Introduction: How to Disassemble a Xbox 360

Picture of How to Disassemble a Xbox 360

This instructable requires overcoming the fear of playing with the innards of a $350 piece of equipment. The system is built with a sturdy steel chassis and requires Torx T8 and T10 screwdrivers to open.

Knowing how to open your Xbox 360 will enable you to add whatever mods you like. I will be writing instructables on changing the LEDs in your ring of light, and adding cold cathode lighting to heating vents. You will also be able to access your DVD Drive and flash it to play backups, fix the Red Ring of Death, or upgrade various equipment in the console.

Get ready to delve into Microsoft's successor to the Xbox, and have some fun in your future projects.

*** I am not liable for any damage or injury that occurs from following this instructable. The Xbox 360 is a piece of advanced equipment and can be irreparably damaged. Though the risk of breaking your system is highly unlikely if you follow the steps correctly, please do not complain to me if you brick your console. ***

Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed

Torx T8 & T10 Screwdrivers - The console is held together with Torx screws, these screwdrivers are easy to find and quite cheap. If you are hoping to open a Xbox 360 controller, you will need a Security Torx T8H. The best ones I've found are from Llamma's Tool Section.

Small Flathead Screwdrivers/Paper Clips - Used to hold open the friction locks of the 360 front cover. You can also use paper clips if you desire.

360 Opening Tool ($7 - Optional) - This is a specialty part used to pop the rear locks and remove the heating grills. This is worth the $7 pricetag found at Llamma's tools if you open systems repeatedly. Another option for an opening tool is a small flat-head screwdriver, you will have to pop each friction lock one at a time, but almost everybody has a satisfactory screwdriver. Removing the shell gets frustrating and tiresome if you open lots of boxes, but if you don't feel like spending $7+s/h and waiting a week for a tool you will only use twice, don't bother with the Llamma tool.

Step 2: Heating Grills/Faceplate

Picture of Heating Grills/Faceplate

First remove the hard drive on the console, flip it over and with your thumb in the faceplate notch, remove the faceplate.

On the right side of the 360 there is a notch at the end of the faceplate. Put your thumb on this notch and pull away from the console with a good deal of force. The plate should pop off of the casing.

Heating Grills
On each end of the console there are two gray heating grills which must be removed to take apart the console. For each grill there are six friction tabs that must be pressed inwards toward the console and lifted up. The locations are noted in photos below.

For the hard drive grill, there is an elevated level that must have two tabs pushed sideways. Stick the tool through the opening and push in the direction shown in the photos. Then insert your tool into each of the remaining tabs and lift out the grill from front to back. There is a single tab that is underneath a rubber foot on the base of the console. You must puncture the plastic underneath this to remove the grill, it is a sign to Microsoft of a voided warranty.

Step 3: Lower Shell

Picture of Lower Shell

There are two halves of the 360 outer casing. The bottom shell is held on by front and rear plastic locks. We will use a 360 opening tool to pop the locks and small flathead screwdrivers to release the front locks. Everything gets lifted apart at the same time.

Rear Locks
If you do not have a 360 opening tool, you can measure the distance of the locks and create your own with a CD spindle cover and scissors. If you are using a flat-head screwdriver use one hand to continually pull the two halves apart, otherwise some locks will re-engage.

There are seven rear locks, and with the Llamma opening tool line up the pins into their respective locks and press down. When you've used enough pressure you should hear a pop, now you can separate the rear section of the bottom and top shells.

Front Locks
You can use either flathead screwdrivers or paper clips to hold open the locks. All four are popped at the same time, and the lower shell can be removed. You must either cut or peel off the Microsoft warranty sticker on the front of the console, doing so will void your warranty. The stickers have a residue that keeps them from being put back on cleanly. If you have a metal sticker are care about the warranty, read below. If you have one of the new paper stickers, there is no effective way to remove it without Microsoft knowing.

Metal Film Trick
For a metal-film sticker a hair-dryer can be used on high for about 10-15 seconds to make this adhesive melt, and peel off the sticker carefully and slowly with a razor blade to remove the sticker without leaving behind the metal residue. This trick can be useful for having a system that has been opened repaired by Microsofts repair service. I've heard of many users who have attempted to fix a RRoD themselves and failed, if a DVD drive is modified with iXtreme a user can reflash it to stock, and as long as the sticker is intact the very rushed employees at Microsoft's repair centers aren't likely to check for other minor signs of tampering.

