Advanced game install features on the Xbox app for PC are now enabled by default

Advanced game install features on the Xbox app for PC are now enabled by default

Microsoft is rolling out a new version of the Xbox app for Windows 10 and 11, enabling the advanced installation features that were rolled out a few months ago by default. The features were already available to try before, but now, they’ll be enabled by default so you can install games in your preferred folder without having to jump through hoops.

Being able to choose where games get installed and see their files is important, as it also allows you to potentially modify game files. Mods are important for many members of the PC gaming community, so this is great to see. However, while the feature is being enabled by default, you’ll still need to be part of the preview program in order to use it.

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In order to join the preview, you have to download the Xbox Insider Hub app from the Microsoft Store. Once inside the app, go to the Previews tab on the side and then choose the Windows Gaming program. Once you’ve joined, you’ll start receiving preview updates for the Xbox and Xbox Game Bar apps. Then, install the latest update for the Xbox app – version 2201.1000.38.0 – and you’ll be able to choose a folder to install your PC games using the Xbox app.

Xbox app showing current install location for a game

One thing that’s worth noting is that you don’t choose the location for every game when you install it. You’ll need to head into the Xbox app settings to choose the default installation folder, and all new games will install there from then on out. You can move them to a different folder after the fact, though.

In addition to enabling this feature by default, there are some fixes included in this update. Many of them are related to this new capability, which is probably why Microsoft is comfortable enabling it by default now. There are also some accessibility issues squashed and more:

Fixes in Xbox app version 2201.1000.38.0

  • Fixed compatibility issues with Gears 5 and Slay the Spire.
  • Fixed an issue where enabling advanced installation features for a game causes an access denied error.
  • Addressed various accessibility issues.
  • Fixed an issue that prevents the game folder from being changed.
  • Deleting the game folder no longer causes an issue where drives aren’t recognized in the Xbox app.
  • Fixed an issue that caused game updates to reinstall the full game.

The app also has some known issues in this version of the app, including some games that don’t fully support the new feature, such as Back 4 Blood and Phantasy Star Online 2. You can find the full list of issues below:

Known issues in Xbox app version 2201.1000.38.0

  • Moving a game from one drive to another shows “downloading” in the install queue, but the game is actually being moved, not reinstalled.
  • You may experience issues launching games installed on an external drive.
  • You might see an “invalid executable” error when launching some games after initially installing them. Try restarting your PC to fix this issue.
  • Some games show that an update is available but selecting the update button doesn’t do anything.
  • Starting a game update may take a long time. This includes updates that add content to an existing install, such as a campaign mode.
  • Attempting to encrypt the game install folder from the Windows Shell may cause compatibility issues.
  • Mods for a version of a game on another platform may not work on the Xbox PC Game Pass version.
  • The following games aren’t yet supported:
    • Back 4 Blood
    • Cricket 19
    • Phantasy Star Online 2
    • State of Decay 2
    • Games offering pre-install
    • Note that game files for these games won’t appear in the game install folder. The Xbox app doesn’t currently indicate this but will in a future update. If games outside of this list don’t appear in the game install folder, they are likely also pending support.

If you’re already part of the Xbox Insider program, you should be able to try out the new capabilities right away. Hopefully, we’ll see mod support ramp up in games available on the Xbox app.

[UPDATE 1/18 @ 2:00PM ET] This article originally indicated that this feature is new, but it has in fact been available for a while. Today’s update enabled the feature by default and includes some fixes for the experience.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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