How to Transfer Stuff Between a PC & an Xbox

By Andrew Aarons

Media sharing is a built-in feature of the Xbox 360.
i David Becker/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On the original Xbox, you could stream media to your gaming system from your computer with a wired connection and a modded system. However, media sharing through wireless or wired transfers is a built-in component of the Xbox 360. Windows 8 makes sharing even easier, as Windows and the Xbox can communicate and stream all kinds of things over your home network.

Create a Homegroup

Before you can transfer or stream anything to the Xbox, set up your Windows 8 PC for file sharing across your home network. Click in the top right-hand corner of Windows, choose “Settings,” and then select “Change PC Settings.” Click “HomeGroup,” choose “Create,” and then give your new network a name. As long as your Xbox 360 connects to the same router and network name, it will be able to access files on that network.

Share Libraries

When creating your homegroup, you can choose the files and folders that you want to share with other devices in the network. You can either click on libraries directly from the Create Homegroup wizard, or you can right-click on libraries in File Explorer and choose “Share” to add them to the network. Note that while you can pick any files or folders you want, the XBox 360 can only stream audio and video in formats that it recognizes or online videos you play through Internet Explorer 10.

Play To

Windows 8 has a new feature called “Play To” that is set up entirely for home file sharing to devices like an Xbox 360. If you have a movie or album downloaded to your computer that you want to play through the Xbox, right-click on the file in File Explorer and choose “Play to – XBox 360.” Similarly, you can start a video in Media Player and choose “Play to” at any point to send the video to the Xbox and your television and speakers. The video will pause on the computer and resume on the Xbox 360.

Browse Shared Files

You can also browse the files on your computer from your Xbox 360. Once you’ve set up the homegroup and shared files and folders, turn on your Xbox 360, select “Media” from the home screen, and then choose the type of media -- music or videos -- you want to find on the computer. Press “A,” scroll to “Computer,” browse through the shared files and folders to find a file, and then press “A” to play it. The first time you access your computer through the Xbox, Windows prompts you to give the device permission; click “Yes” on your computer before streaming.