Gaming

11 Essential Settings to Customize on Your Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X|S offers a seamless setup process, guiding you through the key settings to configure before immersing yourself in the next generation of gaming. However, there are still some important settings that the setup process doesn’t cover. Here are 11 essential settings to customize on your Xbox Series X or Series S before you start playing your favorite games.

Tailoring Your Video Settings

TV and display options on Xbox Series X
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To ensure optimum visual fidelity, you’ll need to adjust your video settings. First, connect your Xbox Series X to your TV using the included HDMI cable, preferably to an HDMI 2.1 port. While any HDMI port will work, HDMI 2.1 is the only standard that supports 4K at 120Hz, as well as features like variable refresh rate and auto low latency.

Once your Series X is connected correctly, go to the Settings menu. You can access it easily by pressing the Xbox button to bring up the guide, then selecting your Profile icon and scrolling down to Settings.

In the Settings menu, navigate to General > TV & Display Options to access the output settings. Start by adjusting the output resolution to match your display (most modern TVs support 4K resolution). After setting the resolution, select “4K TV Details” to see the supported resolutions, refresh rates, HDR versions, and compatible apps for your TV.

Now, return to the display options and choose “Video Modes.” This menu allows you to tweak various display settings. Enable all the available options, except for “Allow YCC 4:2:2.” YCC 4:2:2 is a video compression method that requires less bandwidth than RGB, but it’s mainly useful for compatibility with older 4K displays.

That’s it for video settings, but don’t exit the display options just yet. There’s one more setting you should adjust.

Activating HDMI-CEC

HDMI-CEC options on Xbox Series X
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In the TV & Display Options menu (accessible via Settings > General > TV & Display Options), select “Device Control.” Here, you can enable HDMI-CEC, which allows your Xbox to control your TV and sound system without needing multiple remotes. Ensure that your Xbox Series X is connected to an HDMI port on your TV that supports HDMI-CEC.

Once HDMI-CEC is enabled, you’ll find four additional options. We recommend turning on “Console Turns on Other Devices” and “Console Turns Off Other Devices.” With these options enabled, your TV and sound system will power on or off in sync with your Xbox. If you have a media remote, you can also enable “Console Sends Volume Commands,” which allows you to control the volume using the remote.

However, you may want to leave “Other Devices Can Turn Console Off” unchecked. This setting makes all HDMI-CEC devices turn off simultaneously, which means that turning off your TV would also turn off your Xbox. To avoid any inconveniences, it’s advisable to keep this setting turned off. For example, if you want to switch off your speakers to use headphones while playing, turning off your receiver won’t turn off your Xbox in this case.

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Customizing the Capture Button

Capture and share settings on Xbox Series X
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In the Settings menu, scroll down to Preferences and select “Capture & Share.” Here, you can customize the functionality of the Capture button on your Xbox Series X controller, as well as adjust the resolution and duration of your captures. The most important settings here are “Automatically Upload,” “Game Clip Resolution,” and “Capture Location.”

By default, the Xbox Series X will automatically upload the screenshots you take to Xbox Live. You can choose to disable this feature or allow games to upload screenshots alongside your own. The Game Clip Resolution is set to 1080p SDR with a one-minute recording time. For better quality, we recommend increasing the resolution to 4K HDR, which has a 30-second limit. If you need longer recordings, you’ll need a capture card.

Finally, Capture Location is initially set to the Xbox’s internal storage. However, you can’t change this setting right away if you have games installed on an external hard drive. The Xbox Series X requires a specific file system for captures, so you’ll need a dedicated external drive solely for storing captures.

Creating a Guest Key

Signed-out content restriction settings on Xbox Series X
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Although not mandatory, creating a guest key can be useful if multiple people want to access your Xbox when you’re not around. To set this up, go to the Settings menu and navigate to System > Signed-Out Content Restrictions. Here, you can generate a guest key, which allows others to sign in and use your Xbox without needing a separate account. It’s particularly handy for individuals who don’t want to create an account or for lending your Xbox to others without granting them access to your payment information in the Microsoft Store.

Once you’ve set a guest key, you can further manage content for signed-out users based on ratings. You can also choose whether signed-out users can create accounts and download apps. By default, these settings are unrestricted, so if you want to restrict access to your console, make sure to adjust them accordingly. This is the first step in setting up parental controls on your Xbox Series X.

