Xbox 360 says “open tray”, Wont Play Game Problem | Solution

I just bought HALO 1, 2, 3 and ODST because I wanted to play the series from start to finish. I bought HALO 2 and 3 used, and HALO 1 new. When finished HALO 1 and went to play HALO 2 I got a strange error from my xbox 360. The disc would spin up and then just say “open tray”. When I did open the tray the disc would still be spinning and it would slide around on the tray which I’m sure isn’t good for it! The disc didn’t have any big scratches on it so I was confused. After a quick Google, I had found many people were having this problem and a lot of people suggested replacing the DVD drive, which is not something I wanted to wait another 3 weeks for, having just gotten the system back after the red lights of death not even a week ago.



Xbox disc security bar code

Xbox disc holographic bar code

My Solution ended up being pretty simple. You see, xbox and xbox 360 games have a little holographic bar code on the inner ring of the disc. This is like their security system so that you cant just go and copy discs (a normal DVD ripper / burner will not be able to replicate this bar code).

The problem: When I purchased this game at a used game store, they ran it through a cleaning machine, you know, those disc re-surface machines.. Well it applies a coating of god knows what to the disc to try and polish out light scratches. In the process it also left some type of residue or smudge on this bar code area which was preventing the disc from being played. As far as my xbox 360 was concerned, the game was just a pirated disc copy as the security bar code was unreadable.

How to fix it: I used a wet piece of toilet paper (other very soft cloths work too, don’t use anything abrasive like a paper towel!) to thoroughly wipe down the entire disc until I was sure there were no more smudges or residue anywhere on it. After, I rinsed it and then dried it with a very soft terry cloth towel. The surface of the disc was now entirely clean and free of smudges and residue.



Praying that this would solve the problem… I put the disc into my xbox 360 and crossed my fingers. To my excitement, the disc instantly spooled up and the game started to play :D .

So if just a few of your games aren’t working and you get the “open tray” error, try to clean the xbox / xb0x 360 discs with water and make sure they look flawless. If the drive cannot read from the discs holographic bar code, it will throw the “open tray” error. In this case, a new drive still will not be able to read from the dirty holographic bar code and a new drive will still throw the same error.

If ALL of your games do not work and cause this error, then your drive is probably defective.

29 Responses to Xbox 360 says “open tray”, Wont Play Game Problem | Solution

  • Ford Mustang says:

    Have you had any success with any other possible solutions? Mine still does it and no matter which oem disc game I try I get the same thing. A dvd plays fine, though, which is really strange…

    • admin says:

      If it wont play ANY disc, there is a chance you could have a dirty laser or a defective drive. The next cheapest option would be to buy one of those laser lens cleaning kits and see if that helps. If not you may have to replace the drive.

      My solution is only for if some of your games wont work. Sorry :(

  • Dan says:

    I fixed mine by just blowing in it after i tried wiping the disc barcode and removing the HD, compressed air canister will help by blowing in the tray while open.

  • neil says:

    hi, let’s start from the big…. flashed my ms28 drive whith the latest ixtreme 1.61. downloaded the dante’s inferno file ripped it burned it with nero, used clone cd with the other games like borderlands,byonetta ect… they worked fine…. now my xbox just says ” open tray “…. can it be nero ? wanted to use clone cd but it gives an error ” want to overburn ” ? or write untill media is full…. my q here is … ixtreme 1.6.1 ? heeeeeeeeeeeelp?all my other games works fine the 1′s i downloaded and burned and all my originals…. i’m not new to flashing drives and all this shit, so please spare me all the bullshit….

    thnx in advance.

  • maxs139 says:

    @neil Try burning it at the lowest speed. Or use Xbox Backup Creator (attainable at the jungle flasher website.)

  • not so foolish says:

    this is not “the open tray” fiux. It’s just a fools dirty dvd cleaning ‘trick’.

    • admin says:

      How is it not a fix? I was getting open tray error and this fixed the error. Its an open tray fix. I specified the circumstances in which it works and which it doesn’t. Read more carefully next time :)

  • not so foolish2 says:

    it really isn’t a fix. It may have fixed yours, for now. Post back here when your drive completely crashes in the next few months so i can tell you I told you so. ;) Seriously ive been through 3 xbox disc drives, they are all crap. The only thing you’re right about is BenQ drives happen to be a little less crappier than the rest. Microsoft is about to loose my business. Sent my xbox back, waiting the month to get it so I don’t have to spend another 50 bucks buying and replacing another drive, only to have it go out again soon anyhow. So recap…xbox = piece of shit company and piece of shit parts, you’re so called ” fix ” = temporary solution to a lifetime problem. Save the despair and get a new drive. peace!

