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Microsoft Confirms Zune 30GB Mass Failure

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Confirms Zune 30GB Mass Failure

I couldn't possibly begin a Zune article by taking yet another cheap shot questioning owners purchasing decisions... could I?

No, I'll stay clear this time as the en mass Zune 30GB failures in the last 48 hours have already done the heavy lifting for me but at least Microsoft has stepped up and acknowledged the problem - and kind of fixed it...

In an official statement the company explained:

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.

Customers can continue to stay informed via the support page on zune.net (zune.net/support). We know this has been a big inconvenience to our customers and we are sorry for that, and want to thank them for their patience.

Q: Why is this issue isolated to the Zune 30 device?

It is a bug in a driver for a part that is only used in the Zune 30 device.

Q: What fixes or patches are you putting in place to resolve this situation?

This situation should remedy itself over the next 24 hours as the time flips to January 1st.

Q: What's the timeline on a fix?

The issue Zune 30GB customers are experiencing today will self resolve as time changes to January 1.

Q: Why did this occur at precisely 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2008?

There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year.

Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?

The issue should resolve itself.

Q: Are you sure that this won't happen to all 80, 120 or other flash devices?

This issue is related to a part that is only used in Zune 30 devices.

Q: How many 30GB Zune devices are affected? How many Zune 30GB devices were sold?

All 30GB devices are potentially affected.

Q: Will you update the firmware before the next leap year (2012)?


That's right people, other than the fact the last Q&A question is particularly hilarious, Microsoft has essentially admitted to committing the ultimate programming faux pas by creating a millennium bug nine years late - or in this case a leap-year bug. Zune's should fix themselves as the date moves on but I've heard a shop return hard reset also works wonders.

To paraphrase a certain well known commercial: "The cost of fixing the 30GB Zune leap year bug? Nothing. The cost of destroying your brand's global credibility ahead of an international release? Priceless."


via Zune Insider


January 2, 2009, 10:57 am

Welcome To The Twilight Zune TURURURU TURURURU TURURURU&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161&#161



January 2, 2009, 4:05 pm

Take the same approach if your PC has Vista. Simply switch off your PC, unplug it from the wall, wait a while and Windows 7 will be along. Easy.


January 2, 2009, 4:27 pm

The device may be hideous but the UI in both the software and on the device is still lightyears ahead of the ipod classic and personally better than the ipod touch (ipod section) user interface. Also where is ipods fm tuner. When i got my zune it was the only one with the esstensial feature that was even worth a second look. THERE THAT IS WHY I PURCHASED A ZUNE. brilliant website guys I have made several descisions based on your excellent in depth reviews - its just a pitty about the zune coverage hence the outburst


January 2, 2009, 6:38 pm

@Andrew - to be fair, the Zune is seen as something of a laughing stock over here though I have heard some decent things about them and there are many who defend it... even if the majority tend to be those who bought them ;)


January 2, 2009, 9:09 pm

If they ever got released over here I'd definitely be interested. I've heard loads of good things about them and I'm just bored of iPods.


January 2, 2009, 10:33 pm

A slow news day eh?

The Zune can compete with the Ipod on many a scenario and yes a cheap shot, a problem which will not brick your product like Apple like to do.

How about an article on the changing fortunes of the Ipod/Iphone Battery lifecycle and how pathetic the problem still is even after Apple were forced to admit they tell big LIES.


January 2, 2009, 11:34 pm

@hank - period either side of Christmas and New Year slow? Ooooooooooh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Tarik Bos

January 2, 2009, 11:45 pm

so might the editors of this site clarify why the zune is so bad? i have jet to spot a review in this site... btw i don't own a zune;) but i would like to see some decent arguments, because a product is doing bad on the market doesn't make it a bad product. as far is i can see they are decently spect players, they don't look that bad either. now i've never actually used one so i can't pass judgment on it so i would really like to see a professional review.


January 2, 2009, 11:58 pm

@Tarik - sure thing. I've played with one for a few hours and didn't like it, as have a number of the team. We haven't reviewed one as they aren't available in the UK and as a UK site it therefore didn't seem pertinent. In fact, with the Zune software being built into Windows Mobile I doubt whether we'll ever see them released internationally and even if Microsoft will continue to make dedicated Zune players much beyond 2009.

As I mentioned in the previous Zune article: "So yes, Zune firmware 3.0 is quite nice and yes, the MP3 player isn't actually as terrible as it is presumed by many over here, but then again there do seem to be a few bugs still floating around!?!"


January 3, 2009, 5:25 am

The Zune was always too much like an I-Pod for my taste anyhow. I'll stick with my Creative and my Sansa players.

Hamish Campbell

January 3, 2009, 1:40 pm

I've played around with my mates one.

Uninspiring is probably a good summary. Boring to look at, boring to use. Lots of things can play music and show video, so why not have something that actually gives you some enjoyment in use.


January 9, 2009, 4:42 pm

I bought a 30B Zune in the US in the summer of 2007, up until New Years Eve it as great and from what I could see beat iPODs on a lot of features - BUT ............

The Microsoft "FIX" doesn't work on mine (tried it with two different PC's) so I am left with a sad, lifeless brick.

Has anyone else had the same experience and like me got a Zune that does nothing?

Am I alone .....................?

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