Xbox 360: How to Install Games to the Hard Drive

On the Xbox 360, you can install games to the hard drive to make them not only perform a little faster, but also keep some wear and tear off of your console since the disc drive doesn’t have to do nearly as much work. It can also help keep your Xbox a little cooler than normal.

** Note – Copying a game to your hard drive does not get rid of the need to have the disc in the tray while you play, so it’s pointless to try to use this to copy games from your friends, etc.

This guide applies to the latest graphical interface. Also, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, since most games are 4 to 5 gigabytes in size.

To install games to the hard drive, go to the home screen with the game in the tray that you want to install.

Install Games to the Xbox 360 Hard Drive - Xbox 360 Home Screen

With the game hi-lighted on the Home screen, you’ll see the Game Details option at the bottom by pressing the X button.

Install Games to the Xbox 360 Hard Drive - Game Details Screen

On the Overview tab of the Game Details screen, you’ll see the Install option which will copy the disc to your Xbox 360 hard drive.

Install Games to the Xbox 360 Hard Drive - Installation Progress

Selecting Install will begin to copy the game to your hard drive. You can’t do anything else on the Xbox while it’s doing this, so just let it run. It will typically take around ten minutes to complete for most games.

Install Games to the Xbox 360 Hard Drive - Delete Game

You’ll know it was successful if the Install option turns into the Delete option on the Game Details screen.

Now just play your game like you normally would, and your Xbox 360 will always read from the hard drive. Note that you still need the game in the tray in order to play it.

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  1. Jacob Davidson says

    Hey Donny, so I have a copy of a game that has a laser burn. If I borrow one of my friend’s copy of the game and save it to the hard drive so I can use my disc as a “key”, will all of my data still be saved?

  2. Makoto says

    I never really installed any game until now but the other day, I was playing Mass Effect 3 and the game always freezed after some time. I tried to suppress the problem by installing it but after 4 or 5%, I have a message that tell me the disc is unreadable. I tried with another game to see if the problem came from my console but it works fine. Is it possible to still install the game with an iso backup ? If so, how do I do it ?

  3. Ken S says

    I’m trying to save COD:Black ops on my HD, but as soon as I select ‘Install’ an error message pops up that says ‘No valid storage devices found.’ I’ve never saved anything to the HD before, so I know it has enough space for it..

    • says

      I would need more information, primarily which model you have and hard drive size. It sounds to me like you might have the 4 gig model, which doesn’t technically have a hard drive, but a 4 gig flash drive. Each game you install requires around 6 to 8 gig of memory, so you would need the big hard drives in order to save any games this way.
      Donny (admin) recently posted..DragonVale: How to Breed a Cyclops DragonMy Profile

  4. BORDO says

    I’ve always been a bit superstitious and started an installed game by first going to game details, but I wondering if this is even necessary. If started from the home page, does it recognize that the game is installed and run it from the HD after doing a disc verification? The reason I got to thinking this was because on earlier versions of the OS, it would show a disc on the home page but in game details it would show a pic of you HD. I can’t really verify so I always trusted it to not be needlessly wearing out the mechanical parts of the disc drive. Thanks in advance for shedding any light on this.

    • says

      It doesn’t really matter where you start your game from if that’s what you’re asking, if it’s installed to the HD it will start the same whether it’s from the game details screen or the home screen. The amount of data that it runs from the disc vs the hard drive is not entirely known though. From my understanding, it runs the bulk of the game from the HD so your disc drive doesn’t need to do as much work. If you have space on your drive, I highly suggest using it.

  5. al bundy says

    I’m playing mafia 2 and i got thru the original story but i want download my ad-on content disc to play the other story modes would a 8 gig hard drive attachment be enough memory space?

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