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What Does The Xbox 360 Ring of Light Mean?

Updated on September 28, 2011

What Is The Ring?

Every Xbox console has a four part ring in the centre of them - This is used to indicate whether the Xbox is working, broken or turned off. Each of the ring’s quadrants has a number - one for upper left, two for upper right, three for lower left and four for lower right. This stays the same whether the console placed is vertical or horizontal.


Normal Lights

Normally, the ring on the front of your Xbox should be a green colour, and the quadrants should light up according to each of the controllers that are connected to the Xbox. For example, if you have two controllers, then you should have two green quadrants lit up on the screen.

Error - Red Light!

When quadrant four (Lower right) lights up, this means that there has been a hardware failure inside your Xbox - A two digit error code is then displayed on the screen of your TV, the most common code being E74.

When quadrant one and three (Upper left and lower left) light up, this means that the Xbox 360 has overheated, and it has shut down to prevent further damage. The console will run the fans at full speed until the console has cooled down enough - when it has cooled down, you can continue playing your game.

When quadrants one, three and four light up you have the most common Xbox problem - Often called the Red Ring of Death. The Red Ring of Death means that there has been a general hardware failure - This can be caused by a variety of problems, for example it could be that there has not been enough much adhesive applied, one of the components has failed, or there is a faulty power cable.

When all of the quadrants light up, you have one of the rarest errors - This error is often caused by an AV cable not being plugged in. This only applies to old models that do not have a HDMI cable slot. If your Xbox has the four red lights, and you do have an HDMI slot, then it is likely that you have had a power surge or a power outage while the Xbox was running. The best thing to do in this situation is to unplug the system and plug it back in when power has returned to normal.

The RROD in Action

Don't Worry!

Don’t worry if your console does get these errors - Many consoles do. If you are reading this, you are most likely to have the two quadrants or the Red Ring of Death. But never fear, help is at hand - Have a look at some more material, Or read up on the red lights at


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      jordan 5 years ago

      The only bit of my xbox that is red is the middle of the ring so what do i do?

    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Very handy information! Someone was asking me today about the red ring of death!