How to Set Up Xbox Live

Wondering how to set up Xbox Live? Xbox Live service is surprisingly easy to configure, and it provides a whole new dimension of functionality to your video game console.

What you need.
In order to set up Xbox Live, you need an Xbox video game console, an Internet connection, a network connection and an Ethernet cable or wireless network card. For questions on equipment specifics, or whether the equipment you have supports Xbox Live connections, consult Xbox customer service via phone, Web site or support forum. Not all equipment works with Xbox Live, so you'll need to make sure you have compatible hardware.

Connect to the Internet.
If you're connecting directly to your network router via an Ethernet cable, you can simply plug it in and go. If you don't want to run cables all the way to your router, you can buy an Xbox wireless network card that plugs into the USB port of your Xbox video game console.

With your wireless network card connected, go to System Settings, and then Network Settings. Select the Configure Network option, and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your network connection. If your wireless network requires a password, you'll need to enter your network password to connect to your network. Once you successfully completed network installation, you're all ready to create your Xbox Live account.

Set up an Xbox Live Account.
You can set up an Xbox Live Account in two ways: either via your computer by going to accounts.live.com, or from your Xbox dashboard. If you already have a Hotmail account, an MSN account, a Zune account, an Xbox.com account, a Live.com account or a Games for Windows - Live account, you can use these accounts for your Xbox Live account.

To set up an account via your Xbox, go to the Xbox Live portion of your dashboard, and select the Xbox Live option. From there, click Join Xbox Live, and enter the information requested by the on-screen prompts.

Select the right membership.
Xbox Live membership comes with different levels of membership options: a free membership that enables some basic functionality, and a paid membership that comes with a lot of extra bells and whistles. Examine the different membership options, and make sure you select the membership option that meets your needs.

You can't do everything with a free membership, so be sure you compare the free and paid membership to determine which membership level you need. If you select a paid membership, you'll need to supply your credit card information or buy a pre-paid gamer card to access your paid membership.

Sign in.
Once you've got your membership set up, you'll be asked to enter a few final contact details, but then you're all set to go with Xbox Live. Simply sign in from the My Xbox menu, and you can start using Xbox Live. Keep in mind that you do need to sign in every time you turn on the console, and you may need to sign in again if you lose Internet access while you're using Xbox Live.

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