30GB Zunes failing due to software glitch (updated)

Microsoft has posted a solution to the problem... unplug the Zune and let the battery drain out, wait until noon, GMT, on Jan 1, 2009, then plug it back in. Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally.

According to hundreds of reports from users worldwide, 30GB Zunes are freezing and locking up due to what appears to be a new years date bug.

One poster summarized the issue on Microsoft's support forums, "At exactly 2am CDT (12am PDT), the docked Zune made the "unplugged from USB port" bong-noise and went to the boot-up screen with the 100% loading bar...and froze. At 2:30am CDT, I decided to check the other Zune. Turned it on and...frozen at the 100% loading screen."

It appears as though only 30GB Zunes are currently affected and some reports indicate that only Zunes with the latest firmware are affected, but this hasn't yet been confirmed.

Microsoft has not yet commented on the matter and is currently unavailable for comment due to time zone differences.

Update: Microsoft's official response so far is "Thank you for your inquiry. We're looking into the situation and will update you as soon as possible." Microsoft has also updated its Zune support service page, "Customers with 30gb Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware. We're aware of the problem and are working to correct it. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience!". Microsoft's Zune insider twitter page has the following, "Hey all. Yes it looks to be quite a day. Thanks for all the heads up. we are on it working to isolate the issue and I will keep you posted." More as it follows.

Update 2: Microsoft has now additionally stated that the Zune Social "might be slow or inaccessible."

Update 3: On the ZuneInsider Twitter, Microsoft says they are making progress and close to being able to ID the issue. Hopefully for the many users being hit with this bug, that means a fix is forthcoming.

The Zune freezes as pictured below:


Image courtesy of Gizmodo

Thanks to QuietStorm21A for the news tip.

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Congrats everyone on the zuneboards for finding & fixing the 30GB zunes for free for MS.

I find it funny when hackers and coders have to write code to fix expensive & heavily DRM'd corporate junk, then they just go thank you, compile and distribute it taking all the credit.

A class action lawsuit should be launched against MS for deliberatly disabling all 30GB zunes for 12 hours on Janurary 1st 2009, and imposing strict DRM measures preventing the problem from being rectified other than 'waiting it out'.

They used the code, not written by them, but they approved it. Imagine if GM did this with their vehicles, never worked for 12 hours, or your cable company cut everyone off for 12 hours for no reason - I know you wouldn't sit back and be like aww, well it happens... Yet its likely 75% of people who own a 30GB zune won't even realize this bug was there.

Ruciz said,
or your cable company cut everyone off for 12 hours for no reason -

This happens a lot for me with Mediacom cable... not 12 hours but sometimes hours at a time and you can't call them because they either put you on hold for long enough for the problem to go away while you're on hold, or it's busy

roadwarrior said,

Freescale wrote it, but Microsoft chose to use it without first verifying that it actually worked right for something as obvious as a leap year.

I don't know about you, but I've never bothered to check a standard library for working properly. Most likely, Microsoft didn't write a single line of code for date handling: Only display and set, which I'm sure are standard functions from Freescale. So why test it?

MioTheGreat said,

I don't know about you, but I've never bothered to check a standard library for working properly. Most likely, Microsoft didn't write a single line of code for date handling: Only display and set, which I'm sure are standard functions from Freescale. So why test it?

I agree. You cant blame MS and I thank the zune team for finding the problem and resolution in timely manner.

QuietStorm21A said,

I agree. You cant blame MS and I thank the zune team for finding the problem and resolution in timely manner.

You always blame the company, regardless. Whether Apple, MS, Dell, etc. It keeps them accountable. Besides, while MS might not be at specific fault, it's still their responsibility.

Overheating Nvidia GPUs in Macbook Pros? Not Apple's fault? Too bad, Apple is still responsible. As a consumer I don't care how far down the line the issue occurred, if it has an Apple logo on it, they are to be held responsible. It's all about accountability.

LTD said,
You always blame the company, regardless. Whether Apple, MS, Dell, etc. It keeps them accountable. Besides, while MS might not be at specific fault, it's still their responsibility.

Overheating Nvidia GPUs in Macbook Pros? Not Apple's fault? Too bad, Apple is still responsible. As a consumer I don't care how far down the line the issue occurred, if it has an Apple logo on it, they are to be held responsible. It's all about accountability.

