Updating Your Brand New Xbox One When It Refuses To Update

The new Doom finally convinced me to buy a new console. I debated between a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One. In the end I settled on the Xbox One because I still don’t fully trust Sony (I may never get over the fact that they included malicious root kits on music CDs to enforce their idiotic copy protection and I’m still unhappy about them removing the Linux capabilities for the PlayStation 3) and I was able to buy a refurbished unit for $100.00 off (I’m cheap).

When I hooked up the Xbox One and powered it up for the first time it said it needed to download and apply an update before doing anything else. I let it download the update, since I couldn’t do anything with it until it finished updating, only for it to report that “There was a problem with the update.” That was the entirety of the error message and the only diagnostic option available was to test the network connection, which reported that everything was fine and I was connected to the Internet. I tried power cycling the device, disconnecting it from power for 30 seconds, and every other magical dance that Microsoft recommended on its useless trouble shooting site. Nothing would convince the Xbox to download and install the update it said it absolutely needed.

After a lot of fucking around I finally managed to update it. If you’re running into this problem you can give this strategy a try. Hopefully it saves you the hour and a half of fucking around I went through. What you will need is a USB flash drive formatted in NTFS (the Xbox One will not read the drive if it’s formatted in a variation of FAT because reasons) and some time to wait for the multi-gigabyte files to download.

Go to Microsoft’s site for downloading the Offline System Update Diagnostic Tool. Scroll down to the downloads. You’ll notice that they’re separated by OS versions. Since you cannot do anything on the Xbox One until the update is applies you can’t look up your OS version (nice catch-22). What you will want to do is download both OSUDT3 and OSUDT2.

When you have the files unzip them. Copy the contents of OSUDT3 to the root directory of the flash drive and connect the flash drive to the side USB port on the Xbox One. Hold down the controller sync button on the side and press the power button on the Xbox One (do not turn the Xbox One on with the controller otherwise this won’t work). Still holding down the sync button now press and hold the DVD eject button as well. You should hear the startup sound play twice. After that you can release the two buttons and the Xbox One should start applying the OSUDT3 update. Once that is finished the system will boot normally and you will return to the initial update screen that refuses to apply any updates.

Remove the flash drive, erase the OSUDT3 files from it, and copy the contents of the OSUDT2 zip file to the root directory of the flash drive. Insert the flash drive into the side USB port on the Xbox One and perform the above dance all over again. Once the update has applied your Xbox One should boot up and actually be something other than a useless brick.

As an aside, my initial impression of the Xbox One is less than stellar.