How to Reset a DirecTV Box That Is Malfunctioning

By Elizabeth Mott

When your DirecTV satellite receiver fails to tune in the channels included in your programming subscription package or displays cryptic error messages that relate to subscription problems, you can address many of these symptoms with a hardware reset. Three increasingly broader levels of reset procedures clear out specific parts of your receiver's memory for settings and setups, or zero out all your preferences and treat it like a new device. Not all reception problems respond to these options, so before you instigate a reset, look for other problems that can interfere with your viewing experience.

Step 1

Press the "Menu" button on your DirecTV remote control. On an HD receiver or DVR, choose "Settings & Help" from the list of options and select the "Settings" screen. On SD hardware, choose "Parental, Fav's & Setup" and select "System Setup."

Step 2

Select the "Reset" option to choices three choices that determine how much of your DirecTV receiver's system memory to refresh. "Restart Receiver" reboots your DirecTV hardware, performing the same function as the red reset button concealed behind the front access panel of the device. A restart leaves your pre-scheduled program selections, custom guide options and parental controls intact. "Reset Defaults" erases all of your settings and preferences. "Reset Everything" blanks out the entire system memory, including any recordings on your DirecTV DVR, and brings up the Guided Setup procedure you must perform on fresh-out-of-the-box hardware.

Step 3

Press the arrow keys on the remote control to highlight your chosen reset option. Press the "Select" button to implement your choice. Enter your parental control password, if you implemented one, to unlock your receiver and reset it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before you reset your receiver, verify that its electrical outlet -- and any power strips between it and the outlet -- functions correctly, and that all of your cables remain connected. Even if you haven't dislodged or unplugged anything, someone else, including children or pets, may have done so. Additionally, verify that your subscriber card remains plugged in to the slot under the front cover of the receiver.
  • When your DirecTV service fails to function and you see an on-screen error message that lists code 722, Service Expired, reauthorize your receiver through the DirecTV website. Visit the re-authorization page (see Resources). You must log in to a valid DirecTV account to reach this page.
  • If your DirecTV signal cuts out during rain, snow or other weather-related occurrences, you see an on-screen error message that includes code 771. This message denotes a condition many subscribers call rain fade, in which precipitation between the satellite and your DirecTV dish interferes with reception. When this error message appears, wait till the weather event passes. Resetting your DirecTV receiver won't shorten the signal outage.
  • If none of the standard reset procedures solve your problem, unplug the receiver from electrical power for at least 15 seconds and plug it back in.
  • Most professionally installed DirecTV dishes remain aimed properly at the company's satellites. Consistently weak reception with no hardware-related cause suggests that your dish no longer points in the properly southerly direction, or that an obstruction interferes with its skyward line of sight.
  • Resetting your DirecTV receiver -- from the red button under the front panel cover or from any of the menu-based options -- erases all current guide information. Once the receiver reboots, it acquires current and upcoming programming data from the satellite, but you may need to wait several hours or days before the full range of guide data becomes available.