Just another weblog

30GB Zunes don’t like New Year’s Eve?

Posted by onlydarksets on December 31, 2008

FINAL UPDATE: This is a self-repairing problem due to an infinite loop in the boot cycle that only occurs on the last day of a leap year.  To fix it, fully drain the battery, which will break the loop.  When you plug it in again, it will no longer be the last day of a leap year (since it is now 1/1/2009), so the problem will not reproduce itself.  More info here.

Here is the original post:

I woke up this morning (Dec 31, 2008) to about 20 new comments in the Hard Reset for the Zune post.  Everyone has the same problem – at midnight this morning, everyone’s Zune stopped working.  Pretty clear this is a bug with the first-generation Zunes…

UPDATE (10:00a): There is a “fix” – you manually disconnect the battery.  I, personally, don’t recommend this as it will void your warranty and could fry your Zune, plus, it appears to lock up again once you sync it with your PC.

Here are the details, courtesy of commenter Kevin:

“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.”

Worked for me, but as soon as I plugged it in to sync it locked back up.

UPDATE (11:30a): Microsoft’s Zune support site has the following posted:

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!

“May experience issues”?  Has anyone not experienced the issue?

UPDATE (2:30p): Interesting point by Ernie:

even if there is a download available, i cant even get my zune/computer to talk. i plug it in the usb and nothing happens. how can we load new firmware that way…?

I think the problem is that the 30GB Zune chokes on the date 12/31/2008 for some reason.  Draining the battery long enough resets the clock, but then as soon as you sync, the software sets the clock to the current time.  So, to load a new firmware, there would have to be a software-side fix that (temporarily) didn’t set the clock on the 30GB Zune to the current date/time.

UPDATE (????): Apparently I was right:

My Zune 30 is frozen. What should I do?

Follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect your Zune from USB and AC power sources.
  2. Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain—this is good. Wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.
  3. Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (that’s 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
  4. Connect your Zune to either a USB port on the back or your computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.

Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally. No other action is required—you can go back to using your Zune!

32 Responses to “30GB Zunes don’t like New Year’s Eve?”

  1. […] 30GB Zunes don’t like New Year’s Eve? « onlydarksets Says: December 31, 2008 at 9:09 am […]

  2. kap0w said

    It’s funny that the solution is considered to “work” even though it reoccurs as soon as you sync it again! Something is seriously wrong here and it looks like MS is just going to have to issue a fix or something.

  3. HatingMSFT said

    This is a very bizarre thing to happen. I could understand if it was Y2K or something, but c’mon this is ridiculous. What is the best way to find an answer? I called Zune Tech support and the automated attendant said the office is “closed due to extreme weather”???

  4. 30g User said

    Same thing happened to me. I thought it died for good. I just got so frustrated with it. I turned it on at about 4am, I unlocked it, then it started up with the logo, and it’s just frozen there with the white bar fully loaded. The battery completely died, and I plugged it back into the computer, and the same thing happened again. I have no clue if I could live without this thing.

  5. Dare dare said

    Fuck MC. There so stupid for letting this occur especially when this is an expensive item and it is alot of people’s loives.

  6. Zunex2 said

    My son and I both woke up to locked 30 GB zunes this morning. I tried the button resets (back and top and many other combinations to no avail. What a bummer. I hope Microsoft acts quickly.

  7. Ron said

    I have the 30 Gig and just went thru the “hard reset” and did not lose my data. to prevent this from happening again, I reset my clock to 1:00pm (hope it works). I would caution: when you put the case back together, make sure that you align the “hold” switch as well.

    Thank you for the directions!

  8. kdiver1 said

    WTF??? Mine is doing the same thing! Only showing the Zune logo w/ the load bar across the bottom, FROZE 100%! No reset combo works. Let bat. drain, plugged AC in, showed charging logo, then the same Zune/load bar. SOMETHING STINKS IN SUBURBIA!

  9. Holly said

    Yep, same here. I am extremely sad and disappointed. If my Zune is now completely worthless, I will certainly be throwing a big stink to Microsoft.

  10. Kyle said

    Is it possible to know a general idea of a date when this issue could be fixed? or replaced?

