How to Repair an Original Xbox

By Emily Beach

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • DVD cleaning disk

  • Screwdriver

  • Damp rag

  • Compressed air can

Original Xbox Console
i Wiki Commons

Video game systems are continually being improved, with new models coming out faster than many fans can keep up with. One of the most popular game consoles is the Xbox, made by Microsoft. Though several new models have been introduced since the first Xbox was created, the original model is still widely used, with new games still being made for it, and many old favorites that are only compatible with that model still loved by many. If your console has stopped working, there are ways to get it up and running again without paying high repair fees, and many of them are simpler than you think.

Clean the DVD drive. The most common problem with video game systems of all types is that dust and dirt tends to build up over time as you insert and remove your games. Use a regular DVD drive cleaner to clean the system's laser. This will solve most simple problems.

Check to see if the controllers are the problem. Unplug them from the Xbox and use a screwdriver to open the casing. Clean the buttons and controls, as well as the casing surrounding them, using a damp rag. Often, dirt and grime from our hands gets into the controller and keeps it from working properly.

Unplug the unit, turn it upside down and use a screwdriver to take the cover plate off the bottom.

Remove the hard drive carefully from the unit. Use a can of compressed air (typically used for cleaning electronics) to spray away any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the hard drive.

Repeat Step 4 on the disk drive itself, removing it from the console so that it can be cleaned inside and out.

Reassemble the unit, plug it in and see if it is working properly. If not, you likely need to replace the motherboard in your console. A replacement can be ordered from the link shown in the resources section of this article, and will come with instructions to help you install it properly.


Opening up your game console will void the warranty, so be sure you feel comfortable making these fixes on your own before opening the system.