Red Ring of Death

What Does Red Ring of Death Mean?

The term “red ring of death” (RROD) is a type of signal provided by the Xbox gaming console to indicate various types of hardware failure. Gamers coined this term to talk about problems they have with their consoles, in a similar way that Microsoft users talk about the “blue screen of death” when referring to different kinds of operating system failure.


The red ring of death is also known as the red light of death, red ring of doom or red dot of death.

Techopedia Explains Red Ring of Death

Modern versions of the Xbox have a ring of bi-color LEDs around the power button. These indicate different types of hardware problems.

Technically, the RROD is not a full ring. It is a series of three quarters of the ring that glows red. This is part of a more sophisticated system of warning lights. The lighting of the lower right quadrant suggests that a hardware component has failed. The lighting of the two left-hand quadrants represents overheating. The three-part ring around the top left to the bottom right indicates general hardware failure, and this is what is called the RROD. It indicates the failure of more than one hardware component. When all four areas of the ring light up, it represents an AV cable error.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…