How to Fix an Original Xbox Disk Read Error
By Marshal M. Rosenthal
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
Flat-head jeweler’s screwdriver
Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver
Photographic lens cleaner
The Xbox continues to be a well-used gaming console, despite the advent of the more powerful Xbox 360. Dirt and debris can get into the DVD drive inside of the Xbox and cause it to display a disk read error when you are attempting to play a disc. You can fix the DVD drive yourself, saving a trip to a service center and the cost of a new drive, providing you are willing to open the Xbox and the DVD drive. You will need a few tools and household cleaning items in order to do the repair.
Opening the Xbox
Place the newspaper down on a table. Remove all of the cables attached to the Xbox. Put the Xbox face down down on the newspaper.
Peel the rubber feet off of the bottom with the flat-head screwdriver. Remove the screws that are under the rubber feet with the Torx screwdriver. Remove the one screw each at either side of the Xbox’s bottom.
Turn the Xbox face up and put it down on the newspaper. Grab the sides of the Xbox and lift the top cover up and off of the bottom cover. Put the top cover aside.
Remove the two screws from the front of the hard drive with the jeweler’s screwdriver--the hard drive is to the right inside of the bottom cover. Lift up on the ribbon cable connected to the hard drive. Remove the screw that is under the ribbon cable using the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver.
Pull out the ribbon cable from the back of the hard drive with your fingers. Loosen the power cord that is lying next to the hard drive. Lift up on the front of the hard drive to remove it from the bottom case. Put the hard drive aside.
Unplug the ribbon cable and the yellow cable attached to the DVD drive from the motherboard.
Remove the two screws from the front of the DVD drive using the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver.
Lift up on the front of the DVD drive to remove it from the bottom case. Put the DVD drive down on the newspaper in front of you with the yellow warning sticker facing up.
Cleaning the DVD Drive
Remove the two screws in the rear of the DVD drive and the two on the top at either side using the Phillips jeweler’s screwdriver.
Flip the DVD drive over. Pull on the metal tab in the back that is over the connector. Pull the disc tray out that is attached to the connector by pulling it out and up. Put the disc tray aside.
Push in the two tabs at each side of the DVD drive while pulling up on the top cover. Pull the top cover off and put it aside.
Spray the laser assembly with compressed air. The laser assembly is at the middle of the DVD drive next to the white ribbon cable on one side and the white gear on the other
Moisten a cotton swab in photographic lens cleaner. Rub the cotton swab gently against the reflective mirror on the laser assembly for six to eight seconds. Gently rub a dry cotton swab against the reflective mirror on the laser assembly for six to eight seconds. Let the reflective mirror dry for a minute or two.
Moisten another cotton swab in the photographic lens cleaner and repeat the process of cleaning the reflective lens with the moistened cotton swab and a dry cotton swab.
Inspect the reflective lens for dust or debris. Use additional cotton swabs as necessary to remove any and all debris from the reflective lens.
Blow off the lens with the compressed air.
Reassemble the DVD drive. Reattach the DVD drive to the bottom case of the Xbox. Reattach the hard drive to the bottom case of the Xbox. Reverse the disassembly process to put the Xbox back together. Reattach all of the cables to the Xbox.
Use a magnifying glass to inspect the laser mirror to see that it has been polished fully.
Wear an anti-static strap to keep static electricity from harming any electronic component that you might touch.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."