Over 1 million people got their hands on Microsoft’s Xbox One console following its November 22 launch. Of those 1 million people though, not everyone had an ideal experience. The sad reality of any new electronic hardware launch is that there is going to be a margin of error that is deemed acceptable by the manufacturer. So it wasn’t surprising when news of issues with the Xbox One began to emerge.
The same thing happened with the PlayStation 4. Users reported a variety of issues – some minor enough that they could be fixed at home, others requiring a full console replacement. In total though, Sony claims that the number of affected owners is under 1-percent. That amounts to a whopping 10,000 disgruntled fans, but that number is comparatively small for new hardware. The iPhone 4 had an industry best 2.1-percent failure rate, meaning hundreds of thousands of people had issues, and it was still the most reliable smartphone among its peers.
That’s small comfort for an excited fan that has waited months just to give Sony or Microsoft hundreds of dollars, but it is the reality of the situation. So with that in mind, if you are an Xbox One purchaser and are having some problems, we have a few recommendations for you. If none of them work, we also have the contact information for Microsoft, which is expediting replacement consoles and in some cases offering a free game to make up for the problems.
1-800-4-MYXBOX (Support Agent Hours: M-F 9AM-5PM PT)
Before you do anything, as soon as you have your console, you should register it with Microsoft on its website. It will make any warranty issues go much faster.
Malfunction: Disc drive makes grinding sound
Given time, there will probably be a universally recognized title for this particular malfunction, something like “Optical drive of death” or “Grinding sound of death.” The “of death” is what really sells it. Regardless of how it is identified, the problem is something that a number of Xbox One users have reported. When you put a disc in the console’s optical drive, it makes a grinding sound. An error message then claims the media is incompatible. It doesn’t matter what type of disc you put in the drive, the problem is with the hardware itself.
Microsoft has yet to address this particular issue beyond confirming the company is aware of it, and it recommends users return the hardware. You could always try to repair it yourself if you are familiar with optical drives, but you’d likely void your warranty in the process. If are suffering from this problem, your options are limited.
- Return the hardware to where you purchased it. Due to stock shortages, a replacement may take a while though. If you want your money back, go this route.
- Contact Microsoft directly using one of the contact methods above. The company’s support team is arranging replacements, and in some cases will ship a new console with a game of your choice to you before you send your system in.
Malfunction: The console won’t update
Some users have reported issues during the mandatory update phase. When this occurs, the Xbox One won’t be able to access the majority of Xbox One features.
This could be an issue with the Xbox One, a problem with your Internet connection, or even something on Microsoft’s end. Regardless of the cause, the result is a system that doesn’t work properly. Before you contact Microsoft, there are a few steps you should try first.
- Check your Internet connection. Obvious maybe, but any connection interruptions could derail the entire process.
- Try again later. If you are having an issue with downloading the update it may simply be a problem on Microsoft’s end, including too many users at once or server maintenance. Give it an hour or two. If the issue remains, check the Microsoft Live Status page. If there is a known issue on its end, Microsoft will have a status alert.
- Check your hardware. Again, an obvious one, but if you are using the wireless connection on the Xbox One and receiving an error, try a wired connection via Ethernet.
- Cycle your Xbox One. Hold down the power button for five seconds until it shuts down, then unplug the system and wait 30 seconds. Plug it back in and turn it on. This clears the cache and resets the network card.
- If you are receiving a specific error message regarding updates or an online connection in general, refer to Microsoft’s network connection error list.
- If the update still won’t download, it’s time to contact Microsoft.
Malfunction: Kinect isn’t being recognized
A handful of users are reporting that the Kinect isn’t registering on the Xbox One, even when it is plugged in. If this happens, you’ll find your Xbox One experience severely handicapped.
Microsoft has confirmed to several customers that the issue is with the Kinect, and not the Xbox One itself. If that is the case, it at least means you may not have to ship your entire console in. If you purchased your Xbox One at a local retailer, you may still want to contact Microsoft directly. If you bought your system locally, and assuming they actually did have stock, you may still need to return the entire system to get a new Kinect.
- It should go without saying, but make sure the Kinect is physically connected to the Xbox One. Assuming it is, make sure the connection is free of any obvious damage.
- Try cycling your system. Turn off the Xbox One by holding the power cord for five seconds, unplug the AC cord and the Kinect cord, then wait 30 seconds. Plug everything in and try again.
- Contact Microsoft directly and arrange for a replacement Kinect.
