folder back

    I presume it would be ok but dont want to try it without the ok just incase
    i loose my data

    Can you ask the people in the know plz if we are able to do that


  • SirRadG

    What exactly are the minimum recommended performance requirements? (i.e. read/write speed). That is pretty important info to know, especially if we’re going to pick up a new USB stick. The webpage FAQ does not provide any kind of quantitative information.

  • Joecr

    @DieLustigeWitwe I was saying that I wanted to copy multiple games at the same time, which you can’t do as you can only move multiple games at the same time. I covered what I’m talking about more over at http://forums.xbox.com/32031270/ShowPost.aspx.

  • Shonk jr

    it seems to be a mix of access time and read/write speed

    8gig class 6 sd card 19meg read write 0.whatever access time = pass
    8gig pny usb stick 29meg read/write 0.whatever access time = pass
    16gig Sandisk Titanium 24meg read/write 0.whatever access time = pass

    8gig sony m2 card 12 meg read write 1ms access time = fail
    Usb Hard Drive 30meg read/write 10ms access time = fail

  • Joecr

    @Shonk jr you must have moved your arcade games to your USB stick. I have a copy on the USB stick from copying each game one at a time & a copy of them on the HDD which is still slow to load them. This might get me to have multiple sticks with at least one per system if it is faster on the USB then the HDD.

  • Shonk jr

    i dont mean to load the games in
    i mean to list the available games in Game Library
    i have loads of games and on powerup or fresh load of the dash
    it has to scan the games and there’s a delay in listing the available games

    the new dash there is no scan it knows what games are installed
    so lists them instantly

  • xJetPacKBlastx

    OK. I know this is a stupid question but why can’t you COPY your gamer profile to USB stick?

  • CyberKnight

    @LightAlexi – You can’t copy your profile anywhere. Your profile can only exist in one place.

    If you go to a friend’s 360 and recover your profile there, then your profile only exists on your friend’s console. The copy that exists on your home 360 is invalidated, and you have to recover your profile at home to get it back (thus invalidating the one you recovered on your friend’s).

    It’s because gamertags/accounts are supposed to be unique, you can’t share them. You can only log into them in one place at any one time.

    It also helps if the storage device where you have your gamertag is lost or stolen (happened to me last year, when I had my profile on an MU). Recover your profile on any 360, and that rogue copy floating around out there is worthless to whatever scumbag has their hands on it. (But I’m not bitter, really.)

  • Joecr

    @Shonk jr I was trying to say that I still have the slow wait time on my console unless I move the games to the USB stick. Which I just tested.

  • Shonk jr


    i moved my whole drive to sticks
    formated my 250gig
    and moved them all back

    they are on the drive now and its instant

  • mccalejk

    Awesome feature for most people, but since I already had a 512MB memory card and 250GB on all three Xboxes, this update doesn’t help me much. What else does it do? lol

  • Jakeulas

    Thanks for adding this support. I look forward to utilizing it since I have 2 xbox’s. One for home and one for travel. Of which, I’m still waiting to find out if there is a work around to connecting an Xbox in a hotel room. The TOS screen proves to be ridiculous for me. I end up having to connect my laptop via wifi, then ethernet to my xbox, and bridge the connection.

    I know this isn’t big for many people, but making a small change would make the system portable.
    Thanks for the show and the blog. I always check and listen during my travels.

  • AMT

    Jakeulas I can help!!! Maybe.

    Not sure how complicated yor method is. Never tried that:

    Another option: Connect with laptop or iphone, agree to TOS. You need to add that devices MAC address to your 360’s alternate MAC address under network. Then change the IP/Sub DNS to match either the laptop or Iphone’s automatically assigned numbers. This will give you a more direct connection. Hope this is of benefit!

    Good Luck. Once I figured the Alt MAC I have successfully connected in hotels as long as the signal was good from the hotel.

  • Joecr

    @Shonk jr Then most likely my issue is that all my files are fragmented. I know it isn’t sexy but we need a tool to defragment the Xbox hard drive since it obviously is not a solid state drive.

  • EveofLight

    OMG! I wish they told me this before I spend $30 bucks on a MS memory card. Oh well now I can use my 4GB USB Flash :)

  • AMT

    What movies *COUGH COUGH* are you guys watching *COUGH COUGH* :)

  • EveofLight

    Works really well, just transferred content in bulk, but wish there was a copy option so it doesn’t completely remove the stuff from the drive also I wish it didn’t sign you out when it did it. Might sell or give away my MU to someone who wants it and get me a bigger flash.

  • PoohBear 19

    I don’t have an extra flash drive hanging around, or else I’d try these things myself, so at the risk of being Captain Obvious,

    1) Can you install retail games to a flash drive, from the game DVD?
    2) If so, wouldn’t the load times be noticeably faster than playing from the HDD?

  • stststststq

    @PoohBear – 1) Yes you can. 2) It depends on the speed of the flash drive.


    Microsoft are not selling the transfer data migration kit anymore.. transfer from a 120GB to a 250GB will take a while with a USB 8/16GB stick..

  • AMT



    Okay bare with me and follow the logic.

    Microsoft allows for USB profiles, etc with April 4th update. L0llip0p on Major Nelson’s podcast says that now she can have 4 people each with a memory device and a profile. Currently 2 MUs and 2 USB drives. Good so far?

    New 360 Slims may have the same feature minus the MUs, just with two additional USB drives. Therefore, 5 ports. One for wireless, and four for profiles. Theoretically, having 6 USB ports would make sense with no MUs.

    Current bottleneck is the USB 2.0 which is capped at roughly 60mb/s. Lets say you have more than one flash drive, and you have a wireless USB attachment. The wireless device is using up some of the 60ms/s. Each flash is at certain points. BOTTLENECKS everywhere.

