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Microsoft has yet to comment on what is causing massive numbers of its 30GB Zune to fail virtually simultaneously

There have been some mysteries in the technology world over 2008. It seems that the last day of the year will end on another mysterious note for technology fans and Microsoft Zune owners.

According to Gizmodo there are massive amounts of reports of 30GB Microsoft Zune players failing around the country. The proximity to the New Year has led the phenomenon to be dubbed the Y2K9 bug, though the failures actually having anything to do with a calendar issue is slim. Mostly the slim chances have to do with the fact that the calendar won’t change until midnight tonight on the players and the first reports of failures starting coming in at about 2 a.m. this morning.

The failure goes something like this according to reports. At about 2 a.m. 30GB Zune's that were reset or were tuned off failed when they were started back up. The failure is described by those affected as a freeze at the load screen.

According to reports this isn’t a few 30GB Zune's that have failed, the vast majority of the devices have the same exact failure symptoms and have been reports by hundreds of owners according to Gizmodo. At this point little is known as to what is causing the mass failures of the devices. Once Microsoft is up and running for the workday, perhaps we will get more information on the issue.

Until then if you're 30GB Zune has failed, tell us about it in the comments below.

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Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 10:14:08 AM , Rating: 5
It should work tomorrow. Believed to be a leap year issue today is day 366. One person was able to set his zune date to Jan 1st 2009 and his device is working again.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Motoman on 12/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 10:23:47 AM , Rating: 2
I consider it a warning for the Y2038 bug or Y2K38.

The Zunes are always the first to know.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 10:29:15 AM , Rating: 5
Update: The reason it possibly started at 3am EST 2am CST is because there is no time zone option on a Zune and Redmond works on PST time so 12am PST = 3am EST 2am CST.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Motoman on 12/31/2008 10:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
Skynet. The revolution will be televisions.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By LorKha on 12/31/2008 2:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
England Prevails!

RE: Will work tommorow.
By poohbear on 1/2/2009 7:10:21 AM , Rating: 2
definetly skynet. and MS released it!!!!!!!!

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Rodney McNaggerton on 12/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: Will work tommorow.
By Master Kenobi on 12/31/2008 10:57:10 AM , Rating: 3
Mitch is on point. Once the clock rolls over to Day 1 of the new year it should be all fixed. I'm sure a software update will prevent it from happening again.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 11:17:32 AM , Rating: 4
Same here just waiting it out.

It would be too easy if only setting your PC clock would update the Zune otherwise everyone with music that expires would set their dates so it never reaches expiration.

Microsoft updated their site about the 30gig zunes being effected. So they acknowledge the issue and are looking into it. Patience everyone.

Some things I find comical that I am reading.

1-People who are cracking open their Zunes to do the reset instead of waiting for a response from Microsoft. Well My warranty is out so I cracked it open now I broke something. Its a pretty significant Microsoft mistake that I'm sure Microsoft would support out of warranty Zunes if it does not resolve on the first of the new year or with an update and throw in some sort of bonus for free music downloads for the inconvenience. This is some 2 bit company that will say ok we screwed you and here is $30.00 off the purchase of another Zune. This is Microsoft they will make this right.

2- That's it im getting an iPod. Wow you know the battery has died on me and I have been without music until I could recharge my MP3 player but to go a day without music from their Zune and somehow buying an iPod is the solution? Cant go a day without Music? That's called an addiction. Get therapy.

To coin an old term some people need to take a chill pill. Its new years start drinking.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Shadowself on 12/31/2008 1:28:09 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, it's more like, "If MS has done something this stupid (Zunes only work 365 days a year whether it's a leap year or not) then what other stupid stuff is in that software/firmware? Is it not going to work in months where there's a blue moon (the second full moon of the calendar month)?"

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 2:24:16 PM , Rating: 4
The Bush Administration is now being blamed for the Zune 30 outage.

Al Qaeda and several other terrorist groups are claiming they are responsible for the Zune Jihad.

The RIAA has sent a letter to Microsoft with the WiFi addresses of all Zunes it believes are sharing music illegally. Instructing them to be shut down immediately.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Belard on 12/31/2008 4:51:22 PM , Rating: 3
I guess Bush doesn't know when to stop... war, katrina, general inability of original thought... and now this?!

That's it! Nobody vote for this guy anymore!

RE: Will work tommorow.
By squirrelfriend on 12/31/2008 3:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
could be worse.... how about:

i concur with Mitch101. Drink... it'll be fixed soon.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By taber on 12/31/2008 4:48:35 PM , Rating: 4
It's actually not that stupid. I'm not the best programmer by any means, but I can tell you that programming for dates is often a pain. It's simply not as cut and dry as most programming problems and many languages offer different support for it. Not to mention it's also hard to test for every situation.