Absolutely right...

LTD said,
You always blame the company, regardless. Whether Apple, MS, Dell, etc. It keeps them accountable. Besides, while MS might not be at specific fault, it's still their responsibility.

Overheating Nvidia GPUs in Macbook Pros? Not Apple's fault? Too bad, Apple is still responsible. As a consumer I don't care how far down the line the issue occurred, if it has an Apple logo on it, they are to be held responsible. It's all about accountability.

Let me know when you actually start living up to this statement. I will certainly not be holding my breath.

39 Thieves said,

Let me know when you actually start living up to this statement. I will certainly not be holding my breath.

I already have. But it depends on whether I identify something as an actual problem.

LTD said,
Overheating Nvidia GPUs in Macbook Pros? Not Apple's fault? Too bad, Apple is still responsible. As a consumer I don't care how far down the line the issue occurred, if it has an Apple logo on it, they are to be held responsible. It's all about accountability.

I fault nVidia on that one, but that's just me.

MioTheGreat said,
I fault nVidia on that one, but that's just me.

I would also. Its one thing to blame and another thing to hold accountable for a solution. I dont blame MS for the glitch but i will hold them accountable to fix the problem imo.

I'm in the UK and its 14:00 GMT and mine is still not working.

When I try to switch on I just have a blck screen showing a white outlined battery with a white exclamation mark in it???

When I plug the USB cable in, the exclamation mark is replaced with a two-pin plug.

Anybody else have this???

It'sa ZUNE...aka iPod...really....who cares...."Gasp I lost my music" .. hey there are other things that anyone can PO'ed about.
Like my neighbors Airbook thingying that gets a color spinning dick when they plug in their new sony camera. Talk about wasting $900 on a camera and $2700 on a laptop to do videos and being f'd...... but it's all the same... apple stops and zune stops...... amazing that all the money spent on a weekend habit slaps the owners in the face , huh?

atari800 said,
Like my neighbors Airbook thingying that gets a color spinning dick when they plug in their new sony camera

Sorry but LMFAO, what a typo

Being a programmer, I'm curious as to how this actually happened. How can a change in the year cause your program to freeze? Consider how many variables in a software there are, how come something like this always seems to crop up?

It may be sloppy programming, but it's more like sloppy testing. At any rate, the device will auto-correct in a few hours, and at some later point, will be patched so that it doesn't happen again in 2012.

Looks like quality control doesn't exist for MS Hardware products anymore then. First the x360's RRoD, and now this.. Wow..

Lord Zog said,
Looks like quality control doesn't exist for MS Hardware products anymore then. First the x360's RRoD, and now this.. Wow..

It's because they're all making sure it doesn't happen on Windows Vista :P

Lord Zog said,
Internal timer didn't recognize an added day for some reason.. sloppy programming, thats all..

Yeah, I guess so then.

kl33per said,
It may be sloppy programming, but it's more like sloppy testing. At any rate, the device will auto-correct in a few hours, and at some later point, will be patched so that it doesn't happen again in 2012.

Enlighten us on how a company can test for every possible error that could possibly be conceived. Be realistic.

ahhell said,
Enlighten us on how a company can test for every possible error that could possibly be conceived. Be realistic.


While a company generally can't test EVERYTHING, you would think that they would at least make sure the clock works right during leap years. That's first year (hell, first semester) programming!!

roadwarrior said,
While a company generally can't test EVERYTHING, you would think that they would at least make sure the clock works right during leap years. That's first year (hell, first semester) programming!!

Microsoft didn't actually write anything dealing with the clock. They would have only called a function that says "Tell me the time", and another that says "Set the time". They didn't implement them.

A resolution has been found hope it works Thank you Zune Team and read below:

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. 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)?

Yes.

Matt Akers
Zune Product Team

A question i would've asked is what happens on the next leap year, and can they load in a new firmware before then to fix it? (I intend to use my Zune for many, many years)

billyea said,
A question i would've asked is what happens on the next leap year, and can they load in a new firmware before then to fix it? (I intend to use my Zune for many, many years)

They will fix the issue in the next firmware according to the page.

zivan56 said,
They will fix the issue in the next firmware according to the page.

Not according to this comment:
"Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?

