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If I buy a used game the first thing I do is install the game onto my hard drive. I figure that this process must read the entire disc and so will verify the disc is not damaged.

Does anyone know if I'm right?

EDIT

ChrisF has seen games that won't play from disc but will install and subsequently play. That leads me to add another sub-question:

Has anyone installed a game successfully but then been unable to play it, either due to disc damage during the startup disc check or due to some other corruption?

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It might be better to post another question rather than editing this one - as long as you reference this one. –  ChrisF Jul 25 '10 at 21:44
    
Definitely would be better. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 11 '11 at 12:45
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I don't have a reference, but from personal experience I think you're nearly right.

If the disk is too badly damaged then you won't be able to install it at all.

However, it appears to be that the installation process is slightly more tolerant of damage than playing directly, so you could get a disc that's too damaged to play but will still install. This could be for a number of reasons including that it does more error checks and retries when installing than playing for example.

From personal experience there have been a couple of games that occasionally failed to load/play direct from disc. In these cases we have installed the games to the hard drive and successfully played them from there.

So your test won't verify that the disc is not damaged, but will verify that it's playable.

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+1 I too have rented games which would have trouble playing directly from disc but installed and played fine. It's a good trick to know. –  ZoogieZork Jul 25 '10 at 16:02
    
That's very handy to know. I'm not too worried about being forced to install to play so it sounds like I probably have about as good a solution as I'm going to find. I added a additional part to my question thanks to your answer. Thank you! –  monorailkitty Jul 25 '10 at 20:56
    
This makes sense, since the priority when playing from the disk is "I need this file RIGHT NOW!" vs. the installation which can afford to be more fault-tolerant. –  GalacticCowboy Nov 12 '10 at 21:21
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I had a problem with a scratch on a disc, I couldn't play the game at a certain point nor could I install it. What I did was I rented the game and installed the rental copy, then used my disc for the authentication, and it worked fine. –  CyberSkull Aug 27 '11 at 2:43
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I do think that usually a disc with damage that affects the 360s ability to read it will not install successfully. A generally good way to test for damage, but it does sound like it isn't 100% reliable. If you have a big enough hard drive you might just want to keep it installed.

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The answer has to do with the demand for data as well as the speed of access.

While playing a game off of a disk, data is read in at higher speeds into memory and there is not necessarily enough time to retry bad data sectors should they fail.

The opposite is true for installing it onto a hard drive. The installer can try and try again at accessing the data it requires without worrying about there being a need for other data.

Aside from that, the answer is essentially what ChrisF said where to a degree of damage, you may be able to slip between the line and install it on a hard drive even if there is some damage to the disk.

The answer to your edit: That is an unlikely case since the read/write times of the hard drive are essentially the same and as such, the game would either install and work, or not install and verify bad data on the disk.

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