It's still embarrassing for them, but it's not reflective of their abilities in general.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By robinthakur on 1/2/2009 4:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
Gawd, just be glad that it wasn't Apple who dropped the ball here. The recriminations would be dense and vociferous, no doubt. The response to "get an iPod!" is probably advice that most of those contrarians with a Zune already ignored in their infinite wisdom.

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Screwballl on 12/31/2008 3:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
True but how will they handle the "leap second" posted in the other DT story? More Lockups? /sarcasm/

RE: Will work tommorow.
By tdawg on 12/31/2008 11:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that's good to know. I guess I'll just wait it out with the others then. Unfortunately, that means I'm stuck with no mp3 player at work. :(

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Mitch101 on 12/31/2008 11:48:50 AM , Rating: 5
You could always sing. Who knows maybe your the next American Idol? Choose carefully though I just started singing some Boy George song and got beat up but then Karl from accounting gave me his phone number. I'm trying to recover singing some NIN now but I don't think they are buying it. Yea How Bout them Cowboys!!! What the Cowboys lost? Oh no here they come again........

Happy New Year everyone on DT!!!

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Chocobollz on 1/2/2009 10:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
LOL No MP3 player? Seriously, where do you work? In a cave? :p Just plug your earphone on a PC and now you have a lot more than MP3 player! n_n Oh and also, didn't you have a cellphone? Most cellphone is sufficient for hearing music so what's the problem?

RE: Will work tommorow.
By Screwballl on 1/1/2009 11:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
From an official press release:

The Microsoft posting promised a fix by the end of the next leap year in December 2012.

By JasonMick on 12/31/2008 10:14:00 AM , Rating: 4
Sounds like a bad M. Night Shamalayan film.

RE: Movie?
By Proxes on 12/31/2008 10:18:14 AM , Rating: 3
Is there a good one?

RE: Movie?
By VitalyTheUnknown on 12/31/2008 10:24:40 AM , Rating: 5
Yes. The Sixth Sense. (1999)

RE: Movie?
By mezman on 12/31/2008 2:08:33 PM , Rating: 3
And that's it.

RE: Movie?
By PhoenixKnight on 12/31/2008 10:21:14 AM , Rating: 5
What a twist!

RE: Movie?
By eheia on 12/31/2008 3:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
"..that..was a..really bad twist"

"yeah sorry about that folks"

RE: Movie?
By protosv on 12/31/2008 5:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
Is robot chicken still going? Haven't seen one of those in a while....I love that show!

RE: Movie?
By foolsgambit11 on 12/31/2008 8:19:07 PM , Rating: 3
Spoiler Alert!

Yeah, but this one is better than the twist in Signs. 'Everything goes back to normal the next day' is waaaaaaay better than 'aliens try to conquer a planet that's 70% water but water kills them'.

RE: Movie?
By Samus on 12/31/2008 10:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
what color is the ring of death this time?

By Gzus666 on 12/31/2008 10:10:18 AM , Rating: 4
Sooo...all of them? Couldn't resist.

By mmntech on 12/31/2008 10:19:56 AM , Rating: 4
I find this failure to be vary odd indeed. I can't think of any other home media product produced by Microsoft that has such a high failure rate. :p
Lots of jokes here. Does it show the RRoD? Is it not Y2k9 compatible because Microsoft didn't expect people would keep them that long. The list goes on. lol

Kidding aside, I'm sure the Zune is a vary decent player based on what I've been told. However, it is a little ironic given that the Xbox, MS's other major piece of consumer electronics, is also known to spontaneously melt down.

By StevoLincolnite on 12/31/2008 10:24:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well it's nice to know that they included a Time-Zone reference to the "2am" part of the story. </Sarcasm>

However New Years started here 2 hours ago, so where exactly have these Zunes been failing?

By EglsFly on 1/1/2009 4:17:50 AM , Rating: 2
I find this failure to be vary odd indeed. I can't think of any other home media product produced by Microsoft that has such a high failure rate. :P
Spot on! LOL

It's started......
By marvdmartian on 12/31/2008 10:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
Skynet has started, only they picked Zunes to do their bidding!!

RE: It's started......
By BZDTemp on 12/31/2008 10:32:44 AM , Rating: 2
Good then we are safe and can skip the whole time travel thing (it's such a drag)

RE: It's started......
By oab on 12/31/2008 12:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome to the Social!

RE: It's started......
By PhoenixKnight on 12/31/2008 12:28:34 PM , Rating: 5
If Skynet is working through Microsoft, it's only a matter of time before it BSOD's or RROD's, so I'm not worried at all.