Step 4: Screws/DVD Drive

Picture of Screws/DVD Drive

There are a large number of screws to be removed. I suggest cutting a long strand of duct tape to stick your pieces to, so during reassembly the console can go back together smoothly.
View the pictures below to determine screw locations.

Firstly, remove the DVD eject button by inserting a small flat-head screwdriver in between the DVD drive and the eject buttons base.

Casing Screws
The top shell is attached to the chassis though the use of six T10 Torx screws. They are highlighted in red in the picture below. These screws are identifiable as flat headed rounded screws, and are about 3 1/2" long.

DVD Removal
Once the six casing screws are removed, flip the console right side up and lift off the upper shell. Disconnect the SATA cable and power cable from the DVD drive. You should be careful with the DVD drive power cable as the connector is fragile and wires can be torn out, so grab all the black wires as close to the connector as possible, and forcefully wiggle the connector out. At the front of the DVD drive there are two friction clips, which prevent movement and rattling. Also lift up the metal tape that holds the drive to the chassis. Lift out the drive and place the friction clips on the duct tape roll.

Motherboard Screws
These screws are highlighted in green in the picture below. These connect different pieces of the motherboard to the chassis. They are about 1" long, bronze colored, and have a round top. Unscrew them all with your T10 Torx screwdriver and place them on the tape roll.

Heatsink Screws
For these final eight screws, highlighted in blue, tilt the console to a vertical position. We do not want to remove the screws while the system is upside down, as the weight of the heatsinks on the final screws could have enough stress to crack some traces. With the console vertical, remove the final eight screws with your T8 and set the console right-side up.

Step 5: Fans/Wireless Board/Motherboard

Picture of Fans/Wireless Board/Motherboard

Head Shroud/Fans
There is a white heating shroud that helps air flow more efficiently from the CPU and GPU heatsinks. It is held in place by the fan housing itself. Insert a flat-head screwdriver into its lock point and pull off the shroud, it will take some wiggling to remove. Remove the fan power cable from the motherboard. Finally, lift up on the metal tap above the fans, and pull the fan casing towards the front of the console. Lift it out and set it to the side.

Wireless board
The ring of light and wireless antenna is attached to this board on the front of the console. There are three T8 screws, with one underneath the white diffusion clip. This clip disperses the light for players 1-4. Pop off the bottom of the clip with a flat-head screwdriver, and the third screw will be revealed. Place these screws on the duct tape roll. You can now pull the wireless board off of the console. If anything ever happens to your wireless board, a replacement or spare wireless board is exchangeable between Xbox 360s (Unlike DVD drives which are ID'd to the motherboard).

It is time to remove the final piece. Grab the motherboard by the GPU heatsink (short and wide) and lift out the front first. Remove out the entire board and you have access to the entire system. Kudos!, You've just disassembled your Xbox 360.


anbujames (author)2016-02-03

i just want to know how to flash a xbox 360 arcade

doug.arnold.167527 (author)2015-02-18

Can any1 help, my xbox 360 original arcade has Rrod, an I got it working but keeps messing up,, would I have to replace x clamps, or heatsinks or something? also dvd drive doesn't read disc but got parts for that, just don't know what i'd need to take dvd drive apart

joshthecreater (author)2014-11-15

Hey, i have an xbox 260 arcade and for some reason the tray doesn't open. sometimes it opens no problem but sometimes it doesn't. usually i just grab a butter knife and push the tray sideways and then it will open, do you think you can tell me how to fix it? i need to know asap because im scared of braking it. thanx :)

ScottD6 (author)joshthecreater2015-02-13

I don't know if you have already heard or tried this, but simply giving a light knock on the top of the unit solves the problem on my xbox every time. It doesn't take much force, just a quick easy knock. Good luck.

ramica14 (author)joshthecreater2014-11-26

I do know that i have that problem with my tray too. I was told not to use a butter knife because it could knock the rails off. Use a paper clip. It helps alot better and it doesnt have such brutal force where it could break it. Im not sure how to do it internally though. Im not really a console guru. here a link to the different console versions and how to use the paper clip.

i ment to say "360"

