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How To Avoid The Red Ring of Death (On Your Xbox 360)

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Red Ring Of Death: Defined

The Red Ring Of Death (RROD) is both the opposite of The Green Ring Of Life and the next generation Blue Screen Of Death. In any event, death of Microsoft gaming consoles tend to be linked to an excess of the wrong primary colors.

The moment the power button becomes surrounded with 3 red flashing lights, it is [arguably] too late. That is the moment you can begin to panic over the possibility that your Xbox may be nearing the end of its days.

The most common cause of the RROD is overheating, which can happen as a result of a number of poor practices. Thankfully, there are some preventative strategies at your disposal to keep your Xbox functioning.

Turn It Upside Down Or On Its Side

Switch up the placement of your Xbox to improve air flow circulation. Some suggestions:

  • Turn the Xbox upside down (power button closer to the ground) to allow air entrance from the bottom of the console.
  • Turn the Xbox on its side to allow air entrance from all 4 ventilations points.
  • Place the Xbox on an elevated surface, like on a shelf or table near a window.

Proper Placement

Preventing the problem of overheating starts with proper placement. The Xbox 360 console releases heat from its sides, so it is not advisable to keep it stored in a confined space. This includes media centers with drawers or narrow shelves. Placing the console on carpeted floors will accelerate overheating, blocking necessary air flow and trapping dust particles into the ventilation fans.

Turn Off The Console When Not In Use

If you use the Xbox 360 both as a gaming console and as a media player (via Xbox Live), the machine be running quite a bit. Turning off the console when not in use is a way to ensure the system can cool down between uses. Marathon gaming (playing for several consecutive hours, often neglecting the passage of time entirely) is a major culprit of overheating, but if this is your style, it is advisable to take breaks and let the system cool down every few hours.

Clean It

Dust and lint are contributors to Xbox overheating. Both can get caught in ventilation fans, impeding proper CPU and GPU functioning. Dust the Xbox weekly or each time you conduct usual housekeeping.

Consider A Cooling Fan

Depending on how much space you have available, and whether you can avoid placing your Xbox on carpeted floor, a cooling fan might be preferable. Cooling fans can help improve air flow circulation to the CPU and GPU.

Have Warranty

Neat Fact: Microsoft will replace your console for free if you experience the Red Ring Of Death while under warranty. Check to see whether your warranty will cover a replacement. If not, it may be worthwhile to purchase. An out-of-warranty repair for the RROD can cost between $90-$150.

Note Frequent Freezing

If the console freezes frequently during gameplay, it may be a sign that it needs to be cleaned or that a cool-down period is necessary. If this happens, turn the console off, remove the disk and clean it, and wait an hour before playing again.


lord rex on October 23, 2016:

Same here it broke a lot but still works but the overheating is problem so thanks for the solution.

Stealth Ninja on May 06, 2015:

I have Gotten the RROD a lot and some how my xbox still never broke.Does this mean I'm lucky?

Marina (author) from San Francisco, CA on April 02, 2012:

Thanks for dropping by, passthejelly! I didn't purchase the warranty (eep) but I've noticed that my xbox would freeze after hours of skyrim. I also use it to stream netflix, so I think I am at high RROD risk. If you know of any other suggestions, let me know and I'll add to the Hub.

passthejelly from Lakewood Colorado on April 01, 2012:

Ah the red ring. My friend has gotten that little bugger a couple of times and it is a pain. The warranty got his fixed but it ended up breaking all together. Good read. Thanks.