Error Messages

Disk Read Errors

Xbox 360 Disc Read Errors – What's Happening?

Disc Read Error Xbox 360Like most devices designed to play DVDs and CDs, the Xbox can have numerous assorted errors.  The Disc Read error is one of the most ambiguous errors.  What is it?  Can you fix the Xbox?  Does the Disc Read error even require a fix?  Unlike other errors associated with the Microsoft gaming console, such as the 3 red light error or the 1 red light error, the Disc Read error often requires very little from the gamer in order to alleviate the problem.

Disc Read errors fall into one of two categories – disc-related problems and non-disc related problems.  Below, you will find information detailing both types of errors and the steps required to alleviate the symptoms.

What Is It?

The Disc Read error is a simple one.  It simply means that the Xbox is unable to read the disc that you have placed in the drive. In the majority of instances, this error has nothing to do with the functionality of the console, but, rather, hinges on the actual disc that has been inserted into the DVD tray.

Disc-Related Errors

The most common reason for Disc Read errors are related to the disc itself.  Numerous conditions can keep the laser from reading the information contained within the game, DVD or CD in the DVD drive.

  • The disc is scratched – Game discs, audio CDs and DVDs can become scratched very easily.  Usually this is because they have not been kept in their cases, but left in the open.  Simply resting two discs atop one another can scratch the bottom disc. If discs are sufficiently scratched, the data contained on them will be inaccessible to the drive.
  • The disc is dirty/dusty – Dirt and dust can build up on the faces of discs left exposed.  When sufficient dirt or dust has built up, it can block the laser beam used to read the disc, resulting in a Disc Read error.
  • The disc is the incorrect region – DVDs come in formats called "regions."  These regions match the region specified in the software of the DVD player.  Some games also have these regions.  If the region of the DVD and that of the player do not match, the disc will not play.

Can I Fix These Errors?

Repairing disc-related issues may or may not be possible.  If the cause is simply dirt and dust, you can certainly repair the disc.  However, if the cause is due to extreme scratching, then replacing the disc is likely your only choice.  If the disc is from the incorrect region or from another country, you will have to obtain the correct region.  Returning the disc to the retailer for exchange may work.

Non-Disc Related Errors

As mentioned, there can be some Disc Read errors that have nothing to do with the disc at all.  In this case, it's time to troubleshoot the Xbox.

  • First, simply try to reboot the machine.  Often, this will flush the cache or other error and allow the game to operate or the disc to play.
  • Second, try removing the hard drive and/or memory units.  Once removed, reboot the console and attempt to load the disc with the hard drive and memory out of the unit.  If this works, you can simply shutdown and reinstall the hard drive.
  • Attempt to play the disc in another type of player.  For instance, attempt to play the DVD in another DVD player or the CD in a CD player.  If the disc plays in these players, you may need to clean the Xbox DVD player.
  • Check to make sure that all air vents are open and are able to provide sufficient airflow.  Overheating can cause Disc Read errors, as well.  In addition, ensure that the power supply is unobstructed and uncovered.  Much like the Xbox 360, the power supply can become quite hot and can cause errors if unventilated.
  • Check for disc tray errors. Depress the eject button and watch the tray extend. If the tray partially extends and then retracts immediately, you may have a problem with the DVD drive.  If your Xbox is under warranty, this can be replaced at no charge.  However, if you are out of warranty, you can install a new DVD drive on your own.
  • As a note, make sure that the new DVD drive comes with the same firmware as your original console, or you may experience additional error codes after the installation of the new DVD drive.