Malfunction: Xbox One won’t power on
Another issue being reported by users is that the system won’t power on, or if it does it is for a limited time only and quickly shuts off. This could be the console itself, but more likely it is the power brick.
The first step is always to simply check to make sure everything is connected properly. Once that is done, the next step is to verify that your power brick is working properly. All Xbox One power bricks have a light on them to signify they are receiving electrical current. If you see a solid white or solid orange light, the power supply is working properly. If there is no light or it flickers, it needs to be replaced. Before you contact Microsoft though, try these quick fixes.
- Make sure it is not the outlet you are connected to. Plug something else in, or try plugging the power supply into another outlet.
- If the power supply isn’t receiving current, it’s defective and needs to be replaced. If you registered your console, you can order a new power supply online.
- If the power supply is working but the Xbox One still isn’t powering up, contact Microsoft directly, as it may be a defect with the system.
Problem: Your TV isn’t displaying the best resolution
This is actually an easy fix, but it requires a few steps:
- From the Xbox One dashboard, hit the Menu button to bring up the settings. Select “Display & Sound” option, then select “TV Resolution” and choose the proper setting.
- If you have a relatively new TV, make sure your set has the most recent firmware. Refer to your TV owner’s manual if you aren’t sure how to do this.
- If you are still having display issues, try a different HDMI cable. This may not help, but the next step is contacting Microsoft.
Problem: Xbox One turns off unexpectedly
A small number of users have reported that their Xbox One is turning off unexpectedly. This is a separate issue from system’s not powering up.
This may be a malfunction, but there are other cause that anyone can fix. Before you rush off to contact Microsoft and tell them your console is broken, try these steps to see if the issue can be resolved on your end.
- Check the ventilation on the system. If it is overheating, you should get a warning message before the system shuts down. If you so, turn off the console and wait at least an hour. Make sure the Xbox One has enough ventilation and try again. If this persists, contact Microsoft.
- Check the light on the power supply. If it is flickering or there is no light, it is a power issue (see above for info on that).
- Check to see if your Xbox One is set to turn off automatically. Head to “Settings,” then select “Power & Supply,” then choose “Turn off after.” Choose the “Don’t Turn off Automatically” option and you are set.
- Make sure the AC outlet your Xbox One is plugged into is functioning properly.
Problem: Audio is not working properly
There are a few known issues with the audio settings of the Xbox One. Thankfully none seem to be an due to the hardware itself, so there are possible fixes you should try before contacting Microsoft.
The issue with the audio could be one of several things, ranging from a software setting to faulty connections. The bad news is you may need to purchase a new cable or two (or call Microsoft and wait for a replacement), but the good news is that it may be as simple as changing your options.
- The first step should be to go into the “Settings” and select “Display & Sound.” From there choose the option that reflects your system – either HDMI or Optical – and then select the audio format that suits your system. If you don’t know, select “Stereo Uncompressed.”
- Let’s assume you’ve confirmed everything is connected properly. If you are still having issues, it may then be a matter of a faulty optical or HDMI cable. Replace it and see if that fixes it, but keep your receipt. If it doesn’t work, you can always return the cable after contacting Microsoft.
- If you are connecting your Xbox to a cable TV box, unplug everything – the Xbox One and the cable box – and then wait 30 seconds for the cache to clear.
- Some cable boxes have unique audio settings. Check with your cable provider to see if they can help.
Problems: Games won’t install
All Xbox One games need to be installed. This process happens in the background, and gamers can generally start playing the game as the installation is ongoing. Some users have reported that the installation process is freezing, often at 0-percent, which means the game won’t play at all.
This could be an issue with the optical drive, the disc itself (assuming it is disc based rather than downloadable), or a network connection. It may require a call to Microsoft, but there may be an easier fix.
- The first thing you should do is make sure your console is updated with the most recent Microsoft patches. If your system is offline, connect (assuming you have the means) and let the console do its thing.
- If you are online, the issue may be your connection to Xbox Live. First, unhook your Ethernet cable, or if you are using a wireless connection disable it through “Settings.” Then hold down the power button for 10 seconds. Restart your system, but don’t connect online. If the installation begins normally, you should then be able to reconnect to Xbox Live without issue. If the problem continues though, contact Microsoft.
- If it is just one game, assuming it is installing from a physical disc, make sure the disc is clean and undamaged. If there is a noticeable chip or scratch, you may need to return the game itself.