Gaming consoles have come a long way since their introduction in the 1970s.
Nowadays, these consoles have high-end components that are nothing short of PC parts.
Most of these consoles, such as Xbox One, are computers disguised in small gaming boxes.
If they’re so close to a PC in architecture, can you use them as one?
Can You Turn An Xbox One Into A PC?
Although Xbox One is technically a computer, you can’t use it to run the same operations you would on a PC.
Gaming console hardware is less powerful than PC hardware, so you can’t run PC programs on a gaming console like Xbox One.
Even if there were ways to turn your Xbox One into a PC, they would require advanced technical know-how.
In addition, you’re using a device for a purpose other than what’s intended by the manufacturer.
It’s the classic definition of jailbreaking, which can be illegal in some countries and states.
There’s no legal way of doing that.
You may find some people on the web turning their Xbox into a PC, but they can’t install Windows on it.
They can only install Linux on it, which only works on the Xbox original series.
Why Can’t You Turn Your Xbox One Into A PC?
Your Xbox One can be a computer by definition.
It has the same components as a PC with processing and graphical power.
However, you can’t turn it into a PC by simply installing an operating system on the hard drive.
Here are the main reasons:
1. Xbox One Hardware
Like any other gaming console, Xbox One requires hardware components used in a regular PC.
These include a CPU, GPU, memory, hard drive, DVD drive, I/O, communication ports (such as Ethernet and Bluetooth), and AV output.
Most of these components, including RAM, CPU, and GPU, are custom-made, although offered by the same manufacturers as PC components.
In addition, they’re soldered onto the motherboard, making them unable to be sued on a PC.
When the hardware components aren’t compatible with a PC design, there’s a high chance they can’t run PC software.
2. Legal Issues
Even if you could find a way to use your Xbox One as a PC, you wouldn’t want to.
You need to ensure you’re not breaking laws because the manufacturer doesn’t want you to use their product for a different purpose.
Using a console as a PC may involve hacking the operating system or jailbreaking, which may have legal consequences.
For example, you may need to use a softmod or a modchip.
The term, “Modchip,” is short for a modifying chip added to the console’s hardware to change its function.
Softmods are software that alters the device’s software to serve new purposes.
For example, the Xbox Linux project, which turned an early version of Xbox into a Linux PC, used softmods to install Linux on an Xbox.
These are illegal in many countries, including the US, and console manufacturers don’t allow them.
In addition, adding these chips require opening the console’s panel, voiding your guarantee.
3. Manufacturer Policies
Although you may hear stories about turning Xbox devices into a PC, almost all of them are from earlier generations.
They were less strict in allowing other operating systems or changing their functionalities.
However, newer versions, including Xbox One, have robust security policies that prevent such actions.
The primary reason is that the manufacturer wants you to use the console only for gaming.
These consoles are expensive to make, and the manufacturer has to make up for the costs in different ways.
One of the main ways is by selling games specifically developed for the console.
That’s why you can’t play PC games on a console and vice versa.
As a result, they make cross-operations difficult and even impossible to maintain their selling points.
The reverse, however, is not true for Microsoft consoles.
Microsoft has been trying to make PC gaming easier and more attractive by providing different links between the two devices.
The introduction of the Game Bar in Windows 10 and the ability to download console games on PCs are among the most important examples.
Can You Install Windows On Xbox One?
Xbox One has its own operating system, and since it’s a Microsoft product, the OS has to be Windows.
However, the Windows version differs from the OS we run on our Windows PCs.
Xbox One’s operating system is Windows 10 OneCore, the same OS used by Xbox One Experience and Microsoft UWP apps.
This operating system contains many software and hardware modifications that prevent you from installing the general-purpose Windows 10 on your console.
While the original purpose was to prevent pirate games from running on the console, it doesn’t allow you to turn the console into a PC.
Another reason is hardware compatibility.
As mentioned, the Xbox One has all essential PC components designed for console gaming.
These components equal a low-spec PC, so the operating system also must be designed specifically to run these components.
In addition, Xbox One has other components not found inside a regular PC.
Windows 10 doesn’t have the necessary drivers to run these components, and the console requires its specialized drivers through its own operating system.
In addition, you can perform a wide range of things on a PC that you can’t do on a console, which is designed only for gaming.
Windows 10 for PCs would be overkill for consoles.
As mentioned, it’s also a part of the manufacturer policy, Microsoft included.
Since consoles cost more than the final prices, Microsoft sells specialized software, games, and apps to compensate for this loss.
If the console can run on Windows 10, there’s no point in purchasing these apps since users can run all of them on their PCs.
As a result, Microsoft has installed a lite version of Windows 10 to give the Xbox users a similar UI but different functions tailored to their purposes.
That’s why the projects that have been able to turn earlier versions of Xbox into a PC had to install Linux instead of Windows.
Can You Use Xbox One Components On A PC?
Now that you can’t use your Xbox One as a PC, you may be looking for ways to use the old components of your console on your PC and upgrade it.
With all the exciting 4K experience that a console offers, you may consider upgrading your PC to a gaming rig by using its GPU.
Is it doable, supposing you go through the trouble of taking the device apart?
The definite answer here is No.
Although console parts are PC-derived, they’re not interchangeable.
The biggest reason is the form factor, with PCs being able to accommodate much larger components.
