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How To Take Apart and Clean An XBOX 360

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Fixing an XBox 360

If you are having problems with your XBox 360, you can attempt to fix it yourself by taking it apart and trying to clean it out, and if you are not 100% sure how to do that, you can following the following guide for taking apart your XBox 360 and cleaning the disk drive/laser.

Just remember that if you screw up your XBox 360 more than it already is, you don't really have a leg to stand on in regards to your warranty, so it is advised that you call and check out your warranty options.

WARNING: THIS WILL VOID YOUR XBOX WARRANTY. If you're having problems the first thing you should do is call Microsoft at 1-800-4MY-XBOX(469-9269) and inquire about warranty options for sending your XBox in to be repaired.


Tools Needed:

  • Very small flathead screwdriver or a flat point such as a kitchen knife or pushpin
  • Small Phillips head screwdriver
  • A torx style star head screwdriver size T10

Take Apart the XBox 360

Step 1. Disconnect ALL wires from xbox, once everything is disconnected hold power button in for 2 seconds to clear any electric charge left in the console

Step 2. Remove Hard Drive and any memory unit/cards you might have plugged into the console. You will remove the hard drive by pressing button on the hard drive and pulling straight up.

Step 3. Remove the faceplate by gripping the top and bottom near the left side of the console(the side that the disc drive is on) and pulling firmly but slowly until it pops off, then repeat this on the other end.

Step 4. Remove top and bottom gray mesh panels by prying them off with any small objects by inserting them into holes on the sides of the xbox console at the left, middle, and right points where you can see the grey tabs and pushing in to release the catches.

Step 5. Separate top and bottom of white case by inserting flat head screwdriver or knife blade into the back of the console at the points shown in the picture. You should hear a pop when each one releases; go down the line starting from left to right. You should hold the side that you're starting on and start to separate the case pieces so that they don't click back together when you pop the tabs


Step 6. Complete separation of the case by using a fingernail to unhook the tabs on the front of the console starting on one end and working your way to the other side, there should be 4 tabs to release, after that's done the top of the case should just slide right off.

Step 7. Using your Torx T10 star screwdriver remove the 6 screws shown in the following picture, you don't need to remove any other screws even though there's a bunch on there.


Step 8. After all 6 screws are removed and SET ASIDE SO YOU DON'T LOSE THEM, flip the console over so that the remaining half of the white case is on top. Make sure that the metal part that you just unscrewed the screws from is facing down, on the table or ground, etc.

Step 9. Pull the white case straight up, it should separate easily from the rest of the console, and set it aside.

From here you should see the "guts" of the console, you have the disc drive, cooling fan, motherboard, and a white guard to direct air flow in the console.

Cleaning the disc drive/laser:

Step 1. The disc drive will be the big gray square on the left side of the console, there are 2 plugs plugged into the back of the drive. These plugs need to be unplugged from the drive before you remove it completely. You can grab the drive on both sides and lift directly up to give you a little room to reach behind the drive and unplug the plugs. Then it should slide right out.

Step 2. Using the small phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the 4 screws in the corners of the drive and SET THEM ASIDE SO YOU DON'T LOSE THEM

Scroll to Continue

Step 3. Slowly but firmly grip the underside of the drive case and lift up, it should pop right off without any difficulty.

Step 4. Turn the drive back over and slide the top of the case off and set it aside.

Step 5. Using a q tip with a little bit of rubbing alcohol gently rub the laser eye to clean it, then flip the q tip over and gently rub the laser eye to dry it.

Step 6. The circular piece in the middle is the thing that spins the discs when they're in the drive, this can get pretty dusty, using a new q tip with rubbing alcohol clean this off as well.

Then you put it all back together!

Take Apart an Xbox 360


evelyn on February 05, 2014:

I just got done cleaning my husbands Xbox 360 thanks to your instructions which were perfect and I'm a my husband can have his games and country music he has over 500 songs of country he didn't want to loose thank you

Justice on June 02, 2012:

I still cant it apart. when I put a disk in it says play dvd, it wont do anything!!!!!

WatsAnXbox on April 09, 2012:

Awesome I don't no what an Xbox is, but awesome

silvergamer on April 07, 2012:

second xbox i have stripped using this guide thanks for refreshing my memory again ... ps new drives are cheap from ebay and using this guide are a doddle to fit.

roomummy on March 20, 2012:

Excellent info, saved me £65 repair service from Xbox. Fixed sons machine from not playing any disks in around 1 hour. cleaned all the dust out in the process and machine now working great. Excellent if your xbox is out of warranty, got nothing to lose BUT if your machine is in warranty contact Xbox as opening will the device will invalidate any legitimate claim. Great for those that like to dabble in DIY repair before paying a fortune to a manufacturer.

