Earlier in the week, we brought you the word that Microsoft was extending its warranty on the notoriously fragile Xbox 360 to cover the "e74" error under the same three-year extended warranty that covers the Red Ring of Death. Microsoft issued the following statement:
"The team is aware that a very small percentage of our Xbox 360 customers have reported receiving an error that displays e74 on their screen and after investigating the issue, we have determined that the e74 error message can indicate the general hardware failure that is associated with three flashing red lights error on the console. As such, we will be covering any repairs due to the e74 error message under the three year warranty we announced related to the three flashing lights error, as well as reimbursing any customers that have already paid for an e74 related repair. This applies to new consoles for the original retail purchaser, whether purchased before or after this change."
Gaming blog Kotaku looked deeper into the matter and clarified some of the finer points of the 360's warranty and the relationship between e74 and the dreaded Red Ring.
According to Microsoft's representative, your three year warranty doesn't "reset" when your busted machine is repaired. "The same terms of the three-year warranty associated with three flashing red lights error apply."
But don't think the Red Ring is conquered. Microsoft says "three flashing red lights error message can still be present on the console in the event of certain general hardware failures," although they promised that improvements have been made to reduce the appearance of the RRoD.
But is the e74 code a replacement for the Red Ring of Death? Well, no and yes. According to Microsoft:
"The e74 error message can indicate the general hardware failure that is associated with three flashing red lights error on the console. This issue remains relatively narrow in scope and a very small percentage of our customers have contacted us about this issue."
But...but... if the e74 error message can indicate the error that is associated with three flashing red lights, aren't they the same?
"In some cases there is no difference. As we said, the e74 error message and three flashing red lights can in some cases indicate the same general hardware failure. However, it is not the same failure mode in all cases and there is no single root cause for these malfunctions."
I'll leave that for you to make sense of, but in the end, the Red Ring and the e74 are the same in that both will brick your Xbox and make you very, very unhappy.
Because it's Friday and these Xbox error posts are the perfect place for console-confessionals, I'm going to share my own heartbreaking tale of Red Rings and redemption. My 360 Red-Ringed about six months ago, and while I found the repair process streamlined and efficient (I guess Microsoft gets a lot of practice repairing messed-up machines.) But when I got my system back, it was louder than it had been. It's the loudest appliance in my house, all the time, whether the drive is running or not. It also locks up sometimes and occasionally won't read discs, but it hasn't gotten annoying enough for me to want to send it back to re-do the repair.