My XBox Transfer Cable Won't Work! |

My XBox Transfer Cable Won’t Work!

By Tim | Games

Jan 11


Xbox transfer cable problems?
There seem to be a large number of people looking for the solution to the Xbox Transfer Cable not being detected, so to save time for those who don’t want to read through my story, here it is:
1. Swap your drives as per the MS instructions (new hard drive installed on the console)
2. Switch on the console
3. Once at the dashboard, plug the hard drive cable into the XBox USB port
4. Wait a few seconds to be sure (apparently, it takes all the gizmos inside that big box of tricks on the cable a few seconds to power up)
5. Plug in the cable to the old drive

If this has worked for you, then please leave a note in the comments section and point others to this site!
Thanks in advance and happy gaming!

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Out of Space

I’ve been a gamer for many years, and greatly appreciated my switch to the XBox platform (from PC) over the past  few of those.

I won’t go into why I moved from PC to XBox, but regardless of platform there are always limits of some kind.
After some time of resisting the urge to upgrade to the latest ‘edition’ of the console, I realised that my 20 GB hard drive was starting to creak at the seams with all the content I had put on it.

XBox Hard Drive as seen on Amazon

I was paranoid about losing my data: what with game saves, DLC (Download Content) and profiles, etc all hanging about on the drive.

So, I read up on all the info beforehand.
I backed up my saved games to a USB flash drive and finally took the plunge.
I bought a pre-owned 120 GB hard drive from Gamestation along with the official Microsoft Hard Drive Transfer Cable.

I was nervous about buying pre-owned.
I’ve bought plenty of pre-owned games before, in fact I rarely buy a brand new game, but I’ve never bought pre-owned hardware.
However, it turns out that Microsoft don’t make new external drives anymore and the only ones available on Amazon were going for around £100!
A pre-owned hard drive was £30 and the transfer cable £15, so that was the way to go.

“I’m going to follow the instructions to the letter”, I thought as I approached the task over the weekend.

I set it all up:
I swapped the old drive for the new one, as instructed.
I switched on the XBox and let it update itself.
I plugged the “big end” of the cable into the old hard drive, as instructed.
I plugged the USB end of the cable into the USB slot of the XBox, also as instructed
and then …nothing happened!
I tried out different combinations, including swapping back the old hard drive, and plugging the cable into different USB ports, including the one at the back of the console.
Still nothing.
I went into the Storage section of the Settings menu several times, but it never even showed up as an external drive.
The hard disk itself was working fine, so I assumed it must be a problem with the cable and resolved to take it back for a refund on the following Monday.

The Solution!

However, I did a quick “Google” for it and found a few posts on the XBox Live forums; had a play, and here’s the solution!

Instead of plugging the “big end” of the cable into the old drive first and then into the console, do it the other way around.

In other words (The bold text highlights the differences from the official instructions):
1. Swap your drives as per the MS instructions (new hard drive installed on the console)
2. Switch on the console
3. Once at the dashboard, plug the hard drive cable into the XBox USB port
4. Wait a few seconds to be sure (apparently, it takes all the gizmos inside that big box of tricks on the cable a few seconds to power up)
5. Plug in the cable to the old drive
I tried this out and bingo, it worked first time!
The transfer screen showed up and away it went.

So if you’re having the same trouble, here’s hoping that it works for you too.
Happy gaming!


This seems to be one of my most popular posts, so thank you all for reading!
If the procedure above has helped you, I would love to hear any feedback you may have.
Did it work for you too? Did you have to modify the procedure in any way?

Why not leave a comment about it below?

If you liked this post you may also like these articles:
Best XBox 360 Games of All Time
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About the Author

I'm Tim Bader, founder of and the Ergonomic Toolbox training course. I am a writer, author, blogger and church leader, and I help people to overcome RSI and live comfortably with technology. When I'm not writing, helping or training people, I live at home with my wife, two teenage kids and Playstation.

  • Tim Bader says:

    Hi Jay,
    Thanks for your question.
    I think what Diehard was trying to say was that he kept the old hard drive in the Xbox and attached the new one via the cable, so that data flowed from the Xbox onto the new disk.
    This is a reverse of what the official Microsoft instructions tell you to do, which is to put the new disk in the Xbox and attach the old disk via the transfer cable.
    I guess it&#39s a case of whichever way works for you!
    Hope you get positive results.

  • jay says:

    HI Diehard, does that mean you transferred FROM console? i

  • Tim Bader says:

    Thanks for sharing what worked for you.
    It&#39s bound to help someone!

