I used to be able to turn my Xbox on with the wireless controller without fail but recently it will work for a while and then just suddenly stop turning on the Xbox. I hold the center X button and it flashes and the Xbox doesn't turn on. The only way I've found to (temporarily) fix this is to completely unplug the Xbox power, plug it back in and then the controller will turn on the Xbox again when the center X button is pressed.

Of course, this only works for a while and then it eventually goes back to not working and I need to unplug the Xbox again. Any idea why this is happening and how I can permanently fix it?


4 Answers 4


I think it has to do with you using a surge protector / power strip. I contacted Xbox support and the first thing they had me do was make sure the Xbox was plugged directly into the wall. This seems to have fixed my issue. A quick Google search "Xbox One surge protector" will show other people having issues with Instant On if it's plugged into a surge protector. The issue stems from a "cheap" surge protector--as when the Xbox is "off" when Instant On is enabled, the Xbox goes into a low power state--and the surge protector views this as "off" so then the Xbox has difficulty waking back up. I don't have the luxury of being able to plug my Xbox directly into the wall (my setup won't allow it)--so I've ordered 4 different surge protectors from Amazon and I can update you on which one works--if any.

  • This makes the most sense and seems to be the best answer. I can't plug it directly into the wall and I do indeed have a very cheap surge protector. This is great information to know, thanks.
    – vane
    Jan 10, 2017 at 18:19
  • @vane So, out of the four surge protectors I purchased, none seemed to work. I intend to get an extension cord with 3 outlets, plug the Xbox into that--and then plug the Surge Protector with all of my other stuff into another outlet on the extension cord.
    – Nxt3
    Jan 17, 2017 at 2:24
  • Sucks for people who have frequent lightning storms and crappy power.
    – vane
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:14
  • In my setup as I described above, only the Xbox won't have a surge protector plugged in. However, it's my understanding that the Xbox's power supply has a built in surge protector.
    – Nxt3
    Jan 18, 2017 at 2:27
  • My Xbox One S is plugged directly into the wall and I can't turn on the console with a synced controller.
    – user598527
    Dec 2, 2018 at 19:15

You can try updating the firmware of the controller:

  • Connect a controller to your Xbox One with a USB cable. Keep any headsets connected to the controller.
  • Connect to Xbox Live.
  • Press the Menu button
  • Go to Settings > Devices & accessories. Select the controller. If you have multiple controllers attached, you can select Buzz – which will cause the selected controller to vibrate.
  • Then select Update to download the new firmware to the controller attached via the USB cable, and the screen will show the Updating controller... progress screen
  • When you see the Controller updated screen, press B to go back to the Devices & accessories main page
  • Reselect the controller, and the Firmware version should now be the most recent

Retrieved from the source above - slightly reworded

See if this fixes the problem. I know that even sometimes my controller will not turn on my Xbox One, though this doesn't happen more than 1 out of 10 times, and it usually doesn't repeatedly do it.

You can also try re-syncing the controller with the Xbox. With the Xbox on, press the button on the side of the Xbox. Now press and hold the button the top of the controller (see screenshots).

Xbox One Button

Xbox One Controller Button

Both the light on the Xbox and your controller will be flashing. Once they sync up, they will become solid again.

  • Resyncing doesn't help, I've done that in the past and it just keeps happening. It doesn't happen very often but when it does it won't turn it on again until I unplug the XBox. I've checked the firmware and it says there is no update, the controller is already up to date.
    – vane
    Dec 12, 2016 at 22:02
  • It's done this with multiple controllers too and the fact that unplugging the Xbox and plugging it back in temporarily fixes the issue tells me the problem is with the Xbox and not the controllers.
    – vane
    Dec 12, 2016 at 22:03
  • @vane Is this a new controller and/or Xbox? I'm wondering if there's a defect in one of them if that's the case.
    – Timmy Jim
    Dec 12, 2016 at 22:14
  • It's a new controller (not the S controller, just the new type with the 2 headset jacks) and if I remember correctly it's a new Xbox too. I have 2 Xboxes and it happens on both but it does seem to happen more frequently with the one in question.
    – vane
    Dec 12, 2016 at 22:45

I had this issue with a new Xbox One S since first powering the console. Resolved by entirely turning off the Xbox:

settings → power & startup → turn off or restart → full shutdown


I've had this same issue since day one of purchasing my Xbox One S. I still have this problem. The only fix I've found is to shut controller off, press and hold the Xbox power button for ten seconds, let go, press the power button again to turn on Xbox, then press power button on controller. This works every time, but then periodically the controller will fail to power on the Xbox eventually.

I am still in search of a more permanent solution, but this may still be helpful to you.

  • Hi Robb, welcome to Arqade! Have you tried any of the potential solutions in the existing answers? Maybe they can offer something more permanent.
    – Joachim
    Feb 9, 2023 at 7:50

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