If you own an Xbox console, you’ve undoubtedly experienced or at least heard of the infamous Green Screen of Death (GSOD). The threat of this error has plagued Xbox gamers for years, and many simply throw in the towel, say goodbye to their saved data, and write the Xbox One off as unplayable. However, if your Xbox One gets stuck on the green screen of death, you don’t necessarily have to send the console in for repair just to fix the issue.
In this guide, you’ll find information on what the Xbox One green screen is, what can cause it, and all of the steps you need to fix the issue so that you can get back to your favorite games and media.
What is the Xbox One Green Screen of Death?
As the name suggests, the green screen error is hallmarked by a bright lime green loading screen that just has the Xbox One logo on it. While this screen is normal to see on a traditional boot, what makes it the “green screen of death” is that sometimes an Xbox One gets stuck and doesn’t move past this point, preventing you from accessing the console completely.
In some cases, the screen may also turn black, with no indication of what’s happening and no explanation of how to move forward. This type of behavior is classified as a boot failure, which occurs when the console has failed to load or locate the files necessary for a proper startup.
Why is Xbox One stuck on the Green Screen of Death?
Microsoft has not released an official statement on what exactly causes this error, but we can safely list several probable culprits based on the nature of this error:
- Software Glitches: Typically revolving around updates, software glitches are the number one cause of an Xbox One stuck on the green screen of death. Not updating your console, interrupting an update, or running into an unforeseen error during an update are all common causes of the green screen error. Make sure to keep your Xbox One updated, and always ensure that any update starts and completes undisturbed.
- Corrupted Data: Over time, data can become corrupted for a multitude of reasons. Your hard drive may be full, the console may have been left running for an extended period of time, or some kind of error may have slipped in and caused an unpredictable malfunction. Data corruption can result in the need to reformat your hard drive. In rare cases, it can even require your to replace the drive altogether.
- Server Communication Error: On startup, the console automatically begins communicating with Microsoft’s servers to check for updates and connect to Xbox Live. Issues occurring during this communication can cause loading errors if the process gets snagged on a particular step.
- Security Check Error: After an unexpected shutdown, such as caused by a power outage, the console will perform a security check in order to determine the integrity of its files and detect any discrepancies. This process can get stuck if there are missing files or a read-write error, as the security sweep will prevent the console from loading while these issues persist.
- Hardware Failures: In some rare cases, the GSOD can be caused by hardware failures. Overheating, loose or failing components, and dings and dents from being dropped or moved can result in an error. If your Xbox One is still under warranty, it’s possible that Microsoft will replace the hardware for you. Otherwise, you may need to purchase new hardware yourself.
As you can see, there are quite a few suspects, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly which one is causing your Xbox One to be stuck on the green screen of death. This obviously leads to our next question: What can be done about this?
Five methods to fix an Xbox One stuck on green screen
Now that we’ve gone over some of the possible causes of the Xbox One stuck on green screen problem, let’s talk about how to fix it. While any of the methods below can fix your Xbox One, the most likely fix for you will be dependent on the root cause of the issue. So, make sure that you try all of the fixes if you’re unsure of what is causing the boot failure.
1. Bypass the loading screen – Button combo
If you believe that your Xbox One is getting stuck on the green screen because of an integrity check that is taking too long, one of the quickest and easiest ways to fix the green screen error is to bypass it by circumventing the security check.
To jump to the next screen, you’ll need to press a combination of buttons with your Xbox One controller.
- Once the Xbox One is powered on and stuck on the green screen of death, power up one of your controllers.
- Now press the middle Xbox button on your controller, called the “guide button.”
- Hold down this button until you feel the controller vibrate.
- Then press down the Start Menu for 2-3 seconds.
- Finally, remove the battery from the controller.
- Wait until the green screen disappears, and then reboot the console.
Many users have reported this method working for them after the second try, so if it doesn’t work the first time, consider trying it again before moving on to one of the other methods listed below.