    • admin says:

      It is pretty clear that you did not read through the entire article or bother to read any of the other comments before writing your own.

      I said it before and I’ll say it again. Some “open tray” errors are caused by having a dirty disc where the laser cannot properly read from the holographic bar code. If you only get the “open tray” error intermittently with certain discs, or if you find it happening after using “disc polishers” then you may just need to clean your disc even if it doesn’t really look that dirty as polishers and other chemicals can leave residue film. As finger prints age on the disc they get more and more opaque. Getting a new drive would not have solved my problem because the new drive still would not be able to read the dirty holographic bar code.

      If you have the “open tray” error with ALL of your games, it is more likely that you have a problem with your drive and not the disc itself… (but you could have gotten that all from the article had you bothered to read it)

  • ronaldo says:

    my only theory is that smoke and tar and dust and overall sludge can build up and keeps the disc cocked toward the roof seal and gets the label side dirty and when i thought of this i realised dust and my dirty or sweaty fingers oily stuffage can easily make dust into a gross tar like substance and smoking a pack of camels in a 15 square foot room with no ventilation makes the xbox the main source of air flow in the room. this equals disaster so im off to invent a new solution a la billy mays style the oxy hepa filtration snuggy that u can wrap your console in. when its all dirty just throw in the dishwasher or slip on a custom designed snuggy ordered from our online createatent360.com alrighty then! its all a gluttony of massproduced plastic crap. why dont they massproduce food for the staqrving nations and make a good profit and be able to sleep at night.!!!!!!!!1 microsoft = software get it “soft” micro is end user friendly systems. stupid hdd capacity piece of shit case that forces air and dust to go near vital parts and people buy new discs and then they try this and meanwhile they are paying for xboxlive while not even playing it. fucking apple should make damn console that costs 3k and pretty much caters to the user as long as they pay. ok done

  • Ryan says:

    I have a problem with my 360 whenever i put my discs in the disc drive it doesnt even spin and then says nothing is there so i was wondering if there was any fix that i could do not involving removing the motherboard or anything like that because it is really annoying and it played yesterday then i went to sleep and now… nothing.

    • Kevin says:

      Take the drive apart and get the top piece out of the drive case. Put a game on the spindle and place the magnet from the top of the drive case on to hold it down. Start your console and watch to see if the game spins at all, if not eject then close the tray (carefully being sure the top magnet catches and holds the game in place) and as soon as it closes give the game a spin with your finger to see if it will break loose the spindle motor. If it works the motor may just need greased, if not the spindle motor is shot. Very easy to replace, just a few screws.

  • angry as says:

    i just tried everything on this fucken forum, gave it a bash fucken vacuumed it fucken wiped the lense clean, i used a toothbrush to clean the whole x box and i even had to order the opening tools from ebay and all of it was a fucken waste of time, i just got my x box back from the fucken so called x box technicians after getting the red rings >:O fuck microsoft fuck x boxes they better do it right the next time.

    • Rodney Hoover says:

      You see that is part of the problem. Alot of the children on here don’t know whether to wind their ass or scratch their watch. I am on my tenth x box. My third this year. I simply refuse to get back a reconditioned x box. I complained enough to microsoft that they send me a new one everytime i send mine in. I will not except anything less. You have a bad drive. Box it up send it back. Or go buy a new one.

  • Ava Davis says:

    I own an Xbox and a Playstation and both are really good game consoles. Let’s see what are Microsoft’s future updgrades on its Xbox game console.

  • David Corral says:

    i kinda have the same problem but somehow different see i have a scratch on the bar code of my modern warfare 2 i bought it used so i thought i was done what should i do?

  • John says:

    I replaced my dvd drive when this happened and it still didn’t work. Mine says play dvd when a game is in though. Any suggestions?

  • cliff says:

    I apologize for my stupidity, but gaming systems are new to me and my nephew gave me an xbox 360 the white console. He said it probably needed cleaning or blowing out as it was dusty he upgraded when the newer version came out. My problem is it only says open tray. Now you offered a solution as I always keep my games and dvds -cds clean of smug or whatnot. I followed your instructions but that didn’t solve my problem. Games or dvds read the same. I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize it isn’t a serious problem and one common sense should solve if given the correct instructions……..How do I clean the lesnse reader ot whatever, please assist me cause I know it is fixable. Thanks a million!!!!!