Toriskip13 (author)2015-01-25

ok, so we have a cd stuck in the bottom of our xbox. (its off the tray) we can get the tray out like 2 inches then it wont come out anymore cause of the cd. how do we get it out without breaking our xbox? (remember, its in the BOTTOM of the xbox, like not on the tray part)

ramica14 (author)2014-11-26

Okay so i just tried to turn on my xbox 360 and it will load up only to the point of the start up screen. Sometimes it wont even get that far and the screen will just go black. My controller wont even connect enough for me to get to the guide settings. Ive tried multiple techniques from different forums and nothing has worked. i really dont feel comfortable taking it apart and i dont know exactly what i need to do or really how to go about it. Please help.

ramica14 (author)ramica142014-11-26

Oh and i meant to say that i have NOT had the RRoD or anything like that. It just freezes i guess.

candiepatt (author)2014-11-11

the metal strip or wire that connect to the laser tore. is there any quick fix where I don't have to buy a new drive

wolfearmy (author)2013-06-21

re apply some thermal paste to the cpu gpu under the heat syncs. there is alot of info on how to do it. this only works if youre son has 3 red flashing rings anything else is a motherboard problem

jicjax (author)2013-02-09

My xbox 360 has suddenly started to make a constant clicking noise when trying to load a disc, and now it's unable to read any discs. Looking online people said that it is due to a dirty lens? I don't know how to clean it or how to disassemble it.. could you help please? :)

Thank you!

cutshopguy (author)2012-01-10

I enjoyed the tutorial. My son has an XBox 360 which has manifested the Red Ring of Death. Using the techniques described above, I'm trying to psyche myself into trying to sort out the problem. Can you point me in the right direction - I mean I still don't have a clear grasp of what the actual malfunction is?

Greetings, you're now facing one of the most challenging questions that has been discussed for years on Xbox 360 forums. The RRoD stands for General Hardware Failure, basically, unknown error. The most common reason for the RRoD, is the BGA (Ball Grid Array) on the underside of the GPU chip (rectangular flat heatsink) has had one of the balls shrink or crack due to heating and cooling over time. The fix is to effectively re-melt the BGA so the balls flow back in to their normal spots. The reason one of the balls has cracked or shrunk, is due to a very slight (~0.1mm) bend from the Xbox 360 X-Clamps on the GPU, that puts torsion on the chip.

Now for the fix. The best solution, honestly, is to pay someone who owns a wave-reflow station to do it for you. The station basically blasts superheated air onto the GPU to remelt the BGA. These repairmen can be found on the Scenyx forums. Watch out for Craigslist repairmen, most of them have absolutely no idea what they are doing, except the ones who own a reflow station.

If you don't feel like shipping away the box or having someone else repair it (which again, I recommend as the best option), you can always try the semi-effective Llamma fix, which involves removing the X-Clamps and replacing them with screws, and overheating the GPU so that the BGA slightly melts properly. Caution though, this is an extremely early-developed fix, and it tends to only work about 50% of the time. Link:

Also, stay far, far away from YouTube when you're researching. There is an extreme amount of misinformation. The best places for knowledge are the Scenyx forums, EliteModScene, and XboxHacker.

Good Luck.

TheeMadCow (author)2011-10-16

I got a problem with a 360 fan. The terminals that the fan attaches to are only putting out 1.8v, I havent tested the voltage on the line powering the disc drive but right now the only thing i can think of doing is preforming the 12v fan mod to get my cooling fans running again. Does anyone have any idea about whats going on here? Could this problem be caused by the external power supply? I would like to get a bit more information before carrying on so any help will be appreciated.

I forgot to add on, the power supply has nothing to do with it. It delivers a few 12v lines to the motherboard, and everything sources and reduces from those. If the PSU was broken, nothing would work and you'd get a red instead of a green (active) or orange (idle) status light on the PSU. Try testing the fans first by just touching a positive wire to a 12v line. If they don't turn on, obtain new fans (again, the Talismoon Whispers are recommended, but llamma would probably have stock fans for cheaper). I have motherboard schematics for wiring in my Cold Cathode tutorial.

The fans have four wires, a set for each fan, the positives are blue and brown I believe. They're both connected to a voltage regulator, which varies the speed of the fans based on how hot the box is. They generally run from 3.3v->10.2v, though they can take a little above 12.0v. You *might*, and I really emphasize the might, because it's probably something else, be able to replace the voltage regulator for the fans, but that's a lot of work to find the right part.

Just go for the 12v fan mod. Note though, that it sounds like a jet taking off. I've had to wire it for a few customers before, they are just glad it works, and deal with the noise. 

