Xbox 360 | Troubleshooting FAQThis is a featured page

So your Xbox 360 isn’t working? Here’s a few things to try. The sections below are categorized by symptoms. This isn't a complete list and hopefully other users will assist as they find solutions to their issues.

System not powering up
If your system isn't powering up, the first thing you should try is to make sure all the connectors are plugged in. If that doesn't work then try the following:

(1) Make sure the connection between the power supply connector on the back of the system is securely in place by gently pulling on it to make sure that it's fully locked in place in back of the Xbox 360.

(2) Make sure that the cord connecting the power supply to the outlet is firmly in place by pushing firmly on the connector to make sure it's all the way in.

(3) If you're connecting your system directly to a power outlet, make sure the power strip is ON and functioning. More expensive surge protectors have breakers or fuses that may be triggered during a power spike, so make sure those are in order. If your surge protector has a fuse, check it by removing it and looking through the clear window. There should be no burn marks inside the glass and you should see no breaks in the filament. If you see any burn marks or the filament is broken, replace the fuse in the surge protector with a new one.

(4) Ensure that you're connected into a properly grounded outlet. While the Xbox 360 should work without proper grounding, doing so could damage your system and it's not recommended.

(5) One final step is to check all the pins and cables on your connectors. While both are fairly well protected, sometimes the plastic can become brittle and more often Fido makes a new chew toy out of your $30 cables. If your cables are damaged, your best bet is to simply purchase new ones. You can purchase new AV cables from your local game store. If you need a new power cable, be prepared to pay Microsoft a pretty penny for it. If you’re crafty with a file, you just file off that annoying bump on the power supply, in which case any ordinary $3 computer cable will work.

If all these steps still do not yield any signs of life out of your Xbox 360, go to the warranty contact information section for instructions on getting your 360 repaired by Microsoft.

Freezing Errors

If your Xbox 360 freezes, like when you're playing a game and it makes a popping sound and you cannot do anything, here is the recommended procedure:

1: Sue Microsoft for issuing such poor-quality consoles

2: Use the money from the lawsuit to buy a new Xbox 360 and a really freakin long warranty just in case they screw you over again.

3:Remember that this doesn't mean you hate Microsoft; you only hate today's economy for ripping us all off to give money to people who need it least.
Red ring errors
If your Xbox 360 is displaying a red ring around the power button instead of a green one, here are some troubles shooting techniques.

If you see all four red lights blinking, first ensure your video cables are properly plugged in. Currently, unplugged AV cables are the only know cause for all four blinking light errors.

If you're seeing three red lights, this indicates general hardware failure. Try Microsoft’s suggested "repair" procedure:

(1) Restart the console.

(2) If restarting the console does not resolve the behavior, follow these steps:
a. Turn the console off.
b. Unplug all the power and AV cables from the console.
c. Unplug the power cord from the wall socket.
d. Firmly reconnect all the cables.
e. Turn on the console.

(3) If these steps don't resolve the behavior, turn the console off, remove the hard drive, and then turn on the console. If the 3x Red LED error light is no longer displayed, turn the console off, re-attach the hard drive, and then turn on the console.

(4) Examine the lights on the power supply. When you turn on the console, the power supply light should illuminate green even if the three lights on the RoL flash red. For more information about what to do if the power supply light illuminates red, check out troubleshooting article number 906101 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. If the power supply light is not illuminated, check out article 906103.

If this solution fixes your red light issue, but you begin experiencing issues with controllers and peripherals that are unresponsive, attempt to rerun the initial setup.

If your system shows the two red light error code, your power supply or your system may be overheating. Many users have reported that their systems would overheat, then crash and produce the red ring error when the system booted back up. Consult the Heating Issues portion of the Microsoft guide for details on dealing with heating problems.

If you see this error code, there is likely failure with your hardware. The error code displayed on the screen will help you diagnose the problem. Currently, there are only a few known error codes: E67-E69 indicates a hard drive failure and code E74 indicates an AV cable problem.

Diagnosing heating issues
The best way to check if you have a heating issue is to unplug your console and power supply for one or two hours. Once you're certain it has cooled, turn you X360 back on. It should work fine for a while (anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours) and then will most likely either freeze or crash with an error code. If your X360 doesn't run after it has cooled, then it's likely that you're experiencing problems that aren't related to heating.

Heating issue troubleshooting
Check to make sure you're system is in a properly ventilated place. Putting your system inside a sealed cabinet or drawer is not a good idea, as it will likely cause it to overheat and crash due to poor ventilation. It's best to keep both the X360 and the power supply on an open shelf where it can get good airflow and cooling.

Check to make sure that both the intakes on the side and the exhaust in the back of the X360 aren't covered by any nearby objects or have inside dust, as that will also cause heating issues. If you feel that the intakes or exhaust have too much dust, clean them off by blowing them with canned air.