  11. Kyle said

    I really have liked my Zune and the software and really dont want to find myself disliking it over this one thing.

  12. luupboy said

    another disgrutled 30gb owner here. i love my zune, as up until now, its been far more reliable than my bro’s 30gb ipod! that freezes all the time!

    i just hope that they don’t want us to send them into microsoft for repair, as i’m in the UK, and will be zuneless for weeks!

  13. col55 said

    im the same as guy above locked up this morning on the zune logo with the bar at 100% and im the same i live in the uk so i hope there is a software fix for this in time. love my zune.

  14. Brian said

    I’m having the same problem, but based on a onlydarksets post above:

    “I think the problem is that the 30GB Zune chokes on the date 12/31/2008 for some reason. Draining the battery long enough resets the clock, but then as soon as you sync, the software sets the clock to the current time.”

    Is it possible that if we wait until tomorrow (01/01/2009) it will resolve itself and start working again? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but…

  15. John Bebout said

    I want to know is Microsoft going to offer a refund. I have the special Halo 3 edition, now I am Mad as hell.

  16. tobi ulm said

    Hello to all zune supporters and lovers!

    first of all: I wish you a happy new year! Hopefully with a operating zune! I live in bavaria, germany. I have the same probs with my zune. 100% loading bar. then frozen. Come on MS, you know i love you since the 80’s. Why would i have bought a product which is not available in germany?!?!?!

    Peace! Over and out!

  17. larry said

    it is that damn calander that nobody uses. it does not know how to change the date. There is something wrong when a company as biggggg as microsuck has to get info from bata testers. most companies have to test their own products. The only thing I saw from Zune was an announcement in my email that they were rated #1 by NBC I guess they are going to be back to last again.

  18. larry said

    It is the calander does not know how to change the year. Who uses it anyway. Only thing I got from zune was news saying they had been rated #1. Guess they will have to go back to #3 gave up my ipod cause it froze to often.

  19. Brandon Gresczyk said


  20. fr said

    Please post the solution once you find it.

  21. Doboy33 said

    I have some information from the Zune team at MS…

    “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. “

  22. Doboy33 said

    Additional FAQ’s from the Zune team at MS:

    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.

  23. Hate City said

    well if all else fails do like I do, buy one at Best Buy or Wal-Mart. switch zunes, go back next day and get a full refund. I’ve done this 4 seperate times when my XBOX (another great microsoft product) suffers from the red ring of death.

  24. troncarter said

    This is so weak. It better fix itself tomorrow or Microsoft owes me some money.

  25. […] 2 hard reset 26 January 2008 If you’re looking for information on the Z2K9, read this link. My Zune 30 bricked, […]

  26. […] friends at Only Dark Sets have the scoop.  If you are into tech this is a weird one.  Check it […]

  27. lucy said

    hey mi zune also froze and i live in guatemala so its true in all the world is the same but dont worry they say that today at 7 in the morning the problem will be fixed! I thought it was broken and I wanted to replace it!!

  28. Cuong Nguyen said

    My Zune 30GB froze at about 4:00pm December 31, local GMT+7 time (I live in Vietnam). I was viewing video when it suddenly stopped, rebooted and hang forever at big Zune Logo on the screen. The battery drained off and I fully recharged again. Nothing changed, still big Zune Logo on the screen. It doesnt respond to any key combination I tried. PC wont recognize as a USB device. Too weird!!!

  29. luupboy said

    mines back to working now! i did as microsoft said, and waited until 12.01pm GMT before charging it from flat, and its back! no issues with it getting hot, no data lost, so I’m happy again!

    Happy New Year everyone! :-]

  30. Russell said

    Mine is working fine this morning. Hope that was a one time annoyance. Happy New Year all.

  31. fr said

    Mine started working now but it asks for a 4 digit code I’m unaware of. What should I do?

  32. Yup, it started up again in the morning from a dead battery after charging. Now that is a real weird one. Someone said it was a leap-year problem. Well if MS can’t get it together for the Leap Year, I for one will really Leap and maybe into the night going over to the Dark Side! OH Mr. Bill not that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: