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RROD generally refers to the "Red Ring of Death", a dreaded hardware fault warning displayed on the Xbox 360 gaming system. A RROD usually consists of three red lights, making up 75% of a circle on the Xbox 360 console. A common mistake is that the red ring covers the entire circle around the power button (usually green), but this is not the case, as that only is an alert about a disconnected video lead; certainly a minor problem in comparison. It didn't take long after the initial November 2005 release of the console for reports of this annoyance to flood onto forums and other Internet sites. Microsoft has been the recipient of much criticism for the hardware faults that lead to a hardware failure on this level, it has even faced legal action.
An RROD error (which is categorized as a General Hardware failure) is often accompanied by a number of warning signs. Xbox 360 games freezing or having graphics glitches are often thought to a prelude to RROD. Messages claiming that a disc is unreadable and associated with this error generally indicate a faulty power supply unit. Upon receiving an RROD error, users are encouraged to immediately contact Xbox support lines, which in most cases will work out arrangements to have the console repaired or replaced for you.
Microsoft's reaction to the RROD problem was mostly silence at first. The company has never released a percentage figure to indicate the failure rate of the Xbox 360 console, but after launch it did claim that it was isolated to 3% and 5% of consoles. It took until July 2007, a year and a half after the release date, for Microsoft to extend the warranty on an Xbox 360 console that experiences the RROD issue, to three years. This "only" applies to consoles with the RROD general hardware failure error however, and not to other problems.
The underlying problems of the RROD are considered to be many things. There have been allegations of poor inadequate pre-testing of the Xbox 360 hardware, with the end result being a high percentage of technically defective units. While some Xbox 360 users claim to be on their second or even third Xbox 360, others have had the same unit since launch without ever experiencing the RROD or any warning signs.