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Microsoft offers official fix for failing Zunes

By Tom Spring
January 3, 2009 12:00 PM ET

PC World - Zune owners now have a fix for their failing devices, thanks to Microsoft Corp., which has posted instructions on how to start off the new year with a working digital music player. On Thursday, 30GB Zunes suffered a crippling glitch that caused the digital music players to lock up, reboot themselves and freeze. Zune users are calling Microsoft's screw-up "Zune 2k9," a reference to the Y2k bug. The problem was caused by the Zune's internal clock and its inability to handle leap years, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft posted instructions on its support site Zune.net/support on how to thaw your Zune from its deep freeze and get it working again. However, if you're a Zune Pass subscriber whose music has digital rights management (DRM) copyright protection, Microsoft says you might have to take extra steps to play those music tracks.

The Zune fix is outlined below. Microsoft says it will also issue a fix for the device so that this problem won't happen again in the next leap year, 2012.

To fix your Zune, 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. 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!

What if you have DRM content on your Zune?

Most likely, rights-managed content will not be affected by this issue. However, it's a good idea to sync your Zune with your computer once the freeze has been resolved, just to make sure your usage rights are up to date.

What if you took advice from the forums and reset your Zune by disconnecting the battery?

This is a bad idea, and we do not recommend opening your Zune by yourself (for one thing, doing so will void your warranty). However, if you've already opened it, do either of the following things:

  • Wait 24 hours from the time that you reset the Zune, and then sync with your computer to refresh the usage rights.
  • Delete the player's content using the Zune software -- go to Settings, Device, Sync Options, Erase All Content -- then re-sync it from your collection.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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