    What is Microsoft to do? 3.0!

    It has been reported that 3.0 is already in the works for Windows 7 (either finished or for a future update). So, Microsoft is aware. Why not implement 3.0 in new builds. 3.0 allows for legacy support at least for 2.0.

    If Microsoft keeps the USB 2.0 it will have a major bottleneck when there is a wireless device and lets say 4 USB drives rocking. The 360 might not have a choice but for Microsoft to go 3.0.


  • MartyPG13

    Seem to have encountered a bug. Left 4 Dead 2 wouldn’t let me install to the memory stick despite there being enough room as it wouldn’t fit on the HDD. Had to delete stuff on the HDD to get the install option, which then let me select the memory stick as a destination.
    There was 3.2 GB space on the HDD (120GB drive) and 8 GB on the memory stick – the issue didn’t arise when I was installing R6 Vegas 2 with the same HDD space earlier and with 14.8 GB on the stick.

  • ElektroDragon

    Awesome, thank you. Now if only you’d remove the artificial 16GB cap so I could attach a 512GB SSD flash drive. :-)


    @ KiloOscarZulu: Whenever you install a disc-based game to the HDD, it automatically defaults to playing it from the HDD if you start it up from the main Dashboard page. You don’t need to use the “Play from Hard Drive” option to do so.

  • ZaubererGrey

    This works just great. I have two xbox360s and it used to be a mission if I wanted to move between the two. I had to swap HDDs and the one isn’t always connected to Live so the update versions didn’t always match etc, etc. I updated them both today and swapping between the two is now a breeze. Great stuff! Well done!


    @ Jakeulas: I also take a 360 on the road with me a lot to use in hotels since I travel a lot for work. I don’t usually have any problems connecting to the hotel’s internet for XBL, and I always use a wired ethernet connection. The only time I’ve ever had a connection problem was due to something with the hotel’s ISP, and I can usually fix that just by calling the ISP’s help number and have them enable the MAC address for my 360, and that almost always fixes any connection problems.

    Something I noticed with this update is that there are certain 360 gamesaves that will transfer now that wouldn’t before the update, like Dante’s Inferno. However, I was disappointed to find that original Xbox gamesaves still have nothing but the “Delete” option available for them. Is there a possibility that this could be changed in a future update?

  • Holesome

    Great. Thanks for the update with USB support. All works just fine however as many have pointed out there could be more copy/move options to make life easier and save alot of time managing the drives. It took quite awhile to just copy all save games (almost 300 groups of games and saves to parse through) to the USB manually as the transfer options try to copy DLC as well which can’t fit on the USB.

    One other frustrating point is that some saves cannot be copied and must be moved which doesn’t work if you are trying to make a backup of all saves. Below are the ones I ran across but I’m sure there are many more:
    Bejeweled 2
    Sacred 2
    Death Tank
    Hexic 2
    KUF Circle of Doom
    TH Proving Ground
    The Beatles: Rock Band
    Viva Pinata
    Hopefully this issue can be resolved so that a full backup is possible.

    BloodOmen360, you’ve invested so much into playing 360 games (59K GS) that I highly doublt you would just dump the 360 due to an HD space issue and/or new HD cost issue. Even I didn’t want to pay for a new HD but managed to pickup a few for next to nothing. Also, if you were just going to dump the 360 and not use it anymore because of space constraints you could have just as easily gotten rid of old downloads and saves to free up space to continue playing. You obviously have a much bigger bug in your bonnet.

  • EKLynx

    I am pleased with the addition of the ability to use USB sticks, though I am disappointed at the 16GB limit. I understand the want for people to buy the hard drives, but the main reason I want to use a large memory stick is for Rock Band DLC songs with my Profile to take to other people’s places. My DLC currently spans just over 15 gigs with a formatted 16gig USB stick allowing just over 13 gigs of music, thus making me have to remove songs in order to make this possible; this is not including Guitar Hero. Taking my xbox hard drive with is a pain, as the places i go to have their profiles on their hard drives and other DLC songs that I have not purchased, not to mention powering down the xbox and swapping drives when i need to leave, resetting calibration settings every place i take the drive to. Please raise the limit to at LEAST 32 gigs to accommodate the DLC for one game, but preferably to 64 gigs to allow all my DLC and games to be taken with me on one drive.

    (I also have two xbox 360s, one i use as a portable/backup/XNA dev box, which the larger stick would be nice to keep all my DLC for all my games with me.)

  • KiloOscarZulu

    Thanks @MACPH1ST0, but is that true? Before, when I launched an HDD installed game directly from the dashboard, sometimes it would run from the disc. I found that I had to wait several (very noticeable) seconds for the menu to refresh from Play Game to Play from Hard Drive. When the menu text isn’t explicitly saying Play from Hard Drive, how am I to know where it is actually running?

  • Velete

    Bonus note : this update uncripples hard drives from previously banned consoles :)

  • a Master Ninja

    No more locked saves!

    I just threw my DOA4, Fable 2, and Rare saves on a thumbdrive.


    @ KiloOscarZulu: After you install a game on your HDD, you can just go the “Play (game title)” tile in My Xbox, and it will automatically play it from your HDD when you press A at this tile. It might sound like it’s playing it off the disc at first, since it has to check that you have the disc in the drive before it will play, but yes, it defaults to playing off the hard drive if you have it installed. And yes I also noticed the lag in the time it takes for the “Play from Hard Drive” option to show up for installed games in the Game Details after you insert a different game disc. That’s due to the time it takes to access the data on your drive to recognize if the game is installed once you’ve inserted the disc. And also of course with original Xbox games, those will always be played off the disc since those can’t be installed on any storage devices.

  • emattrex

    finally…thankyou major nelson and xbox live, i actually have some space to download things now!!