'Y2K9' bug hits 30 GB Zunes

In the early morning hours of the final day of the year, many Zune users found their devices frozen on the logo screen, totally unresponsive.

The 30 GB Zune experienced a Y2K-like mass failure at around 6:00 am this morning, where the portable media player goes to the loading screen and freezes permanently. Zune.net's service status today warns: "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.  The Zune Social might be slow or inaccessible. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience."

Microsoft's Zune support forum has been hit with a mass of complaints, but the problem has yet to receive a public diagnosis from the Zune team. Hundreds of users have each reported the identical problem.

Prior to the holiday, Microsoft improved its Zune offerings first by cutting the price on its only three-month old flash-based Zune 3.0, and then by updating Zune Pass to allow users to keep 10 DRM-free tracks a month. Some optimistic Zune forum posters think this outage is a sign that Microsoft is working on a big update, the majority, however, are just irate.

"You've got to be kidding me," one forum member posted this morning. "I thought this was isolated to my Zune. I never expected to come to these forums and find out that everyone with a Zune 30 is having the exact same problem on the exact same day. WTF?"

Since it is a holiday week, many expect a less-than-expeditious solution.


UPDATE: This evening, Microsoft posted an official explanation on Zune.net detailing why all 30GB Zunes suddenly froze up this morning.

"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. "

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