CRAP on February 17, 2012:

I did everything step by step, (i did this because the stupid xbox didn't want to read a lot of discs)

But now it don't want to read anything at all! it just makes a weird sound

Alisha M. on February 07, 2012:

Thank you sooo much! Your instructions were very clear and I'm just sooo happy to have my Xbox back to working order before Mass Effect 3 gets here.Oh and I guess my boyfriend is pretty happy too with Operation Raccoon City coming out so soon as well.Now we can plays games to our hearts content!Thanks again.

tashasully on January 22, 2012:

i did everything,, that it said and it didn't fix anything gonnaa have to get a new fxcking x box :(

skillz607 on January 20, 2012:

This was the best help ever, I wish I would've known this sooner I would've saved so much money in the past on Xbox systems. Now I'm back in the game, thanx!!!!!

NoelleNoir on January 17, 2012:

Thankyou for saving my boyfriends xbox. Amazingly clear instructions and worked like a dream. xx

Marc on December 23, 2011:

Solved my problem! Thanks for the great instructions!!!

Timid on November 26, 2011:

I just saw this and used to clean my xbox (which was FULL of dust) and it is now considerably quieter so I formally Thank you... :D

richie 1604 on October 17, 2011:

thanks my friend, so helpful. was dreading taking my x box 360 apart,but after watching the clip of film you did, i went in!!! wow went like clock work , no problem at all.your a life and money saver, thanks again. your a star :)

captain kirk on October 13, 2011:

I appreciate the help brother... you saved me money I didn't have!! live long and prosper

X360Guru on October 05, 2011:

Here it is guys!!!! If this doesn't work for you, then you either need a new disc drive, or a new xbox360!!! a used 360 is $60, a new drive is $40+shipping and you have to figure out how to flash the drive!!!! If this doesn't work, check your warranty, if warranty is up, BUY A NEW XBOX360!!!!

fredballer on September 26, 2011:

I have the (RED RING) of death problem, followed the instructions but to no use.What else can be done(Please I'm a junkie) I need my fix.

Bmel031 on September 06, 2011:

This works really good thanks for all your help. Thought I would have to buy another.

noname on August 21, 2011:

this was awesome got it done and now it works fine i called to check first to see if i still had a warranty on it but that is no more so i decided its not working if i try this and it does i have fixed if i try this and it doesn't work then i have lost nothing and it worked so thanks for your help

Julia on August 18, 2011:

Worked like a friggin charm!! Would not read anything, just said open tray. Now reads everything.. Thank you sooooo much!!!!!!!!

jj on August 17, 2011:

i had to use them cuz my xbox was full of dust underneath the grey side covers

Bryce on August 16, 2011:

On Step number 5 I can't open it up, I think the tabs are worn out because I have opened it up a few times before :p

Linda Jane 06 06 on August 02, 2011:

I have just followed your guide and yipee!!! It worked I now have a very very happy 10 year old. It was difficult to open but well worth the challenge. Thank you very much for your clear concise intructions.

fallen016 on July 20, 2011:

This just saved my life. Thank you so much. Even though I still plan on buying a new Xbox 360 model, this deffinately bought me time and saved me a lot of money. Kudos!

racheal on June 01, 2011:

oh my god this actually works. i tried it on our "old" xbox when our new one started playing up. now we've got two!

galacticmom on May 02, 2011:

I called Microsoft before opening mine up. They had us go into "System Settings" and clear "System Cache." They said that was a good thing to do periodically, and does not erase any gamer info. It's working right now. Hopefully it will last....

ganstalicious on April 18, 2011:

this is soooo gansta i like this gansta stuff xbox working yeah *itch

BioHunt on April 17, 2011:

Nice guide for taking it apart, but didn't the title say something about cleaning it too.

Mrsstonewallhog on April 16, 2011:

Great instruction... But still unhappy hubby :(. Still reading open tray and grinding!! Hope you all hsve better luck!

kclaass71 on April 07, 2011:

want to thank you for all this wonderful took me a little while to get the cover off, but that was more due to lack of lighting rather then the instructions...this day we have saved two xboxs and made two gamers very very happy!!!!

