An Xbox 360 that has a stuck disc tray is a console that can’t play video games. Sure, you can eject it by using a credit card, but what if you wanted to fix it? Getting to the disc tray takes patience, time, and a steady hand; it isn’t a walk in the park.

If your Xbox 360 has a stuck disc tray, and you want to fix it, use the steps below to reach it. Head over to a clean workspace, preferably a table that’s wood or metal and get to work.

Fixing an Xbox 360’s stuck disk tray is a very involved process, a multi-layered process that requires the proper removal of the case and disconnecting crucial cables and circuit boards. You’ll find the necessary steps broken into three parts for clarity.

What You Will Need…

Before you get started, you will need some tools.

  • Screwdrivers, both small and large
  • A thin metal rod of some kind
  • Flashlight

Part 1: Disconnecting Retaining Clips

The hardware of an Xbox 360 is sandwiched between two plastic pieces that clip together with retaining clips. These clips, when connected to each, overlap and hook into each other. It is your job to disconnect these. Start by the retaining clips on the sides.

1. Along the sides is where hot air escapes the console. These can be lifted and removed with minimal effort. If need be, use a flathead screwdriver to wedge into one of the slots and lift it out. Do that for both sides.

2. Now, once removed, you’ll start to see the grey, metal casing the hardware is housed in but before that is another layer of plastic. That plastic has retaining clips. Notice how around the edges of the console are rectangular holes? Grab your flashlight and shine a light into the hole. See how it’s hooked together?

3. To pop off a retaining clip, insert a thin screwdriver, wedge it into the retaining clip and give it a gentle tug. There’s six; two at both ends at the bottom and top; two in the middle; two at the other end. Once they’ve been disconnected, the plastic piece will pop off.

Part 2: Removing the Case

Like the retaining clips, there’s larger tabs that keep the two plastic covers together. Use need to disconnect these in order to remove both sides and get to the hardware. Look to the side that houses the expansion bay. Turn the Xbox 360 so that the warning label under the expansion bay is right side up.

1. To the right of the expansion bay, you’ll see where the two plastic pieces separate. If you look inside, there’s a tab that’s keeping them together—a plastic piece, not the metal piece. Use a thin screwdriver to wedge it between the tab and gently tug at it. The two pieces will begin to separate, but don’t pull them apart yet!

2. Now turn the Xbox 360 so that you’re viewing the back where the cables go. See the model number label and how it’s separated by black and white? There’s a hidden hole just before the black meets the white. Take a thin rod and poke a hole in the label. That will release another tab.

Tip: If you look at the right angle, you can see a circular indent of where the hole is.

3. On the other side, two more tabs can be found side by side. Once disconnected, you are welcome to remove the bottom half of the Xbox 360. The other side will not come off because of screws.

4. The front plate can now be removed as well, but do be careful as there’s a connecting cable. It loops around and connects to the front.

5. Turn the Xbox 360 over so that you’re staring at the metal casing. Notice the screws along the outer edges? Remove those! It’s good to note that they’re very long screws. Once they’re removed, you can safely but carefully remove the other plastic piece.

Part 3: Reaching the Disc Tray

Now that the plastic casing has been removed, you can finally reach the disc tray.

1. Grab the disc tray. Notice how it just sits in the bay? Don’t remove it just yet! Remove the cables first.

2. Turn the disc tray over to reveal four screws. Remove them, then remove the rubber bumper in the back. Once the screws are removed, you can pull the metal casing off.

3. Now, get a good grip on the optical drive itself. Lift it up from the case and then slide out. If you try to pull it out, it will catch on the remaining metal case.

4. Examine the drive for any damage, dust, dirt—clean it if you have to. You may have touched the laser lense by accident.

If you want to get further into the hardware, you can reattach the cables disconnected in the previous section, power it on and have the console eject the disk tray naturally.

Bottom Line

As you may have realized, fixing a stuck Xbox 360 disc tray is a very involved process—tedious, sure, but attention to detail is required. Even putting it back together involves performing the steps in reverse. However, in the end, it was all worth it.