2. Do a hard reset of your Xbox One
If the button combo method doesn’t work or if you can’t get your controller out in time, another way to fix a stuck green screen is to do a hard reset of your Xbox One console. A reset will essentially power off the system and restart it, bypassing the green screen entirely. To do a hard reset, simply follow the steps below.
- With your Xbox One powered on and stuck on the green screen, press and hold down the console’s power button for about 10 seconds.
- Wait until the console powers off, and then let go of the button. When the console turns off is how you know that the hard reset has been completed successfully.
Once the console has rebooted, your Xbox One should no longer be stuck on the green screen of death. If this doesn’t work, you can try re-doing this step, but instead of immediately rebooting the console after the hard reset, unplug the power cable and wait 30 seconds before plugging it back and pressing the power button to turn the console back on. This is called a power cycle and works the same way that a hard reset does; it just has a little more time between the reboot sequence.
3. Do an offline system update to your Xbox One console
Since you can’t access the console’s software to perform a system update, you can instead download the latest updates manually using an 8GB USB drive and a Windows computer. This process is lengthy, but if the issue is software-related, it comes with a high chance of success.
- Start by formatting the pendrive. Plug it into the computer, right-click on its icon, then select the Format option from the menu.
- In the window that opens, locate File System and select NTFS from the menu below it. Ensure that the Quick Format option is checked, then click the Start button. Click OK on the dialogue box that appears.
- Open a web browser and go to the official Xbox website. Using the website’s search bar in the top left corner, type in “Offline Update Tool” and hit search.
- In the results list, click the first option and find the link to download the zip file called OSU1. There should be instructions here on precisely how to do that.
- Locate the zip file in your downloads and extract it to an easy-to-find location. Within those files, look for one called $SystemUpdate. Copy this file and paste it into the newly formatted USB drive.
- Eject your USB drive from the computer, and plug it into your Xbox One.
- Power on your Xbox by holding the Sync, Eject, and Power buttons simultaneously until you hear two beeping sounds. This launches the console into troubleshooting mode.
- In the menu that appears, use the d-pad on your controller to navigate to Offline System Update, then press the A button to select it. This should start the offline update process. Simply wait for it to finish, then restart your console.
4. Reset the Xbox One to factory defaults
If none of the other methods above work, your last resort will be to reset your Xbox One console to factory defaults.
Warning: This will wipe all of the data from your system and start you from scratch. If you have any important data or files that you need to back up, make sure to do that before proceeding.
To reset your Xbox One to factory defaults, follow the steps below.
- Make sure that your Xbox One console is powered on and showing the green screen of death.
- On your Xbox One console, press down the Xbox key button which is located on the front of the console. Hold it down for 10 seconds.
- Once the console powers down, press and hold the Sync button, Eject button, and Power button simultaneously.
- Hold these three buttons down until you hear two beeps from your console.
- Once you hear these two beeps, release all three buttons.
- A troubleshooting menu should appear on your television or monitor screen that allows you to either “Continue,” “Offline System Update,” “Reset This Xbox,” or “Turn Off This Xbox.” You want to choose the reset option from this list.
- To make your selection, use your Xbox One controller to navigate to the reset option and hit “A” on it to proceed.
- You will be asked if you want to remove everything. Hit “yes” or “A” to begin the factory reset.
5. Replace a corrupted hard drive disk
If you’ve tried all of the methods above and your Xbox One is still stuck on the green screen of death, there may be an issue with your console’s hard drive. In this case, it is recommended that you either take your Xbox One console in for repair at an authorized repair shop to see if they can help replace or repair the corrupted hard drive disk. While it is possible to replace your internal hard drive manually, doing this is risky and will void the warranty on your console.
Hopefully, after going through the steps above, you were able to fix your Xbox One and solve being stuck on the green screen. If any of the methods helped you out today, let us know in the comments below, and consider giving this post a share so that others can get the help they need too. Happy gaming!