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Xbox 360 Error Code Troubleshooting Guide

Written by: Vineet Gaikwad
Xbox 360 Error Code Troubleshooting

There are only a few consoles out there that have reformed the console gaming industry as we know it and, objectively speaking, there is no denying that Xbox 360 is one of them. While the PS3 might be the more popular and profitable option for 7th gen consoles, the 360 just had too many features like its predecessor that permanently changed the landscape for gamers.  

What Xbox lacked in its variety of game genres and exclusives it made up with its incredible multiplayer scene and support for severe crucial game series. It was on the 360 where we had our first taste of the adrenaline-pumping COD and Halo lobbies that would last us for decades to come. It also gave rise to Unreal Engine as the next big development platform, popularizing its titles and integration to an entirely new level. 

Combined with Microsoft’s lack of foresight and Xbox’s popularity, the console was out of stock for several regions on its release. The earlier versions were also infamous for their unusually high rate of ‘red rings of death’. Consequently, Microsoft was forced to redesign the console twice – once in 2010 as Xbox 360 S and once as Xbox 360 E in 2013. 

While the Xbox One has far since succeeded the console, there are several out there that still count their Xbox 360 amongst their prized possessions – either out of nostalgia or to re-experience the golden era of gaming. 

That being said, there is no changing the fact that the console is almost 2 decades old and is bugged with several error codes, with the most notorious being the original Xbox 360 released in 2005. This is where we come in. 

This guide will help you resolve most of the Xbox 360’s error codes, and we did one more for it’s younger brother in this article Xbox One Error Codes. From the red ring of death to undetectable A/V cables, we have you covered. But before we head into error-specifics, let’s list down some basic steps that you can take to prevent most of the console’s common errors.   

What Are the First Steps Towards Solving Most Xbox 360 Issues?

These first steps will guide you through general steps and preventative measures you can take before moving onto advanced error codes – 

  • If your console won’t turn on, check your USB ports and your motherboard. If your USB connectors get bent out of shape and are touching the case, it can cause a short circuit and drain too much power, causing your PSU to disable your console from even powering up. In case your USB ports are fine, verify that your power supply is working properly and isn’t showing any other LED lights from the usual. If they are any other color than green, we have a separate section for all power supply error codes at the end that you can check out. If even that doesn’t resolve the problem, there is a chance that your RF module board or your motherboard’s connections have been damaged. This is where we’ll recommend that you send your console to either Microsoft or to a console repair shop for repairs since repairing them will require high technical expertise.   
  • If your Xbox is having power issues, power cycle it. Power cycling your console is one of the simplest solutions you can do to discharge your console’s capacitors in order to get them properly working again. It also helps if you’ve been having issues with your power supply. To do a power cycle, simply disconnect the power cables from your PSU and consoles as well as your electrical socket. Wait for an hour or two and see if your power issues have been resolved.  
  • If your console’s disc drive won’t open, eject it manually. Every disc drive comes with its own tiny hole for manual ejection but the ones in Xbox 360 are, for some reason, hidden in the console. For the original model, you need to remove the faceplate and for the Xbox 360 S you need to carefully find the hole through its vent as shown here
  • If your console’s disc opens up but doesn’t detect game discs, check if your disc is scratched and clean your DVD lens. More often than not, the simplest reason why your drive can’t detect your game is because it’s scratched beyond recognition. Try putting a new or unscratched disc inside your Xbox to see if it detects it. If it does, you know where the problem is. But if it doesn’t, open up your console and try wiping the optical lens on your DVD thoroughly. If even that doesn’t fix the issue, you can try replacing your disc drive entirely to see if it fixes the issue.  
  • If your Xbox can’t connect to your network, check your Wi-Fi password and turn off encryption. Make sure that the password you are typing in your console is correct, giving extra attention to case sensitive letters. If the password is correct, log into your router’s settings, head into your security section and check what type of encryption your network is on. If it’s WPA2-AES, chances are it’s the cause of this error since older models weren’t really made with their compatibility in mind. You can confirm this by disabling encryption altogether and then checking if your console connects to the internet. If that doesn’t work either, you can try reseating the Wi-Fi chip inside your console like this or replacing it entirely if even that doesn’t help. Alternatively, you can simply get an ethernet cable and use that instead.   

