USB Memory Support for the Xbox 360 coming April 6th


On April 6th, we will be releasing a system update over Xbox LIVE for your Xbox 360 that will allow USB flash drives to be used for storing profiles, game saves, demos and more.  I’ve been testing this feature out for a few weeks, and I have to say it’s really great. Once you take the system update on April 6th, you’ll be able to connect your USB flash drives to your console and head over to the memory section to configure your new storage device. Once you do that, the system will conduct a one time performance and integrity check to confirm the drive is working properly. You will then be able to configure how much storage to use on the device, up to 16 GB. The remaining space on the flash drive will be accessible by your PC or Mac. USB Hard drives may work, but like flash memory, you’ll only be able to use up to 16GB of space. Since performance on flash based USB storage is usually better, I highly recommend using flash based instead of spinning media like a hard drive…it’s just going to give you a MUCH better experience.


We’ve also enhanced the memory management functions, so you’ll be able to have better control on what you want to copy or move between storage devices.


A couple of points: 

  • You can have 2 devices connected to the console at a time, enabling up to 32GB of simultaneous storage.
  • The system won’t just configure the device once it is connected to the console. You’ll need to head to the memory area in system settings, select your USB Device, and choose from Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or Customize (you can choose how much memory you want configured for Xbox360 from the free space on the device.) 

While any flash drive can be used, we are partnering with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 branded USB flash drive in May that comes pre-configured out of the box and ready to go. I’ll provide links to those drives once they’re available. Until then, starting April 6th (when we release the system update) you can pop any flash drive over 1GB into your Xbox 360 and configure it as storage.


We hope you’ll enjoy this flexible new way to manage your Xbox 360 profile and game data.




  • The Phazer

    So, y’know how six months ago third party memory units were banned under the notion that it was too easy to modify the files for people cheating, and not at all about trying to sell more memory cards (in retrospect, clear out the existing stock)?

    And you know how this clearly directly contradicts that?

    What’s up with that.

    Still, good news overall, even though the 16 gig limit is arbitrary, and the (over) price of the hard drives is still the critical issue.


  • Wiizpig



  • Joefw

    At Matthew M G

    Exactly, just sell a cradle already so we can put whatever size drive in that we want. Sell it for a reasonable price (all it would be is a plastic shell with a few wires, who are we kidding), and let users decide what size drive we want. Microsoft makes money on essentially just some plastic (which would probably just cost them cents to make, and sell for like 40 dollars, so essentially all profit on their part), and users finally get the storage we need at a reasonable price. Win win for both sides. I would for sure buy more games, movies and content if I actually had room to put it all.

    Sure, once they unlocked the hard drive, savvy users would probably just crack open their current HDD modules and plop in their own HDDs, but Joe average probably wouldn’t. I hope when the rumoured Slim 360 comes out, that they actually do exactly what Sony did. That would make me happy, as my water cooled 360 sometimes RROD’s (turn off the pump, let the GPU heat up a bit, and she’s good for another 6 months), and I wouldn’t mind a better quality console.


  • Doug DeJulio

    Question: when you say “two devices”, do you mean “two USB devices”? Can I plug in two MUs and two USB devices at the same time, for a total of four pieces of removable media at once?

    The reason I’m asking is, we have an XB360 at the office, and we play a lot of Rock Band on it. But a bunch of us have our own XBoxes at home too. Right now, only two of us can use our home identities on the office XBox at once, because there are only two MU slots. If we can use two MUs and two USB devices at the same time, that would let all four of us plug our profiles in at once, which is perfect for Rock Band.

    (For the same reason: please try to talk the engineers into bumping the limit up to four. You can have four controllers, you can have four profiles logged in at once, please let each person have their own USB storage to use so this all gets simpler.)


  • n3rfherd3r

    God this is so awesome


  • waldo15

    Glad to hear the news Major but gotta say I am a bit dissapointed by the limitations you guys are setting (bummer!!) .

    16GB limit on Flash due to the tech limit? That’s rather unusual as I have seen a fair share of USB flash drives in the 32GB range, up to 128GB.

    And of course limiting the number of devices that can be attached is yet another crazy move. good to hear I can have a system with 32GB of Flash, but oh sweet would it be to have one with much more storage… oh wait, you guys sell an overpriced HDD for 250GB? I see…


  • Doug DeJulio

    My guess on the reason for the 16GB limit is, look at how it’s going to work. The individual files you store aren’t going to show up as individual files when you plug it into a PC — that would make both piracy (copying data) and cheating (patching content) waaaay too easy. Instead, there’s almost certainly going to be one big complicated file with all sorts of cryptography on it, so tweaking just one bit in the file renders the whole thing corrupted.

