How to Fix a Stuck Xbox 360 (or PC) Disc Tray




About: Avionics technician, home mechanic, furry, entrepreneur, and college student.

Xbox not opening up? Fear not! In this instructable, I show how to repair an Xbox or computer disc drive so you can get back to enjoying your favorite games. This is my first instructable, but I'll do my best to be thorough and spell words correctly.

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Step 1: Theory

So you went to play Xbox one day and it wouldn't open the disc tray. You punished it with a fist. It opened.

So you went to play Xbox again, a month later, and by this time if your box were an animal PETA would have you sued and publicly humiliated before clapping you in irons and sending you to prison, you cruel animal-abuser. In other words, your drive no longer opens, at all.

Rather then being a jerk and selling it to some unsuspecting guy on the internet, you can fix your poor machine so that it never needs to be punched again. This comprehensive guide will show you how to do just that without waiting for it to be fixed on warranty or paying through the nose for some guy on craigslist to do it.

There are two main reasons for a disc tray to not open.

1. DUST!!! DUST!!! is evil. I hate it. It hates you. It will also destroy your stuff. Like your Xbox.

2. The drive belt in the player is made of rubber and wears out over time, like the engine belts in your car. This is the big cause of problems in most disc drives, computer and console alike.

So what can you do?

Well, DUST!!! is simple. You just need to clean it out. This may help other problems as well, such as discs not playing well.

In this guide, I will show you how to clean out and repair an Xbox 360 drive. This process will work on other drives as well.

Step 2: Removing the Drive

For this instructable, you'll need to remove the drive from the console. I am not responsible for any damage you do to your property whilst following this guide. If you do make a mistake, let me know and I'll do what I can to help you.

For the sake of shortness and clarity, I will assume you've already seen one of any number of guides on cracking open whatever console or computer you have. Try not to break anything.

Step 3: Disassembly

Now it is time to take apart the drive itself. This and the following steps may differ slightly for different drives, but the concepts apply to most every drive.

My drive was a Philips/Ben-Q, but the Phillips/Lite-On and Hitachi drives are very similar. On these drives, there are four Philips head screws holding the metal casing on the chassis. Remove these and split the small warranty sticker to pull the two metal pieces apart. If you didn't get that, this will void whatever warranty may still exist on the drive. If you care a lot about that, check before you cut the sticker. After removing the metal plates, use a spudger or flathead screwdriver to remove the eject button.

Step 4: Disassembly Pt. 2: the Innards

Now you've got that all in your growing "to be washed free of dust" pile, It's time to remove a couple more things.

First, you need to use a paper clip or similar pointy thin thing to open the disc tray. DO NOT try to rip it open with your bare hands. Of course this will wreck your drive, dummy! There is a small hole just under the tray to stick the clip in. Feel around with it until you hit a gear, then push in to turn the gear. One or two turns will suffice to disengage the locking mechanism. This requires some finesse, don't be disheartened (or violent) if you don't get it off the bat.

Then, pull the tray out until it is at it's furthest forward point, and pull the small latch on the side.

If you have a different drive, there is usually a similar way to remove the tray, so be careful and try things until you figure it out.

Removing the tray should expose the gears that make the tray move. If you've been experiencing trouble ejecting, find the rubber drive belt connecting the motor to the gears and remove it. Save it, you'll need it later.

Step 5: CLEANING!!!

Time to kill the DUST!!! By now you should have accumulated a lot to clean. You can clean all of these items just fine with soap, hot water, and a nice sponge. Further explanations are in the pictures.

Step 6: Modification and Repair

After you've cleaned and greased the drive, there's just a bit left to do before putting it all back together.

First, it's time to replace the drive belt from before. Find or make another drive belt slightly smaller in diameter than the one you removed, and preferably a bit thicker. Rubber o-rings at the hardware store are great for this, as long as they aren't too thick or too smooth. I made a drive belt for my original Xbox drive by cutting a slice of material off a rubber gasket from an old washing machine. Be resourceful, and test to make sure your replacement works before sealing everything back up.

