When is it ok to press the “red button” on a DIRECTV box?

Because, you know you want to do it.

The truth is DIRECTV hardware is very stable. It hardly ever gives you any problems. And when it does, you probably can fix them with a simple reset. For years, I’ve been recommending a “graceful reboot” whenever possible… press {MENU} then go to Settings&Help, Settings, Reset, Restart Receiver. This lets your DIRECTV equipment close necessary files and make note of any problems it detects.

But really, pressing the red button is all you need to do. Pressing the button reboots your receiver instantly. Because DIRECTV equipment works on a special version of the Linux operating system, it’s very good at recovering from unexpected reboots. After all, Linux’s parent Unix was designed to run telephone exchanges. It’s very solid, very fault-tolerant, software.

Of course the first step is to find the red button. It’s not so easy really. It may be hidden behind a door or stuck on the side of the unit. Good thing it, it’s always red so at least there’s that.

Once you find and press the red button, the operating system behind your DIRECTV box springs into action running tests to try to figure out what’s wrong. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong, sometimes it’s just a matter of starting everything up again and everything works fine. Sometimes, if there is a minor issue with the hard drive, it can be repaired.

Very, very rarely, a reboot will cause recordings to be “lost.” I put that in quotes because recordings disappear from the playlist when the actual files that hold them are corrupt. You’re not really losing anything, it’s just that you thought you had them and the truth is that you didn’t. This is a consequence of normal repairs that occur on the hard drive over the course of its life and this is rare.