How to Replace a Xbox 360 Hard Drive With a Laptop Hard Drive

by Ryan Bauer ; Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • 2.5-inch laptop hard drive

  • 2.5-inch USB external enclosure

The Xbox 360's own hard drive can only hold a limited amount of data. Once the drive is full, the user has to either upgrade to a larger drive, or look into using a computer hard drive to store additional data.

To use a computer hard drive, it must be interfaced through one of the Xbox's USB ports. It is not possible to plug the drive into the regular hard drive port. To connect it to the console, you will need an external USB enclosure made for 2.5-inch drives.

Laptop hard drives are a convenient choice for this task. They are quiet, and can be run directly from the power source provided by the USB connection, without needing a dedicated power cord.

Once the drive has been installed, media files such as music and movies can be played directly from the drive. An official Xbox 360 hard drive or memory card must be used for game saves and official Xbox Live Marketplace downloads, however. The Xbox won't allow you to save these files on a laptop hard drive.

Open the USB external enclosure case. Depending on the model, the cover will either snap off, or will come apart after removing the screws that secure it in place. Inside the enclosure, there will be one cable, which contains the wires for both data and power. Plug that into the laptop drive, observing the plastic tabs in the cable that prevent it from being inserted in the wrong direction. If you encounter resistance, flip the cable and try again.

Screw the laptop hard drive into place using the screws that were included with the enclosure. These will usually insert through holes in the rails located on either side of the drive. Once the drive is installed, replace the enclosure's cover, putting back any screws that were previously removed.

Plug the enclosure's USB cable into the single USB port on the back of Xbox. Though there are also USB controller ports on the front of the device, only the port on the back has been specifically designed for use with data drives. Turn the Xbox 360 on, and it will automatically recognize the drive.

Tip

  • If your laptop hard drive uses an SATA connection instead of the standard IDE, you will need an enclosure made for SATA drives. You will still need a memory card or official Xbox 360 hard drive to save games and Xbox Live Marketplace downloaded content. Plug the enclosure's USB cable into your computer to copy files directly to the drive. They will then be usable on your Xbox. A USB thumb drive can also be used, though it will provide less storage space.

About the Author

Ryan Bauer is a freelance writer located in Ozark, Missouri. He has written numerous articles and books, including "How to Improve Your Credit Score 100 Points in 100 Days." Bauer is an experienced automotive mechanic and computer technician.