Pin Me

Xbox 360 Red Ring Of Death: What To Do About It

by: Lynda Mc Donald ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Nearly every Xbox is fated to experience the Red Ring Of Death at some point so what do you need to do to protect yourself from it? And what do you do when it happens? We have the answers.

  • slide 1 of 7


    One of the worst moments in a gamer's existence is the realisation of having a broken Xbox 360. Many people have found themselves faced with the infamous Red Ring Of Death, which ranges from one to four red lights around the power button of the console.

  • slide 2 of 7

    One Red Light

    onr red light  

    The Red Ring Of Death is a means of indicating that the Xbox 360 console has experienced a problem. The amount of lights shown usually indicate the severity of the problem e.g. One red light is not as serious as three red lights.

    One red light usually means that your console has experienced a hardware failure. If the failure is not that serious you may be able to fix it by simply turning your Xbox off and back on again. Many gamers also claim that detaching and reattaching the cables or removing and reinserting the hard drive fixes the problem.

    It is important to take care of your Xbox if your are planning on doing any of these things – handle your console with care, especially the hard drive. The Xbox 360 console is much more delicate that you think and it is extremely important that it is not moved while the power is on or when a disk is inserted – even if the disk is in while the console is switched off.

  • slide 3 of 7

    Two Red Lights

    two red lighs  

    Many claims have been made that two red lights are an indication that the console is beginning to overheat. Overheating can be remedied very simply by turning the console off and letting it cool down for a while.

    It is really important to have your Xbox in a well ventilated area as it can heat up a lot. Overheating is a very serious issue and can very easily lead to three red lights. It is possible that your Xbox can become so hot that its interior components begin to melt which will ruin it completely so be careful.

  • slide 4 of 7

    The Red Ring Of Death

    red ring of death  

    Having more that two red lights can mean your in major trouble – usually it indicates that your system has overheated and broken, but not always. Don't panic if you're seeing a full ring of red lights – the previous methods used to rid your Xbox of one red light has been known to fix this too, so try all the old tricks of turning it off and on etc. and see if it works. If nothing gets rid of the lights then you'll need to take action.

  • slide 5 of 7

    Contacting Microsoft

    xbox logo  

    A regular (non Elite) Xbox 360 console will break down around eight to twelve months after it has first begun to be used; because of this Microsoft have, helpfully, extended their Xbox warranty to two years. If your console is in warranty all you need to do is call Microsoft's free phone number for your country (you can easily find this on the Microsoft website) and arrange to have them pick up your console. You can also have this arranged through e-mail. Microsoft will generally repair (or replace, depending on the issue) an Xbox that is in warranty free of charge – unless they can see any evidence of you causing the damage yourself.

    When you are reporting a problem with your console you will be asked for the serial number. The serial number can be found on the back of your console, it's a good idea to have this number with you when you call the helpline.

    Microsoft usually arrange to have your Xbox collected within three days of you contacting them. Expect a wait of up to six weeks for your Xbox to be returned.

    If your console's warranty has run out you can still have Microsoft repair it – for a fee. Usually its around $150, which is a lot cheaper than buying a new console.

  • slide 6 of 7

    Fix It Yourself

    Fixing the Red Ring Of Death Yourself can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. There are many well written and accurate guides and videos on fixing the Red Ring Of Death without the aid of Microsoft but many of them fail to mention one very important thing – it voids the warranty. If you have to take the exterior off of your console you're voiding Microsoft's warranty and will have to pay to have it repaired. Also there is a very popular 'towel trick' method floating around that's claiming to be a cure for the Red Ring Of Death. The towel trick actually harms your console so please don't try it.

    If you're console is out of warranty already and you simply don't want to pay for it to be fixed it is definitely worth removing the exterior and very gently wipe away any obvious dust. Always use a dry, soft cloth to do this and don't poke or force it into any crevices in the console as you may cause a lot of damage. I have personally seen Xboxes recover from the Red Ring Of Death after being gently cleaned like this.

  • slide 7 of 7

    How To Avoid The Red Ring Of Death

    xbox 360 power button  

    There are some key things you can do in order to lessen your chances of getting the Red Ring Of Death:

    • Keep your console in a well ventilated area.
    • Have your console lying down flat instead of up straight to promote air circulation.
    • DO NOT smoke near your console (Microsoft will charge to repair for smoke damage).
    • NEVER move your console while there is a disk inserted – even if the console is turned off.
    • Don't move your console around while it is switched on.

    Unless you have an Elite Xbox 360 console you are definitely going to experience the Red Ring OF Death someday, no matter how well you take care of your console. However, taking good care of your console is important as it can lengthen the time you have before the ring appears.