It could also be that your fans are defective (I've had it happen before), I recommend the Talismoon Whisper fans anyways, they push twice the airflow at 2/3rds the noise.

I've attached a picture of the transistor I believe delivers the voltage to the fans, though really, it could be any part in a whole chain of ICs.

Good luck, feel free to bounce any more questions off me if you need help, I'll try my best.

mrfate69 (author)2011-08-29

Replaced the X Clamps and re-applied Thermal Compound to the heat sinks and processors - XBOX FIXED!

David97 (author)2011-01-16

my xbox lazer has died and it has pased its warrenty. I was going to buy a second hand (red ring of death) one to replace it. would it be possable to replace it without dammaging it?

QuackMasterDan (author)David972011-01-16

Yes, it's possible to change the laser. And by laser, I think it's better to use the phrases "laser head" or "laser assembly". You see, the actual laser itself is attached to an assembly (metal box) that contains super-tiny motors to adjust the lens and keep it close and level to the spinning disc.

To fix the drive, you'll need to replace the assembly. You can obtain an assembly two ways. The easiest of which, is to find another drive of the same model (e.g. Lite-On 74850), and simply swap them out. The other, is to purchase the model number of the assembly itself (I do not know the models of assemblies used in 360 drives, but I know they are fairly common, stock parts you can buy from China [eBay]).

You'll disconnect the cables that go to the assembly, and put the new one in. I know there is some soldering involved, but it isn't super complex stuff.

I have never replaced a laser assembly myself, but I know it can be done, and isn't super complicated. Google is your best friend at this point.

The other option is to call 1-800-MY-XBOX and see if Microsoft will replace it under the warranty.

David97 (author)QuackMasterDan2011-01-18

Thanks... soldering shouldnt be a problem. I know how to do it and my dad is a eletrictrition so he has the tools.

danymw (author)2010-11-04

is my gpu glued? because i can't get it out easily, the thermal paste must be cheap

QuackMasterDan (author)danymw2010-11-04

You remove the screws, you carefully pry off the x-clamps holding onto the bolts underneath the motherboard, and you grab the GPU heatsink by its sides and kind of wiggle/slightly twist it off. It shouldn't be too hard to come off, quite the opposite actually.

danymw (author)QuackMasterDan2010-11-04

i know how to remove the xclamps, but this one was really stuck.
i removed 5 gpu's until today when i found this one, i mean i tried every possible twist and pull without getting the heatsink out with the gpu on it. i left it like that, heat up the cpu with heat gun, apply new thermal paste, and no more rrod.

QuackMasterDan (author)danymw2010-11-04

Bizarre, well, glad you got it off. I'll keep that in mind if I ever run into any stuck ones. Did you apply the heat gun to the top or bottom of the heatsink, and did you try running a game to warm up the chips?

danymw (author)QuackMasterDan2010-11-04

i used a heat gun and unrroded 3 xbox today while writing the first comment, so that makes me a total of 5 working xbox. two of them can be jtaged. i won't bother because they won't last long enough to profit.

BedriddenMidget (author)2010-08-08

Great tutorial. This, paired with helped me get rid of the RROD. Thanks.

killersquirel11 (author)2009-11-24

Two words: water cooling

Water cooling isn't necessary for a Xbox 360, no one can overclock the CPU or GPU, and any user capable of installing a water-cooling mod in a Xbox 360 would not need my guide on how to open a system. An overheating-caused RRoD is strongly minimized with the new Jasper motherboards using fewer parts and a 65nm CPU & GPU. Replacing the fans with a Talismoon Whisper Fan kit would be much cheaper and easier than water-cooling.

yeah but you can be like "Oh yeah? well my XBOX is Water Cooled!!"

Pure bragging rights

Bragging rights require accomplishing a a difficult task or having skill worth being proud of. Installing a liquid oxygen cooling system to overclock your Pentium 4 to 7GHz is something to brag about. Installing a water cooling system on a stock Xbox 360 isn't that difficult, the box is a low-performance computer, there's simply no reason to.

If you would like some bragging rights, try working on a custom case mod. Learn how to use automotive painting methods for a beautiful finish, cut a window, install some lighting, hack your DVD firmware, replace the 20GB hard drive with a 120GB laptop drive off the internet, or create an entirely new case.

I believe I already have bragging rights for my box as it's unique, I've received numerous compliments on it, and creating it took some effort and knowledge.