Xbox 360 Flashing Red Error Codes

All of the console’s major issues can be traced back to the flashing red error code it displays on its LEDs around the Xbox button. Each error has its own unique blinking pattern that can be discerned by checking which of the quadrants are blinking. For the sake of clarity, we’ll be numbering the sections according to their position on the controller like this, so if we say sections 1 and 3 are flashing red, we’ll be referring to the top left and the bottom left quadrants. 

Error Code Sections 1 to 4 Flashing Red

  • Severity: Minor 
  • Problem Category: Hardware 

Sections 1 to 4 Flashing Red Error Explained: This error indicates that your A/V cable isn’t being detected by your console. 

How to solve Sections 1 to 4 Flashing Red: This might sound rudimentary, but make sure that your AV cable is properly seated in your console’s connectors and aren’t loose. If they are loose, remove them and reconnect them properly making sure they connect tightly this time. If your console still shows the same error, remove the cables and wipe the connectors with a cloth, earbuds and some isopropyl alcohol. 

If the issue persists: Use a different AV cable – they can be easily purchased online or from your local repair shop for cheap.  

Error Code Section 1 and 3 Flashing Red

  • Severity: Moderate to Severe
  • Problem Category: Hardware 

Section 1 and 3 Flashing Red Error Explained: This error indicates that your console is overheating. 

How to solve Section 1 and 3 Flashing Red: If you get this error while using your Xbox, immediately power it off and leave it aside for an hour or two to cool down. Now, you need to figure out what’s causing the overheating. As a general rule of thumb, your console should be in an open space that’s not surrounded by anything, should be ideally horizontally placed (or at the very least placed vertically in a way that doesn’t block it’s vents) and shouldn’t be over anything that can induce or sustain heat as well as block airflow. This includes placing the console on your sofa, cushion, near your radiator or near an open window directly exposed to sunlight.

If the issue persists: You can try replacing the thermal compound on your Xbox’s CPU and GPU. This’ll require some technical tinkering so consider whether you are equipped for the job or if it’s better to just hand it over to a repair shop. If you do decide to do it, here is a handy guide depending on whether your console is fat or slim.  

Error Code Section 4 Flashing Red  

  • Severity: Severe
  • Problem Category: Hardware

Section 4 Flashing Red Error Explained: Like the RROD (Red Ring of Death), this error indicates a hardware failure as well but with visible error codes. 

How to solve Section 4 Flashing Red: Fortunately for us, Section 4 flashing red is much easier to figure out than its deadly counterpart since the console displays the issue. Depending on the area experiencing hardware failure, your console may display one of the following common error codes on your screen – 

