What to Do When an Xbox 360 Stops Reading Game Discs

The Xbox 360 has a history of technical issues, not the least of which are the problems with its disc drive. Recently, my own beleaguered Xbox began to read game discs poorly, sometimes giving an open tray error or simply calling the disc bad, while it read music CDs completely fine.
If your Xbox 360 won’t read game discs, but seems to read other types of discs, here’s what you’ll need to do to get it working again.

1. First, clean the disc drive. Often, an Xbox 360 will read other types of discs because, well, they’re easier to read than the game discs. A bit of dirt on the lens can certainly disrupt the console’s ability to play games, so you’ll want to clean the lens. It would void your warranty to open up the Xbox 360 and clean the lens manually with a bit of isopropyl alcohol (though you’re welcome to do so if you’re a fairly technical person and your warranty’s already void, just be very careful), but you can often clean the lens the lazy way by opening the disc drive and spraying compressed air towards the general area of the lens. Use short, controlled bursts, and be sure to hold the can of compressed air properly–there’s instructions on the side of the can. Don’t spray too much. After a minute or so, try the drive and see if it works. Note that you’ll have to restart the system to see if it’s working.

2. Clean the vents. If the Xbox 360 is overheating, it may need to have better ventilation–overheating causes a lot of disc errors, though it’s less of a common cause than a dirty lens when other types of discs are reading. Still, worth a shot. Clean the back vents with compressed air and be sure to place the Xbox 360 somewhere where it’s less likely to overheat–keep it away from walls and out of cabinets that can cause the problem.

3. Use a disc cleaner. You can also use commercial disc cleaners, which are discs with brushes that you touch with isopropyl alcohol, then play like a CD. This is good if there’s a bit of grime you can’t get, though usually they don’t do any more than the compressed air will do, and they certainly cost a bit more. If you’ve got one laying around though, it’s worth a shot.

Do you have any other tips for fixing an Xbox 360 that won’t read game discs? Post in our comments section below.t

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *