Before trying to troubleshoot your Xbox 360's problems, try resetting the console by turning it off and back on. Additionally, check the connections for the power and A/V cables to ensure that they are probably seated.
Xbox 360 won't turn on
USB Shorted Out
Check the USB ports in the front (2) and back (1) of the console. If the prongs of the USB port are bent and touching the case of the port the USB will short circuit and not allow the Xbox to power on.
Bad power supply
If your device is properly plugged in, but the power supply is hot, unplug all connections and let the components cool for at least an hour. If the problem persists after cooling the power supply, you may need to replace the power supply.
Bad RF Module board
If the power supply is fine, the problem may be the RF Module board. If it has been damaged, you will need to replace it.
If the you still have the same problem after checking the above, you may have a problem with your motherboard. It is a common problem for soldered joints on the motherboard to crack. If this is the case, it is possible to solder or re-flow the connections.
Disc drive won't open/close
Debris in disc drive
If your disc drive tray is stuck and will not open or close, then you have to manually eject the disc. Follow these instructions to remove the faceplate and manually eject the drive. Remove any obstructions, and plug the console back in. If the eject button still doesn't work, your disc drive may need to be replaced.
Xbox 360 won't read discs
Discs that are extremely scratched will not be read by the console. Put a clean, unscratched disc in the the drive. If your Xbox 360 plays the disc without issue, then the scratched discs were the problem.
Dirty laser lens
If the problem is not due to a scratched disc, then there might be dust on the lens of the optical drive that is keeping it from reading discs. Remove the optical drive from the console and thoroughly clean it.
Bad optical drive
If the Xbox 360 will still not read discs after cleaning the optical drive, then your optical drive is likely faulty. Replacing a defective DVD drive with a replacement DVD drive does not work, since the replacement has a different DVD drive key, which the game console won't accept.
Can't save game data
Try as you might, your Xbox 360 won't save your game.
Bad hard drive
If your Xbox 360 isn't saving your in-game data, your hard drive is most likely either full or damaged. Make sure the hard drive is connected properly, assure there is enough free space for the save, and then attempt to save again. If this does not work, you may need to replace the hard drive.
Red error lights
Determining the malfunctioning component of your Xbox 360 depends on how many red lights around the power button are flashing.
One red light
If the bottom right red light is flashing on your Xbox 360, then your console is experiencing a hardware error. The console will still power on, and should display an error code on the screen it is connected to. The code will begin with an E, followed by two digits. Some of the more common error codes can be found on this page, but more in-depth information can be found at the ConsoleMods error database.
Two red lights
When the left two lights are flashing red on the console, a component is overheating. It is likely that the fan will be running very loudly. Shut the console off and let it cool down for a couple hours. To prevent this from happening in the future, make sure your Xbox 360 is in a well-venitlated area and out of the immediate proximity of any walls, heaters, or other appliances.
Three red lights (AKA "Red Ring of Death")
The "Red Ring of Death" has occurred when all but the top right corner of the light ring are flashing red. A general hardware malfunction has occurred, affecting one or more components. The error message is not displayed directly, since the console doesn't power on, but it is possible to obtain the secondary error code from the Xbox.
Most, if not all, three-light errors in Xbox 360 consoles are related to the GPU. The problem is the connection between the DIE and the substrate on the GPU, which weakens with heat cycles. In simple terms, this is an issue in the GPU itself, not the connection between the GPU and the motherboard. There are various "fixes" for the RROD, all of which are false positives because they do not truly fix the issue. The only solution that fixes the Red Ring of Death is to replace the GPU with a later produced, more reliable GPU.
False positive fixes include, but are not limited to:
- Replacing the x-clamps with bolts. This is an awful idea, because this restricts the board from being able to naturally flex with heat. This can cause it to crack and break from stress, or in other words, it actively causes your system to break. And yes, this includes the Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Fix Kit and guide.
- Reflowing the GPU's solder connection. This doesn't fix the bad soldering within the chip, it just resets it until it goes back to being broken from heat cycling.
- Replacing the heat sink in older models with Microsoft's updated Zephyr heat sink. This does not even remotely address the issue, and the heat sinks were well designed as is in the Xenon models.
- Using an external fan to help circulate air across the device. The Xbox 360 is designed to dynamically control the built in fans as it needs them, extra cooling either is not necessary or at worst actively interferes with the Xbox 360's internal cooling designs.
If your Xbox 360 is susceptible to being affected by the RROD, it is inevitable that it will fail. However, there are measures that can be taken to keep it from failing sooner. Mainly, keep it in a well-ventilated area and make sure the cooling vents are free from obstruction.
If the RROD is already plaguing your Xbox, and your console is no longer covered by Microsoft's warranty, there is still hope for it. Retrofitting a reliable GPU from a Jasper revision Xbox 360 into a Xenon revision has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Josh Davidson on YouTube. Note that this is a very advanced repair, and will be above a lot of people's abilities due to not only the equipment needed but the skill required.
Four red lights
If all four red lights are flashing, then the Xbox 360 A/V cable is not connected. Reconnect the cable either to the console or the display you are using.
Common error codes
Some of the information below is taken from a collaborative effort by users on Xbox-Scene forums. The full thread contains more information on diagnosing and repairing error codes.
