Xbox360 Elite Console – Microsoft’s oversight and Data Migration Kit Failure

So quick and to the point. If you play video games and are thinking about upgrading your hard drive or moving to a new system keep reading. Otherwise… how is the weather?

So Microsoft wants you to believe that transfering data from one xbox hard drive to another is extremely difficult and you need special cables and CDs.  I too fell to this misconception and was calling around trying to get a hold of said cable and CD.  Well, you can’t find them… anywhere. Why is this? Microsoft no longer allows private retailers to sell them.  Not only this but if you upgrade to one of their premiere systems then you can call them up and ask for one.  If of course you are willing to spend another $15 and wait 1-2 weeks for it to ship, which is exactly what you want to do after just spending money on a new console.  So because of my impatience and curiosity, I looked even deeper.

I called Microsoft’s customer support, they were helpless. They were not sure what to do, how to do it, and what the limitations were if certain things were done.  I had an idea of how to get most of what was needed accomplished for the data transfer but they just read off of their scripts.  (And to be fair one rep was seemed to know her stuff and gave the okay on recovering gamertag to get most of the content over.) Basically there are three things that need to happen:

  1. Gamertag needs to transfer to new machine
  2. Get data (game saves, videos, downloadable content, etc. to new machine hard drive
  3. Transfer licenses of said content “in order to view on new hard drive without being logged in to xbox live

*note I put quotation marks around step 3, this is their major sticking point for using their method*

Microsoft wants you to believe that you NEED to get the data transfer cable, the old hard drive, AND a NEVER used new hard drive to make this happen. This means pay Microsoft $15 for some cable and CD and wait 1-2 weeks.  Oh, and a computer to be on the web for license transfer.  They want you to plug the data transfer cable in to USB slot on old xbox with old hard drive still plugged in and then plug the new hard drive into data transfer cable. This seems easy, and then install the CD and transfer data.  Then go to and log in to xbox live and then start license transfer.  You have to make sure the licenses are registered to your xbox live account (perhaps they are on multiple machines) and you are okay with losing them on those machines.  You can only do this once a year and it has to happen close to when the data is being transferred and the new hard drive is plugged in. If you don’t do all of this you will lose all of your data and will have to start over (they don’t give details.)

Well, this is crap.  All you need is the computer, a memory card, and an internet connection.  I know because I just did it!

  1. Memory card to transfer all saved game data and gamertag profiles to new hard drive
  2. Internet connection for new xbox hard drive to download all marketplace content (map packs, car add-ons, other game add-ons) once you are logged in with your gamertag

It really was that easy, the only time consuming part was the 3gigs of downloads I had to do to get all of my content back. As long as I signed in to my gamertag profile this was easy, nothing I wanted to download gave any issues about not having licenses.  In fact, most said “I had already downloaded but do I want to download again,” and I just chose “Yes please.”

and 3. Transfer licenses using computer connected to xbox live website

I actually still did this just for piece of mind.  The only downside I think I saw was that if for some reason I was not signed in to my profile then I could not view my videos, pictures, or whatever.  But to be honest I have NEVER logged in to my xbox and not signed into my profile. Perhaps if there were multiple users of an xbox then to see certain videos you would have to be signed in to that person’s gamertag profile (IF you did not transfer licenses.) but come on, how often would this happen? really?

Point being, they should make this a lot more clear. You don’t need to spend any money on another cable. Just use a memory card to transfer important stuff and while logged in download the content again. But IF you have multiple users on your xbox then you might want to include a license transfer in your steps to make sure everyone can see your content if not logged in to your profile.

That’s it, that is my rant. I am glad I did not wait for the cable, spend the extra money, or had to deal with any more Microsoft customer service script readers.

Next challenge: Using both of my Xbox’s at the same time on home network with both having open NATs….




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