When it comes to the XBOX, there are multiple ways you can clean and maintain the hardware in order to ensure your XBOX stays happy and functional for as long as possible. The cleaning part can sound pretty straight-forward, but there are some tips you should keep in mind and some pitfalls you should avoid!
These are steps you should repeat fairly often, perhaps once every month depending on where you store your XBOX – dust and dirt can accumulate very quickly and start causing problems if you don’t clean often enough.
Cleaning the outside of your XBOX, i.e. the case, the ports and the wiring, can have numerous benefits. Not only will you get an XBOX looking like it was newly bought, but you will also ensure the case looks good in the future. If you keep the openings to the fans clean, you will also make sure that less dust enters the inside of your XBOX meaning you’ll have to clean it less often.
When cleaning the case and the ports, you’ll want to use a moist cloth and some window-cleaning or other chemical. Avoid using too much water and too strong chemicals here – you just want to get rid of the dust and any fat or other dirt. Make sure no water enters the inside of the case as it might cause you trouble later on. Keeping the room you’re working in well-lit and subjected to sunlight is a good idea since it will speed up the drying process.
Cleaning the inside of your XBOX is a delicate process since you’re suddenly dealing with electronic parts that are easily broken by moist or bad handling. Not only is it delicate, but it is also probably the most important part of keeping your XBOX in good shape – if you do this part right you will prevent hardware malfunction, prolongue your XBOX’s life and make sure it runs cool and stable.
Opening your case will void your warranty!
Start off by disconnecting your XBOX’s cables (all of them) and unscrewing your case (read more about how to do this in our massive XBOX hardware-guide) and removing it. The reason you don’t want the XBOX plugged in when doing this is fairly obvious – if something goes wrong and the power is on you’re facing serious trouble. What you now have in front of you is the XBOX’s inner workings, and it sure looks dusty. The best way to clean it from all the dust is to use canned air (or any other compressed air). Canned air can be bought at most computer-stores and is a great tool to use whenever removing dust from something delicate. There are, however, a number of things you have to keep in mind to avoid problems:
- Preferably don’t touch anything unless you have to. You don’t want to apply unnecessary fat and dirt, do you?
- Do not let any water or moist whatsoever enter. If it’s not 100% dry when you turn it on again, something will break.
- Do not directly blow air into a fan – if it spins up beyond its regular speed chances are it will break.
- Do not blow too much air too close to the XBOX. You’re much better off blowing air from a distance than being too close and risking breaking something.
Whilst cleaning, you’ll want to keep the room you’re working in well ventilated. Keep a window open or have a fan blow fresh air around the XBOX – this way the dust you remove won’t settle back down in the XBOX but instead be sent off somewhere else.
Cleaning the XBOX controllers is something most of us need to face at least once. Perhaps you’ve spilt some liquid on the buttons or the controller simply feels slow and sticky – giving it a good rinse once in a while is a good idea!
What you want to do is to open the controller, wash the buttons and remove dust from the inner chips. Again, you want to watch out for moist entering the electronic parts as well as blowing too much air too close to the controller. The Llama, a well-known XBOX guru, has an extensive guide on how to clean your controllers, I suggest you check it out!
Maintaining the harddrive
Maintaining the harddrive does not require you to physically handle the harddrive, you should have closed and fastened the case by now. What we want to accomplish here is some slight extra performance and some extra space.
After having had an XBOX for a long time, you’re bound to have your harddrive filled with a lot of files. Some of these are files you need, some are not. What you’ll want to do is go through the files on your XBOX and delete those you don’t need. You will not be able to delete a lot, but you will surely find at least a couple of files which you can delete – the more the better!
Checking the file-system (advanced users only) (Avalaunch dashboard only)
The ultimate way of maintaining your XBOX harddrive is to check its filesystem now and then. Running a check gives you a wealth of information about the health of the drive – you can easily spot errors and prevent data-loss before it occurs. This requires you to run Avalaunch as your main XBOX dashboard – installing Avalaunch is most easily done using the Auto-Installer Deluxe package.
Inside the Avalaunch dashboard you will find a “scandisk” option – it’s an experimental feature with limited capabilities, however it is your only option in this case. No software available for the PC can handle the XBOX’s filesystem (FATX) – a very limiting factor.
Hopefully this article gave you some insight into how you best should clean and maintain your XBOX. Cleaning the XBOX is an art you should practice because the more you practice, the better and more efficient your cleaning will be!