  • E64 – This error indicates that your DVD drive isn’t ejecting its disk tray anymore due to a faulty power or SATA cable. A DIY solution will be getting both of these cables, opening your console up, carefully identifying your disk drive’s sata and power cable and replacing them with new ones. Or, you can just give it to a local repair shop to get your drive fixed. 
  • E66 – This error indicates that the DVD drive you just got replaced is based on the wrong firmware version. The DVD drive of your Xbox 360 needs to be based on the same firmware as your console or otherwise it won’t work. Plug the drive in your PC and see if you can read or write it, and if you can, download the correct firmware for your drive and flash your DVD drive with it. Here’s a handy guide on how to do it. 
  • E67 – This error indicates that your hard drive timed out during boot and might be defective. Replacing the hard drive can fix the issue in most cases except for a few unfortunate ones where the damage might be at your HDD’s I/O. If that’s the case, we highly recommend taking your console to a repair shop to assess and potentially repair the damage. 
  • E68 – This error occurs when your hard drive isn’t configured properly, indicating that either it’s defective, has a bad EEPROM chip or a damaged connection with the motherboard. We recommend swapping your hard disk with a spare one and see if it fixes the issue. This issue can also be caused by a voltage error where your components are drawing too much power. You can try removing all unnecessary accessories such as your Kinect and try powering again to see if it fixes the issue.  
  • E69 – This error occurs when there is a bad sector on your hard drive. It either happened because you plugged in the hard drive into your PC and were messing around with it or because the HDD just naturally developed bad sectors since it’s going to die soon. Regardless, your first priority should be to replace your old drive with a new one – either yourself by following a guide or with the help of a console repair shop. 
  • E70 – This error occurs when your console is unable to detect your hard drive. To fix this, open up your console and make sure the HDD is properly seated and connected. While you are at it, take a look at the SATA and power cables to see if they are damaged and try replacing them to see if it fixes the issue. Lastly, it could just be your HDD itself in which case replacing it is the only viable option. 
  • E71 – To fix it, reset the dashboard by holding the ‘Sync’ button while turning on the Xbox. If that doesn’t work, your only shot is handing your console off to Microsoft for servicing or replacing the console entirely. 
  • E74 – You are more likely to get this error after purchasing a used console from someone else since it usually occurs when there are missing parts near the GPU and the ANA chip or if your GPU thermal paste has dried up. Try replacing your GPU’s thermal paste and X-clamp to see if that helps. Otherwise, open your console up and just make a visual inspection of all your components, especially those around your graphics chip, and look for any components that seem to be missing or damaged. Now you can replace them yourself or ship it to Microsoft to do it for you.  
  • E72 – This error indicates that your console has a dashboard error that usually occurs due to broken connectors and cracked circuits. If you are versed in using a heat flow gun, you can fix this yourself by reflowing the console. There are tons of guides out there but we recommend the one from Ifixit. Alternatively, you can just hand it off to Microsoft to make your job considerably easier.  
  • E73 & E74 – The prior is usually caused by cracked soldered joints on the Southbridge and ethernet chip and the latter is caused by cracked connectors around your GPU. Reflowing their respective areas should resolve the problem and you can check out the above error on how to do that. For E74 specifically, we recommend you replace the GPU thermal paste first to see if it fixes the issue – here is a handy guide to help you out. 
  • E75 – Your Xbox can’t detect your ethernet connector. Users who have gotten the error have reported that properly reseating all the connectors inside their console helped a lot. 
  • E76 & E77 – These errors indicate that your network chip has been fried, typically by a power surge while your Xbox was connected to a power outlet. You can replace the network chip yourself easily by following this guide
  • E79 – This error occurs when your dashboard can’t boot properly because of a malfunctioning hard drive. Try swapping the drive out to see if it fixes the issue while making sure it’s compatible with your current console firmware. 
  • E80 – This error occurs when you update your dashboard on an older console but don’t have the R3T6 resistor on your motherboard. To fix this, you can permanently downgrade to the old dashboard. In case you want the dashboard update, downgrade first, find the resistor on your motherboard, solder it properly using a soldering gun and then try updating your Xbox’s dashboard. 

Error Code Sections 1, 3, and 4 Flashing Red (AKA Red Ring Of Death) 

  • Severity: Severe
  • Problem Category: Hardware

Sections 1, 3, and 4 Flashing Red Error Explained: This error indicates that your console had a general system failure. 

Identifying The Error: The Red Ring of Death can occur from the failure of a number of parts. To identify the component and the cause of the error, the ring blinks its central light in a specific pattern that corresponds to each individual error. 

To identify the pattern, and thus eventually the error code, power up your console until you can see the ring. Then, hold the ‘Sync Up’ button and press ‘Eject’. Carefully note how many quadrants of the LED circle light up. This will give you your error’s first digit out of the total four. The number of the sections that light up signify their code number – 4 lights signify the number 0, 1 signifies 1, 2 signifies 2, and 3 signifies 3. 

Now, while still holding ‘Sync’, press Eject again to get your second digit. Do this 2 more times to get your third and fourth numbers and you will have your full 4-digit secondary error code from which you can start diagnosing and fixing your console’s hardware problem. 

For clarity, here is an example – 

Let’s say I press ‘Eject’ for the first time and all four quadrants start blinking. As we mentioned earlier, 4 signifies the number 0, which would mean that the first digit of my secondary error code is 0 (0xxx). Then for the next 3 digits, I saw 1 section light up, then 4, and then 1 again, giving me the secondary error code 0101 – memory/RAM chip error which demands replacing either the GPU or the RAM.    

