Using large portable/USB storage devices with your Xbox 360. It should be noted that USB storage devices cannot be used for Xbox live marketplace content.
Adding some storage capacity to your Xbox 360 is really easy to do. The best part about using a USB hard drive with your 360 is that YOU have control of what content you have on it. With the factory Xbox hard drive you cannot load any content to it unless its acquired from Live or ripped form CD's. That does not do much for us that want our MP3 collection on our Xbox 360's now. I'm not up for re-ripping my CD's again, nor am I satisfied with streaming as the only means of accessing MY media. I do bring my Xbox all over the place and would LOVE to be abut to use MY content. Hear that Bill, J Allard or Major Nelson.. I bet I am not the only one ;). I don't think the horse is dead yet, is it? Well I will just keep saying it till its delivered via Live or the mod scene works it out.
Another bonus when accessing your music and photos from the "portable device" applet on the 360 is you actually have file view. I was first frustrated with the fact that if I actually could get all of my music onto the stock 360 drive it would be displayed to me in various predefined filters like: artist, song, genre and so on. The problem with that is I already have my music database highly organized; just how I like it. After the filters it is all a big mess again. Fortunately when accessing data on the USB device it resorts to a more familiar file view with your existing folder structure as the organization.
All you need is the following:
If your using a laptop 2.5" ATA drive that has a form factor height of 9.5mm or less then our $19.99 Ultra slim USB 2.0 case is perfect and looks great atop the 360's stock hard drive. Just about any USB 2.0 adapter will work. If you are using a 3.5" IDE drive you will need the appropriate USB 2.0 adapter for that drive.
The Xbox 360 supports removable and portable devices via USB. Most of these devices use the FAT32 file system which is capable of volume sizes up to 2 TB. Windows 2000 and XP can read and write to FAT32 volumes of large size but cannot natively create or format them above 32 GB. In order to create a FAT32 partition and format it above 32GB you will need a utility like Partition Magic or some other drive/partition utility. Windows 98 does support the creation and formatting of FAT32 partitions up to 127 GB in size. If you have 98 installed or a 98 boot disk with FDISK.EXE and FORMAT.COM you would have all you need for up to that 127GB mark pending your drive is installed via the IDE interface or you have a USB driver loaded.
This is a really simple process. First assemble the drive with the USB adapter. Next plug the unit into your PC. If your running Windows XP most USB adapters will be automatically recognized and installed. If you are running an older operating system you may need to install a driver for the adapter
Next create a new FAT32 partition on the newly installed device. Again if the drive is larger than 32GB you will need to use a utility like Partition Magic to create the volume. If the drive is smaller than 32GB you can accomplish this via the "Computer Management" snap in found in the Control Panel -> Administrative tools. Last you need to format the volume. The same rule applies for formatting as well; if it is larger than 32GB you will need some other utility like partition magic to format. Again, windows XP and 2000 does not natively support the creation and formatting of devices larger than 32GB but it does support reading and writing from these large partitions.
Once you've got it all done you should be able to load content to the drive via windows. Plug it into your 360 and go to media and select portable device and bam.. there's YOUR media. Again USB storage devices cannot be used for Xbox Live Marketplace content.
This is a quick tut on using USB 2.0 hard drive with the 360. As soon as I get a little more time I will add a few more utilities that work and a more detailed step by step for those with little PC background.