Adam on March 30, 2011:

This is a great guide for taking your xbox apart but cleaning the lense doesn't always fix the not reading disk error

player 1 on March 24, 2011:

Just followed these instructions to completely disassemble and reassemble, including the drive unit. The instructions were accurate and I had no trouble. You will have to break two hologram Microsoft stickers to get it apart, so this will void your warranty (if you still have one).

kingspade on March 17, 2011:

shellebelle mine has the same problem but i do not think all is lost im gonna find a replacement drive and switch them out, thanks for this guide though and ps a small flat head does the trick for the screwdriver part, don't use too small of one or it will twist your screwdriver and render it useless

yup on March 10, 2011:

microsoft sent us a new unit about a year ago because we were havin so many issues with it--- called today to see if it was still under warranty and they said they don't renew your warranty when you send it in...... so they can go suck it b/c we are in the middle of takin it apart as we speak and hopefully it will actually start reading disks again--- Thank you!!!

ch33kych4ppy on February 28, 2011:

Hi many thanks took apart my xbox cleaned it thoroughly and cleaned dvd laser and BINGO it works first time every time. Many thanks i have two to very happy happy sons :)

bored on February 23, 2011:

lol cant put it back together

kokoloro on February 05, 2011:

i was also suffering from the "open tray" problem. i used regular glass cleaner to clean the lens and now my xbox doesn't have any problems playing discs. thanks a lot!

Nic on January 17, 2011:

Dude thanks so much for this. i just used this to clean my xbox. never woulda did it by myself.

Eugene on January 11, 2011:

Fantastic! Helped me clean the unit. Found a HUGEe clump of dust on the CPU heatsink. Many thanks

tyuiip on January 11, 2011:


xboxermom on January 05, 2011:

i helped my son do this to clean out his 360 when it red ringed, there was quite a bit of dust! it still has the red ring, but at least we know it isn't because of being dirty :) thanks

WhiteRob7 on January 01, 2011:

If you are having the open tray/closed tray problem take a look at the circuit board that is in the disc drive because this is where my problem was, maybe a little bit of moisture has gotten in there and caused a small problem. All that I did was lightly rub away the area that looked like it had a dry liquid on it and it worked perfectly. I did this after doing this walk through and attempting the methods others have posted. I hope this can help others that may be having the same problem.

aggravated on December 28, 2010:

actually i did this to mine and it didn't help

pixiemom81 on December 12, 2010:

FYI: My xbox 360 was saying OPEN TRAY when a disk was in and CLOSE TRAY when I would open it. Turns out it just needed some good sprays of air duster! So, before you take it apart, perhaps try this. It worked for me. ALL FIXED!!!

stuart on December 10, 2010:

you a life saver i was gona buy a new one but now i do not have to

i owe you beer

Bobby on December 07, 2010:

This worked well!

Go Seahawks!

Clair on December 03, 2010:

Great, thanks so much, saved us money we don't really have this time of year and son is now very happy.

chris Q on November 29, 2010:

Good stuff.. Quick fix.. Now reading games and dvd's with out any tbl

Victor on November 23, 2010:

Thank you soooooo much for this helpful walk through. For all the people that said they have he problem when you insert a disk and it just says open tray and you have to keep doing it....follow the video and once you get it open take the disk reader apart by unscrewing the 4 screws and just clean the inside. I had so much dust and dog hair built up that it was clogging the laser eye. This is by far the best help ive had. Xbox supprt just tells you to send it to them but if you can handle taking apart your xbox i suggest doing it. Thanks again.

lovethatjewel on November 21, 2010:

I was ready to throw my xbox 360 away and look into buying another one because it would no longer play any disks. I was suggested to try cleaning it first. I found this site here and it saved me a couple hundred bucks. My system works perfectly now. Thanks so much. Now its back to my madden '11

Paul on November 21, 2010:

Thank you so much, this fixed my xbox at least for the time being. You are the man.

Brock on November 20, 2010:

Thank you for the step by step instructions, i followed it and now my xbox is back working.

perks1975 on November 10, 2010:

dude u rock i just got done ripping apart my 360 hoping its going to work and it does tank you very much...