Fixing Your Red Ring of Death: Once you’ve figured out the code, you need to identify what it is and how you can resolve it. There are several guides out there that list these secondary error codes and their solution – from there, it’s a matter of research, tinkering or handing it off to Microsoft for repairs. We recommend you follow the steps of the secondary error code guide from X-Ex while referring to the guide at Console Mods and at Se7ensins for crosschecking. 

Alternatively, you can also try a few general fixes that can help you get your console working again at least for a little while. The easiest way to do this is simply getting a towel and wrapping it around your console after turning it on to overheat it. Sounds absurd? It is. Overheating is the number one cause for motherboards with the RROD since the lead soldering in the motherboard is known to melt and damage the connectors. By overheating your console again, there is a chance that you can melt the soldering back and potentially fix it in its original condition. 

If you are tech savvy, you can do the same method and get a proper, professional reflow. You’ll need a heat flow gun, a reliable reworking station and some quality thermal paste. Ifixit has an incredibly detailed guide on how you can reflow your motherboard up to get it working again. 

If that doesn’t work, try replacing the X-clamp on your motherboard or the thermal compound on your GPU chip, both of whom are known to be major causes for the Red Ring of Death. Do note that the RROD is notorious for a reason and no matter what fix you do, the console can only serve you for a maximum of a year before you are forced to replace it entirely.   

Xbox 360 Power Supply Error Codes 

Along with your console, your power supply unit can also develop a few issues of its own and can blink a different light depending on the problem you’re facing. This section will help you figure out what those lights mean and how to resolve the errors corresponding to them, starting off with how the LED is ideally supposed to be like – 

No Error (Green light with Xbox powering up) 

  • Severity: None
  • Problem Category: Power

Green Light No Error Explained: A green light and a working Xbox indicates that your console is working as optimally as it should – at least on the hardware side of things. .

No Light Error 

  • Severity: Moderate
  • Problem Category: Power

No Light Error Explained: This error indicates that your PSU isn’t receiving power from your electrical supply. 

How to solve No Light Error: If your power supply’s LED doesn’t light up even when connected to an active power connection, there is something wrong with your house’s electricity or your PSU is dead. You can easily confirm this by turning on your power supply at another place – if it still shows no light then that means it’s time to replace the unit.  

Orange Light Error  

  • Severity: Moderate to Severe
  • Problem Category: Power

Orange Light Error Explained: This error usually indicates that your console is on standby but can also occur when your unit has been fried. 

How to solve Orange Light Error: If you get an orange LED on your power supply and your console is on ‘Standby’ either by itself or by you, you have nothing to worry about. However, in rare cases your PSU can get stuck on a steady orange light with your Xbox not turning on no matter what you do. If that happens, unplug the power cord and wait for an hour or two to discharge the unit properly. Now plug the cable back in and see if the issue is still there. 

If the issue persists: The problem is likely your PSU has been fried from the inside from a recent power surge. We recommend replacing the supply as well as the power cable with new working ones which should fix the issue.  

Red Light Error  

  • Severity: Moderate 
  • Problem Category: Power

Red Light Error Explained: This error occurs when your PSU is receiving power from your side but can’t supply it to your console. 

How to solve Red Light Error: There are several reasons why your power supply unit might be showing this error including, but not limited to, incorrect socket voltage, overheating, and excess power draw. The first thing you need to verify is to check if the voltage of the sockets in your house is compatible with your unit. Your Xbox power supply can only work with 220-240 VAC or 110-127 VAC. If that’s not the issue, see if your unit is getting the proper ventilation it needs. Just like your Xbox, your PSU needs to be in a clear, relatively cool and well-ventilated place. If your placing spot ticks all these checkmarks, check if the fan on your PSU is still spinning properly after powering it on. If it isn’t, it’s time for a replacement. 

If the issue persists: The console is drawing too much power from the power supply. This happens either because your console has been modded in some way or your Xbox’s internal components have been short-circuiting. You can try using your power supply on another console to see if that’s the issue and if it is, you’ll need to either undo the modifications or get your console repaired for short-circuiting.