The issue should resolve itself."

billyea said,
A question i would've asked is what happens on the next leap year, and can they load in a new firmware before then to fix it? (I intend to use my Zune for many, many years)

i think 4 years to fix this bug is enough time!

So I'm curious. If I don't turn on my Zune 30 until several days after the 1st, maybe I can avoid this issue if it's truly related to a leap year date calculation.

IF ya wanna fix your Zune and are a little brave, take it apart, disconnect your battery for 10 secs, hook it back up and turn on.. it will reset the clock and work.. Make your PC JAN 1st, 2009 and resync.. Will work fine.. Its just a firmware flaw not knowing what todays date is being a leap year.. MS Prolly didn't think it would make that much of a difference..

well other variants of zune are running fine.... so its definitely not that. must be something specific to that models software

coolmob said,
well other variants of zune are running fine.... so its definitely not that. must be something specific to that models software

so will it work tomorrow morning? :P

SkyyPunk said,
so will it work tomorrow morning? :P

I for one am hoping it will. If this is just a temporary situation, the impact to the Zune sales (and ultimately, support) should be minimal.

well, dunno what caused it, but my pc is jan 1st and my 30 gb zune works.. bwahaha.. try it..

the clock will fix it if ya wait till tomorrow so you dont need to fix it if your not in a rush. lol.. internal clock will fix itself..

As for why just this model? Well, the internal software is a little different between the 2..

I'm not even going to turn on my Zune 30GB until a fix is found for this. I've been recommending the Zune to everyone I know as an iPod alternative, but I don't know that I will be able to do so after this. Hopefully, anyone who has taken my recommendation waited for the new hardware and isn't affected by this.

Glen said,
I'm not even going to turn on my Zune 30GB until a fix is found for this. I've been recommending the Zune to everyone I know as an iPod alternative, but I don't know that I will be able to do so after this. Hopefully, anyone who has taken my recommendation waited for the new hardware and isn't affected by this.


Don't get so discouraged. The problem isn't actually related to the Zune's capabilities or features.

Weird bug, that sucks for 30gb Zune owners! Kinda funny though, the Y2K bug is a few years late! =p Who knows, maybe more electronics will encounter such glitches.
The Apple VS MS trolling is ridiculous as usual. I'm almost wishing iPods/Phones will lock up as well so everybody can have a nice cup of STFU. (For the record, I own an iPod Touch 1G;) )

Another from their support page at:

http://forums.zune.net/406962/ShowPost.aspx

Everyone needs to get on the line with MS right now to log their problem and get a case number. Period. I was on a conference call with a few other users from another forum and we were able to speak to a techie (not just the operator who reads from a script). He asked us a few questions and tried to identify precisely when the Zune died (around 2-3AM for most of us). His impression on the whole thing was "this is madness!" and went on to explain that discussions are under way on how to address the problem. Most likely, according to him, is a warranty exemption and a return trip to Microsoft. He didn't go into details, but said that he doubted this could be fixed by a software update because of the way the system is designed to reset. He said that they are trying to get a plan in place and have it out ASAP (within 24 hours). Nothing is set in place yet, but I wouldn't hold onto hopes that a software update will fix the problem. Mini-coffins ( those of you that have 360's will recognize the reference) could be a real possibility in this case.

It's quite funny turning on my zune knowing it's going to freeze. Too bad I've moved back to the UK now. Maybe I'll have to send it back with my dad to US before he leaves on Saturday

Status:

Customers with 30gb Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware. We're aware of the problem and are working to correct it. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience!

That's from the official zune.net support page.

Here's what I say to the TROLLS:

Copying music FROM your iFoan is easy, because... no... wait- YOU CAN'T! iFoan 3G music is encrypted! And you need 3rd party software to copy from an iPod. D'OH!

You can, however, copy music (and videos) FROM a Zune.

Apple is the new EVIL.

shornby said,
Here's what I say to the TROLLS:

Copying music FROM your iFoan is easy, because... no... wait- YOU CAN'T! iFoan 3G music is encrypted! And you need 3rd party software to copy from an iPod. D'OH!

You can, however, copy music (and videos) FROM a Zune.

Apple is the new EVIL.

It really isn't that big of a deal, are you really going to move music from device to device? I mean if you want the Zune for THAT feature, then awesome, the Zune sounds kick ass! However if you just want the portable net and apps and such, the best choice is the Ipod Touch, or Iphone.