Try to run your console in a vertical position. The added surface area should help assist with cooling. If you're still encountering problems, use a fan to blow air onto the X360. Make sure that the fan isn't blowing from the back of the console, as that would actually inhibit cooling.

Cooling your power supply
Sometimes the X360 power supply can overheat and cause the console to malfunction. You help it cool by lifting it off the ground and allowing more air to flow over its surface. The easiest way to do this is to place two 1-2” blocks on both sides of the power supply and then place the power supply on top of the blocks so that as much air as possible can flow under it. A possible alternative to blocks is a small cardboard or plastic box you can position to span across your power supply.

Disk read errors
If your X360 is having trouble reading disks, there is currently very little you can do to fix this issue. It should be possible to clean the laser lens with a cue tip and rub alcohol on it, just like the Xbox and PS2, but since right now almost all Xbox 360’s are under warranty, you should just return it back to Microsoft for repairs. Disk errors are usually a sign of a failing DVD drive.

One thing you should check before you RMA your Xbox is your disks. Even if you only have one game and it has never left the X360, there is still a possibility that it has gotten scratched. There is a known issue with the X360 drive where if you move the drive while the disk is spinning, the disk will become unstable and wobble around, creating a circular pattern of fairly deep scratches on the disk.

This will often cause the disks to become completely unreadable. There are disk polishing tools on the market that might be able to remove some of these scratches, but trusting the effectiveness of such tools is at your risk.

Disk cleaning
If your disk is unreadable, skipping, or is slow in playback, it may just be be dirty. Even if your disk has a few scratches, a little bit of cleaning may be all it takes to make it good as new.

Required tools:
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • 85% Rubbing Alcohol

(1) Get a nice clean cloth, preferably a micro fiber cloth. Silk should also work fine. Avoid using a Kleenex, paper towel, or cotton cloth, as it may scratch your disk. Micro fiber clothes are available at most grocery stores, but if you can't find one, pick one up at any place that sells glasses.

Rubbing alcohol can be obtained at any pharmacy and 75% should still work fine. The higher concentration does work a little better, but the difference isn’t substantial. Don't substitute rubbing alcohol with Windex or other solvents, as they may damage the reflective coating on the disk.

(2) Wet the cloth at one edge with rubbing alcohol. This is best achieved by plugging up one end of the alcohol bottle with a part of the cloth, flipping the bottle over, and letting the cloth soak for a bit before flipping it back over. If done properly there, shouldn't be much alcohol spilled.

(3) Hold the disk firmly in one hand in-between your thumb and middle finger. Use the thumb of your other hand to apply pressure though the wet area of the cloth to the disk and move the cloth in and out from the center of the disk to the edge and back again. Use the index finger of the hand you are holding the disc with to support the non data side so you can apply more pressure. It may take a few tries to find a comfortable position. Continue to work the wet cloth out from the center of the disk toward the edges until you're satisfied, or until you find a spot you can't seem to get.

If you find a particularly bad spot that has a lot of dirt or grime that you just can't seem get, try getting it wet by re-wetting the cloth and allowing the area to absorb the alcohol. If that still doesn’t help, apply more pressure by using the tip of your thumb or your nail on the cloth when you're rubbing the area. Be careful when using your nail as, you may cut through the fibers of the cloth and end up scratching the disk. You should never touch the data side of the disk with anything except the micro fiber cloth.

(4) Once you've finished with the wet part of the cloth, use the dry part of it. Again, use your thumb to work the cloth in and out from the center to the disk to the edge. This is mostly cosmetic and you can skip this step.

(5) Allow the disk to dry for one to two minutes and you should be done.

Unrecognized peripherals
If your system has had an internal system error (three lights) and is now having issues recognizing controllers, remotes, and/or personal music player’s, the only currently know solution is to rerun initial setup.

Rerun initial setup
Before trying this, it's highly recommend that you remove all hard drive and memory cards. Once you've removed all hard drives and memory cards, navigate to the systems tab in the main menu and select the “Initial Setup” option. Once you select the option, it will ask you if want to run the initial setup that occurred when you first started your console. Say yes and it will do its thing. When it asks for a memory card/hard drive, just decline and it should be done. You should see the default dashboard screen as confirmation that it did, in fact, rerun initial setup.

Resetting to factory defaults / resetting parental locks (unconfirmed)
This was posted on the xbox-scene forums and might work only with older versions of Xbox 360 dashboard.

Press the following key combination

  • Left Trigger, Right Trigger, X, Y, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, Up, Left Bumper, Left Bumper, X

This should give you a dialogue asking whether or not you want to reset your system to factory default settings.

Reset Xbox 360 video settings
While the Xbox 360 is starting up, hold Y and Right trigger. This will cause the system to reboot and reset the video settings.

Warranty contact information
If you're still unable to fix your issues, it is highly suggested that you call Microsoft’s support number at 1-800-4-MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269) and send your box for repairs. It may still be covered under warranty.

See also

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