How to Troubleshoot an Xbox 360


A considerable number of Xbox 360 owners have experienced a hardware failure in their Xbox 360 video game console known as the "Red Ring of Death." This is typically a CPU or GPU issue in which the circuit boards are partially separated from the Xbox 360's motherboard due to excessive heat. While this issue isn't repairable by the average owner, many other problems are often assumed to be the "Red Ring of Death." With some simple troubleshooting, you may be able to get your Xbox 360 operational in just a few minutes.

  • Verify that the disc you are using isn't dirty. If your issue is the inability to play a game, smudges, fingerprints, and other debris on the disc are often the problem. Use a soft cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth, to clean the disc.

  • Check the light on your Xbox 360 power supply. If it is functioning properly, the light will be green when the Xbox 360 is in use, and yellow when the Xbox 360 is off. If the light is red or orange when the Xbox 360 should be powered on, contact Microsoft support to see if your power supply is still under warranty.

  • Turn off the Xbox 360 console and disconnect and reconnect all of the cables going into your Xbox 360. This includes the power supply cable, audio/video cable(s), and even the ethernet cable if you have one.

  • Allow the Xbox 360 to sit for 30 minutes to an hour, especially if the unit feels hot to the touch. While waiting, check the Xbox 360 for any debris that may be caught in the air vents preventing proper air flow. Also, check to see if perhaps the location of your Xbox 360 is not providing it with enough cool air circulating back into the system.

  • Remove all devices connected to the Xbox 360, including controllers, memory cards, hard drives, and other storage devices.

  • Turn the Xbox 360 back on, and see if the problem persists. If the problem has gone away, be weary that you may see a repetition of this problem if you were not able to find any obvious lack of circulation for the system. If no changes were made, you may see more instances of this issue and should contact Microsoft via the phone number below.

  • Re-connect the Xbox 360 hard drive and clear the hard drive's cache by going to "My Xbox"->"System Settings"->"Memory," select the hard drive, and press the "Y" button to access the "Device Options" menu. While at the "Device Options" menu, press the following buttons in this order: "X," "X," "LB," "RB," "X," "X." If the process was completed successfully, you will see a message stating "This will perform maintenance on your Xbox 360 storage devices. Do you want to continue? Yes/No" Select "Yes," but keep in mind this may remove any patches downloaded via Xbox Live, which will be reapplied when each game is played again while connected to Xbox Live.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you determine that your issues are with the Xbox 360 hardware, call Microsoft Support at 1-800-4MY-Xbox (1-800-469-9269) to see if your Xbox 360 or its components are still under warranty.


  • Photo Credit Microsoft Xbox 360 Press Release
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