Turn Your Xbox Series X|S into a Retro Powerhouse

As gamers we often hold dear the games from our childhoods. Offering us golden memories of yesteryear, retro consoles and games are still widely collected around the world today. However, the consoles certainly don’t come cheap and once they bite the dust, we have no other way of rekindling these warm and fuzzy memories. That is, of course, unless you own an Xbox Series X|S.

Over the following article we will guide you, step-by-step, on exactly how to do this. In no time at all you will be playing your favorite games (legally owned, of course) on your Xbox Series X or S. While this also works for the Xbox One, it’s not advisable due to its lacklustre emulation power.

What You Will Need

  • USB thumb drive or USB HDD
  • A Microsoft Developer’s account
  • RetroArch UWP
  • Xenia Canary UWP
  • Safe Exit UWP
  • Durango FTP UWP (optional)
  • BIOS files for Xbox and PlayStation (not supplied here due to legal reasons)

Setting up Your Account

First and foremost, you’re going to need an Xbox Developer’s account. This costs $12 but it is a one-time payment and the only part of this process that costs any money. To get yourself a Developer’s account, simply click this link and sign up.

Now you have your Developer’s account up and running, open the Microsoft Store on your console and search for the ‘Xbox Devkit Activation’ app and open it once downloaded. You will see a string of characters, make a note of these and head on over to Microsoft Partner Center and log in using your Developer’s account. Here, enter the string of characters that the Devkit Activation Kit app gave you. You will notice that your Xbox can now be seen on the page; this means you’re just about ready to rock. Restart your console and proceed to the next step.

Once your console has restarted (this may take a little longer than usual, so don’t worry), once again open the Devkit Activation app and select ‘Activate and Restart’. When your console eventually restarts, you will find yourself looking at this screen:

PXL 20230723 1853407782

This means that you have done everything correctly and are ready to start adding apps to your Xbox to open up its retro greatness. Download the following files:

XBSX2 (for PlayStation 2 games): Click here

Xenia Canary (for Xbox 360): Click here

RetroArch (for everything else): Click here

Safe Exit: Click here

Now, you’re going to need to get them on to your Xbox. To do this, open a browser window on your PC and enter the IP address and port as shown on your Xbox Devkit screen. This will take you to your portal where you can add and remove apps and explore the file system. Simply click ‘add file’ and then on the ‘upload’ button. After adding any dependencies (these will come bundled in with the downloads where applicable) add the programs from your computer one-by-one.

Preparing a USB for your Games


USBs need a little bit of setting up and a few permissions altered before they will work in the way you want them to on your Xbox. Thankfully, there’s a handy tool that can do all of this for you. Simply download it here and follow the instructions to ready your USB for use with Dev Mode.

Note: this is the USB that you will be using to hold all of your games and their associated files. Be sure to use a media with plenty of space.

Go Forth and Game Like it’s 1997

That’s it! Your Xbox Series X or S is now a retro gaming powerhouse. Have fun basking in the retro splendor and remember to share this article if it has helped. Of course, we are always happy to answer any questions, so feel free to let us know in the comments if you need any help.

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