In addition, most of these components are onboard and soldered onto the motherboard.
You can’t separate and solder them onto the PC’s motherboard.
Desoldering them requires a high skill level, and the components must meet the PC’s requirements.
Finally, the operating system doesn’t support these components.
As mentioned above, the operating systems should be able to run the hardware, so Windows 10 can’t be used with console components.
Connecting Xbox To The PC
Now that you know it’s impossible to turn your Xbox One into a PC, why not connect the two devices for a better gaming experience?
This way, you can have a unique multimedia experience, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
Here are different ways to do so:
1. The Xbox Console Companion App
As mentioned earlier, Microsoft is trying to integrate PC and console gaming without giving the users an option to use hardware components interchangeably.
One of these attempts is the Xbox Console Companion App that comes preinstalled on Windows PCs.
You need a reliable and fast internet connection to use this app, allowing you to stream Xbox games, control your Xbox, install or uninstall games, and chat with your fellow Xbox players.
The best feature of this app is that it allows you to stream Xbox games on your PC.
The devices are automatically connected when you sign in to the app with the same Microsoft account as the Xbox One.
Then you can enable the Stream option on your Xbox One and play your Xbox One game on the PC through the local internet connection between the two devices.
2. Connect Them Physically
You can connect your Xbox One and PC using an HDMI cable.
Note that the HDMI port on the console should be HDMI-out, and the one on the PC has to be HDMI-in.
Turn off the console and connect the devices with the HDMI cable.
If your computer doesn’t have an HDMI-in port, you can use an adapter to convert your USB port into an HDMI port.
Turn on the Xbox One and wait until the devices create a secure connection.
To get the best gaming experience, close all windows on your PC and go to the Xbox settings to customize them for your PC display.
Playing PC Games On Xbox One
Games developed for PCs and consoles are different.
Therefore, you can’t play your Xbox games on the PC and vice versa.
However, different services allow you to play cross-platform games.
Here’s how you can play PC games on your Xbox.
1. Xbox Play Anywhere
If you have purchased a PC game, you can play it on your Xbox One without purchasing it again.
You can save your progress on both devices and continue your gameplay on either device.
All you need to do is get the latest updates of Windows 10 Anniversary Edition and the Windows on your Xbox One.
Then, go to Play Anywhere website and look for your game.
If you’ve already purchased the game, click on it and select Install to.
Otherwise, you should purchase it.
Select PC > Launch > Open Xbox.
Now, you can see the game on the Xbox app’s Microsoft Store.
Find the game on My Library and click Install.
After downloading and installing the game, you can play it on your Xbox One.
2. Nvidia GeForce Now
As an Xbox owner, you’re aware that some games aren’t available on Xbox One.
For example, you can’t play Steam games on your console.
However, with GeForce Now, you don’t have this limitation.
You only need a fast internet connection since you’ll play your games via Xbox’s internet browser.
Xbox One has two browsers: Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
If you need a mouse and keyboard to play a specific game, you need to open the Edge browser since it supports these devices.
Accessing the streaming platform on your console is easy.
Open Microsoft Edge and go to GeForce Now’s website.
You can choose from three paid and free plans, each offering different services.
Sign up, log in, and start playing your favorite games.
PC Gaming Vs. Console Gaming
If you’ve always played games on your Xbox One, you may wonder if you should stay in the console camp and get a higher-end device or move on to a gaming rig.
With the manufacturers trying to integrate PC and console gaming, you should have little difficulty finding your favorite titles for your device.
However, device specs and capabilities greatly impact your gaming experience.
Here are the main differences:
1. Upgradability And Customizability
As an Xbox One owner looking for a better device, you can feel this difference personally.
Gaming consoles aren’t upgradable because of the closed systems with small form factors.
Everything is soldered, and you can find upgraded components to replace them.
Gaming PCs, on the other hand, offer vast possibilities to upgrade.
You can replace every component with one that matches your preferences and purposes.
You may even turn an average PC into a high-end gaming rig by replacing its components.
However, if you want a higher-end console, you must get a new device.
2. Ease Of Use
Although gaming PCs are upgradable, setting one up can be overwhelming for inexperienced players.
If you don’t know what you want, you can easily get confused by the vast selection of specs on the market.
Choosing the right graphics card is enough to turn your experience into a grueling task of going through an endless list of specs you can’t wrap your head around.
That’s even worse, given the fact that a gaming PC isn’t necessarily and strictly for gaming.
You can perform all other computing tasks on your PC, so finding the right components is even more difficult.
When you finally decide on your components, you must ensure they’re compatible.
On the other hand, choosing a gaming console is more straightforward.
You have limited options, and you’ll be fine with getting the latest models.
And when you get your device, you can use it right out of the box.
There’s nothing to install except for the main connections.
3. Playing Older Games
If you want to play nostalgic Nintendo games, the only choice is a PC.
You can’t play these games on a gaming console unless you have the original console the game belonged to.
However, you can easily play these games on your PC through an emulator.
Although gaming consoles offer 4K gaming, you can have better visual options with PC gaming.
For example, you can have multiple screens to improve your experience or get better visuals with dedicated gaming graphics cards.
In addition, gaming PCs allow you to enjoy FPS rates of up to 120 while gaming consoles are locked at 60.