Well, friends, it’s happened. My Xbox 360 has been stricken with that sickening scourge, that deadly disease, that hideously heinous, abominable Error 74!!!
At first, I wasn’t too crushed. When I first discovered this problem, I chose to be blissfully ignorant of the specifics for a few hours…despite my inner voice, which psychotically screamed Noooooo!! I just got to level 28 in Skyrim!!! A detailed research session later on, though, confirmed my worst suspicions…that it might take more than a quick fix to get my 360 back on its metaphorical feet.
Now, there are two ways to go about fixing your 360. One way is to send it into Microsoft for repairs. But I wouldn’t recommend this. Microsoft is notorious for taking several months for repairs, and gamers have been known to receive their Xboxs back with either wiped hard-drives or completely different consoles, (often second hand). Either way, you might lose your saved games and Gamer Points. The fee is another cause of worry--you might save more just purchasing a new console than repairing the old.
Oh, and that old towel trick we’ve all heard so much about? You may get it working again for a short while, but do not attempt it--you might just fry your Xbox for good.
Now, what are the causes of Error 74?
The real answer is heat. For this reason, I would recommend purchasing an Intercooler, a small cooling unit that attaches right over the 360’s main cooling vent. (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart.) It does an excellent job, and has saved my Xbox’s hardware for years…unfortunately, nothing seems capable of staving off Xbox’s infamous overheating issues. Is anybody else sensing a conspiracy by Microsoft here?
Another cause seems to be a loose scaling chip. This chip acts like a graphics card, and the stress put upon it after heating then cooling causes the thermal glue that holds it to loosen, rendering your Xbox a useless piece of machinery.
Then again, you could be the occasional, lucky gamer whose only problem is a bad AV cable. Thankfully, this was my problem.
If a bad cable is not your problem, then there are several books available for purchase or download that give detailed instructions on how to remove the 360’s casing and access the motherboard.
For us, however, one quick cable change, and our 360 was working well again. My Skyrim saves were all well and intact, and my very soul sighed a breath of relief.
Now that I’ve become paranoid about my 360’s health, I think I’ll break the seal (my warranty wore out a long time ago, anyway) and give the motherboard a good dusting with some compressed air. I’ll also be backing up some saved games on a flash drive later.
Take that, E74!