E64: DVD Drive Error - Drive timeout or incorrect firmware. There are multiple causes to this error, but the most common is frequent use of scratched discs.
E65: DVD Drive Error - Often due to a disc tray that is not completely closed.
E66: DVD Drive Error - The disc drive version doesn't match the expected version by the console. Make sure the DVD drive is of the same version originally included with the console, and that it is using either the original firmware included with the console, or more recent firmware. If the drive can eject, read, and write discs in Windows, but causes an error code on the console, replacing original firmware should fix the issue.
E67: Hard Drive Error - Hard drive timed out during reset. Error is likely caused by a faulty hard drive. Remove the drive from the console, and attempt to login. If your Xbox 360 works without error when the hard drive is removed, then you can ascertain that the hard drive is bad.
E68: Voltage Error - Additional accessories are drawing too much power. Attempt to remove unnecessary accessories first, and then necessary components such as the hard drive and USB devices. Any modifications to the Xbox case can also cause this error. In some cases, this error has accompanied a hard drive that is not DMA configured.
E69: Hard Drive Error - Reading the hard drive security sector failed. This error could be caused by a bad hard drive or hard drive connection. Try removing the hard drive and playing without it to determine if it is faulty.
E70: Hard Drive Error - Hard drive not found by console. Make sure your hard drive is properly seated and connected.
E71: Dashboard Error - Possibly a dashboard update error. Attempt to clear the dashboard by holding the sync button while booting the Xbox. Any failed updates should be cleared during booting. If this does not fix the error, then the console must be serviced by Microsoft.
E72: Dashboard Error - Error is usually caused by a loose pin connector or missing NAND chip. The common solution has been reflowing the Southbridge.
E73: I/O Hardware Error - Caused by a cold solder joint on the Southbridge or ethernet chip. Usually, reflowing the ethernet chip or Southbridge area will fix this.
E74: I/O Hardware Error - Common cause of this error is a manufacturing flaw in earlier GPUs.
E75: Ethernet Error - Couldn't read ethernet PHY vendor. Oddly, this error is occasionally caused by the DVD drive not being connected properly.
E76: Ethernet Error - Your Xbox 360 has a dead network chip. This can happen when the chip has seen a high surge in voltage. The network chip must be replaced.
E77: Ethernet Error - Similar to E76, this error is caused by a bad network chip. It might also be caused by a short between the heat sink and resistors, or by more serious problems with the RAM. Attempt to reflow the area around the network chip.
E78: Dashboard Error - ASICID check failed. There are no known fixes to this problem.
E79: Dashboard Error - Couldn't start xam.xex due to a hard drive malfunction. Attempt to start the console again without the hard drive in to verify that this is the problem.
E80: Dashboard Error - This error occurs when your Xbox 360 dashboard has been upgraded, but you are missing the resistor R3T6. The easiest way to fix this error is to downgrade to the old dashboard, solder the resistor, and then upgrade the Xbox.
A full list of known error codes and their causes is provided by the ConsoleMods website.
Secondary error codes
An Xbox 360 with three flashing red lights will not power on, so the error message must be obtained by an alternate method.
Obtaining secondary error codes
Power the console on so the three red lights are flashing. While holding the sync button on the front of the console, press and release the disc eject button. The lights will begin flashing in a different pattern. The number of flashing lights in this new pattern determines the first digit of the secondary error code, ranging from 0-3, with all four lights flashing indicating a 0. Continue to hold the sync button, and press and release the eject button three more times to obtain the second, third, and fourth digits of the secondary error code in the same method. Pressing the eject button a fifth time should return the flashing lights to the original Red Ring of Death pattern. You have now obtained your 4-digit secondary error code.
Corresponding error codes
To determine which error message corresponds to your secondary error code, use the ConsoleMods error code database.
Power supply colour codes
No light No power - The power supply isn't receiving power from the mains supply (not plugged into mains supply).
Green light Working and Xbox on - The power supply is receiving power from the mains supply and is operating correctly, with the Xbox on.
Orange light Standby - The power supply is receiving power from the mains supply, with the Xbox off.
Red light Power supply fault - The power supply is receiving power from the mains supply, but isn't supplying power to the Xbox. The possible courses are:
- Incorrect mains voltage - If the power supply is plugged into a mains supply, that is at a different voltage to what the power supply is rated for (Xbox 360 power supply's are rated for 220-240 VAC or 110-127 VAC), this will cause the power supply to not operate properly and can cause damage to the power supply. This problem can also occur if your mains supply has issues, e.g. a brown out.
- Overheating - This is most commonly caused by a lack of ventilation. This can be diagnosed by feeling how warm/hot the power supply is. Check/insure that there is a lot of open space around the power supply, that the temperature in the room is cool (not excessively high) and that the ventilation vents on the power supply, are free from dust and debris. If the power supply is well in a well ventilated space and the vents are free of dust and debris, check that the fan in the power supply is still functioning properly.
- Too much current draw - This means that the console is drawing too much power from the power supply. This is most commonly found in modified Xbox's, due to hardware additions (such as excessive LED's, fans etc) and/or modifications being incorrectly done. If the Xbox is non-modified, this most likely caused by short-circuit somewhere in the Xbox. The most common short-circuit, is the USB ports being damaged and the pins inside the port are shorting out on each other.