How to Format an ATA Drive for an Xbox 360

Written by nick miles
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How to Format an ATA Drive for an Xbox 360
An ATA hard drive (hard drive image by iMAGINE from

The Xbox 360 makes use of a Serial ATA hard drive that is connected to the console via a detachable hard drive case. If you want to expand your system's storage without upgrading the system's SATA drive, you can add any type of hard drive, such as an ATA or IDE drive, as external storage. To do this, you must first use a computer running Windows to format the hard drive to work with the Xbox 360.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • ATA to USB 2.0 adaptor
  • Partition Manager

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  1. 1

    Connect your ATA hard drive to the ATA to USB 2.0 adaptor and plug the USB 2.0 adaptor into an open USB slot on your computer.

  2. 2

    Open Partition Manager to format the hard drive. If the hard drive is less than 32 gigabytes, you can format it using “Computer Management” in the “Administrative Tools” section of your computer’s Control Panel. If the drive is larger than 32GB, you will need a partition software like Partition Manager.

  3. 3

    Select the ATA hard drive and create a new FAT32 hard drive partition. This will clear everything off of the hard drive, so make sure no important data is stored on it.

  4. 4

    Select “Format” to format the FAT32 partition on the ATA hard drive.

  5. 5

    Disconnect the hard drive from your computer and connect it to your Xbox 360. You can now use it as a storage device to watch movies and play music without taking up space on your regular Xbox 360 hard drive.

Tips and warnings

  • You cannot store content downloaded from the Xbox Live Marketplace onto an external hard drive.

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