Madden11 on November 09, 2010:

Wow I did this whole proscess and my x box still says open tray when I insert my discs

DreamZ on November 02, 2010:

this was very helpful for taking apart my console i cleaned the lens off and dusted it out, but the problem still accurs, I think my disk drive is fried cuz I get a crazy grinding noise still

mike jones on October 24, 2010:

how do i fix a mechanical problem for the drive? I know its not the laser its the slide but i would like to try to fix it without having to buy a new drive. what should i do?

blak on October 24, 2010:

thank you for this video, really help my xbox 360 is running great now. really like to say thanks

Dan on October 20, 2010:

Hi Can you please advise me what might be the issue if I get the remove and clean disk error each time I try to play either Fifa 10 or Fifa 11, it seems to be just these two particular games. I have UFC 2010 and Mafia 2 and never have this issue with them games. I don't think it is the xbox because why would them games work? I looked at the discs for both Fifa games and neither have any scratchs or smudges of dirt, it is really annoying. I entered the query in google and a few threads were advising to delete any memory pertaining to those two games, is this a flaw with the xbox, it is pretty bad form if it is. Cheers in advance.

Wap on October 10, 2010:

My issue was open tray. Directions to open case worked fine. Cleaned laser. Repositioned laser by moving it on track. Redistributed white lithium grase on laser slides. Put back together and up and running. Sved the 99 microsoft repair plus shipping. Thanks for online directions!!!!!!!!!!!!!

st3 on October 06, 2010:

super fantastic happy fun times

ocho needs help on October 04, 2010:

so i did this and for some fricken reason it will sometimes call it a dvd and ill eject and put it back in and it will read it. then ill click play but it goes back to the main thing after 10 seconds of darkness.... what's this mean?

Tip on September 21, 2010:

I didn't own a T10 so i used a small flat screwdriver instead, works great (for those wo didn't obtain a T10)

Xenali on September 13, 2010:

This really helped me. I was never an avid electronics person and I had no idea how I was going to clean out the machine. Now I am confident! Thank you so much :)

Jonny on September 10, 2010:

Worked great! THx! First my ipod wasn't working and when i went to try to plug it in it had the 1 red light thing,f**K! Then i followed steps and found a lot of dust! I cleaned,put back together, and it work! Thx a lot for the help!

MolecularGraph on September 08, 2010:

My Xbox was just saying open tray, with any disc it acted like it didn't know it had a disc in it, just kept saying open tray, so i followed these instructions without the video, and while i had it apart i painted it a dark green color, when i put it back together it worked again. Btw a torx T9 will work.

t-man on August 31, 2010:

is the ONE red light a hard drive problem?? or should i just clean everything??

Ryan on August 28, 2010:

woop! thnx for the help! you rock

zig on August 26, 2010:

just did everything according to your directions and im still having the same problems.... f-in frustrating!!! but overall your video was extremely helpful for disassembly, thanks for that but otherwise, still not happy i gotta buy a new x box 360 :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

zig on August 26, 2010:

My xbox is says reading disk and then it stops and says open tray with any of my games, even brand new ones. could cleaning it fix this problem?

jay on August 25, 2010:

this worked great for me! i fixed my nephews for his birthday and i fixed my sons microsoft is getting paidddd boy im thinking bout starting a little service 30$ a pop and ill get em up and

John on August 23, 2010:

Did everything listed here. The open tray problem persists. Looks like I'll be buying a new box.

sam on August 22, 2010:

Thanks it worked like a charm :)

Jun bug on August 22, 2010:

Thx a lot this helped so much, my 360 wouldn't play my games @ times but web I did this it wrkrd 4 me thx u :)

drew on August 01, 2010:

awesome, that worked great! thx for the info!

old guy on July 29, 2010:

DUDE, thank you...this xbox has only been running netfilx for 6 months until I saw this.

cj on July 28, 2010:

this didn't work for me. idk y, bt wen i put the xbox bak togethr afrter doing all the steps, it still was reading then went to "open tray". its really frusterating....

kb on July 28, 2010:

this method worked for me but it still sometimes will play a disk then mid game give me they "clean disk/restart console msg"

tfeva on July 27, 2010:

my xbox didnt have the ring of death, but it wasn't reading any games. i took the xbox apart, cleaned the laser eye, and so far its been working great! thanks a lot for the help. they were gonna charge $120 to fix this problem.

Jay on July 18, 2010:

I've been reading through the comments, and tho some of them are old, I've seen a lot of "can't find t10" and even one "it isn't a t10 it's a t12."

1. It is a t10

2. t10 can be bought at RadioShack, comes in a little kit that also contains t12

If what this article suggests DOES NOT work for you, you may also order a brand new dvd drive from (just make sure its the right model), then the work to replace them isn't too difficult at all. You have to open them both up and swap the circuit boards, put the new one back together and BAM! It works.

Mike on July 07, 2010:

My xbox wouldn't read discs but then I saw this and it worked perfectly. Thank You!