By Sazabi19 on 12/31/2008 11:06:52 AM , Rating: 3
Ya i woke up this morning and on my drive to work it froze on the loading screen. I normally have my zune on all the time, it rarely turns off, i can tell when it does because i have to lock it then unlock it for about 5 seconds. It started to load up and then just froze on the initial Zune screen and the status bar was near the end. I could feel it trying to work and come on but it just wouldnt. i took it here to work with me and it finnaly died a little bit ago and i put it back into my car to charge. I will go get it in a little bit and i will then update, but that is very weird. It has never done that before, after i put on the V.3 software it started to freeze on me but after leaving it alone for a few hours or just letting it die and a little charge time it would be good as new, no data missing or anything. I never have my wireless on either so i wonder what was pre-programmed in there...? Yay conspiracy ftw!

RE: weird...
By Sazabi19 on 12/31/2008 11:59:42 AM , Rating: 3
My watch stopped working last night as well... pretty odd but i think that was just a very peculliar coincidence. I live in IN so i do not think this is an isolated thing. Anyone else have a watch go out as well? It's not a digitial watch, just a regular Casio watch with hands on it.

RE: weird...
By Chocobollz on 1/2/2009 10:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
LOL Do you suspecting an UFO is the cause of all this? Maybe your watch stopped working because you put it in front of a magnet? :p

Thought I'd Share...
By Jackattak on 12/31/2008 2:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
Here's my comment on the boards:

This problem will be resolved at midnight. Everyone needs to just calm down. You aren't going to start any class action lawsuits for being without an MP3 player for one frickin' day. At midnight the "leap second" that this year (2008) has in it iwl lhave passed and once your Zune reboots, it will no longer be confused.

Please, oh please if you aren't a techie or software programmer or even in the IT world just shutup about what you're going to do about this because you don't know anything. It was a big mistake that will keep all of us 30GB Zune users out of our Zunes for one day. You won't die. Your kids won't die. You will probably get cancer, but that won't be caused by your one day wihtout your Zune 30GB.

Mark my words: At midnight this situation will be resolved and your Zune will work perfectly and still have all your data on it.

And for the love of Dog don't remove your battery. You don't know what you're doing. Even if you DO know what you're doing, you shouldn't be removing your battery. It won't do anything except void your warranty. Nothing Microsoft can do will fix this. YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. There are no other options. There are no updates. There will be no updates. There will be no cracking open of all of our Zunes. There will be no refunds.

If you are so bent out of shape about this that you must go out and buy an iPod, you need help and should go look at pictures of Darfur children for your reality check of what true suffering is.



RE: Thought I'd Share...
By eheia on 12/31/2008 3:37:10 PM , Rating: 2

no srsly, well said.

I haven't used mine in a while as i've just been using my g1, so i guess i really don't care, but for real. "oh no, 1 day without constant electronic stimulation!! oh lord! guess i better go bl*w steve jobs and get an ipod, and this also means that everything else microsoft programs is messed up too!"


RE: Thought I'd Share...
By eheia on 12/31/2008 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
to clarify, yes i know MS doesn't always have the best software, and that a lot of it is buggy, but this one incident is not reason enough to extrapolate that all microsoft products are sh*tty.


RE: Thought I'd Share...
By Smilin on 1/5/2009 9:53:42 AM , Rating: 2
MS didn't make the first generation Zune. It was essentially a rebranded Toshiba gigabeat which also experienced the issue.

The MS manufactured Zunes (4,8,16,80,120) had no issues at all.

(this is a repost)

By twflint on 12/31/2008 10:13:59 AM , Rating: 3
Sigh, have the 30GB Zune...Just turned it on after reading this article...Locks on the Zune loading screen...

RE: Confirmed
By cwilson on 12/31/2008 10:37:09 AM , Rating: 3
Mine too, another one bites the dust. This should be interesting.

By room200 on 12/31/2008 11:12:01 AM , Rating: 3
It was adevine intervention from God. He sent the RROD and this bug it to remind all of you to turn off the damn electronic devices and have a conversation with a human.

RE: Reminder
By PhoenixKnight on 12/31/2008 12:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
I personally blame Steve Jobs for breaking into Microsoft headquarters at night and sabotaging the Zune back during development. It just sounds like something he'd do.

RE: Reminder
By eheia on 12/31/2008 3:51:55 PM , Rating: 1
i blame steve jobs for my herpes.

Microsoft is working on a fix
By bpt8056 on 12/31/2008 11:29:18 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Microsoft is working on a fix
By mondo1234 on 12/31/2008 1:22:08 PM , Rating: 3
and they will have it done within 24 hours ;)

Temporary fix
By nafhan on 12/31/2008 10:22:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've heard that removing and replacing the battery will reset the clock and allow the Zune to finish booting. Just don't sync it as this updates the time.

I'm going to wait and see if they come out with a software fix before trying this, though.

