External Hard Drive Keeps Disconnecting on Xbox Series X (SOLVED)

It’s really annoying when your external hard drive keeps disconnecting on your Xbox Series X. Especially when it kicks you from a game!

What can you do? Is there a solution? Unfortunately, it’s a pretty common problem. After hours of frustration and troubleshooting, I managed to find a solution that worked for me. Hopefully, it will work for you too.

WD elements external hdd

External Hard Drive Keeps Disconnecting on Xbox Series X

Unplug External Hard Drive, Wait 10 Seconds, Reconnect

Here’s a simple solution that often fixes the issue. Unplug the external hard drive from your Xbox Series X, wait 10 seconds, and then reconnect it to the same USB port. It should stay connected at least long enough to transfer games.

Try a Different USB Port

To rule out a faulty USB port, try plugging the external hard drive into a different USB port on your Xbox Series X. You might have to cycle through USB ports until you find one that keeps a reliable connection.

Power Cycle Xbox Series X

Disconnect the external hard drive from your Xbox Series X along with any other USB devices. Hold down the Xbox button on your controller and select Shutdown Xbox. Next, unplug your Xbox’s power cable.

Hold down the Xbox button on your console for 60 seconds while it’s turned off and disconnected from the power. Reconnect the power cable and external hard drive and then power on the console.

For most people power cycling their Xboxes stops their external hard drives from disconnecting at least for a few hours.

Check for an Xbox Update

Some Xbox updates fix issues with connecting to external hard drives. Your Xbox should automatically update its firmware, but in case you haven’t been connected to the internet for a while, head to Settings, System, and Updates. If you see a notice that says “No Console Update Available” move on to another fix.

Set Power Mode to Instant-on

Instant-on consumes a bit more power, but it seems to help keep the external hard drive connected.

Disable Turn Off Storage When Xbox is Off

On the Xbox Series X Power & Startup options, you’ll see an option labelled “When Xbox is off, turn off storage” and turn it off. You will need to restart your Xbox for the settings to be applied.

Note: You won’t see the option to turn off storage if you have selected Energy Saver mode.

Turn Off Your Xbox Controller

I know, you won’t be able to play games without the controller. But if you’re just trying to transfer files either to or from the external hard drive, you don’t need the controller.

There are lots of cases where people mentioned their external hard drives disabled their Xbox controllers, so it won’t hurt to turn it off for the time being.

If a game was being transferred but the hard drive was disconnected, it will resume again automatically when the hard drive is reconnected. You won’t lose any of the installation progress. So you don’t need to interact with the Xbox at all during that process.

P.S. Is your Xbox controller disconnecting from the PC?

If Using an HDD Enclosure, Try a Different One

A lot of people are buying HDD enclosures and using them with old hard drives to expand their Xbox storage. It usually works, and it’s a budget-friendly way to make your own external hard drive.

I had this issue. I bought a very cheap enclosure for a 2.5″ SSD to use on my Xbox. My Xbox detected it but it would disconnect randomly and I would have to keep unplugging it and plugging it back in. I would have to disconnect and reconnect it multiple times when transferring a game. It also wouldn’t let me run games from the external hard drive.

The transfer speeds to the external SSD were very slow too (but transferring back to Xbox’s internal storage was very fast). I bought another enclosure, and the transfer speeds were lightning fast and it didn’t disconnect at all.

The problem is Xbox doesn’t work well with some hard drive enclosures, particularly very cheap and off-brand models. If you’re using an enclosure, I recommend buying a new one.

I like this UGREEN 2.5″ USB C 3.0 Hard Drive enclosure.

Reformat External Hard Drive

You might need to format your external hard drive again. Head to Settings, System, and select Storage Devices. Choose your external hard drive and select Format. Formatting will delete all the data on the drive, so make sure it’s what you want.

Factory Reset Xbox Series X

Finally, factory resetting your Xbox Series X could be the solution. It’s best left as a last resort, though. The good news is you can reset your Xbox without deleting all your files and games. Before you do this, I would disconnect the external hard drive.

To reset an Xbox Series X, head to Settings, System, and Console Info. Select Reset Console and choose to either delete or keep your data. When the process finishes, reconnect your external hard drive. Hopefully, it stays connected.

Buy an Xbox-Recommended External Hard Drive

I suggest buying an Xbox-certified external hard drive. Seagate’s Portable 2 TB HDD is a good option.

If you want lots of bulk storage, I would go with the Western Digital 4 TB External HDD. Western Digital Elements is a good choice because it has an external power source.

You could also go with the Xbox expansion card. 

The Bottom Line

It’s very frustrating when an external hard drive keeps disconnecting from your Xbox Series X. Most of the time, disconnecting and reconnecting does the trick, and then power cycling will keep the problem at bay for a while.

Did you manage to fix your external hard drive on the Xbox Series X? If one of these solutions worked for you, let me know which one in the comment section below. Also, drop a comment if you have an alternative solution.


  • Timothy Gagnon is the owner of My Portable Office. As a kid, he's always had a fascination with electronics and never passed on the chance to disassemble and reassemble them. When he's not taking a hammer to his electronics, he can be found playing with his cats or writing about his latest discoveries on My Portable Office.