The Zune Screen Of Death (Updated)

We are aware that customers with the Zune 30GB are experiencing issues with their Zune device. We are actively working now to isolate the issue and develop a solution to address it. We will keep customers informed on next steps via the support page on (” – Zune spokesperson

The “issues” 30 GB Zune owners are experiencing is a mass failing, all overnight, that is yet to be resolved. From Gizmodo: “Apparently, around 2:00 AM today, the Zune models either reset, or were already off. Upon when turning on, the thing loads up and… freezes with a full loading bar (as pictured above). I thought my brother was the only one with it, but then it happened to my Zune. Then I checked out the forums and it seems everyone with a 30GB HDD model has had this happen to them.”

Just a couple of months ago I wrote that the Zune was something of an anti-iPod, attractive to people who think Apple fandom has gone a little overboard.

But a massive, synchronized operating system failure on a Microsoft product is a fact-is-stranger-than-fiction story that’s too good to pass up on a slow news day. And it also lets people dust off blue screen of death jokes, which will forever send chills down the spine of Windows users. (The image to the right is not an actual Zune failure, though. It locked up in a less dramatic fashion with a frozen status bar).

When Apple products fail, as they often do, they tend to be less dramatic affairs that don’t affect all users at once.

This probably won’t hurt the Zune over the long run unless bricking becomes a habit. But some owners are saying they’re now done with the device: “Listening to music is about the last thing I do with my Zune. I always have to reinstall, download new firmware, or wait for the slow software to catch up. Now this? I want to throw it away and never look back.”

Perhaps he’ll feel better in a day or two.

The Zune dev team has posted a notice on its blog that says all issues should be automatically resolved in 24 hours (as suspected, the problem is related to a calendar bug).

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.