Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

Summary: Users with 30 GB Zunes are reporting their players are bricking. There is still no word from Microsoft about what's causing the problems or what users should do to fix their devices.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Users with 30 GB Zunes are reporting their players are bricking. There is still no word from Microsoft about what's causing the problems or what users should do to fix their devices.

(Updates from Microsoft can be found at the bottom of this post.)

From "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."

Could the addition of a leap-year second have anything to do with the Zune meltdown? Is Apple jamming signals? Do we all have our tinfoil hats on?

Stay tuned....

Update No. 1 (11:30 a.m. ET): It's not much, but a Zune spokesperson provided the following statement: "We're looking into the situation and will update you as soon as possible."

Update No. 2 (10:30 a.m. ET on January 1): A note on the Zune Insider site confirms the problem has to do with the leap-year second. The problem was caused by "a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the Zune 30 device handles a leap year," according to Microsoft officials. Microsoft advised customers to recharge their devices and wait for the issue to resolve itself -- without any new patches or fixes -- as the time flipped to January 1. More specifics on the Zune 30 bricking problem can be found on Zune Insider.

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • ZuneInsider

    The Zune team know about it and are looking into it. You can
    check their progress on twitter @
  • Funny, I thought the Zune was a failure. nt

  • RE: Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

    I've fixed two Z30s in my house by "hard resetting" them. You have to:

    - Crack open the Zune (remove the cover by Zune cable connector, remove the two screws underneath, and separate the two halves.... They are very tiny screws, BTW)

    - Unplug the battery connector on the upper left [the end of the long cable that goes across the hard drive].

    - Wait 3 seconds... reconnect, and the Zune should start up normally.

    - Reassemble.

    You're good to go now. Easy for any techy, but a real pain for anyone else. It seems to me that it may eventually "fix itself" when the battery dies down and the user needs to reconnect to start charging.
  • The 4 Gig versions

    we gave to the kids this year have had no issues to date.

    I assume the software/hardware to be much the same between models, I wonder if it will turn out to be associated with the HD?
    • Do not feed the animals.

  • Happy New Year, Microsoft

    Man, I bet Microsoft can hardly wait for 2009! 2008 sure has been a
    miserable year for them-PR wise. Just look at the list: Vista, the
    "Seinfeld" ad fiasco, the Yahoo non-takeover, and now the Zune-freeze!
    I honestly can't remember the last really positive news I've heard out of
    Redmond! (Yeah, yeah, I know--they're still making money hand over fist
    because of their humongous installed base of whatever.)

    Even though I'm FAR from being a Microsoft fan, I'm almost (but not
    quite) at the point of feeling some pity for them. Well, maybe all this bad
    stuff is just karma, huh?
  • RE: Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

    HAHA Apple wins again, they need to come out with a commercial with claymation immediately or be Jobs should be flogged
    • And they would just be countered with


      • RE: And they would just be countered with

        That's still not every single iPod classic in the country dying
        at exactly the same time without even an error code. ;)

        Nice one Microsoft
        • HOLLA

          Holla at playa haha
        • Still shows there've been issues.

          The battery lawsuit kinda' says that Apple has problems on the same scale as Microsoft.

          At least the MS one will correct after 12AM on its own.
  • RE: Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

    Hi Mary Jo,

    I have a gen one 30gig Zune and the device didn't freeze up. Although I have a smaller gen 2 Zune, I double checked and my 30gig one works just fine.I don't have the latest 3.1 firmware upgrade on the device, so thankfully I was spared from the fatal 00:00 PST hour.
  • Day 366 failure?

    I wonder if this is a Day 366 failure? This is the first Day 366 the Zune has seen... perhaps some programmer put in the equivalent of:

    if (DayOfYear > 365) then
    throw UnknownDayException
  • To those fools dumb enough to buy one of these PsOS


    Could you imagine the cacophony from the MS fan boys if this happened on an iPod, iTouch or iPhone? As usual, Microsoft's feeble attempts at competing with Apple in the Personal Entertainment arena have failed miserably. Zune, like Microsoft's CEO Ballmer is a total and complete joke. It has been a very bad and embarrassing year for them. Vista, Yahoo, Zune, what new big failure awaits them around the corner? This company needs some serious new leadership at the top.
    • Wow - issues much?

      First off, iPhones and iPods have been plagued with lots of problems. For one thing, unlike the iPod - no Zune has blown up or caught fire, injuring its owner yet.

      Second, this affected ONE model (the first generation model) for one day and no data loss was experienced. It cost nothing to repair - in fact, you didn't even need to patch it. As failures go - this is amazingly benign. On the other hand, ask iPhone users what they have to go through just moving their iPhone to a different computer... (having just done that - it's horrible - you lose everything and pretty much have to start over).

      As for the rest of your comments - well, clearly you have an axe to grind, which means that logic or facts probably won't make much of a difference here.

      I'll just end with 'Microsoft still controls over 90% of the world's computers - so being called a loser by some blog commenter with a chip on his or her shoulder is like a gorilla being kicked by an angry squirrel... not just painless - but completely unnoticed.'
  • What next, iPhone firmware bricks

    woo is the new year.
  • RE: Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

    I'm not surprised to see a lot of "fanboi-ism" appearing here, travelling the usual "Apple is better than MS" route. However, perhaps people should remember the NUMEROUS times that itunes updates have messed up peoples machines, causing freezes etc.

    Also, I often find my iPod frozen/unable to be turned on/stuck thinking it's a hard drive etc which is no different to this really.

    MS have released a fix notification for this issue, it's up on my blog over at:
  • RE: Users reporting 30 GB Zune failures

    Looks like they haven't learned much in 20+ years! In the mid-80's, I had a systems building company installing the latest versions of MS-DOS on all of the machines I was shipping. Lo and behold, the new version came out (can't remember which one) so of course, I started installing it on all systems shipped out. One of my larger clients was supplying my machines all over the country to hotels to track their mini-bars in real time. Well, a week after the first machines with the new OS went out, I was called on the carpet and told I'd have to eat all the newest machines that shipped out. Why? Because every single one of them was flipping back the date as soon as it hit midnight! I was sweating bullets for a week.

    As was typical in those days, Microsoft's initial response was complete denial and no acknowledgment of the problem. It was only after a detailed demonstration that showed how a new machine did this while an older system stayed on time that my customer finally realized it was indeed a Microsoft problem (I lost a lot of sleep worrying about having to eat over a hundred systems!).

    Another week later, a somewhat apologetic Microsoft finally provided an upgrade to their OS to correct the clock problem. You'd think someone would have remembered that debacle but then again, maybe everyone's retired on their stock options from that far back.

    I seem to remember the old MS-DOS curse from the old days: Every other version was cursed with errors (I think it was even numbers if my memory still serves me). So I'm left wondering if this particular Zune version was even or odd? And I'm only half-kidding.
  • Another sacrifice to the DRM gods

    Give thanks to the gods of DRM at Microsoft and the RIAA, because this is another of their gifts.

    A few years back, the DRM gods decreed that personal music players must have clocks in them, so that the holy DRM routines would be able to support licenses that had encoded expiration dates in them.

    Hopefully the Microsoft Zune programmers will be taking a few lessons from their Windows brethren who have experience in coding for leap years, and get this fixed by 2012. Not that I'm expecting any of the current Zunes to still be running by that time ...
    terry flores