Does not boot to dashboard, goes right to a update failed message and says "can not find hard drive, if hard drive is installed contact customer support at www.xbox.com/support. It will only allow me to push the back button which switches where it says update failed to cannot find hard drive. The rest of the message remains the same. This system does not have a hard drive.
I've just had this same problem with my 360, and I tried the sync button fix and that didnt work, then I tried another hard drive on it and that didnt work either. However, I thought that I might try the new hard drive on the 360 when it was hooked up to the internet and sure enough it did the trick. So maybe if you have a friend with a hard drive, try that one on your 360 with it hooked up to the internet. Hope this helps! =]
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Try to clear your system of the most recent patch:
"Solution 6: Delete and then re-download system updates
To delete and then re-download the system updates, follow these steps. Note These steps delete system updates that are installed on your Xbox console.
Press the Guide button and then select Xbox Home.
Select settings and then System.
Highlight your storage device (but do not press A to select it).
Press the following buttons in the following order:
On the Delete System Update screen, select Yes.
After your Xbox console restarts, select OK to download and install the system update.
After the system update is installed, re-download your Xbox Live profile and try to sign in to Xbox Live."
You may also be out of hard drive space if you're using a 4gb internal model Xbox 360. If you haven't already, find yourself a compatible USB thumb drive to insert, format and use as added memory.
from : http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=484726
E71: Dashboard Error - Error within Xam.xex: possibly a dashboard
update error, Check below in the "Console Reset Codes" for
instructions. If that does not work there is no other solution and the
console must be sent back to MS for repair.
Go to the "system" blade
Press Y on the HD symbol
Press X,X, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, X,X
A message will appear saying: "Do you want to perform maintenance on your Xbox 360 storage devices?"
Clear Any Failed system updates that cause the console to error.
With the console off, press and hold the sync up button (the small white one)
While holding the sync button press the power button to turn on the console
Continue to hold the sync button until the Console has booted up completely.
During the boot process the console should clear any failed updates, allowing you to use it normally
Sounds like something on the Xbox is causing the update to fail. Make sure you have plenty of room left on the hard drive for temporary update files. Also check in the Memory section of the settings if there are any previous downloads which did not complete correctly. If there are, remove them.
I just found this at the teamxbox forums (credit to the original author):
Turn off the system and the controller. Then while everything is off, press and hold the sync button on the controller, then press the power button on the controller to start up the system, continue holding the sync button until the dashboard comes up. If I'm not mistaken, that should delete the failed update, assuming it actually was a failed update. Then just restart everything and do the update again.
The easiest option to update the Xbox 360 hard drive is to connect to Xbox Live. The console will automatically prompt the user to install any available updates. Alternatively, users can download the update files to a USB flash drive to transfer to the Xbox 360 hard drive.
Update via Xbox Live
Open the Xbox 360 dashboard menu. This menu automatically appears when the console is turned on. Press the "Xbox" button, followed by the "Y" button to return to the dashboard menu from a game.
Scroll up to the "My Xbox" tab of the dashboard menu.
Select "System Settings" from the "My Xbox" section of the dashboard. Scroll to the right while the "My Xbox" tab is selected to reach the "System Settings" icon.
Select "Network Settings" from the "System Settings" menu.
Select "Test Xbox Live Connection" from the network settings. A prompt will appear to update the Xbox 360 hard drive if your system is not already updated to the latest version.
Select "Yes, update now" to install the latest updates to your Xbox 360 hard drive.
Updating via USB Flash Drive
Copy the update files onto the root directory of your USB flash drive. You can download the Xbox 360 update files by going to download.microsoft.com/download/1/d/8/1d8c09be-278e-41cd-98be-eb9188128227/$systemupdate9199.zip. You must extract the files from the .zip file before placing them on the USB drive. The update files cannot be placed into a folder or the Xbox 360 system will not recognize them.
Remove the flash drive from your computer.
Insert the flash drive into the USB port on the Xbox 360 console.
Turn on the Xbox 360. An update prompt will appear when the system powers up.
Select "Yes, update now" to update the Xbox 360 hard drive.
E71 is a dashboard update error. Try to turn off the console, hold the sync button and continue holding while turning on the console until it boots fully to dash. This will clear the cache and any failed updates.
E79 is a broken HDD error. Try removing the Hard drive. It also can be a bad .xex file.
Both of these are also caused when you attempt to modify the NAND.
If you have modified it, to fix it you will need to flash it back to the original NAND.
Simply hold down the sync button before turning on the console. Continue to hold the sync button until the console boots to dashboard completely. This will clear any failed updates. If you still have this issue after performing this you will more than likely need to send your console in for repair.
Give your X360 a static IP address and go into your router interface, find the DMZ feature and put in the IP address that you gave the X360, just make sure the IP you give it is within the DHCP pool of IP addresses.
The X360 will now be sat outside the routers firewall giving you FULL access to internet content and gaming online.
Now test connection settings and you will notice you will now have an open connection to the internet.
Are you sure that in the system settings the xbox is set to Load game instead of boot to dashboard? This will be located on the blade on the far right of the dashboard. If no help, try this:
First, a stupid step - Make sure a compatible game disc is in the xbox, and turn it off. If it continues to boot to dashboard upon powering up, you could always try removing the system updates by:
1. Turn the console off
2. Press and hold the small sync button on the front of the console (the one you use to connect new controllers)
3. Turn on the console whilst still holding the sync button
4. By the time it has booted to the dashboard, the updates should be cleared.
As the first version of the dashboard did not have the option to boot to dashboard by default, game discs should start normally now. If this is the case, feel free to re-download the updates from xbox live.
Hope this helps!