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

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

It is important to be able to choose where to install games and see their files, as it also allows you to modify game files. Mods are important to many members of the PC gaming community, so it’s great to see. However, while the feature is enabled by default, you will still need to be part of the preview program in order to use it.

To join the preview, you must download the Xbox Insider Hub app from the Microsoft Store. Once in the app, go to Previews tab on the side then choose Windows Gaming software. Once you join, you’ll start receiving preview updates for the Xbox and Xbox Game Bar apps. Next, install the latest Xbox app update – version 2201.1000.38.0 – and you’ll be able to choose a folder to install PC games using the Xbox app.

The Xbox app displays the game's current installation location

The only thing worth noting is that you don’t choose the location of each game when you install it. You’ll need to head into the Xbox app settings to choose the default install folder, and all new games will be installed there from then on. 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 are related to this new capability, which is probably why Microsoft is comfortable enabling it by default now. There are also some broken access issues and more:

Fixes in Xbox app version 2201.1000.38.0

  • Compatibility issues with Gears 5 and Slay the Spire have been fixed.
  • Fixed an issue where enabling advanced installation features for the game would cause an Access Denied error.
  • Various access issues have been resolved.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented changing the game folder.
  • Deleting the game folder no longer causes an issue where the drives are not recognized in the Xbox app.
  • Fixed an issue that caused game updates to completely reinstall the game.

The app also has some known issues with 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 with Xbox app version 2201.1000.38.0

  • Moving a game from one drive to another shows the “download” in the installation queue, but the game is actually moved, not reinstalled.
  • You may have problems playing games installed on an external drive.
  • You may see an ‘Invalid executable’ error when you run some games after initially installing them. Try restarting your computer to fix this problem.
  • Some games show that there is an update available but selecting the update button does nothing.
  • It may take a long time for the game update to start. This includes updates that add content to an existing installation, such as campaign mode.
  • Attempting to encrypt the game installation folder from the Windows Shell may cause compatibility issues.
  • Mods for one version of a game on another platform may not work on the Xbox PC Game Pass version.
  • The following games are not yet supported:
    • back 4 blood
    • Cricket 19
    • fantasy star online 2
    • state of decay 2
    • Games that offer preinstallation
    • Note that game files for these games will not appear in the game’s installation folder. The Xbox app does not currently mention this but it will be updated in the future. If games outside of this list do not appear in the game’s installation folder, it is also possible that they are waiting for support.

If you’re already part of the Xbox Insider Program, you should be able to try out the new capabilities right away. We hope to see an increase in mod support in games available on the Xbox app.

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

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