    On the one hand, powerful as the XB360 is, asking it to do too much cryptography transparently under the hood would have an impact on performance. And on the other hand, the bigger the file is, the more likely a random error (eg. due to hardware) would creep into it, destroying all your data. It’s easy to imagine these are the reasons for the limits, and not some attempt to protect hard-drive sales. So it’s still based on practices people often don’t care for (strong DRM and extremely closed data formats), but not necessarily the “we must protect hard drive sales” practice people are assuming.


  • Sneltje

    Hmmm that’s just fine, but still not enought to install Blue Dragon on it as it requiers 19GB LOL! Not that you want to install that on you flash drive but I though it’s funny to mention it.



  • EXL Unit

    Major! This is the best news I have heard in a very long time. It’s about time that this has been added. Very nice thank you!


  • modemman11

    @Doug DeJulio, i think it’s pretty obvious he’s talking about a max of 2 USB devices.


  • NeoRatt

    This is good news…

    Is the storage then tied to that specific console or are you allowed to float the storage between consoles easily without having to reinstall and such?

    One of my major disappointments for the game installs was that when I go to another 360 the installed game won’t work on that console.


  • ElektroDragon

    It would be an even better experience if you didn’t have an arbitrary 16GB cap on it just so you can continue to sell hard drives for 8X more than market value.


  • mrfusiononcar

    with most things that needed USB ports i.e. rock band and guitar hero going wireless the USB ports are a bit useless till now. I wouldn’t say that hte memory cards or use less since some of us might need to use the USB still for charging our controllers to using a USB keyboard. Now the real question is will the USB be used for game saves or for your profile or both. I myself like to still use my memory card which is 512 for jsut my profile and a few game saves and the 16 gig flash for a way to transport bigger files i.e. videos or more game saves.

    I will make files transfer better al carte from say my 120 to my 250 HDD instead of having to re-download everything via Account Management. But over all using USB flash drive which everyone should have at least one is more accessible and more universal than a memory card. Now Microsoft is getting rid of one of their first party accessory and giving it all to 3rd parties, though there is a partnership with San Disc. Over all its a win win for both sides, I just hope the San Disc flash drive won’t be 4-50 bucks but like typical flash drives in the 25-30 dollar price range.


  • Gonzo345

    Hey people!

    I can assure you that the “Sandisk” flash for Xbox 360 will be out (at least in Europe) at 11/5/2010. I don’t know how much it will cost, but I have seen a foto and a date confirmation!


  • Twisk

    Awesome first step. Next step that I’m excited for is when I can hook up a 1 or 2 TB external hard drive to my 360 and install all my 100+ games to it! …so excited for when that update comes one day soon!!


  • aStrangeDisease

    Thank you. This is good news. I wont need to buy that new HDD after all.


  • Misaki Ki

    Ew, only 16 GB? Horrible.

    Of course, like others, I believe it’s due to the hard drives they want to sell. lol.


  • TheMovieMiguel

    so can we use this to copy our profiles now?
    will there be any benefit to keeping the old memory units?


  • itzallgud

    Always working to improve…it’s much appreciated. BTW, sorry about SU 😦


  • dahcwon187

    I cant wait for this I’ve been using a 15gig first gen hard drive and i to cheap to buy a new one


  • Hardtrget

    I’m sorry but this is bullshit. The system obviously work but limiting it to 16gig is just a money grab so MS can sell more Hard Drive at crazy inflated prices. I’d love to upgrade my 20gig HD to one of the new ones but the prices are ridiculous

    The fact that I can’t put in a larger HD and have multiple 16gig partitions is also just silly.


  • Champipple D

    It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than we have now and IDK about you, I didn’t think we’d ever get USB storage.

    Now let’s work on getting MP3 support? 🙂


  • XenoLair

    2 things;
    I hope Ill be able to transfer ALL saved games to my HDD, also the ones that couldnt be transferred before.
    Why only 16GB? More FAT32 or NTFS support would be nice. I’m definitely gonna be using this, but not with flash memory, but with a HDD so its sad to see Ill only be able to use 16GB.


  • Daphoid

    Happy indeed!

    People complaining about the size limit aren’t thinking about the performance issues.

    As Larry hinted in his post, a flash based USB drive will perform *much* faster then a spinning external hard drive connected via USB.

    If you plugged in say a 250GB external hard drive it would be really slow over USB 2.0, it’s just not that fast of a connection.

    And you can already access movies / videos from your PC with your 360 anyways so just store the content there and view it on your Xbox.

    This is an awesome feature, I can now move my girlfriends 100 KB borderlands save file to her 360 🙂

    – CG


  • Sticky Owens



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