Zune software gets mystery update, WP7 update imminent? [Update]

When was the last time you've received an update for anything that doesn't bump the version number, and goes unannounced? Probably not recently. But today, Microsoft pushed an update to their Zune desktop client which, on the surface, appears to have changed nothing.

The update, which popped up for many users today, is still yet to be announced by Microsoft, but does make a few changes under the hood. According to KeyboardP on Twitter, the update brings new versions of the "ZuneWMdu.dll" file, as well as its "related resources." If that means nothing to you, this DLL file is officially the "Windows Mobile Device Updater," so perhaps Microsoft is getting ready for the new version of Windows Phone 7 to drop in the near future.

It's odd that Microsoft would make such a change without stating the purpose of the update, or even bumping the version number, so we'll go ahead and assume that this update is in preparation for the first Windows Phone 7 update, which is due sometime this month.

WPCentral says that the new version of Zune is supposed to support backing up the phone content and applications in preparation for the upcoming update, but we're under the impression this functionality is already built-in and we just haven't seen it in action yet.

If you just can't wait for the update, you can download it manually by going to "Settings" in Zune, then hit "General" and "Check for Updates."

Update: Microsoft hasn't approved any applications over the last two days, which is very strange considering the company's push to fill the marketplace. On top of this, when the Zune team were approached about the update, they would not disclose what it was for.

Update #2: Some sites are reporting that the first Windows Phone 7 update is likely to be only pushed out via the Zune software. Neowin has learned that the software update may be available using either the Zune software, or "Over the air" if carriers decide to support it.

Update #3: Skipdeez on Twitter says that "the Zune Software update has a fix that impacted a limited set of users and we addressed it with a maintenance update." Funnily enough that "limited set of users" are experiencing an issue when Zune is backing up Windows Phone 7 to update the software. 

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Zune still is ****ing me off because of the last update before this, my shuffle all music in the jumplist used to be instant, now the program "hangs" and takes up to a minute just to start shuffling...

Knaarfje said,
but does it scrobble yet?
that's probably the only thing keeping me from the Zune software. I need my scrobbling

You absolutely need to tell the world what songs you are listening to right now?

Microsoft is surely an 'exciting'/'happening' company..its quite interesting to see a company as professional as Microsoft doing weird things like this

One thing about Zune software that I am really disappointed is the inability to change metadatas in music files themselves after being changed on the program.

generko said,
One thing about Zune software that I am really disappointed is the inability to change metadatas in music files themselves after being changed on the program.

It does change the metadata in music files themselves.

skipdeez Matt Akers
The Zune Software update has a fix that impacted a limited set of users and we addressed it with a maintenance update support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092

Sraf said,
skipdeez Matt Akers
The Zune Software update has a fix that impacted a limited set of users and we addressed it with a maintenance update support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092

Thanks

its a pre update that fixes a bug with WP7 backup (so people will not have problems when the real update drops)

winrez said,
its a pre update that fixes a bug with WP7 backup (so people will not have problems when the real update drops)

You know this how?

Owen W said,

You know this how?

I presume he is looking at the entry points in the updated .dll
using some soft of editor/disassembler and making conjecture based upon the information he sees there.

Or, making conjecture based on the dozen or so articles that hit the web since the update became available.

The update seems to have boosted overall Zune software performance, it loads faster for me, also I've been told navigation is faster as well.

GP007 said,
The update seems to have boosted overall Zune software performance, it loads faster for me, also I've been told navigation is faster as well.

Agreed, just restarted, took between 1&2 seconds rather than 3 or 4.

GP007 said,
The update seems to have boosted overall Zune software performance, it loads faster for me, also I've been told navigation is faster as well.

Unfortunately that's all probably a placebo effect from the update, only 3 files were changed, and all relate to the updater software for Windows Phone 7 to avoid crashes during phone backup - nothing else was changed. (It's literally a very small patch, probably why the version number did not get boosted)

Hurry up WP7 updates plural lol!! Hurry up integrated turn-by-turn sat-nav, 'car home' screen & flash then all good...plus these phone companies need to pull their fingers out & start offering device specific car docks like htc did with nexus one!! I have a Samsung Omnia 7 & the only thing about my old ebayed nexus one I miss is the integration of car dock with sat-nav/car home etc...

Jan said,
Zune boots in 2 seconds for me.

Operating Systems boot, applications load/launch.

Have you tried turning off the background zunelauncher service? Does that change the speed?
I know some people who insist they know better than Microsoft what services/applications should be running for optimal performance.

I shake my head at these people who also complain about broken functionality in Windows 7, tied directly to disabling those features.

dotf said,

Operating Systems boot, applications load/launch.

Have you tried turning off the background zunelauncher service? Does that change the speed?
I know some people who insist they know better than Microsoft what services/applications should be running for optimal performance.

I shake my head at these people who also complain about broken functionality in Windows 7, tied directly to disabling those features.

I did that and it load in 4 sec.

I use spotify and Zune for my music now, I'm sorry but a music program should not take a whole minute to open on a 2.8ghz i7 system with 8GB of memory.

And why should iTunes lock up for a whole 30 seconds to a minute whenever I plug my iPhone or iPad in?

That and half the time when I close it, it opens itself up again by itself, and continues to do this until I go into task manager and kill it from there. And when its doing anything like downloading someing on iTunes, or applying changes to my music, should it bring itself up to the front of all the windows, and make itself the active window. Often when I'm half way through typing something.

Don't even get me started on MobileMe Sync using 98% of my processor for 10 minutes while it syncs.

Benjy91 said,
I use spotify and Zune for my music now, I'm sorry but a music program should not take a whole minute to open on a 2.8ghz i7 system with 8GB of memory.

And why should iTunes lock up for a whole 30 seconds to a minute whenever I plug my iPhone or iPad in?

That and half the time when I close it, it opens itself up again by itself, and continues to do this until I go into task manager and kill it from there. And when its doing anything like downloading someing on iTunes, or applying changes to my music, should it bring itself up to the front of all the windows, and make itself the active window. Often when I'm half way through typing something.

Don't even get me started on MobileMe Sync using 98% of my processor for 10 minutes while it syncs.


Zune boots in under 10 secs for me, i7 860

Gaffney said,

Zune boots in under 10 secs for me, i7 860

Zune boots about that fast for me too, it's iTunes that takes over a minute to launch up.

BGM said,
he's dissing iTunes lol, not Zune.

Well, on my i5 3.2Ghz iTunes opens in roughly 4 to 5 seconds, so something is seriously wrong on his system.

/- Razorfold said,

Same here, i7-740QM 1.73ghz (mobile processor)

Boots in 4 sec for me - Quad core 64 bit windows 7 Ultimate 4GB Ram. Feels snappy!!!

Benjy91 said,
Zune boots about that fast for me too, it's iTunes that takes over a minute to launch up.

Then why did you say the following:

I use spotify and Zune for my music now, I'm sorry but a music program should not take a whole minute to open on a 2.8ghz i7 system with 8GB of memory.

Which is implying that it is Zune at fault and not iTunes - you mentioned iTunes in the paragraph below thus indicating two separate statements with no relationship with each other - its hardly the forums fault that you seem to mangle English worse than GWB.

Zune software seems really fast for me compared to iTunes and most other media libraries I tried, but I have removed music from my computer since I switched from iTunes to Zune so I guess that would contribute.

Minimoose said,
Zune software seems really fast for me compared to iTunes and most other media libraries I tried, but I have removed music from my computer since I switched from iTunes to Zune so I guess that would contribute.

Does the Zune software use a database to store file information or does it scan the directories? IIRC iTunes uses an XML file which has always confused me given that the more efficient way would have been for it to use Core Data/Sqlite which should (at least in theory) speed up things for those with massive libraries such as myself.

I got an e-mail from the App Hub yesterday announcing the new dev tools, so I bet the release is very soon! I am very excited to get copy and paste. I can't believe how many times I have needed that already.

Skwerl said,
I got an e-mail from the App Hub yesterday announcing the new dev tools, so I bet the release is very soon! I am very excited to get copy and paste. I can't believe how many times I have needed that already.

I want copy/paste more to shut up my iDevice friends than anything. I've only found one or two places where I miss the functionality I used in wm6.x

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

Not me, try iTunes if you want to get lost

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

I think it's just you

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

I find some parts to be a little unintuitive, but not totally confusing. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm used to it by now though.

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

I'm with you on that one, I'm sorry to admit. I've been a Media Center junkie since the ver beginning, but the Zune software just feels a bit chaotic.
That said, I love it when risky UI designs see the light of day. It's wonderful to see something cool and creative. I haven't really given the Zune software much of a chance to win my heart. In fact, the only thing I use it for is syncing my WP7 phone.

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

I found it confusing at first. Now that I've been using it with my Focus for months now, I'm starting to get the knack of it. Wish it supported touch/multitouch. The zune software is the only reason I use a mouse on my touchsmart pc

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

+1

blahism said,

Not me, try iTunes if you want to get lost

Oh, that's definitely you. You should see what i have on my iTunes!

blahism said,

Not me, try iTunes if you want to get lost

Oh, that's definitely you. You should see what i have on my iTunes!

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

I don't even know what there is to get confused about? :L It all seems rather logical and clear to me... but I've used it for the past 4 years.

~Johnny said,

I don't even know what there is to get confused about? :L It all seems rather logical and clear to me... but I've used it for the past 4 years.


I used it when I got WP7, and stopped using iTunes. It's much more intuitive.

~Johnny said,

I don't even know what there is to get confused about? :L It all seems rather logical and clear to me... but I've used it for the past 4 years.

I have to use Zune software because of my HD7 but I rather prefer Media Player; besides Zune is very slow to load and when I connect the HD7 everything is frozen for at least 15 secs.
While I agree that my daughter iTunes is confusing as well this is not math: - plus - is not equal to +. What I would like to see is the ability to customize it, I do not like all that white. Besides I did not see any update yet.

Fritzly said,
What I would like to see is the ability to customize it, I do not like all that white. Besides I did not see any update yet.

For what it's worth - you can change the background image in Settings - Display. You can also change it to whatever you want in the registry if you *really* want too. I've never had it freeze or lock up since v4.0 came out so I can't really comment, but I have a decently powerful computer too.

That said I've never seen what's confusing about the layout... everything is under very clear subheadings, and everything is clearly laid out o.o

Fritzly said,

I have to use Zune software because of my HD7 but I rather prefer Media Player; besides Zune is very slow to load and when I connect the HD7 everything is frozen for at least 15 secs.
While I agree that my daughter iTunes is confusing as well this is not math: - plus - is not equal to +. What I would like to see is the ability to customize it, I do not like all that white. Besides I did not see any update yet.

The new update while not bumping up the overall version number at all seems to have bumped up the performance. Update and then see if you notice that same lag you get.

~Johnny said,

I don't even know what there is to get confused about? :L It all seems rather logical and clear to me... but I've used it for the past 4 years.

+1

Fritzly said,

I have to use Zune software because of my HD7 but I rather prefer Media Player; besides Zune is very slow to load and when I connect the HD7 everything is frozen for at least 15 secs.
While I agree that my daughter iTunes is confusing as well this is not math: - plus - is not equal to +. What I would like to see is the ability to customize it, I do not like all that white. Besides I did not see any update yet.

By any chance are you downloading songs that are on the playlists of people you have friended in Zune? If so that could be your problem. Also, when the Zune software first starts it immediately starts downloading and updating tracks. The software runs pretty quickly on my PC but I still give the software about a minute to download tracks from friends' playlists before I plug in any device.

Fritzly said,

I have to use Zune software because of my HD7 but I rather prefer Media Player; besides Zune is very slow to load and when I connect the HD7 everything is frozen for at least 15 secs.
While I agree that my daughter iTunes is confusing as well this is not math: - plus - is not equal to +. What I would like to see is the ability to customize it, I do not like all that white. Besides I did not see any update yet.

you can turn down the graphics on Zune software.. sounds like you have a slow computer.. go into the general settings and turn off hardware acceleration.

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

Zune Software is 'good' if you are used to the metaphor; however, even as much as I prefer it over something like iTunes, I can see a lot of room for improvement in the future.

Ideally Microsoft needs to merge in all the Media Player features into Zune and remove Media Player from the OS beyond the technical hooks it provides. Give Zune software a bit of a facelift to match the Metro UI a bit better, as it is currently disconnected in places. Then also integrate Zune with Windows Media Center, at least to the level they have integrated it for playback and store functionality as they have done on the XBox.

~Johnny said,
I don't even know what there is to get confused about? :L It all seems rather logical and clear to me... but I've used it for the past 4 years.

The problem is that the software we come from is counter-intuitive so it takes a while to unlearn the bad design we've come to accept as normal.

