System Error. Contact Customer Support
The above error message in English is repeated in nine different languages below it, followed by the E74 code and concluded by the name of the official Xbox support website. While most Xbox veterans are familiar with more common tech-wrecks and quick fixes for replacing the DVD drive on the Xbox and Ring of Death issues, the black screen showing the Xbox E74 error is not that ubiquitous a troubleshooting scenario.
This error mostly appears in the form of the aforementioned ominous black screen flashing the error message and error code and the appearance of this screen is accompanied by the ring of red lights coming alive in all their sanguinary glory! So, when confronted by these two symptoms, what do you do? Before getting to the what to do part, let's focus on what mischief took place inside that darned console that led to you being greeted by the black screen and the red lights instead of the usual green lights when you so fondly connected and switched on your console.
Decoding the E74 Code
So, what technical issue does the E74 error code point at? The answer is overheating. Yes, when your beloved console gets overheated, the excess heat can lead to the video scalar chip getting damaged and cause the shapes of the solder connections that hold the motherboard together to get distorted and get shorted out subsequently. A damaged scalar chip, which plays a significant role in your console's video display system, is unable to function properly which results in bad connection between the chip and the mother board.
The connection gets damaged as there is no way the excess heat can escape from the closed case design of the console and the absence of cooling devices just makes things worse. This handicaps the visual display functionality of the Xbox console. This overheating problem is most frequently encountered by chronic video game freaks who would spend hours at end, fiercely thumbing away at games of epic lengths.
How to Fix Xbox E74 Error
While the best and safest way to get your console fixed is to send it back to a Microsoft' Xbox technical support center for troubleshooting, you yourself can give your console a complete technical overhaul if you're attentive to details and have a decent amount of patience - yes, patience, as it might take you well over a couple of hours to fix it yourself! So, if you think you have what it takes to troubleshoot your Xbox, here's how you should go about it:-
- Switch off the Xbox console and disconnect all cables from it
- Open the case of your Xbox
- Check for the video scalar chip (Note - be careful not to mess with the graphics processor unit though! In case you're wondering, the scalar chip is located between the fans and the GPU and is darker and way smaller than the GPU so you cannot really confuse one with the other!)
- Clean the scalar chip with a soft, dry cloth
- Check if all the connections to and with the motherboard are in order
- Keep the Xbox case open and the motherboard thus exposed for some time to allow the interiors to cool down
- Wipe the interiors with the cloth again before closing but be careful not to tamper with or disturb any internal configuration or circuits
- Close the case properly and re-connect the cables
Power on - your console should be working fine now! However, before you embark upon this invasive surgical procedure, you can try another simple fix. Switch off and disconnect the console from all plugs and cables. Leave it like that for about an hour and a half. Reassemble the cables and connection, plug your console in and switch it on. Allowing it to stand disconnected for some time allows the Xbox to cool sufficiently and this works just as well as the above method! On a second thought, I should have mentioned it earlier! Oops - did you already open the case? Sorry - and all the best!