2008 Goes Out With a Bang & So Does The Zune
Right, so this is a weird one: we're getting tons of reports—tons—about failing Zune 30s. Apparently, the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless. Update: The easy official fix here.
The crisis has been dubbed by Zune users 'Z2K9', due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country. According to tipster Michael, the Zune users experienced something like this:
Apparently, around 2:00 AM today, the Zune models either reset, or were already off. Upon when turning on, the thing loads up and... freezes with a full loading bar (as pictured above). I thought my brother was the only one with it, but then it happened to my Zune. Then I checked out the forums and it seems everyone with a 30GB HDD model has had this happen to them
This report is consistently corroborated by literally hundreds of others across the various Zune support and fan forums.
What hasn't emerged yet, largely due to the fact that MS's support lines aren't yet open for the day, is why these devices are failing. The evidence seems to point to a software glitch, but simple resets aren't providing any relief. Some reports indicate that only Zunes with the latest firmware are affected, but this hasn't yet been confirmed.
The proximity of the events to the New Year, which inspired the Y2K9 moniker, provides little more than a colorful backdrop; it's unlikely that the switching of years in the Zune's internal calendar has anything to do with the failures (besides, it hasn't even happened yet).
If not for the uniform representation of events across the internet, I'd be tempted to suspect this as a hoax, but it just doesn't look that way. The story, assuming the described problem is of the magnitude reported, will probably take a turn for the large when the majority of Zuners start waking up. Let us know about your experiences in the comments. [Zunescene, ZuneBoards, Zune.net—Thanks, Michael, Josh, Ben and others]
Update: We've got a DIY fix to revive slain Zunes.
Update: Reader Bill Bradski (Bill Brasky?) has summed up the situation thusly:
Update 2: Here's Microsoft's official response for the time being (it's clear they just woke up and probably haven't even flipped on their coffee pots yet):
We are aware that customers with the Zune 30GB are experiencing issues with their Zune device. We are actively working now to isolate the issue and develop a solution to address it. We will keep customers informed on next steps via the support page on zune.net (zune.net/support).
The FIX?! (or so they claim as of now...)
Early this morning we were alerted by our customers that there was a widespread issue affecting our 2006 model Zune 30GB devices (a large number of which are still actively being used). The technical team jumped on the problem immediately and isolated the issue: a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year. That being the case, the issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on. If you're a Zune Pass subscriber, you may need to sync your device with your PC to refresh the rights to the subscription content you have downloaded to your device.
My Zune 30 is frozen. What should I do?
Follow these steps:
- Disconnect your Zune from USB and AC power sources.
- Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain—this is good. Wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.
- Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (that's 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
- Connect your Zune to either a USB port on the back or your computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.
Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally. No other action is required—you can go back to using your Zune!
My Zune 30 has been working fine today. Should I be worried?
Nope, your Zune is fine and will continue to work as long as you do not connect it to your computer before noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
Note: If you connect your player to a computer before noon GMT on January 1, 2009, you'll experience the freeze mentioned above—even if that computer does not have the Zune software installed. If this happens, follow the above steps.
What if I have rights-managed (DRM) content on my Zune?
Most likely, rights-managed content will not be affected by this issue. However, it's a good idea to sync your Zune with your computer once the freeze has been resolved, just to make sure your usage rights are up to date.
What if I took advice from the forums and reset my Zune by disconnecting the battery?
This is a bad idea and we do not recommend opening your Zune by yourself (for one thing, doing so will void your warranty). However, if you've already opened it, do one of the following:
- Wait 24 hours from the time that you reset the Zune and then sync with your computer to refresh the usage rights; or
- Delete the player's content using the Zune software (go to Settings, Device, Sync Options, Erase All Content), then re-sync it from your collection.
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