How to Use XBox Live for Free

by Jonathan Langdon

Xbox LIVE is service for the Xbox 360 console that allows players to play games online and access other online services. Users have access to two membership levels, Free and Gold. Free membership allows users to send messages, download demos and purchase game add-ons. Gold membership enables multiplayer gaming and access to Facebook, Twitter and Netflix. New users should start with a Free membership to get a taste of Xbox LIVE without paying a monthly fee.


Visit the website and click "Hotmail" to open a new window for Windows Live Hotmail. Click "Sign up," fill out the online form, and then click "I accept" after reading the Microsoft service agreement. Creating a Hotmail account also gives the user a Windows Live ID, which is necessary for creating an Xbox LIVE account. When the Hotmail account is active, signaled by an email in the Inbox, move on to the Xbox 360 console.


Navigate to the My Xbox section of the Xbox 360 console and then select "Sign In." Select "Create Profile" and then enter a profile name. Select one of the premade Xbox LIVE avatars to be used as a starting point for customizing an avatar for the Xbox LIVE account. Choose the appearance of the avatar and then select "Save and Exit."


Navigate back to the My Xbox section and then select the newly created profile. Select "Join Xbox LIVE" in the profile menu. There will be a warning message about exiting the session. Select "Yes" to prompt the Xbox 360 console to search for a wireless network. The Welcome to Xbox LIVE window will display the steps for creating an account. Select "Continue" to begin creating an account.


Enter a name into the text field and then press the Start button. Enter the new Hotmail email address, press Start and then enter the password for the email account. Press "Start," enter the user's date of birth, and then select "Done." Confirm that the information is correct and Xbox LIVE will display the default privacy settings. Select "Continue," read through the Xbox LIVE Terms and preferences document and then select "Accept" to activate the free Xbox LIVE account.


  • check New Xbox LIVE accounts are assigned a unique gamertag that can be changed by opening the profile, selecting "Edit Profile," and then entering a new gamertag after selecting "Gamertag."
  • check New Xbox LIVE accounts have access to a free one month trial of Gold membership.
  • check The Windows Live ID is also used for Windows Live Messenger, formerly MSN Messenger.
  • check Users can change their Xbox LIVE avatar's appearance by selecting their profile and then selecting "Customize Avatar."


  • close New Hotmail accounts are set to receive email from MSN, Bing, and other Microsoft services by default.
  • close Some demos are restricted to Gold membership when first released.

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About the Author

Jonathan Knorr Langdon is a freelance writer from South Jersey with a Master of Arts in creative writing from Rowan University of Glassboro, New Jersey. His areas of expertise include gaming, general computer usage and research. His articles have appeared at eHow and Answerbag.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images