-Hiroshi- said,

It really isn't that big of a deal, are you really going to move music from device to device? I mean if you want the Zune for THAT feature, then awesome, the Zune sounds kick ass! However if you just want the portable net and apps and such, the best choice is the Ipod Touch, or Iphone.

Yea, seriously. This isn't that big a deal because most people I know aren't interested in copying music from this computer to that computer all the time. Besides, if this was a need for you, you'd be much better off from a Walkman or some player with simple drag and drop compatibility.

Dr Fate said,
Master reset worked like a charm for me. Removed the battery , rebooted and its back up.

just DON'T connect to your zune software as it will reset the clock and your locked again.

ahhell it is a big deal did if people cant use their zunes for 1day or maybe more! those computer illiterate people will think their zune just died and wont know about firmware updates.

torrentthief said,
ahhell it is a big deal did if people cant use their zunes for 1day or maybe more! those computer illiterate people will think their zune just died and wont know about firmware updates.


thats if they can even do a firmware update, if the thing locked before it got to the point it can load a firmware then you are bricked...

neufuse said,
thats if they can even do a firmware update, if the thing locked before it got to the point it can load a firmware then you are bricked...

Yes you can, just set the zune to format mode and it erases everything except the bootloader (which is loaded before the progress bar even appears).

Neowin needs to something about all the ****ing trolls on Microsoft articles/threads. If anyone tried this **** on Apple ones, they would get warnings.

I'm ****ing sick of this.

This is a bug that will be fixed by a firmware update. BFD.

Pretty sure people do do it on Apple threads along with Google, Yahoo, Linux, Firefox ones to name a few.

I find the browser ones to be more passionate personally.

ahhell said,
Neowin needs to something about all the ****ing trolls on Microsoft articles/threads. If anyone tried this **** on Apple ones, they would get warnings.

I'm ****ing sick of this.

This is a bug that will be fixed by a firmware update. BFD.


There are several members who habitually troll Apple threads as well and are constantly ignored, so it's not just the Microsoft threads.

Smigit said,
Pretty sure people do do it on Apple threads along with Google, Yahoo, Linux, Firefox ones to name a few.

I find the browser ones to be more passionate personally.

Yes, but a significant portion of the staff are Apple fanboys themselves, and the rules are selectively enforced, to put it mildly. What flies on this site is purely at the whim of what mod is reading it at what time. I've had comments sit on threads for *weeks* before some mod schlep happens upon it and sends me a warning.

39 Thieves said,

Yes, but a significant portion of the staff are Apple fanboys themselves, and the rules are selectively enforced, to put it mildly. What flies on this site is purely at the whim of what mod is reading it at what time. I've had comments sit on threads for *weeks* before some mod schlep happens upon it and sends me a warning.


None of the staff are Apple fan boys and I am the complete opposite (me being the article writer, Tom Warren) so I dunno where you pulled that stat from?

39 Thieves said,

Yes, but a significant portion of the staff are Apple fanboys themselves, and the rules are selectively enforced, to put it mildly. What flies on this site is purely at the whim of what mod is reading it at what time. I've had comments sit on threads for *weeks* before some mod schlep happens upon it and sends me a warning.

I'm actually a bit insulted. I am supposed to be the only Apple fanboy around here!

With all due respect ahhell since you can't see who gets warned or our forum operations... you truly have no idea about what you're talking about.

Just read any Apple thread ahhell - it's full of the same kind of stuff, with trolling, etc about how much Apple suck, etc.

All I can say is - welcome to the internet. The mods here do try their best to be impartial and fair but it must be difficult with people who act like 8 year olds in a schoolyard name throwing contest.

Just read any Apple thread ahhell - it's full of the same kind of stuff, with trolling, etc about how much Apple suck, etc.

All I can say is - welcome to the internet. The mods here do try their best to be impartial and fair but it must be difficult with people who act like 8 year olds in a schoolyard name throwing contest.

jmc777 said,
They're only available in the US and Canada.


And good luck even finding any at most major retail stores. The Walmart that I work at only carries the 4 and 8 GB flash versions, and absolutely NO accessories for them. We sell probably at least 3 or 4 times as many iPod nanos as we do the Zunes (during Christmas, we actually sold about 10 times as many iPods as Zunes).

