My Zune is in a coma.

2 frozen bricks.

2 frozen bricks.

If you haven’t checked the Tech news sites and well, by now, any major media website then you may not know about the global pandemic strikiing ill into the heeart of every 30GB Zune Microsoft has ever sold.

I follow this story closely because I own a suddenly frozen (aka “bricked”) 30GB Zune.

Apparently, at 12:00AM PDT, all 30 GB Zunes on the planet spontaneously rebooted and hung at the 100% loading mark, mere bits from successfully completing the boot up. The hard reset button doesn’t work. The whole thing is frozen.

You can temporarily fix this issue by cracking open the case and disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. I did this only to have my Zune freeze up when I decided to try and dock it with my PC.

I think MS is screwed in trying to make an easy fix for this. I don’t think that they can recommend that everyone disconnect their battery then install a new firmware. I think their only recourse is to offer replacements which will cost lots of dollars. Most likely, they will offer a rebate on a newer model. The downside to the rebate is that many people will just buy an iPod instead, thus causing a good sized blow to their attempts to take market share from Apple.

There is the odd chance that at midnight PST on 1/1/2009 that the thing will magically repair itself. I doubt it.

I bought the 30GB model becaause I figured it is probbably cheaper to do it that way and then, later, buy a larger replacement hard drive.  The cost  of the larger drive would be less than buying the larger unit out of the gate. Little did I know that this freeze up would happen. However, if they offer a sizable rebate on buying the 120GB model, I may have lucked into  the exact cheaper solutiion I was looking  for (well, ideally I  would replace  the drive with a 300GB drive…)


  1. So the problem ended up being that the 30GB Zune can not properly handle leap years. Tonight at midnight, my Zune should magically recover. Here is the post from a Microsoft representative:

    “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. ”

    So good for MS, so-so for their customers. Maybe MS will hand out $5 gift cards on their Zune network to all registered 30GB customers.

    • Aaron Kantrowitz on 2008/12/31 at 17:20
    • Reply

    This is interesting, I think your totally right about Microsoft giving rebates to customers. I know that if I was a Zune customer, I would take that money and get an iPod… That’s a natural consumer reaction… However I’ve owned an iPod nano for 2 years and it’s crashed on me 5 times but I was atleast able to resart the thing!

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