Having Trouble Updating Your Xbox One? Me Too.

Microsoft's new maintenance patch fixes a bunch of issues -- if you can get it to take.

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Following weeks of wall-to-wall, often sleepless gaming, I finally parked my Xbox One in an armoire in my living room, dropped the gamepad in a drawer and took a much-needed break. I needed some downtime from the console’s beautiful rides and zombie mobs and risible breast physics. The only interaction my Xbox One’s had with a human being in a week: my toddler, who figured out that touching the console’s capacitive plastic faceplate to oscillate the signature backlit logo and corresponding electronic power-up-or-down “plink!” is a game unto itself.

When I put my Xbox One to bed, it was fine, no complaints, no issues, no memory leaks or menu lag or whatever else you’ve been reading people complain about on message boards. So I’m baffled this morning, returning to it to investigate this new update, released last night, that it wouldn’t download anything. And further, that my system started exhibiting bizarre menu lag for no apparent reason. By menu lag, I mean sluggishness shifting left or right through the Metro tile interface. A week ago, that interface was fast and fluid and totally hitch-free, but this morning, it’s like someone walked the frame rate down to single-digits-ville.

I noticed one of the issues the update fixes was: “Addresses dashboard performance for some users.” I can’t imagine what changed between now and a week ago that I’m now one of “some users.” Did Microsoft issue a silent update that my Xbox One downloaded unwittingly, and that introduced the issue? Poke around in your Xbox One settings and you’ll find nothing helpful, no log files or download histories to peruse, no way to guesstimate what might have knocked things out of orbit. It’s as if Microsoft believes we’re living in some perfect future moment, where being able to back-step through a device’s activities is nonessential, and where system updates work without problems every time.

My Xbox One finally devoured the update an hour or so after I powered it up (then off, then back on, then back off, and so forth in my attempt to trigger the process). When it finally happened, it was without notification. On the umpteenth turn-off, the console stayed off — it wouldn’t reawaken to the voice command “Xbox, on.” That, according to Microsoft, is your indicator the update’s been downloaded: you have to say “Xbox, on,” and if your Xbox doesn’t wake up — after you’ve said it four or five times, just to be sure it’s not you – you can walk over, tap the faceplate to manually power up, then wait another minute or so for a green bar to fill, indicating the download has been applied.

The good news: my menu’s performance is back to nominal, though I still have no idea what sent it off-kilter. It’s all very mysterious and obscure. I wish Microsoft would consider demystifying the process, or at least bracket what’s happening during the update with screen prompts (so you know, for instance, that it’s detected an update, and that you need to power the system down to make the magic happen). Clearly we’re not living in that perfect future, where companies twiddle tech from afar on the sly, sliding in tweaks and fixes without disrupting our experience. As it is, this feels just as last-gen as updating an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, only without the guidance.

(MORE: Watch TIME’s behind the scenes coverage of the Xbox One Launch Event)

12 comments
lllsondowlll
lllsondowlll

The fix for never knowing if a silent update is applied is to set your console setting "Automatically accept Updates" to off. I have been prompted if I would like to accept the update because of it.

Granado_jake
Granado_jake

It does tell you when update is done. Follow these steps

1.Make sure instant off is on and automatic updates is one

2. Use the "xbox off" voice command or turn it off from the settings menu

3. Look at your power brick when it turns off, if it is white, it is downloading an update. When it turns orange, the update is done and you are ready to apply it by manually turning on system

:D

golephish
golephish

I was wondering the same thing too. Hopefully support for external drives and playback will come soon. I agree, that there should be a change log, or some list of added features. time will tell. If I had to guess? I'd say expect another update around January 7. 

stevo6
stevo6

I had zero issues. in fact I think the new update just made the main page work faster.

diggie321
diggie321

My Xbone is collecting dust, and watching jealously as I have a blast playing my Wii u. 


Can't believe I bought into the hype and paid over $500 dollars for an Xbox v1.2

lllsondowlll
lllsondowlll

Also one more thing, a change log for the updates can be found at Xbox.com...

JerseyMike4
JerseyMike4

@bklepeis42, there is definitely NO SUPPORT for external drives.  I know this because absolutely nothing happens when I plug in an external drive.  Even better proof than that, though, is that Microsoft specifically has a an FAQ that reads: "Can I use a flash drive or an external hard drive?  No. The Xbox One does not support external storage devices."  Here's the link.  Do some research, and perhaps the piss poor comments will end (sorry, I couldn't resist).

You are right about the fact that there is a change log online, so thank you for pointing that out, but I have to agree with the author about the overall theme – Microsoft has decided that we don't deserve to be able to manage our own content and it's absolutely frustrating.  As a tech enthusiast, it bothers me that this is the direction technology is headed in.  I don't want to lose control; I want to have more control over the things that I own.  And I want to know what's going on.  I don't want secret updates running in the background... especially if my actions could inadvertently mess them up.


My favorite quote from the article: "Clearly we’re not living in that perfect future, where companies twiddle tech from afar on the sly, sliding in tweaks and fixes without disrupting our experience."

JerseyMike4
JerseyMike4

@stevo6, it doesn't look like I have any issues now that I'm finally updated, but when I turned mine on a little while ago, I was greeted with a nice error message about an update failing.I spent a good 15-20 minutes playing around with the stupid menus because even though it would connect to my Wi-fi, it kept restarting the update and failing, and then telling me to check my network – even though my other devices were connected just fine (side note: I watched my brother have to re-download the day one update on his about 3-4 times before it finally worked; one time it even got all the way up to 93% and then failed; each time it started over from 0%.).  After that, I finally got it to initiate the download, which took another 10-15 minutes.  It sure would be nice if we were able to download the update from their website and install it from a flash drive or something.

I haven't had any real disturbing problems with my Xbox One, just a few minor bugs and glitches.  I've got four games and one of them was stuck at 0% installing for almost an entire day.  The fact that I couldn't just start playing the game without it installing was a little more than annoying that day, but it's all working fine now.

JerseyMike4
JerseyMike4

@dorien.dowling26, I'm assuming diggie321 is referring to either the tax, accessories, and/or any games bought at the same time.