During the Fourth of July weekend, my XBOX One (XBO) gaming console did something that I’m not accustom to seeing. It greeted me with my name on top of a black screen and would not advance further. At first I thought I was going crazy, as there was no online chatter about any XBO issues in the community. I checked Twitch to see if people were playing their games on the console with no issues; nothing seemed amidst. Being pressed for time, I let my Xbox sit for a couple of days, in hope that it would fix itself.
Wishful thinking aside, I decided to take action by deploying some standard troubleshooting techniques, slowly ruling out the power supply, dusty console, HDMI or other connectors. Everything passed the mustard as they would say, so it could only be one thing: the firmware.
Think of Firmware as patched software to address any flaws, bugs or security holes in a computerized hardware device. Most vendors will send out updates to their manufactured devices to ensure functionality and safety on a scheduled basis. No doubt you have heard of Patch Tuesday, which is Microsoft’s designated date to pass updates to their clients to address vulnerability and functionality issues within Windows platforms. Most firmware updates fix bugs that are invisible to the user. With this being so disruptive, I had high hopes by the following week this would be fixed with an automatic update. Two Tuesday later, it was apparent that no fix was coming in the time I needed it.
What Options Are Available To Fix The Black Screen of Doom?
Unfortunately, until the Xbox Team pushes an update to solve this issue, it will be up to you to fix this problem. When it comes to firmware issues on the XBOX, there are only a handful of options available:
System Refresh (Reset This XBOX)
This option will allow you to keep your installed games (including skins and accessories), apps and settings as you had them prior to the issue you are experiencing. It essentially refreshes the operating system to it’s baseline (or known good configurations).
Factory Reset (aka The Nuclear Option)
This option should only be used as a LAST RESORT. Selecting this option will delete everything on the XBOX. This should typically be used when you are either giving away or selling your XBOX unit.
This option is a bit tedious as a lot of steps are required in order to complete. A PC is required but this method will allow you to only flash (or update) the existing firmware without impacting the hard drive (i.e. games, saved data, screenshots). The link above will take you to XBOX official site that details this process.
How Do I Fix My Xbox One and the Black Screen of Doom?
That is why you are here after all. To fix the issue, you will need to place your XBO into Troubleshooting (safe mode):
POWER OFF your XBO
Long press the power button and wait 10 seconds
Locate the Sync/Bind Buttonon the left side of the Xbox (if horizontal) or Top if Upright
Locate the Eject Button (For Digital Users, this button can be skipped in the next step)
Press the POWER ON button
Immediately Press and Hold the Sync and Eject Button until you hear a beep
Release the buttons and you should enter the Troubleshooting screen.
From here you will have Four Options: Continue, Offline System Update, Reset This Xbox and Turn off this XBOX.
Select Reset this Xbox > Keep Games and Apps
The system will begin it’s process to refresh the operating system. It may take a few minutes to complete, so just hang tight. IF you need a visual representation, I will include a step by step video below.
I will attempt to answer all the questions that I have received online as it relates to this issue:
Will I lose my game saves if I do a System Refresh or Factory Reset?
Per Xbox Support site, game saves are uploaded to the cloud automatically when connected to the XBox Network. Game saves that are locally saved, may not persist when using the refresh or reformat method. For more information, please see the official site.
Is this a ploy to get me to purchase a next-gen console?
Despite the poor timing of this issue, I do not believe that there was foul play at hand here. Sometimes bugs happen and the most inconvenient of times and given the history of the XBox One, I think this was a mere oversight.
Should I choose to Refresh and Update using a USB stick?
Ultimately, it is your call. Most people who have done this method have not had a negative experience using the Refresh option.
What do I do if my Sync or Eject Button is Broken?
If either your Sync/Bind or Eject Button are not working, it may be advisable to take your XBOX to an authorized technician or use the Offline System Update option.
For over 20 years, I have had the distinct opportunity to work in the Information Technology space under a variety of distinct roles.
My unique position has helped me become a risk management Maven for Fortune 500 and Small Business Companies around the world. For the last 12 years, I have assisted Small Business Owners and Insurance Agency understand the impacts of Cyber Incident exposures and what steps to take to help mitigate potential data breaches.
My desire to expand my reach related to cyber security has led me to establish the Sage Knows IT blog as a way to help Small Business Owners and aspiring Information Technology (I.T.) Professionals better understand the road-maps of I.T. through the experiences I have had.
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