Personalizing Your Home Screen

Home screen customization on Xbox Series X
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The default Xbox Series X home screen bombards you with Microsoft’s apps and leaves you to navigate through the clutter. Thankfully, customizing it is easy. On the home screen, press the Change View button (opposite the Start button) to access the customization menu.

In this menu, you’ll find various settings, including accessibility options and theme settings. We’re particularly interested in the “Customize Home” tab, which comes preloaded with Microsoft apps. Remove any apps you don’t want by pressing the X button, and arrange the remaining ones using the A button. There’s no right or wrong way to lay out your home screen—it’s all about personalization. However, we recommend adding Game Pass and the Microsoft Store, at the very least, along with your favorite games. If there are less frequently used options like Microsoft Rewards, feel free to remove them.

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Note that deleting an app from your home screen doesn’t uninstall it from your console. Regardless of what’s on your home screen, you can access all your applications in the My Games & Apps menu.

Customizing Your Guide

Guide customization on Xbox Series X
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Before leaving the Customize Home menu, select “Customize Guide.” Here, you can rearrange the tabs in the guide—accessible by pressing the Xbox button on your controller. Although you can’t add or remove tabs, you can reorder them to suit your preferences. For example, you can make the Achievement tab the default tab that opens when you access the guide.

Connecting Alexa or Google Assistant

Digital assistant settings on Xbox Series X
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While the Kinect is no longer available, you can still control your Xbox Series X using voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. To enable voice commands, go to the Settings menu, then navigate to Devices & Connections > Digital Assistants. The only setting you need to adjust on your Xbox Series X is “Enable Digital Assistants.” You can also set the severity of volume changes when adjusting the volume using your voice.

Although you don’t need to change any other settings on your console, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the screen for either Google Assistant or Alexa to complete the setup.

Activating Network Transfer (if you have another Xbox)

Network transfer setting on Xbox Series X
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If you have multiple Xbox systems, whether Series X|S or Xbox One, you can transfer your games and apps across all of them using your local network. To enable this feature, go to the Settings menu and follow System > Backup & Transfer > Network Transfer. Your Xbox Series X will automatically detect other Xbox systems on your network. As long as you have the feature enabled, it will seamlessly transfer games and apps between them. Note that transfers are paused while playing games.

If you have a slow internet connection or want to minimize data usage, you can transfer your games and apps using an external hard drive. Select “Hard Drive Transfer” in the Backup & Transfer menu for that purpose.

Adjusting Your Startup and Power Mode

Startup and power settings on Xbox Series X
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To access your Xbox Series X’s power settings, go to the Settings menu and follow General > Power Mode & Startup. While there are several settings here, you don’t need to change all of them. First, set your automatic power-off time (which is one hour of inactivity by default). Then, decide whether you want the startup chime to play or not. Afterward, proceed to the Power Modes setting.

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The default power mode is “Instant-On,” which allows your Xbox to boot up faster by consuming more power. If you don’t mind waiting or want to conserve electricity, you can switch to “Energy-Saving.”

Next to that setting, you’ll find two additional options. By default, your Xbox will turn on when you say “Xbox on,” and it will turn off your storage when it’s powered off. We recommend leaving the “When Xbox is Off, Turn Off Storage” option enabled. However, if you don’t plan on using voice features, feel free to disable the “Wake Up Xbox by Saying ‘Xbox On'” feature.

Configuring Install and Capture Locations

Manage storage devices menu on Xbox Series X
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While the Xbox Series X comes with 1TB of storage, it may not be sufficient for all your needs. To maximize storage capacity, consider installing Series X games on the internal storage to take advantage of the console’s speed. For other games, you can opt to install them on external storage. Similarly, you can save your captures to an external drive.

Unfortunately, you can’t use both internal and external storage concurrently like on the PS5. Nevertheless, it’s good to know where to find this setting. Go to Settings > System > Storage to access it. From there, select your preferred storage device as the capture or install location.

Signing in with Your Controller

Controller sign-in setting on Xbox Series X
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During the setup process, the Xbox Series X doesn’t explicitly mention that you can use your controller to automatically sign in to your account. To configure this feature, go to the Settings menu, then navigate to Account > Sign-In, Security & Passkey. Here, you can modify your sign-in preferences, such as requiring a passcode each time you power on the console, or only when making purchases.

By default, “Instant sign-in” is enabled, meaning your primary account will automatically sign in when no passcode is required. You can change this to enable only “Instant sign-in with this controller.” If you have multiple controllers and users, you can assign each account to a specific controller, providing both security and convenience.

For more gaming-related content, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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