Also, if you're working on an Xbox 360, now would be the perfect time to add a few pads to keep the discs from scratching. This tutorial is decent.

Step 7: Reassembly

Put everything back together (except the outer casing of the Xbox, in case adjustments are necessary) and make sure it works. If it does, good job! If not, go back and try to figure out what's still wrong. Is your replacement belt not good enough? Is there a large ball of dust? Was your Xbox actually an animal? If you continue to have problems, post a picture in the comments and I'll see what I can do to help! Happy gaming, everyone!



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    11 Discussions


    Question 6 months ago

    What grease do you guys use for this?

    1 answer

    Answer 6 months ago

    There's not much in there that needs lubrication, and usually the factory lubrication is still good even after years of use. If you'd like to add a little bit to the eject gears or to the laser positioning mechanism, I'd recommend a silicone or white lithium grease, as they are safe for use with the electronics, rubber, and plastic parts found in the drive. Be sure to avoid getting any on the drive belt or pulleys, as this can cause the belt to slip and prevent the drive from opening properly.


    2 years ago

    I agree with this instructable that dust is real issue, but I don't personally like the idea of pulling apart the machine if I can help it. I followed this video , cleaning up the two cogs and belt with surgical spirit and now my xbox 360 ejects fine. The only thing I did differenty to them was to use some reusable cable ties 1. to go through the centre of the tray and stop it accidently shutting (that would be very annoying) and 2. to go through the centre of the belt and stop it pinging off into the drive and never coming back. Fair warning this is a bit of a fiddle, but it worked for me. Maybe the youtube vid is a step one, and if that doesn't fix it then step two would be to disassemble and clean as per this instructable?

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    If the method in that video worked for you, that's great- the only potential issue I see there is that often times (especially now that many early Xbox 360 consoles are more than a decade old) the drive belt is worn out and brittle, and no amount of cleaning will entirely solve the problem. You can, however, replace the belt without disassembling the drive, so if you'd rather not take your console apart there's still an option for you.

    I describe servicing a drive after disassembly because when a system is as old as most original Xbox 360 consoles are it's usually a good idea to open them up and clean everything out anyways, and oftentimes stuck or slow drive trays can be fixed while making other repairs. I also like to be very thorough about restoring a system, so I commonly tear down and service drives even if they're still working. This level of preventative maintenance isn't strictly necessary especially if you're doing it for yourself rather than with the intent to sell it, but it's how I go about things. You could certainly do less work by only doing the minimum required to get the drive operating again. If I were to rewrite this guide again today, I'd explain that a bit better.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I can definately see that your method is going to give a better, cleaner machine, and at the end of the day dust and dirt is the real problem. I've just have found with any number of machines over the years that in taking it apart there is a risk of making things worse (lost small parts or brittle plastic clips won't come back together and the case is flapping open etc etc). My personal approach is to try the small fixes first before I risk the bigger overhaul. In all honesty I have to admit that when I was fixing my drive I could see more dust and dirt inside that I couldn't get to so I wouldn't rule out having to clean it up again before too long.


    3 years ago

    Hi my name is ryan i need some help my disk drive is jammed and ive tryed everything to try and fix it and even followed ur instructions and nothings worked

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Were you able to get it open using a paperclip or other long object in the small hole designed for that? What is it installed in, Xbox or PC?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    great instructable and if you take a quick look on ebay you can normally find the correct replacement belt pretty cheap i do a lot of console work so i just buy 100 at a time cheaper that way but even single belts dont cost to much.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, but when I'm only fixing a few or I'm trying to do it quickly it's usually easier just to MacGyver a quick one. Also, if you can find the right size, rubber bands can work, but they don't last as long.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    No problem. I noticed the lack of information on this process, and thought I'd share my experience with others. Glad I could help!