This article has been archived and is no longer being updated. It may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.
In preparation for the Xbox One and PS4 we’ve been going through our gadgets and after deciding that we no longer need two Xboxes sold one on eBay. Before I packaged it up to send it to its new home I needed to get all my data and games deleted.
After finding several contradictory sets of instructions online I was able to puzzle out the procedure. A word of caution – if you do this you will be removing all of your data, gamesaves, screenshots, downloaded games and your account from the Xbox. If you do not have a backup you will lose it permanently. Warning given, this is how you do it.
- Go to System Settings and then My Xbox
- Go to Console Settings then into System Info
- System Info will display information about your specific Xbox. You need to write down the long number labelled “Console Serial Number”. In my case this was a 12 digit number with no spaces.
- Back out of System Info and select Memory
- This screen will list your storage devices. Find your Hard Drive and instead of hitting the A key to select it use the Y to go to your device options.
- Select Format and agreed that you really do want to do this.
- The Xbox will ask you for your serial number to prove that you really do mean to do this. Fill in the number you got in step three.
- Select Done and the Xbox will ask you if you are really sure. If you are select yes your console will clear all data and reset itself.
Factory resetting took around 10 minutes to run on my 20gb Xbox and this will vary depending on the size of your hard disk. From a privacy point of view you should be aware that procedure does not destroy all the data on the hard disk – a so called secure wipe – and someone sufficiently determined and skilled would be able to reconstruct a lot of the data. It does however put it out of reach of the average gamer and if you’re planning to sell your Xbox should be done.
This article was first published on 15 September 2013 and is no longer being updated. Information may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.