Downloading your Gamertag to a new or a friend's Xbox 360

I had a friend over at my place this weekend and we wanted to play a few games. Since he hadn’t brought his gamertag with him on flash drive or anything, we decided to download his profile (or “Recover his Gamertag”) to my Xbox 360, so that some of his profile data and any achievements he unlocked while here, would all all be syncrhonized to his profile. It’s pretty easy to do, and here’s how we did it:

  1. Press the Guide Button on your controller
  2. Select Download Profile. A large screen will pop up and describe the process, go ahead and click Download Profile again.
  3. Enter Live ID (your email address)
  4. Enter password
  5. You’ll see a download status bar reading: “Hi GAMERTAG!” Downloading your Profile, Avatar info, etc…
  6. Sign in

Done! You don’t want to forget to re-recover your gamertag when you get home, or else some things will get out of sync. Microsoft has all of the good details on their website. The article also describes how to move your profile to a new console, or delete a profile, etc… useful stuff, enjoy!

How to Change the Theme on your Xbox 360 with Metro UI (VIDEO)

With all of the revisions to the Xbox 360, it’s sometimes hard to find instructions when you need them. And with so many people asking how to change the theme of their Xbox 360 with the latest Dashboard update, I figured it was time to not just tell you, but show you.

That’s right, it’s a first for – my own video. Shot while holding my Windows Phone 7 (HTC Arrive) in my left hand and my controller in my right hand. It’s not great, but it gets the point across! The steps are below, or you can watch the video I’ve uploaded and embedded on YouTube.

  1. From the main screen, navigate to the “Social” header using the bumpers.
  2. Move to the right and Select your own Avatar with the “A” button
  3. Select Change Theme
  4. Choose a theme!

That’s it! And you’re done! Now you know how to change the theme of your Xbox 360 in 2012 with the latest, Metro UI dashboard update!

Delete a profile on your Xbox 360 & more account management

I’ve gotten this question a few times, and I usually need a little clarification from the person asking. To delete your Xbox 360 Profile from your Xbox 360 is simple. But if you really want to ‘purge’ your gamertag from Xbox Live — well, it’s not entirely possible. More information on what you can do is below.

Let’s start simple. Let’s say you have a Gamertag you don’t use any more, a friend’s gamertag that was “recovered” to your console so you could play some games together, or just a local account you have no intention of using ever again. To delete the profile so that it doesn’t show on your Xbox 360 all you have to do is sign in to an existing account (OR, from the sign on screen of the most recent dashboard (Metro UI), you can even select “Skip Sign In” and get to the Dashboard without signing in to any profile). Once on the dashboard, move to the far right menu, “System,” then click Storage, All Devices, and Gamer Profiles. Then you can select the profile you want to delete, hit the “A” button and choose DELETE.

As with most of our Xbox Tip of the Week articles, Microsoft has a simple how to guide on their website.

Note that the process above deletes the profile and details from your specific Xbox 360 console. The account still exists on Microsoft’s servers and can be accessed via Xbox Live from another console,, Games for Windows Live, or Xbox Live for Windows Phone. In other words – you can’t see it and it’s not wasting space on your console, but if you wanted to delete it for security reasons, you’re not done. There are literally millions of ‘abandoned’ gamertags and Xbox Live accounts, so for most people, you’ve done all you need to do. But if you’re security concious and want to ensure the account has been blown away, well then I’ve got bad news.

It has become pretty clear that Microsoft will NEVER delete a Gamertag. Even after this process, the Gamertag you remove is essentially locked down from the system, but it is not entirely purged. Nobody else can register and take that tag, but you can never get it back, either. If you want to keep using that gamertag, you should not use the steps below – the tag will essentially be locked from the sytem. What you may want to do is change the Live ID associated with the Gamertag.

If you are certain that you’re 100% done with Xbox Live, your best option is to let your Gold status expire and let your Gamertag go in to “Silver” status. This is the free tier of Xbox Live. To ensure you’re not set up for auto-renewal to Gold status, check out the support article for canceling Xbox Live Gold. If you’re done with the Live ID that is associated with your Gamertag, you can go to and log in with the LiveID you want to close. Then, at the bottom of the page, click the link that says Close Your Account. At the very least, I would ensure that you’ve disabled your gold renewal and removed any payment options from the LiveID.

If you have questions, post them here, and I’ll do my best to clarify some of these steps!

Play in Peace: Disable Notifications on your Xbox 360

Ever tried watching a movie or listening to music, only to have the Xbox 360 notifications pop up and alert you that someone came online, invited you to play a game, or sent you a message? It can get annoying, particularly when I’m just trying to watch a DVD or stream from Netflix. Microsoft knows that, so they’ve made it very simple to disable the alerts on the Xbox 360.

In the latest Dashboard of the Xbox 360 (“Metro UI”), you simply need to go to the far right of the Dashboard where it says Settings, then select Preferences, then hit Notifications. There you have a few options.

Did you know: Many people refer to these notifications as “toast” because they “pop up!”

Show notifications, Play Sound, or Show During Video can all be enabled or disabled using “radio button” selectors. You can disbale the notifications altogether by unchecking them, or just disable the alert during video polayback. Or you can keep the popups (the “toast”) and just disable the sounds!

There are rumors that a future update will allow you disable notifications for the new “Beacons” feature if you don’t want to be bugged every single time you sign in to a popular game (do people really need to set Beacons for Modern Warfare 3? If you wanted to get that last Fuzion Frenzy 2 achievement, I’d understand – but you don’t really need to look too far to find people playing Halo Reach or Gears of War 3!).