Lets hope they release a firmware fix soon! Their new year's date bug should have been found in bug testing, deeply embarrasing, lets hope windows vista doesnt have the same problem hehe!

Jaysteddy said,
The only thing buggier than MS software is MS hardware.

*facepalm*

You seriously need to do some research, you Apple fanboy. The Zune 30s have hardware from the Toshiba Gigabeat S in them.

MightyJordan said,
*facepalm*

You seriously need to do some research, you Apple fanboy. The Zune 30s have hardware from the Toshiba Gigabeat S in them.


MS hardware buggy huh? Their keyboards and mice seem to work perfectly fine.... and well this is a SOFTWARE issue in this case also not hardware

neufuse said,


MS hardware buggy huh? Their keyboards and mice seem to work perfectly fine.... and well this is a SOFTWARE issue in this case also not hardware

Well it appears to be a problem caused by both the software and the hardware. Microsoft's software with Toshiba's hardware. Otherwise the 4/8/16/80/120 would be having the same problem.

neufuse said,

MS hardware buggy huh? Their keyboards and mice seem to work perfectly fine.... and well this is a SOFTWARE issue in this case also not hardware

well if we count the xbox360 and now with the zune i can agree with you

The only thing buggier than MS software is MS hardware.

You do realise that the Zune 30 is essentially a Toshiba Gigabeat S with a wifi module, right? It can hardly be classified as designed by Microsoft.

carmatic said,
happy new year, guys....

maybe microsoft is waiting for 2009 to replace all the zune 30's with zune 80's for free?

I'm sure they have plenty sitting around unsold in warehouses.

toadeater said,

I'm sure they have plenty sitting around unsold in warehouses.

Right next to the crates of OEM Ubuntu install CDs for most home PCs. Right?

i have defend my zune from day 1. but this is just terrible on microsoft's part. the fact that they've offered all the features to the 30gig that the new zunes are getting is impressive to say the least, but if they are going to have to offer a replacement type exchange for ALL the 30gig's, i'm afraid this could end the zune love that a few of us still have. p.s., both mine and the one i got my gf are locked too.

lothodon said,
i have defend my zune from day 1. but this is just terrible on microsoft's part. the fact that they've offered all the features to the 30gig that the new zunes are getting is impressive to say the least, but if they are going to have to offer a replacement type exchange for ALL the 30gig's, i'm afraid this could end the zune love that a few of us still have. p.s., both mine and the one i got my gf are locked too.


It looks like a software issue, those who never updated their firmware (from zune version1) dont have the issue, and the 80gb owners dont have any problems, yet......i cant imagine ms doing a replacement program :(

i sure hope your right, but what worries me is that when plugged into my pc, the pc doesn't recognize anything. no usb device connected at all. if the pc can't see it, how could it flash it?

Does this work for anyone?

There's a fix:

"Your zune will need a "hard reset."

To do this, use a small screwdriver to pop off the plastic shielding where the zune cable plugs into and remove the two screws on either side of the plug. Next pop the cover off and locate the battery plug at the top left corner of the zune, using your screw driver, pop the cable connection half way off, and do this to the other plug on the right side. Wait 3 seconds, then push down the right connector and then the left battery connecter. Your zune should start up immediately. Press the backing of the zune down (make sure headphone jack is aligned) and put the screws and cover back in place.

It's an easy process but if you're unsure don't attempt it if you think you'll screw it or something. :)"

Not pretty, but it might help those of you who have this problem.


That "fix" is only temporary. It resets the clock on your Zune, so it works again. But if you connect it up to your computer, it resyncs the clock, and the Zune will lock up again.

MightyJordan said,
That "fix" is only temporary. It resets the clock on your Zune, so it works again. But if you connect it up to your computer, it resyncs the clock, and the Zune will lock up again.


What if you change the computer clock back and then sync?

I've got the exact same problem! Happened to me this morning. The old trick of draining the battery and charging it up doesn't solve it. I thought my Zune was dead after 2 years. I was actually looking at buying an iPod Shuffle!

Beastage said,
Im pretty sure if you'll wait you can a free upgrade or something ;)

Umm, if Microsoft do offer upgrades, do you think they'd give them to people outside of North America? If not, I'm buggered.

Next thing we know all Windows installs will kill themselfs. Oh god... I just got my system up and running again, please for the love of all things unholy!