Gaming Consoles & PCs How to Transfer Data to a New Xbox 360 Hard Drive Migration is easy with a transfer cable by Eric Qualls Writer Former Lifewire writer Eric Qualls has been covering the Xbox line of consoles and Xbox games since August 2004. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Eric Qualls Updated on January 22, 2020 Photo © Erin Huffstetler Consoles & PCs Xbox Buyer's Guide Tweet Share Email If you buy a replacement Xbox 360 system or just buy a bigger hard drive, you'll need to transfer your data from the old hard drive to the new one. The process is easy, though not necessarily quick, and it transfers all your downloaded games, videos, music, saves, Gamertags, and achievements to the new hard drive. To transfer data between your old hard drive and the new hard drive, you need a special transfer cable from Microsoft. You'll have to buy the transfer cable separately, but they are not expensive. You could always use a friend's transfer cable if you know someone who has one, but it must be the Microsoft transfer cable. Only buy official Microsoft hard drives for your Xbox. Third-party drives may not be properly formatted to allow for backward compatibility. Updating the Xbox 360 Software Before you begin a transfer, update your Xbox 360 software if it isn't current by connecting to Xbox Live over an internet connection. Select the Guide button on the controller. Go to Settings and then System Settings. Choose Network Settings. Select Wired Network or the name of your wireless network if prompted to do so. Choose Test Xbox Live Connection. Choose Yes to update the console software if prompted to do so. Transfer Data From an old Hard Drive to a New Hard Drive When you have the current version of the software installed, you can transfer the data. Turn off your old console and if you are transferring to a new Xbox, turn it off as well. Remove the old hard drive from the Xbox 360 console. If you are using a new hard drive, install it in the console. Ignore this step if you have a brand new system. Plug the transfer cable into the old hard drive and into the USB port on the destination console where the hard drive you want to transfer to is located. Turn on the system(s) and a pop-up message appears asking if you want to transfer data. Choose Yes, transfer to console. Select Start. When the transfer is complete, disconnect the old hard drive and transfer cable from the system. The transfer process can take several hours depending on how much data you have. Be patient. After the transfer is finished, sign in to Xbox Live. It must be noted that this is a one-time, one-way process. You can only transfer from a smaller hard drive to a larger hard drive. If you have less than 32 GB of data, you can transfer from one system to another using a USB flash drive. Content License If you transfer the data onto a totally new system—not just a new hard drive—you also need to perform a content license transfer, even if you used a transfer cable, so you'll be able to play your downloaded games on the new system. If you only swapped hard drives and not entire systems, you don't need to do this. If you did transfer to a new system, and you do not do this, you will only be able to play your downloaded content while connected to Xbox Live. It won't work offline. Here's how to transfer the content licenses: Sign in to XBox Live using the same Gamertag you used when you purchased the content. Select Settings and then pick Account. Go to Your Billing Options and select License Transfer. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the transfer.