Ask LH: What Can I Do After My Xbox Damaged A Game Disc?

Ask LH: What Can I Do After My Xbox Damaged A Game Disc?

My old Xbox 360 arcade (one of the first models) has recently had trouble opening its disk tray when there is no game present (so it’s a bit of a mission trying to get it open). I was opening it up recently to put my Call of Duty disk in but I forgot to turn the power off and the Xbox randomly turned on and closed the tray when the disk was half-way in. My COD: Black Ops 2 disk now has a perfect 360 degree scratch and I have no idea what to do. Any advice? Thanks, Distraught Fanboy

Dear DF,

Unfortunately, you’re probably not covered by the game’s warranty as the fault was caused through carelessness rather than any error on the manufacturer’s part. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the situation is hopeless.

Funnily enough, the same exact thing once happened to me while also playing a Call of Duty game (Modern Warfare 2). I’d been sloppy while putting the disc in and was dismayed to hear a loud scraping sound as the game fired up. Despite ejecting it almost immediately, the disc’s underside was marred by a ring of scratches and refused to load thereafter.

I managed to get the disc into semi-working order by putting it into a professional DVD repairer. These machines can be found at most video rental stores which typically charge around $4 per disc.

The success of this method will largely depend on how deep and severe the scratches are. Admittedly, my disc only worked intermittently after the cleaning process, with the game occasionally crashing or refusing to load, but it was better than nothing.

Otherwise, keep your eye on used-game bins and count your lucky stars that your old Xbox is actually still working! If any readers have additional suggestions, let DF know in the comments section below.


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  • I once put a scratch on the glass of a wrist watch.

    I spent the next 2 or 3 hours polishing the surface with my thumb and toothpaste whilst watching TV. Toothpaste is a very mild abrasive so in the end it worked and I had a perfectly unscratched wristwatch again.

    Unsure whether this would even work with a CD / DVD / Blue ray but you know, if the disk is stuffed anyway, then this might be worth a shot.

    • Would that work on a smart phone, I have small scratches on my HTC one and it’s buggering the hell out of me

      • I don’t really know. The watch is simply glass without any touch sensitivity. I guess the risk you run is that you abrade the touch film off of the phone.

    • Does the toothpaste thing actually work?
      What does it do? sand down the adjoining glass to the depth of the scratch or fill in the scratch with magic glass-paste?

      • It’s an abrasive so it sands down to the depth of the scratch. Handy for very shallow scratches.

        This is why I’m not sure if it’ll work with a disk, or phone for that matter, and I’d only try this as a last resort perhaps.

        Oh and yeah, totally works on a glass watch face. I still have the watch 12 years on. Though I’ve taken better care of it since.

        • It can work, but more frequently ends up with a blurry patch rather than a scratch. Much more annoying.

          you’re better off in most cases getting a good screen protector that essentially fills the scratch.

  • My launch 360 used to do this if the system was bumped especially while in the upright orientation in games which would access the disc heavily. I ended up buying a ‘scratch repair’ kit which is effectively a wheel of extremely fine-grit sandpaper on a crank. Visually it made a terrible mess of the surface of the disc but it would also improve the disc’s readability and make previously unplayable games playable again. This was before they started having the disc resurfacing stuff at video stores though, I’d imagine that’s a cheaper and safer approach.

  • Try borrowing a friend ‘s copy and install it to the hard drive.

    Then stick your disc in hopefully That will get it to boot up as it only checks if the right disc is in there. If not then take it to the disc repair place.

    Even if they don’t fix everything both the methods combined should do the trick.

    • That’s a way more reliable method than consulting a DVD repair machinist’s services. Those things have a fairly low chance of working on the dreaded 360 ringburns.

  • Not sure if relevant but regardless of warranty requirements they will usually send you a new copy if you askand return the original since its unlikely most people would bother to buy it again and they want you to play it after all.

    same goes with music cds.

  • JB Hi Fi will repair a laser scratch from a 360 disc for around $3 (or, sometimes free. Just ask politely)

  • This happened to me with GTA V. My cat bumped the X360 and it got bad ring burns. I took it back to JB and plead ignorance. Got a replacement. Not exactly the right thing to do though.

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