Ryan on July 03, 2010:

When I'd put a disc in my xbox it would say reading,then open tray.It got so bad,that every time the xbox would get shut off,it would take at least 30mins to get the game to work.I had called microsoft and they said 6 to 8 weeks to even TRY find a problem...I found this,tried it,took a minute and now the games work perfect!!Reads em right away!This took 30mins to do,and saved me tons of future aggravation!I can now play any game I want without worry!

TwO1FouR from Dallas, TX on July 02, 2010:

I tried this a while back with my old xbox and it does work!

Sam on June 28, 2010:

Great instruction and video, but unfortunately didn't fix the problem. I cleaned the lens but still get the "reading" then "open tray". So I open and close the tray, the game seems to be read, but screen stays black (like it doesn just before the game really starts).

No idea what to do now. The problem is so intermittant. Sometimes dvd's will get the "can't read media" error too.

TommyBoy on June 25, 2010:

my disc reader stopped working completely and it wouldn't read anything.I called microsoft and they wanted me to pay $100 to fix it (iam sort of poor so i told them to go die and i filed a complaint). well long story short i was able to get a fried xbox whos reader still works so i literally pried open both of them (Microsoft did a terrible job of constructing them and the 2nd layer is made of aluminum i was able to open it with a knife and a pair of pliers. its time consuming though)i put in the new reader and i started it up and it reads the disc as a dvd and says i need to put this disc into a xbox 360 console. i am opening up my disc reader at this very moment and hopefully if it gets cleaned it will work again. thanks for the advice will probably post a follow up after this. P.S. Microsoft SUCKS every experience i have with them is bad. they will try and screw you over every which way. Never pay them fix it yourself and have fun with it now i am able to customize my cover and not worry about paying $100 dollars for an outrageous repair.

rochelle on June 22, 2010:

thanks! just fixed my xbox360 and am CRAZY happy about it. VERY helpful. :D

Jacob on June 20, 2010:

Thanks For The Help, our 360 said play dvd now we hope we fixed it. Thanks a lot.

zach on June 18, 2010:

i still have 3 red rings

please help me!

XBoxDude on June 16, 2010:

So instead of the TorX bits, I used 5/64 L wrench.

Worked like a charm (didn't have to force it at all).

CB7Man on June 16, 2010:

Worked Perfectly! I don't have TorX bits, so I used a #2 screw driver and put a lot of weight on it. Then used wire cutters to grab the screw heads. Now its all back together and playing games! I got a nice FREE 360! :)

Shawn on June 11, 2010:

Thanks Man...this totally worked for me! Saved me $119 that xbox was gonna charge me to fix it.

Jonathan on June 10, 2010:

I cant find ANY screwdriver or torx that will fit the Xbox screws. :(

I have a set here with about 50 screwdrivers,torx,philips ect. But not one of them work.

Please help.

Brandy Lee on June 01, 2010:

I am so happy. Its 6/1/10 here in beautiful Des Moines Iowa. My son's bday is this Sat. Because I lost my job I thought I would trade in his Xbox360 for one of the black ones, but it wasn't reading discs. NOW IT IS and I can get my full trade in towards a new one! You have no idea how happy we are and how you touched our lives! From DM IA

dude01 on May 31, 2010:

worked for me this is awesome

greenthum on May 27, 2010:

worked 2 a T thanks afk playing X BOX!

Dendo on May 27, 2010:

My drive was doing the whole reading then back to open tray. Took mine apart then Sprayed it out and cleaned the laser. Working great now.

Ethan on May 23, 2010:

Resurrected my Xbox 360 "Open Tray" with q-tips and a vacuum..... Back up and running. Thank you!

matt on May 21, 2010:

the guide worked great...sadly, i think my disk drive is toast

ste on May 21, 2010:

just used ur guide....... worked well. my 360 has been playing up for months and is now fine. the inside was coverd'ed in dust.......... thanks!

Damian on May 19, 2010:

thanks for the gude though i will message you if it helps, i am trying it right now.

damian on May 19, 2010:

Any other ways that you can think of to fix this issue? It will not read games. Simply says "Reading" then "Open Tray"

What type of issue do you think it could be?

Scott on May 03, 2010:

TOM - Hell yes it will! Microsoft will know you were tampering with it and void your warranty. I do not suggest following this tutorial IF your Xbox is under warranty. This absolutely will void your warranty and do not for a second think they wont know you did it if you send it in after you have tried to do it. I promise you they will know. So, in conclusion, if your Xbox is under warranty call their customer service number and ask for warranty help. If your Xbox is out of warranty then by all means give this tutorial a shot.

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