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How To Take Apart and Clean An XBOX 360

Updated on September 22, 2008

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

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


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    • profile image

      evelyn 4 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Justice 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      WatsAnXbox 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      silvergamer 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      roomummy 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      CRAP 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Alisha M. 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      tashasully 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      skillz607 6 years ago

      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!!!!!

    • profile image

      NoelleNoir 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Marc 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Timid 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      richie 1604 6 years ago

      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 :)

    • profile image

      captain kirk 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      X360Guru 6 years ago

      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!!!!

    • profile image

      fredballer 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Bmel031 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      noname 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Julia 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      jj 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Bryce 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Linda Jane 06 06 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      fallen016 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      racheal 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      galacticmom 7 years ago

      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....

    • profile image

      ganstalicious 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      BioHunt 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Mrsstonewallhog 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kclaass71 7 years ago

      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!!!!

    • profile image

      Adam  7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      player 1 7 years ago

      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).

    • profile image

      kingspade 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      yup 7 years ago

      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!!!

    • profile image

      ch33kych4ppy 7 years ago

      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 :)

    • profile image

      bored 7 years ago

      lol cant put it back together

    • profile image

      kokoloro 7 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Nic 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Eugene  7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      tyuiip 7 years ago


    • profile image

      xboxermom 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      WhiteRob7 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      aggravated 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      pixiemom81 7 years ago

      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!!!

    • profile image

      stuart 7 years ago

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

      i owe you beer

    • profile image

      Bobby 7 years ago

      This worked well!

      Go Seahawks!

    • profile image

      Clair 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      chris Q 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Victor 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      lovethatjewel 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Paul 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Brock 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      perks1975 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Madden11 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      DreamZ 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      mike jones 7 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      blak 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Dan 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Wap 7 years ago

      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!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      st3 7 years ago

      super fantastic happy fun times

    • profile image

      ocho needs help 7 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Tip 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Xenali 7 years ago

      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 :)

    • profile image

      Jonny 7 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      MolecularGraph 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      t-man 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ryan 7 years ago

      woop! thnx for the help! you rock

    • profile image

      zig 7 years ago

      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 :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

    • profile image

      zig 7 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      jay 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      John 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      sam 7 years ago

      Thanks it worked like a charm :)

    • profile image

      Jun bug  7 years ago

      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 :)

    • profile image

      drew 7 years ago

      awesome, that worked great! thx for the info!

    • profile image

      old guy 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      cj 7 years ago

      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....

    • profile image

      kb 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      tfeva 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Jay 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ryan 7 years ago

      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 profile image

      TwO1FouR 7 years ago from Dallas, TX

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

    • profile image

      Sam 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      TommyBoy 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      rochelle 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jacob 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      zach 7 years ago

      i still have 3 red rings

      please help me!

    • profile image

      XBoxDude 7 years ago

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

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

    • profile image

      CB7Man 7 years ago

      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! :)

    • profile image

      Shawn 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jonathan 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Brandy Lee 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      dude01 7 years ago

      worked for me this is awesome

    • profile image

      greenthum 7 years ago

      worked 2 a T thanks afk playing X BOX!

    • profile image

      Dendo 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Ethan 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      matt 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ste 8 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Damian  8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      damian 8 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Scott 8 years ago

      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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