ZuneApproaching the 2009 New Year, since December 31, lots of 30 GB HDD Zune owner gets a surprise when the Zune player freezing and failing to work. Many users reported that at exactly 2am CDT (12am PDT), the docked Zune made the unplugged from USB port” bong-noise and went to the boot-up screen with the 100% loading bar. The device froze afterwards. For non-docked Zune, the device will freeze and lock at 100% loading screen when turns on.

Some owners reported that who are listening to music normally, the music playback stopped, and the device frozen at the booting up screen, with the bar on the bottom fully loaded. Attempt to connect and dock Zune to computer with and without the Zune software doesn’t yield any respond nor result. Back + Up button reset also doesn’t resolve the issue.

The cause of the problem is explained as a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year, causing it to improperly handle the last day of a leap year. The driver with the bug is only used in the Zune 30 device, so the error only affects 2006 model Zune 30, and only if you connect Zune player to a computer before noon GMT on January 1, 2009, even if that computer does not have the Zune software installed.

Microsoft technical team expects the issue to be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. The internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). So actually there is no patch has been developed to fix the problem, yet. Microsoft has came up with a ‘not so easy’ workaround to get the Zune working again, after the Zune clock reset. Microsoft will come up with a new firmware before the next leap year (2012) to fix the issue permanently.

Meanwhile, the workaround fix is as follow. Note the timing before Zune can be used again.

  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.
  5. Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally. No other action is required—you can go back to using your Zune.
  6. 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.