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How To Add An External Hard Drive To A Playstation 3 Or Xbox 360

Apr 18, 2008
Add More Storage to Your Gaming Console With an External Hard Drive

If you have a gaming console that came with a small hard drive or no hard drive at all, then adding an external hard drive is a reasonably quick and simple solution. Sure, you can replace the original hard drives that came in the system with a larger one, but those laptop hard drives can get quite expensive, especially in the larger capacities. An external hard drive will let you add more storage at a much lower price while at the same time allowing you to control the content yourself. On a system like an Xbox 360, you cannot add content to the built in hard drive unless it is downloaded from Xbox Live or ripped from a CD. With an external hard drive, you have full control of your content, and can easily upload or download new content without much trouble.

Choosing Your External Hard Drive

Naturally, you will need a hard drive and an enclosure. Almost any USB external hard drive will work for your purposes. The main difference is if you are looking for portability vs. storage size. If you have some laptop hard drives lying around, then buy a 2.5" laptop hard drive enclosure. The advantages of using a smaller laptop hard drive are that it will be much smaller and much more portable, and will most likely not require a power supply. However, laptop hard drives usually pale in capacity compared to regular 3.5" hard drives of the same price. A 3.5" external hard drive will store much more content but will probably require an extra power port. If your gaming console is usually located in one location and not likely to move around, a 3.5" external hard drive might be the best solution. Check out http://www.iomagic.com/Products/show_all_results.asp?ProdID=I1000HD35 to learn more about external hard drive benefits.

Formatting Your Hard Drive

Gaming consoles need an external hard drive that is formatted in the FAT32 file system. You can use virtually any hard drive currently sold on the market, as FAT32 can support hard drives up to 2 Terabytes in size. However, the limitation of FAT32 is that it cannot hold individual files larger then 4GB in size. Also, Windows 2000 and XP cannot create or format partitions larger than 32GB. Windows 98 users can only create and partition hard drives up to 127GB in size. So, in order to create a FAT32 partition and format it above the 32GB or 127GB limitations, you will need a utility like Partition Magic or some other drive/partition utility. I highly recommend CompuApps Swissknife, which can be downloaded for free at download.com for PC users. Mac OSX users can simply open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app, choose the desired drive, and click on the Erase. Choose 'MS-DOS (FAT)' and then click on the 'Erase' button. You should now have a hard drive formatted in FAT32.

Once your drive is done formatting in FAT32, it's simply a matter of uploading content to your new drive and connecting it to your gaming console. Simply connect your USB cable to an available USB port on the front of your Playstation 3, or the back of your Xbox 360. Your game console should recognize your new device automatically, and allow you to browse your new files on the external hard drive. Visit http://www.iomagic.com/Products/show_all_results.asp?ProdID=I250HD35 to learn more about an external hard drive that may best suit your gaming needs.
About the Author
Jim Hedgecoth is a veteran freelance writer who writes about computer storage hardware devices such as USB Hard Drives, Blu Ray Drives and other related products. He's a frequent contributor to I/O Magic Corporation, a leading Internet retailer offering data storage solutions.
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