Microsoft doubles Xbox 360 USB Flash drive storage limit

Microsoft launched its latest Xbox 360 dashboard update a few weeks ago and the company made a big deal out of many of its additional features at the time, including its new Internet Explorer web browser. Now, a previously unannounced improvement that was included in the update has now been confirmed by Microsoft.

Joystiq reports that the amount of USB flash drive storage that can be used via an Xbox 360 console has been increased to 32 GB as a result of the new dashboard update. The previous limit was 16 GB, which Microsoft put into effect in 2010. In a statement, Microsoft said:

The more our customers use their profile and download digital content, the larger the file size necessary to store that content and move it between consoles gets. Therefore we increased the size of the memory to enable our customers to take more of their Xbox profile with them on the go.

Microsoft has indeed provided more files that require more storage via the Xbox 360 console, particularly downloadable games and HD quality videos. When the console first launched in 2005, Microsoft used memory cards for gamer profiles and portable storage that had between 64 and 512 MB of space.

Source: Joystiq | Image via Microsoft

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21 Comments

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i am curious... will this update allow you to re-size your current 16GB partition up to the full 32GB?

because besides the usual 20GB hard drive i have been using a external USB 160GB hard drive with a 16GB section for XBox360 use and i am hoping it will allow up-sizing so i can get the full amount of storage space available to the 360.

How usable is a USB key with the 360? Example: I have an original 20gb drive which is becoming a big problem, for example, when I had to install Halo 4s second disc the other day I had to spend 10 minutes clearing space, and I'll have to delete Halo's files to put anything else on it. I was debating buying a bigger HD, but a 32gb USB key could be a good solution; Does it have to meet any speed requirements or anything?

JustAnotherTechie said,
Does it have to meet any speed requirements or anything?
Yes, it does need to meet certain speed requirements. The 360 will test it and report if it will work or not. I think they used to say if it was ReadyBoost capable, it will work on the 360.

As for how useable - I moved all my content to a USB key with the intent of moving it to a new console (I recently bought an S to replace my Elite) but left the key in.

The next day, I booted up my Xbox Elite and thought the move had failed - everything was as it was and the speed difference wasn't really noticeable. That's how seamless it is!

JustAnotherTechie said,
How usable is a USB key with the 360? Example: I have an original 20gb drive which is becoming a big problem, for example, when I had to install Halo 4s second disc the other day I had to spend 10 minutes clearing space, and I'll have to delete Halo's files to put anything else on it. I was debating buying a bigger HD, but a 32gb USB key could be a good solution; Does it have to meet any speed requirements or anything?

Look on ebay. There are 320 GB (and even 500 GB) Hard Drives @ 60 US$.

Just purchased a friend a 250 one (if I knew sooner that the 320 was only 6 US$ more I would have purchased the latter one) and it's as good as the OEM.

alxtsg said,

I guess the one you posted doesn't work for Xbox 360 Slim?

Either get that one and buy a 360s shell for it or look for a 360 slim version of the same drive.

I bought a 320GB WD AV HDD over a year ago for £38.99, flashed the firmware, placed it in a £1.99 shell from eBay and have been using it ever since in my slim.

O5M3L said,
If they really cared there wouldn't be a limit in the first place.

Agree. The hard disk for Xbox 360 is just too expensive, with the price of 320GB hard disk shown on Xbox website, I can buy a 1TB hard disk in where I live.

O5M3L said,
If they really cared there wouldn't be a limit in the first place.

It's so they can make more money off their crazy expensive proprietary drives.

alxtsg said,

Agree. The hard disk for Xbox 360 is just too expensive, with the price of 320GB hard disk shown on Xbox website, I can buy a 1TB hard disk in where I live.

The markup on the hard drives is primarily to insure that retailers will carry them. Just as the memory module were pricey compared to SD cards.

This all goes back to the decision to offer models without a hard drive as standard. It was widely felt that the cost of the hard drive, which although capacity increased cost did not decrease, hurt the original Xbox. It was less of a handicap than the bad chip sourcing arrangement with Nvidia, which was the #1 handicap, but it did interfere with the ability to have a low cost of entry without bleeding red ink on every sale.

Part of having models without a hard drive meant it became critical that the upgrade be highly accessible, meaning it had to be in the same retail channels most of the consoles were sold through. Those channels put up with have effectively zero margin on the console itself because the software can be so lucrative. Asking them to also carry accessories and peripherals at no profit is too much.

Thus the markup on the drives. That added agility in cost of entry helped beat Sony. It also means less support issues than Sony endures with the PS3. The use any standard 2.5" drive you like approach is great for those of us with the technical know-how but serious drawbacks for the non-technical consumers.

There is no one correct choice. Each has advantages and drawbacks.

Jose_49 said,

Seriously Microsoft. Why not NTFS SUPPORT?!

They are scared of piracy, I imagine. People do that with the PS3.

Jose_49 said,

Seriously Microsoft. Why not NTFS SUPPORT?!

NTFS would entail an absurd amount of overhead for features that have no use on a game console. The Xbox 360 already supports exFAT, which allows for immense volumes without a lot of overhead. It has been supported in Windows since Vista and is what you're going to see used on thumb drives and SDXC cards as they get larger and become more error prone under FAT32.

KSib said,

They are scared of piracy, I imagine. People do that with the PS3.

I don't think the file system matters. Security through obscurity just doesn't work. Nintendo, on the 3DS, stores all downloaded games and apps on a plain, FAT32 SD card and the console has yet to be hacked or compromised.

epobirs said,

NTFS would entail an absurd amount of overhead for features that have no use on a game console. The Xbox 360 already supports exFAT, which allows for immense volumes without a lot of overhead. It has been supported in Windows since Vista and is what you're going to see used on thumb drives and SDXC cards as they get larger and become more error prone under FAT32.


I want NTFS for 4GB+ files

Jose_49 said,

I want NTFS for 4GB+ files

exFAT already supports files that are larger than 4GB. It supports files up to 4EiB in size, which is insanely large.