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

One of the best media app to navigate. It's all about the twist UI.

thenetavenger said,

Zune Software is 'good' if you are used to the metaphor; however, even as much as I prefer it over something like iTunes, I can see a lot of room for improvement in the future.

Ideally Microsoft needs to merge in all the Media Player features into Zune and remove Media Player from the OS beyond the technical hooks it provides. Give Zune software a bit of a facelift to match the Metro UI a bit better, as it is currently disconnected in places. Then also integrate Zune with Windows Media Center, at least to the level they have integrated it for playback and store functionality as they have done on the XBox.

+1

blahism said,

Not me, try iTunes if you want to get lost

Seriously your making a comment like this? - iTunes has one of the most basic interfaces ever. Play/Pause button top left, A list of all your songs if you click on Music in the top left (which is the default view when its opened). I think you really just said that because you dislike Apple. Shame on you.

thenetavenger said,

Give Zune software a bit of a facelift to match the Metro UI a bit better, as it is currently disconnected in places.

It doesn't match the "Metro "Design Language" mostly because - that was designed specifically for phones. Zune follows a style more suitable for a desktop app, and isn't trying to follwing Metro.

Though it would be quite nice for them to integrate it more into Windows, I worry that it'll make the interface too complicated with too many options and buttons and functions. It's a tough decision t make I guess. In that case, Id be happy with leaving Windows Media player as a jack of all trades whilst Zune doesn't try to do much more, other than additional codec support. :3

But then it's all a matter of taste I guess.

~Johnny said,

It doesn't match the "Metro "Design Language" mostly because - that was designed specifically for phones. Zune follows a style more suitable for a desktop app, and isn't trying to follwing Metro.

Though it would be quite nice for them to integrate it more into Windows, I worry that it'll make the interface too complicated with too many options and buttons and functions. It's a tough decision t make I guess. In that case, Id be happy with leaving Windows Media player as a jack of all trades whilst Zune doesn't try to do much more, other than additional codec support. :3

But then it's all a matter of taste I guess.

+1000

thenetavenger said,

Zune Software is 'good' if you are used to the metaphor; however, even as much as I prefer it over something like iTunes, I can see a lot of room for improvement in the future.

Ideally Microsoft needs to merge in all the Media Player features into Zune and remove Media Player from the OS beyond the technical hooks it provides. Give Zune software a bit of a facelift to match the Metro UI a bit better, as it is currently disconnected in places. Then also integrate Zune with Windows Media Center, at least to the level they have integrated it for playback and store functionality as they have done on the XBox.

This is needed, it could even be included into the live suite eventually once more media player featured are hooked in - or left for the OS to configure/handle.

dotf said,

I found it confusing at first. Now that I've been using it with my Focus for months now, I'm starting to get the knack of it. Wish it supported touch/multitouch. The zune software is the only reason I use a mouse on my touchsmart pc

+1, I don't understand why would they not implement touch in it. And for Zune to replace Windows Media Player, it should start support 3rd party codecs (and autoconvert them to suitable format when dropped on device), otherwise I would drop WMP already.
Also, last time I used Zune before getting WP7 device, it was such a resource hog, and now it works really smooth.

~Johnny said,

It doesn't match the "Metro "Design Language" mostly because - that was designed specifically for phones. Zune follows a style more suitable for a desktop app, and isn't trying to follwing Metro.

Though it would be quite nice for them to integrate it more into Windows, I worry that it'll make the interface too complicated with too many options and buttons and functions. It's a tough decision t make I guess. In that case, Id be happy with leaving Windows Media player as a jack of all trades whilst Zune doesn't try to do much more, other than additional codec support. :3

But then it's all a matter of taste I guess.


problem with merging everything into one, is that bugs are harder to find and fix, plus it'll make it bloated for the more standard users.

i rather see Zune intergrate with WMP/WMC, instead of the other way around.

After using iTunes for a couple of years I decided to try out different media libraries, just found iTunes aesthetically boring compared to the Zune software, so I switched to the Zune software. Just got a Samsung Omnia 7 and everything is easy to use, can't see how it's confusing.

I find it rather simple to use. iTunes is simple as well but.

I prefer using Windows Media Player and Winamp for my audio/video but

warwagon said,
I don't know if it's just me. But I Find the zune software to be way more confusing than it should be.

Same here. In fact I heard many more complain about this.