  • J Rae says:

    A solution to the “Open Tray” message COULD be the lens; if the disk is not scuffed/scratched or dirty and you think the drive is working…(in other words – one day it just stops reading disks) try removing the cover then checking the screw near the lens. (DO NOT REMOVE THE WARRANTY STICKER if your box is still covered) A lot of the times, the screw is too loose or too tight which inhibits proper movement of the tray allowing the CD to be read. We too have gone through a few XBoxs and we can safely say that using a lens cleaner multiple times is NOT good for the lens – they are to be used when the lens is DIRTY, not when there is a mechanical malfunction . A better way to rid the lens and inside of dust when needed is to use compressed air (be sure to NOT blow it directly on the lens or any other parts – it DOES leave a powdery residue).
    If you are unsure of what you are doing, call in an expert (the lens might need to be replaced and its not too expensive) – or call Microsoft to fix the problem (which costs around 100$ when the box is no longer covered by warranty).
    Hope this helps everyone. This was just OUR fix to the “Open Tray” problem, honestly there could be several issues causing this problem for others. Good luck.

  • Lynell says:

    OMG- You are a genius!! For 2 days my son kept getting that message, driving me crazy, I read a few suggestions, one suggested boiling games, then I found you- it seemed a little less risky, tried it, and he is playing again, thank you, thank you, I thought we were going have to just buy a new Xbox, thank YOU.

  • Tibberon says:

    For those that are getting the open tray error it could be that the laser is sitting to far back in the drive and not being able to detect the disk. If your warrenty is out and you want to risk it. Open up your xbox, then the open the disk drive. Look at where the laser assembly is sitting. If its at the back of the drive that is more then likely the problem. You can very gently (at your own risk of course) slide the laser forward toward the front. It should then read the disk. This is only a temporary fix as the next time you load a disk it could do the same thing. A more permenant fix is to affix a small piece of plastic to the right side rail at the very back. If your looking at the front of your xbox the rail is on the right. The rail goes through a metal tab at the back. With 2 different xboxes with this same error I superglued a piece of a 1mm nylon washer that I cut up to that metal tab. I basically stops the laser from going so far back and not being able to read the disk, by extending the tab out a little more. The little white bar that moves along the screw will bump up against it stopping it. It’s worked in both cases, and is still working today. Now keep in mind that this may not be your problem. But if it is this is a great way to fix it. And I don’t take credit for this fix. Someone else came up with it. I am just passing on the information. Good luck.

  • Chrinstoffski says:

    Just bought Saint’s Row and looked up cheats and was so excited about iit but I got the same error, I cleaned the disc exactly like admin did and used the air spray stuff and it still says open tray. I am very dissapointed. It only does this for my Halo 3 and the saints row. Please help.

  • devil says:

    whenever i put fable 3 in my xbox360 it goes ,then says the disk is unreadable and to clean the disk with a soft cloth and restart the console but the disk dosent have any scratches or fingerprints.HELP!

  • dave Jur says:

    OPEN TRAY ERROR..read and tried everything…wouldn’t read any game discs..have xbox slim with no harddrive..was about to reformat whatever I could reformat.. tried one last thing..inserted a dvd instead of a game disc and it read..reinserted a game disc and it reads now?? This wasn’t a fluke..must have jarred whatever repressed distorted memories the xbox had..do these things ever make sense?

  • chris says:

    easy solution one when you put disk in your console, you smack the top until it reads play or disc unreadable and bam it plays. Now you might have to really smack it hard at times. The other option is all future games you buy, buy them on the marketplace and download it to hard drive, and you ll never have to worry about it. Other then that you need to buy a new xbox if not microsoft will charge like 100 bucks, screw that your better off buying a new one.

  • david says:

    my xbox360 used to not read any discs at all and i coudnt go and buy a lens cleaner or take apart my xbox so i just got a disc that i don’t use and got cotton,super glue and put a line of the super glue on the disc and put cotton on it waited for it to dry for 30 seconds and put it in my xbox and it worked good as new.

  • Brehn says:

    When I put a game in it says open tray. If I open and close the tray, after about 15 minutes, it detects the disc and starts the game. Does anyone know what that might be from or what I could do to fix this?!?

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