The most common Xbox One issues & how to fix them

Xbox One playing up? Here’s what you need to do.

by Tom Owen

The Xbox One has had a decent reception since launch. It hasn’t sold as many units as the PS4 or the Nintendo Switch, but it has had a decent run prior to the next-gen consoles coming out at the end of 2020.

If you find yourself with issues, the Stealth guide covers the most common problems with the Xbox One and possible solutions to get you back playing.

If the things covered in this guide don’t help then you can use the Microsoft website to diagnose and then get some help through their official channels.

At this point, your console may not be under manufacturer warranty: If that’s the case, keep in mind that you may have to pay a repair fee.

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Issue: Disc drive makes grinding sound

Luckily the people that have reported this issue have said it doesn’t seem to damage the disc itself. But usually it will give an error message that reads; “Sorry we can’t play that disc. Try an Xbox One game, music CD, or a movie on a Blu-ray or DVD.”

Potential solutions:

Return to Microsoft — They are being quite receptive to this issue due to the notoriety. Depending on how much warranty you have on the item, there will be a different level of appetite from Microsoft to help. Often they will tell you to ship it to them, and some people have reported having a new console as a replacement fairly quickly when they are in warranty.

If you try to fix this yourself, you could make it worse or void the warranty.

Read more: PS4 vs Xbox One – which is better?

Issue: Xbox One won’t update

This is a mandatory update which most of the system requires to happen and therefore an issue with this pretty much stops your whole experience. The system will say on the screen “There was a problem with the update” and give you the option to check the connection, try again or turn the Xbox off.

This can be anything from your internet, your Xbox One or even the Microsoft servers.

Potential solutions:

Check the Internet Connection — Reset your router in your home internet setup, and see if this helps with the internet connection. Also, if using a wireless internet set up, use a wired cable that comes with the Xbox One to have a wired connection just to do the update if that helps.

Try again later — Sometimes it can be due to maintenance or issues in Microsoft servers. You can check there status here – if they know about it, they will be working on it.

Cycle the Xbox One — Hold down the power button for 5 seconds until it switches off, then unplug it and count 30 seconds. Plug it back in and turn it on. This process empties the cache and resets the network card and can unblock something that might have been causing issues.

If none of these solutions remedy the situation then contact Microsoft.

A great controller… but it can’t fix everything!

Issue: Xbox One won’t turn on

This is another fundamental problem that has come up from some users. The Xbox One won’t turn on, or if it does it doesn’t last very long and turns off during the loading process.

This can be the system, or often can be the power brick itself.

Potential solutions: 

Check the plug socket — This seems silly but sometimes you can save yourself a lot of drama from a blown fuse. Check another electronic device in the plug to see the socket is working.

Check everything is connected properly — Again, very silly check, but make sure the power brick is actually in the Xbox One and hasn’t fallen out. We’ve all been there.

Check the Power Brick itself — If you have a previous console or different device, you can check if its the Power Brick. If it’s not working with another device you know its the Power Brick and you can order another one. If it does work, you know its the console and can contact Microsoft.

Check its not the controller — Sometimes sync issues with the controller mean that way of turning the Xbox One on doesn’t work. Make sure it’s not this issue and try turning on with the button on the Xbox One itself.

Issue: TV isn’t displaying the best resolution

Microsoft have confirmed that some users Xbox One’s aren’t auto-detecting the optimal resolution. Luckily, this is a straightforward fix.

  • Go to the Xbox One dashboard, press the Menu button to bring up the Settings. Select Display & Sound option, then TV Resolution and choose the proper setting for your TV
  • If you have a new TV that has firmware updates itself, then follow their guidance to make sure this is the most up-to-date.
  • Finally, checking the issue isn’t the HDMI is a final check

If this doesn’t remedy the situation then contact Microsoft.

Issue: Games won’t install

One of the developments of this generation of gaming is that playing off the disc is over. All games on Xbox One will require installing, which means when it doesn’t work – it’s painful.

Potential solutions

Ensure you have the latest Microsoft Update — Sometimes there are some software updates that are required to support the hardware do what it needs to do.

Check the Internet Connection — Reset your router in your home internet setup, and see if this helps with the internet connection. Also, if using a wireless internet set up, use a wired cable that comes with the Xbox One to have a wired connection just to do the update if that helps.

Try again later — Sometimes it can be due to maintenance or issues in Microsoft servers. You can check there status here – if they know about it, they will be working on it.

Cycle the Xbox One — Hold down the power button for 5 seconds until it switches off, then unplug it and count 30 seconds. Plug it back in and turn it on. This process empties the cache and resets the network card and can unblock something that might have been causing issues.

Ensure the physical disc is clean — If you are using a disc make sure it’s clean and unmarked.

If none of these solutions remedy the situation then contact Microsoft.

The PS4 and the Xbox One both have issues.

Issue: Controller not syncing and Controller drifting

The chances are that at some point your controller will go haywire. There are plenty of reports of connectivity issues and problems with drifting (where the cursor moves when you haven’t touched the pad). These are fairly common on any console using wireless controllers.

Potential solutions

  • For disconnecting controllers, check your controller has functioning batteries then try restarting the console. Make sure you are actually in the range of the console too.
  • For drifting controllers, make sure your controller is updated and has fresh batteries. Then, power down and unplug your console. This will empty your cache. Wait a few minutes then restart your console.

Neither of these will likely fix the problem but they are worth doing just in case. Unfortunately, if they don’t work you will need to buy a new one or you can request to replace your controller through Xbox’s online service center.

Read more: Common PS4 issues and how to fix them

Issue: Games keep freezing or crashing

The most annoying part of gaming is when something crashes during play and you know you have lost a lot of unsaved progress. There are some little tricks that might help you get out of freeze, or at least try to stop it becoming a common occurrence.

Possible solutions:

Press Home Button — During a freeze, see if the Xbox One responds to the home button and return to the dashboard. Go back into the game and see what happens. If its still frozen you can restart the game by following the same process but going to game icon on the dashboard and presing the menu button (three horizontal lines in the middle of the pad) This gives you the option to quit the game. This then allows you to restart the game but your unsaved progress will be lost.

Cycle the Xbox One — Hold down the power button for 5 seconds until it switches off, then unplug it and count 30 seconds. Plug it back in and turn it on. This process empties the cache and resets the network card and can unblock something that might have been causing issues.

Delete and reinstall the game — This is a kind of hard reset for the game and if the issue was in the original download this will rectify that. Remember this will take a bit of time.

Install the latest game updates — Check for any system or application updates and install if there are any available.

Failing all of that, you could always hard reset your Xbox One if it really won’t cooperate.

Tom Owen