You Win Microsoft

I was hoping the title would have read "I win", but that's not the case. It all started with Saints Row 3. I picked it up after Christmas with part of an Amazon gift card. When it got here I popped it in and started installing it, as I do with any game I know I'm going to play a lot. Two minutes into the install process I see this:

I doubted my new disc was scratched, but I thought there might be a chance because it was shipped to me from the land of Amazon. I tried the install a couple more times, and the error persisted. So I tried playing the game without an install, but it froze within the first 10 minutes, every time. Bummer. I wrote Amazon about the bad disc and they promptly sent a replacement. The next game had the same problem. Uh oh. That meant the problem was my Xbox.

This is where I had take a deep breath and quell the boiling rage inside me. This is my fourth Xbox. The first one died within a month back in 2006 (I was able to swap it out for a new one at GameStop), the next three all red ringed, and were replaced by Microsoft under their extended warranty. This one isn't covered by the warranty. Which means I could either send it to Microsoft for $100 or buy a new one. With the next Xbox likely a year or two away, I could go without one until then, but then I wouldn't be able to review 360 games. I'm lucky enough to make money off my game systems, but that requires me having them. Actually buying another system isn't what bothers me. I just don't want to reward Microsoft with more money for the poor build quality.

And so I turned to YouTube. I searched for my problem and found a few suggested fixes--they all involved taking my system apart. My console is out of warranty now and I'm definitely not paying Microsoft to "fix" it and send me another broken refurb, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

All it took was my Xbox, some screwdrivers and YouTube.

Removing the cover was the toughest part. Those little clips in the back were hard to wiggle free.

I took the interior cover off and the disc drive popped out with little effort.

I carefully unscrewed the disc drive casing...

And cleaned the laser and got rid of all the dust inside the system. Then I put the system back together, which was super easy, and hooked it up again. I started the install on Saints Row and waited.

Success! The game installed. I took apart an Xbox and fixed it! I'm the most amazing person in the world! Hooray! 

And then the game froze. Noooooooo! From there I tried a few other YouTube and Microsoft suggestions--changing hard drives (I had an old 20GB in a drawer), changing position, clearing cache--but nothing worked. I hoped this would be a story of triumph, a satisfying DIY fix. Nope.

Later today, I got a text from someone interested in buying the TV stand I listed on craigslist. They just paid for my new Xbox. You win Microsoft.