  • Tim Bader says:

    Hi, apologies for the long delay in replying – I had an exam to prepare for!
    Thank you for your detailed comment… I may just be me, but it sounds like you have a bigger problem there with the hard drive, which is impacting on the transfer cable issue too.
    Obviously, I don&#39t know your hardware so I can&#39t guarantee results, but have you considered replacing the hard drive with one that fits the slot properly?

  • Tim says:

    I just wanted to share what worked for me. I followed the usual directions and the methods shared here. Nothing worked. Then by accident I found a way that worked. It would only work if I kept the old hard drive connected to the xbox and connected the new hard drIve to the transfer cable. I made the connection as the xbox was loading. First the cable, then the hard drive. Hope this helps.

  • Tim says:

    Have been dealing with this issue on a daily basis. I Have a XBOX HDD that doesn&#39t fit into the slot quite right so I am constantly moving games back and forth. from a 120GB HDD to a 20 GB HDD and vice versa.
    If I plug it in from the steps.
    1.) Turn on Xbox
    2.)Wait until Log-In
    3.)Plug usb portion of transfer cable to bask usb
    4.)wait 30 sec
    5.)Plug in big part to HDD
    6.)Wait a minute
    7.) Move from Xbox log-in to games or what ever, transfer cable screen should pop-up
    8.) If not go to setting storage, if it takes a bit to access to storage devices there is a 50/50 chance the HD will show up.
    Another way that seemed to work more often is
    1.) Turn on XBOX
    2.) As Soon as I see the green swoosh, plug in usb part of transfer cable.
    3.) Wait as long as possible but plug in the big part to the HDD before XBOX 360 logo disappears.
    4.) If it takes a little bit to log-in, it maybe be detecting it (50/50 chance).
    5.) Repeat 6-8 from above
    If you go to storage and it has your snapped in HDD but not the Transfer Cable HDD, fail. Have to shut off the XBOX 360, leave it off for a good minute before trying again.
    If you wait until log-in, I think the XBOX stops looking at the back USB once you log-in. I had more luck plugging it in during the XBOX logo than any other time.
    In my case as soon as It detects the transfer cable, then its transfer cable screen pop-up for almost everything else you do. I typically let the Xbox hibernate instead of shutting off, to keep the detection. But to avoid A Red Ring of Death I have to shut it off
    The Dumb thing is that you have to Shut off the XBOX everytime it fails to detect, rather than just unplug and re-plug. And if you don&#39t plug it in (1 for the USB side and 1 for the big HDD side) and it detects during a magically unknown time period, it won&#39t detect.

  • Tim says:

    You&#39re welcome!
    Why haven&#39t they changed it? – That&#39s a good question and one I don&#39t know the answer to.
    Sadly, one possibility may be that now the Xbox One has been released, 360 instructions will never be updated… but we can hope.

  • Anonymous says:

    Like a charm! Perfect! This was annoying me to no end. Why haven't they fixed the packaged or online instructions yet??? Thank you!

  • Tim says:

    Sorry the solution didn't work for you – frustrating, I'm sure.
    Re corrupt saves on external drives: I've only ever heard of corrupt saves for specific games (where it was the fault of the game developers, not the hardware).
    However, I did a quick search on this and there seem to be some folks who have had problems with USB flash drives, although it seems to be related to plugging an Xbox formatted drive into a PC and moving files around using that (Xbox and PC formats a different, as I understand it).
    …So, in theory an external HDD or USB flash drive should be fine, as long as you use it only for Xbox saves.
    Hope it works out for you and thanks for reading!

  • slim console has always detected my old 360 removable drive, but only if I go into system -> storage.
    it is listed there as a usb symbol with no name (meaning complete blank text).
    It only gives me the options to reformat it or customize (meaning reformat into multiple partitions I think).
    So no.. this did not work for me. And microsoft has no answer. And I&#39m officially pissed off. Thanks for trying to help. I&#39ll just use an external hard drive, tho I&#39ve been told it will corrupt your save files. Is this true?

  • Tim says:

    Apologies for not getting back sooner Brian B, I have been away.
    Did you manage to get this working in the end and did you follow the official instructions, or my 'unofficial' ones?

  • Brian B says:

    For some reason I am still struggling to get the console to detect the drive. The cable is official and the software is up to date – still nothing.

  • Tim says:

    Glad you found it helpful!

  • Anonymous says:


  • Tim says:

    You're welcome!
    I'm glad it worked properly for you: rage-quitting is bad for everyone.
    May you have many hours of happy gaming!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this guide. I was close to rage-quitting with the transfer cable, but your walkthrough sorted out the problem perfectly. Nice one!

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