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Unable to play online because of an Xbox Service Alert? Read on...

One of the best things about the current generation of video game systems is the fact that it's a piece of cake to play online against your friends. This online functionality was pioneered by Microsoft's Xbox Live service, now a premium service for the Xbox 360 console. However despite the fact that it's pretty reliable, there are often times where an Xbox Service Alert will prevent you from connecting to Live.

If you turn on your system and find that you are unable to connect to Xbox Live, it's natural to worry that your internet isn't working, or that your account may have been compromised. Fortunately, this isn't the case. Should you see an Xbox Service Alert error, it simply means that essential maintenance is taking place on the service which is temporarily preventing players from connecting to the network.

For the most part, Microsoft get out a fair warning about planned maintenance via their official website, but not everyone is aware of that. So rather than panicking and worrying yourself, head on over to support.xbox.com/en-GB/xbox-live-status to check whether or not the problem is with the service itself.

Not only will you be able to check on the status of Xbox Live itself, but you'll also be able to keep up to date with the health of all the different peripheral services, including LoveFilm, Sky Player, Vevo, Zune, 4 On Demand and more.

While most Xbox Service Alerts will be down to maintenance, or even the rolling out of a firmware update for the console, it's possible that you may be prevented from connecting to the service due to an issue with your home network.

If you can't find an Xbox Service Alert that seems to tie in with your connection problem, we recommend going into the system settings and running a test on your internet connection. This will identify any potential issues and suggest any steps that you might need to take in order to rectify them.

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