Xbox One not reading disks [FULL FIX]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • If you rely on physical copies of games on your Xbox One, then you might encounter a problem where your console doesn't read the disk.
  • There may be a variety of reasons for this, so start by restarting your system, repositioning your console and checking the disk.
  • Whenever you're having problems with your Xbox One console, remember that our extensive Xbox Troubleshooting Hub is here to help.
  • Xbox is an iconic name in the gaming world, and for the latest guides, fixes and reviews, check out the Xbox Page.
xbox one not reading games

Xbox One users have at one time or another raised concerns over the Xbox One not reading disks, which is quite frustrating especially when you want to unwind by playing your favourite title.

Usually, this happens when the disk either won’t play or is not recognized when you insert it into the console. If your Xbox One Home screen tells you to insert a disk when a disk is already inserted, that means it doesn’t recognize your disk.

In such a case, there are two possible issues: either the settings for Instant-On power mode can render a small number of consoles unable to read disks, or, the console’s disk drive needs servicing.

Whatever the case may be when you find Xbox One not reading games, here are some solutions to help you get back to gameplay as soon as possible.

What can I do if my Xbox One is not reading game disks?

  1. Preliminary fixes
  2. Change power modes and power cycle the console
  3. Reposition your console
  4. Reset the Xbox One operating system
  5. Check the game disk for damage
  6. Try another game disk
  7. Replace the game
  8. Check for disk drive errors
  9. Request a repair

1. Preliminary fixes

  1. Restart your console as the first quick fix – it usually helps in many cases.
  2. If you’re using a USB flash to play the game on your console, ensure your external hard drive is selected as the default place to install games, by checking the storage settings.
  3. You can also power down and unplug the Xbox One power cable, unplug the USB flash drive/hard drive, and move it to another port on your console. Plug back the power cord and power on the unit. Otherwise, format the drive and the console will set it back up and format it again for use. It could be caused by a bad sector on your drive.
  4. Sometimes your console may not recognize your external drives, so unplug and plugging back in is a common fix for this.
  5. Install the latest Xbox updates through Xbox Live. Press Guide on your controller, then choose Settings > System settings > Wired network (or your wireless network) > Test Xbox Live connection. Install the update by selecting Yes when prompted.
  6. Check that you’re using the official hard drive for Xbox as some games won’t play unless you have this drive.
  7. If you’re playing a disk game, you can clean the disk with a soft clean and slightly damp cloth, then try and see if it works again.
  8. Clear the cache on your Xbox by pressing and holding down the power button to turn off your console, unplug the power cable from the console and press the power button to drain the battery. Connect the power cable again and wait till the light turns orange (from white), and turn on your console again.
  9. Play the disk on another console and see if the issue is the disk or the console’s disk drive
  10. Ensure the Blu-ray player app is properly installed and is from the same region you bought your console.

2. Change power modes and power cycle the console

  1. Press the Xbox button to open the guide
  2. Go to System > Settings > Power & Startup > Power mode and startup > Power mode > Energy saving
  3. Perform a hard power cycle by holding down the Xbox button for 10 seconds, then press the button again to restart it
  4. Try the disk again and wait to see if the Xbox One console will read it. If it reads, revert back to Instant-On power mode

Your Xbox One doesn’t work after a power outage? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.

3. Reposition your console

The positioning of your console may result in your Xbox One not reading games.

Once your Xbox One console is horizontally positioned on a level, stable, uncluttered surface, try playing your game again to see if the gameplay issue reoccurs.

4. Reset the Xbox One operating system

  1. Open the guide
  2. Navigate to Settings > All Settings >System > Console info & updates > Reset console
  3. On the Reset your console? screen, select Reset and keep my games & apps. This resets the OS and deletes potentially corrupted data without deleting your games or apps.

Note: Do NOT select Reset and remove everything because this resets the console to factory settings, and all user data, games and apps will be deleted. This should only be used as a last resort solution.

There may be a problem with your console’s operating system hence Xbox One won’t play games. The reset can be done without deleting your games or apps.

If successful, you may have to repeat some general console set-up steps before getting back to the Home screen. Try and play your game again after this.

5. Check the game disk for damage

xbox one not reading disk

Take a close look at the back side of your disk. Are there scratches or other visible damage?

Excessive scratching, nicks, or other damage can prevent your Xbox One console from reading a disk.

6. Try another game disk

If your game disk is clean and free of visible damage, the gameplay issue may be caused by a problem with your console’s disk drive. To test this, try playing a different game disk.

If you’re able to play other game disks on the same console, then the disk drive is not the cause of the gameplay issue. In this scenario, you can be sure that your Xbox One game disk is not working and you’ll need to get it replaced.

7. Replace the game

If none of the general troubleshooting solutions work, and your Xbox One won’t play games, especially for disk games, you can replace the disk. This is the drawback of relying on physical disks and not digital downloads, as you will most likely have to buy the disk again.

Can’t stream Xbox games to Windows 10? Check out this guide and solve the issue in no time.

8. Check for disk drive errors

If your Xbox One console is unable to play any disk-based games, you should check to see if a disk drive issue is causing the problem.

9. Request a repair

If the above solutions don’t help, your Xbox One console will need a repair, which you can request for by going to the Online Service Center.

Were you able to get your console to read games again? Let us know in the comments section below.

FAQ: Xbox One not reading disks

  • Why is my Xbox one not reading my disks?

It can be a number of reasons. There are some easy troubleshooting steps you can take to diagnose and fix the problem.

  • Why is my Xbox not loading games?

Check that your disk is working by inserting it into another console. If your console is faulty, then go over the steps listed in this guide to fix it.

  • How do I clean my Xbox one disk drive?

You will need to take your console apart to clean the disk drive. Remove the outer case, unplug the PSU then you have access to the Blu-Ray drive. Carefully unplug and unscrew it and you can remove the unit. Use an air duster to clean it and put everything back together in the reverse order.

Note: If you are unsure how to disassemble your console, do not attempt it! Look for a specialised technician and ask for assistance.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and was revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.