If you are an Xbox user, you may have stumbled across a mysterious option which says, "When Xbox Is Off Turn Off Storage". And if you are confused by what this means, that's ok. It isn't immediately clear what ticking or unticking this option will do to your console.
Thankfully, it is relatively simple to explain. And once you understand what it's for and how it works, you will be able to make an informed decision about what's most appropriate for your needs. And then get back to the important business of actually playing games.
When Xbox Is Off Turn Off Storage: What Does This Option Mean?
Firstly, a quick reminder of how Instant-On mode works, as the option we are discussing today is part of the Instant-On setup menu.
Ordinarily, when Instant-on mode is, well, on, it means that the console doesn't fully shut down (provided you still have it connected to a power outlet).
Instead, the console enters a hibernative state. It significantly reduces the power consumption of the console, but still allows it to perform background processes. Most significantly, it allows updates to download, while the console is "off".
Unless, of course, you select the option to turn off storage when Xbox is off. If you choose this, then the console will not perform any updates while the console is powered down. It does not affect game syncs or saves.
But what the devil is the point of it? Surely it's a good thing if the updates happen when you aren't using the console? Well, in most cases, yes. But there are times when you may not want this to happen.
Why Does The When Xbox Is Off Turn Off Storage Option Exist?
Fairly obviously, this option offers Xbox owners more control over which updates they might want to install. Instead of automatically downloading and installing every update available, it will wait until the console is on again. At which point, a player would then be able to decide whether or not to stop and update, should they wish to.
But arguably the single most important purpose for this feature is for people who use an external hard drive for storage. It's a way of ensuring that you don't inadvertently brick your hard drive.
Let's say you have your external hard drive plugged in. Your Xbox is powered down, which means you have no way of seeing whether or not an update is going on. So if you unplug that hard drive, you run the risk of doing so mid-update. And this could potentially corrupt any data that was being worked on. In extreme cases, it could render that hard drive useless.
So instead, selecting the option "When Xbox Is Off Turn Off Storage" means you can safely unplug the hard drive without having to turn your Xbox back on, to check whether it's safe to do so.
It's a clever feature, and well worth thinking about utilising if you make use of external storage on your console. And now that you know what it is and what it's for, you can decide whether or not it's going to be useful.