RE: Temporary fix
By mydogfarted on 12/31/2008 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
Hard rebooting an MS operating system to get it to work? Say it ain't so Mr. Balmer!

Good thing my car doesn't run Windows
By Darkk on 12/31/2008 7:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's a good thing microsoft don't make firmwares for the cars otherwise we will see em crashing all over the place.

Granted Microsoft didn't see this coming but I feel bad for those who gotta listen to their music and at the mercy of the flaky firmware.

Ah well, there's always tomorrow so party up dudes!!

By Smilin on 1/5/2009 9:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
MS didn't make the first generation Zune. It was essentially a rebranded Toshiba gigabeat which also experienced the issue.

The MS manufactured Zunes (4,8,16,80,120) had no issues at all.

By appledelhi on 1/1/2009 7:39:57 AM , Rating: 2
Let the battery run out and my 30gb Zune came back to life this morning. This whole "Zuneacalypse" has been pretty amusing :). Wonder if it will happen again in another 4 years.

By jabber on 1/1/2009 8:02:14 AM , Rating: 2
You still going to have a 6 year old media player which by then will have 2 minutes of battery power left?

Doubt it will be a problem.

By computergeek485 on 12/31/2008 11:02:28 AM , Rating: 3
How can you assign a number when you have NO idea how many are effected?

Whoa - eerie!
By phazers on 12/31/2008 10:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
Good thing I got an 80GB Zune :)

Maybe I should go turn it on and see if it still works...

I'm happy about this!
By nafhan on 12/31/2008 10:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not an apple fanboy.

I got on the train this morning, and was pretty pissed when my Zune wouldn't start. If everyone else is having this problem, it's a lot more likely to get fixed than if it's just me.

Another dead one here.
By fluffedup on 12/31/2008 11:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
Stuck on the loading screen.

Zune30GB Owner Here
By Jackattak on 12/31/2008 12:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
Mine failed. My wife has a 80GB Zune2 and it did not. Since my commute to work by train takes 30 minutes and her commute by foot takes 10, my wife was good enough to lend me hers for the day so I don't have to hear the screaming children (and parents) on the train!

Holy crap!
By peritusONE on 12/31/2008 12:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
I got in the car this morning to find my Zune locking up at the load screen. I tried multiple things, but in the end just figured it was finally dead and gone after 2+ years.

Thank the lord that this article has been posted!

30GB Zune failure
By ScottBurns on 12/31/2008 4:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
Mine has done the same thing

By rungakutta on 12/31/2008 4:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
Add it to the long list. I let the battery drain out and hopefully it will reboot tomorrow.

By Smilin on 12/31/2008 5:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
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 (

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.

My 30GB Zune failed...
By Mickey21 on 12/31/2008 5:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
I just moved to New Zealand so my New Year is already completed. I went over to my computer where my Zune usually sits connected via Zune cable and saw the screen lit up for no reason. Normally the screen is off but it was on with the Zune logo and the white progress bar sitting at 100% but nothing happening. I quickly searched the internet and found it odd that there were fress Dec. 31st postings of other 30GB Zune people saying the same thing. I thought coincidence, but this morning I wake on January 1st 2009 (almost noon now) and see a report about the Zune failures. I thought it was just another dead HDD in a 30GB Zune and had already looked into replacing the HDD. MS of course is the culprit. Wonderful...

All sorted now thanks!
By jabber on 1/1/2009 7:31:07 AM , Rating: 2
God I'm doing the rounds here -

As of 12.14pm GMT my Zune 30Gb is up and running as per normal as advised.


By appledelhi on 1/1/2009 7:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
Let the battery run out and my 30gb Zune came back to life this morning. This whole "Zuneacalypse" has been pretty amusing :). Wonder if this will happen in another 4 years.

By androticus on 1/1/2009 4:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
Hundreds of 30GB Zune Players Fail Around the Country

Yeah... all the units sold.

(I couldn't resist... ;) )

thought this was a joke
By abhaxus on 1/2/2009 12:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
When I read the title I assumed that there was a failure that affected all zunes, and that the "hundreds of" part of the title was a joke in reference to how few people actually own and use one...

the actual article was much less entertaining.

I mean really...
By Beenthere on 12/31/08, Rating: -1
RE: I mean really...
By Smilin on 12/31/2008 5:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
Get bent troll.

RE: I mean really...
By Omega215D on 12/31/2008 6:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
This guy is like those idiots on Slashdot. Some are claiming that the player is bricked and that MS is sitting on it's arse doing nothing. I don't get why the slashdot crowed keeps flaming MS and Apple gets praise.

I don't have a Zune but I did like its sound quality. Hopefully this doesn't affect their other line up and if it does well it should be fixed soon.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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