 Now that's something to brag about.

Though the 360 looks great, I barely play it anymore. The 360 is for my roommate and friends, as I'm primarily a PC gamer. My new pride and joy is the computer I built in January, which runs Crysis at max @ 60 fps ^_^. And I'm going to be upgrading my bicycle again when the 10 C rechargeable batteries arrive. I've also attached a picture of it in its old state. As a note, modding the lights in Xbox 360 controllers is a great present to friends. It costs me about 10 minutes of time and 40 cents of LEDs, for something they will enjoy often.

My friend built his own computer years ago. He wanted to see how it would run compared against newer computers. It also ran Crisis at max settings no problem. I think he has had for 5 or 6 years now. The only changes he has mad are a heat sink and a hard drive.

lol all right now you just made me jealous xD

if only i had the time/money to work more on stuff like that...

 Best my box has is some green whispers. Gotta love 'em though. But I'm proud of my controller. 

 Nice job on the controller. I'm going to guess you used strips of tap while applying red, white, and black paints?

What kind of paints did you use (brand, model)? I've heard Krylon fusion bonds well to the plastic, but can leave the controllers excessively smooth, and that automotive grade paints (meaning at least three layers of primer, paint, and finish) are the best.

 I was told to use Automotive paint like Dupli-Color, which required me to also buy adhesion promoter, but I thought that was too much work and could cost more than I wanted to spend. I simply bought red, white,  and black Krylon Fusion with a Krylon clear coat (which, so far has been fine as it was sticking to the paint, not  the plastic). I waited a whole day between coats, and rubbed the controller shell down with rubbing alcohol to remove oil and dirt before I started. The paint job turned out fine, I wouldn't call it excessively smooth, but it has a silkier feel. And yes, I simply used an x-acto to cut masking tape to the widths I needed. I gave the whole thing a black base coat, then covered up the areas I wanted to be black with tape. Then a white coat, and applying tape to the parts I wanted white. I sprayed the rest red, then added a clear coat to protect the finish and give it a little shine.

Friggin Smift (author)2010-07-19

Dan, Your last pic shows two connections on the bottom of the board for 12V and a common ground. Do you know if these pads are inactive when the Xbox is off. I want to use these pads, but only if they power up when the Xbox is turned on and power off when the Xbox is turned off. Thanks, Ryan

When the Xbox 360 shuts down, so will those two pins. The only exception is if you are keeping the 360 idling by running a Play n' Charge kit, in which case it will appear the system is off, but it is really powered to charge controllers. To put it simply, yes, when you press the power button, whatever was drawing power from those pins will turn off along with the box.

Awesome, thats what i was hoping for. Thanks for your quick reply! Regards, Ryan

Thanks for your question. In fact, I just updated the picture to show what all of the pins do, hope it helps.

rocksalt2342 (author)2010-06-28

neat instructable, I needed this to flash the hard drive.

That reminds me, I should add in directions on how to remove the heat sinks and take apart the attachable hard drive. When I get back from Switzerland I think I'll add those into the guide. Glad it worked out for you.

SabreLightning (author)2010-02-26

 I'm having a really hard time with the rear locks, and I have to use a small flathead. Any extra advice?

Pop off the two above the power plug first, and use force to keep the two halves of the shell separated. Don't just push into each lock by itself, you need force prying (not too hard though) apart the shells, so after each pops, it remains unlocked.

SabreLightning (author)2010-02-21

Is it vital to reinstall the friction tabs and metal tape?

 The friction tabs (the plastic ones) simply hold the case together and make sure everything lines up/looks nice. The metal tape is to prevent the drive from wobbling around during transport, and the metal friction clips (DVD drive ones) also prevent wobbling and vibration. No, you don't need them at all, but why throw them out?

kyle2595 (author)2010-01-10

Is it possible to only use the Torx T8 screw driver, or do I need the T10 as well?

QuackMasterDan (author)kyle25952010-01-10

The difference between the T8 and T10 is pretty big, and I would strongly suggest getting both a T8 and a T10.

That being said, it is possible to turn a T10 screw with a T8 screwdriver, though its really bad for the T10 screws and will likely strip quite a few of them. So yes, a T8 can partially work, but not for very long since the torx spikes will begin to break off.

About This Instructable




Bio: I have a passion for tweaking things. Whether it be modding video game consoles, creating custom laser displays, or any creations with lights I love ... More »
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