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Xbox 360 Freezes on Splash Screen and E68 Error

My Xbox 360 decided to not work the other day.
Basically, 9 out of every 10 times I turn the power on, the Xbox 360 opening splash screen loads up and then doesn’t go any further. I wouldn’t say it freezes because the swirly animation of the circle in the symbol is still moving. It just never proceeds to the dashboard menu.

Then 1 out of every 10 times I boot it up, it will flash the lower right quarter circle, or one red ring of death, on the power button. It then takes me to a black screen that says Error E68 and to contact Microsoft.

Here is a video of the bootup screen I see. This is exactly what happens too. The animation swirls in with the sound and then it just sits there with the animation still moving. It is like it hangs or freezes on the splash screen.

Diagnosis

It turned out to be my hard drive. When I disconnected the 20GB hard drive (the grey device attached to the end of the Xbox 360 where the CD drive tray is), it will boot up no problems.

Unfortunately, the hard drive carries my profiles, my save games, and other downloaded content.

If you are seeing other error codes or behaviour, check out this Xbox 360 Error Code Forum for lots of useful information.

Solution

For the short term, I have purchased a 512MB flash memory card for the Xbox 360 on eBay. You can pick up a Hong Kong special for around US$30 or less. This is a lot cheaper than the $100 60GB hard drive which is the cheapest one in stores right now. If you are still on warranty, then you don’t need to do this. Just read on below about warranty replacement.

I found a variety of solutions on YouTube and other forums, but none of them worked for me. You can always try them though.

I then proceeded to the Xbox support site that is run by Microsoft. There are some handy features there if you create an account. I was able to register my console and found out that the warranty is actually still good for 6 months.

I didn’t like the repair section of their site as it was geared towards just sending in the entire Xbox and I was sure it was the hard drive so I decided to call.

You can use the phone number 1-800-4MY-XBOX. You will enter an automated assistance system that is a little bit annoying if you have already figured out your problem. Just say “AGENT” at any time and you will be directed to a real, live person. I never had a wait time over 2 minutes either.

You have to provide your Xbox 360 serial number and some personal information before you start. They ran me through their own series of tests to make sure it was the hard drive. One I hadn’t done yet was to put my hard drive onto a friend’s Xbox 360 and see if it exhibits the same behaviour. That is exactly what happened.

They will then give you a reference # for you case and I was told to mail it back to the service center for my country. Once they received it, they would send me a new one within 2-3 weeks. I had to pay the one way freight (US$10 that included a tracking number) and that was that.

The Microsoft service agent did not tell me to include any documentation, but I wrote a bunch of info onto a piece of paper and put it in the package. This was my name, the serial # of my Xbox 360, the problem, the reference number to my repair ticket that they quoted me on the phone, my return address, email, and phone numbers.

The address I mailed it to was:

Service Center
Dock 20
844 Don Mills Road
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M3C 1V7

I did some investigating and I don’t believe this is an actual Microsoft facility, but really another company taking care of the service end for them in Canada.

Conclusion

I have sent it away this week, so this dilemma has not ended yet. I was told I would lose all my save games and would have to recover my profile using the Xbox 360 Dashboard when I get it running again. In the mean time, I’m hoping my 512MB memory card arrives. I think I might use it for all my save games and profiles from now on as the memory cards have a more reliable life span than a hard drive in my opinion (no moving parts).

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