Navigating through the menus of the Xbox LIVE Dashboard is as simple as 123

Want to sign into Xbox LIVE and immediately Appear Offline? Open the Guide Menu BEFORE signing into your account, head right to Settings, choose Preferences, Scroll down to Online Status, and choose Appear Offline. Now, you avoid the awkwardness of your friends seeing you sign into LIVE and then suddenly Appear Offline.

You can temporarily suspend notifications by choosing Busy in the Online Status menu. Once you change your status or sign in again later, you’ll receive notifications as normal.

Chances are if you’re watching a movie or TV show, you don’t want to see when Friends come online or invites to games/parties. You can permanently disable all notifications when watching videos by heading to the Guide Menu, going right to Settings, choosing Preferences and then Notifications. From here, simply uncheck the Show During Videos option.

Don’t forget to use the Quickplay option in the Guide Menu to choose a new game or App to launch no matter what you’re doing. Bring up the Guide Menu, head left to the Games tab and choose Quickplay. You can select from Recent, Latest Downloads, and All to select any game or app on your hard drive. This can eliminate a lot of unnecessary menu navigation.

Make sure you’re using the left and right bumpers to navigate the Xbox LIVE Dashboard when you want to quickly switch to different channels, such as Home, Games, Video, TV, and more. The bumpers will immediately switch channels. This is much faster than flicking the left thumbstick across multiple tiles to reach the next channel.

If you’re the kind of gamer that consistently chooses the same options when beginning a game (e.g. high difficulty, high controller sensitivity, inverted controls), make sure you take advantage of the Game Defaults feature. Bring up the Guide Menu, head right to Settings and choose Profile. From here, select Game Defaults, where you can standardize your game preferences. This way, when you launch a game for the first time you should be all set to play as you want to.

If you want to stop your account from automatically signing in every time you power up your console, or do the same for someone else’s, it’s super easy to change. Choose the Profile option in the Guide Menu under Settings. Then, select Sign-In Preferences and set the account to whatever option you wish.

If you wish the virtual keyboard on Xbox 360 adopted the classic QWERTY layout rather than the default ABC format, you can make that change under the Console Settings menu. Choose Language and Locale and choose “English (QWERTY Keyboard).

There are a few great options you can choose among to change your Xbox 360’s behavior when booting it up or shutting it down. Just head to the Console Settings menu and choose Startup and Shutdown. Here you can set your console to boot directly to the game in the tray or default to the Xbox Dashboard. Likewise, you can set your console to automatically turn off after an hour or six hours of inactivity. You can also turn on or off Background Downloads, which will allow your console to continue any Active Downloads even after you’ve shut the console off.

Another great feature under Console Settings is Auto-Play. If you don’t want a game to immediately launch after you put it in the tray (e.g. say, you’re still perusing Game Marketplace), set Auto-Play to Disabled in the Console Settings menu.

When it comes time to clean up your hard drive and free up some space, there’s no need to manually go through all the content and decide what to keep and what to delete. Rather, head to Storage under the Console Settings menu and choose your hard drive. From here, tap X to see Deletion Suggestions. This will show you all the big ticket items on your hard drive that you can delete to free up large amounts of space.

You can tidy up your achievement list by deleting mention of any game with zero Gamerscore. Simply bring up the Guide Menu, head left to Games and choose Achievements. You can then tap X to Delete Game History for any game you don’t have an achievement in.

Don’t forget you can set any Xbox LIVE Party to invitation only if you’re the host. If you want to keep the conversation private, head to the Party menu, choose Party Options and set Party Status to Invite Only.

If you know what content you want to find on Xbox LIVE, there’s no reason to wade through menus to find it. Head to Bing on the Dashboard and type in what you’re looking for. Better yet, use Kinect and say “Xbox, Bing,” and then the name of what you’d like to find. Bing will search all the Marketplaces (Games, Video, Music, and Apps) to instantly track the content down for you. No extra menu navigation required.

Make sure to use Bing anytime you’re thinking of watching a movie or TV show, but you’re not sure what App to look on. Any time you find video content on Bing, you can see all the different Apps it’s available on. For example, you might find that something is available on Netflix that you didn’t expect, allowing you to watch the content for free instead of having to rent or buy it.

Finding new friends on LIVE is exciting, but forgetting that person’s Gamertag before you get a chance to message them or send a Friend Request is frustrating. Luckily, you have a couple of different options for tracking down Gamertags. First, you can check Recent Players by opening the Guide Menu, choosing Friends and heading right to Recent Players. Here you can see Gamertags of people you’ve played with recently. If the person you’re looking for is a friend of someone on your Friend’s List, you have an even more foolproof option. Simply look up your friend on your Friend’s List and head right to their Personal Profile. From there, choose View Friends.

If you ever accidentally Block Communications with someone you didn’t mean to, you can quickly unblock by sending them a message. It’s that simple.

Account Security should always be a major priority, especially when living with roommates or mischievous siblings. You can set a pass-code on your account by heading to Settings, choosing Profile and then Account Security. From here, select Pass Code in order to set a four-key security code using the Xbox 360 controller. This code will need to be entered any time you try to sign in to your profile on that console.

You can easily cast your vote and rate the content you own without having to manually find every game/add-on/etc. on Marketplace. Choose My Games, select the game you want, and then choose Rate on the Marketplace page. From here, you can go to Extras and find any add-on content you’d like to rate for that game as well.

If you love chatting with your friends online but you don’t want to hear anybody else ever, you can set your profile to do just that. Head to the Settings menu on the Dashboard and select Privacy. From here you can set your Voice and Text availability to Everyone, Friends Only, or Blocked. You can also set a number of other parameters here, including Games Played, Online Status, and a great deal more.


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