How to Fix a Disc Read Error on the XBox 360

by Morris Wall ; Updated September 22, 2017

An Xbox 360 disc read error will be flagged on screen with the message “this disc is unreadable.” You may also see the Xbox 360 logo remain on the initial screen when you try to load a game. The disc itself could be the problem or the console itself could be in error. Fortunately there are several steps that can be taken to attempt to fix the error without having to send the console to Microsoft for an authorized repair.

Examine the back of your game packaging to determine the region code (NTSC, NTSC-J, PAL) the game supports. You can only play games that are manufactured in the same geographical region that you purchased your console. Also, some original Xbox games will not play in a Xbox 360.

Grasp the outer edges of the disc and inspect the bottom for scratches, dirt or smudges. Apply a small amount of water to a clean, soft cloth and gently wipe the bottom of the disc from the center outwards to the edges to remove any visible dirt or dust. Attempt to replay the disc after cleaning, and also test another disc to see if the problem is isolated to the specific disc you cleaned.

Press the “X,” “X,” “Left Bumper,” “Right Bumper,” “X,” “X” buttons sequentially on the game controller to clear the cache. A system maintenance prompt will appear to verify the clearing was successful. Play the problematic disc again to determine if the problem is resolved.

Turn off the console and remove any memory cards and USB memory devices. Press the release tab on the 360 hard drive and gently remove the drive from the console. Attempt to load the game without any of these peripheral devices attached. If the disc loads, turn off the system and re-attach the peripheral devices to the console. Attempt to load the disc after the devices have been re-attached.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Morris Wall has been writing about computer technology since 1996. He holds a Bachelor of Science in management from Georgia Tech and is certified in Novell Networking and Lotus Notes/Domino technologies. He provides technical support for Apple computers, iPhones, iPads, OS X and iOS technologies.

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