The New Year’s Eve bug that bricked all Zune 30 devices beginning at midnight has apparently been identified. The problem is a bug in the driver that controls the internal clock on the Zune 30 and first appeared when the clock flipped over to Day 366. The problem is time, and so, apparently, is the cure: Let the battery die, wait till after the turn of the New Year, and then turn it back on.
Here’s the official word from Zune support:
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.
Customers can continue to stay informed via the support page on zune.net (zune.net/support).
We know this has been a big inconvenience to our customers and we are sorry for that, and want to thank them for their patience.
Q: Why is this issue isolated to the Zune 30 device?
It is a bug in a driver for a part that is only used in the Zune 30 device.
Q: What fixes or patches are you putting in place to resolve this situation?
This situation should remedy itself over the next 24 hours as the time flips to January 1st.
Q: What’s the timeline on a fix?
The issue Zune 30GB customers are experiencing today will self resolve as time changes to January 1.
Q: Why did this occur at precisely 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2008?
There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year.
Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?
The issue should resolve itself.
Q: Are you sure that this won’t happen to all 80, 120 or other flash devices?
This issue is related to a part that is only used in Zune 30 devices.
Q: How many 30GB Zune devices are affected? How many Zune 30GB devices were sold?
All 30GB devices are potentially affected.
15 thoughts on “The fix for the Zune leap year bug? Wait till midnight.”
just wonder why i didn’t experience the problem.
Since I have not turned my Zune on today, will it be fine tomorrow or later? I do not understand about “allow the battery to fully run out of power”. Is that a necessary step?
I wonder why these goofs always happen to Microsoft 🙂
Unrelated but just got a popup from Windows Live Onecare saying they just detected Trojan:JS/Agent.FA. Freaky! Cleaning the trojan now…
Funny…it’s past midnight GMT and my Zune is not working. I’m thinking they might not know what is going on and are just trying to buy time.
Brad, the magic time is apparently noon GMT, which is 4AM Pacific and 7AM Eastern. So just wait a few more hours.
It’s 4AM Pacific now, and the Zune is still sleeping. Anyone can help please ?
Sure enough, mine was back when I turned it on after midnight.
There’s a post on slashdot about this, with a pretty funny headline… “MS Zunes committing mass suicide”:
I guess this follows the pattern: Microsoft writes a perfectly good operating system (Windows CE), and it’s made to look bad by buggy drivers from a hardware manufacturer (Microsoft).
I know, I know, it could happen to anyone …
Mine is back. I plugged it in this morning and after charging a few minutes it connected to my PC.
“Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?
The issue should resolve itself. ”
So they don’t expect Zune 30s to be used by the next leap year?
Jeff, I would assume this will be fixed in the very next firmware update for Zune players.
Tom, that’s an amusing comment, but the Zune 30 wasn’t actually designed by Microsoft. The newer models were, but the original Zune 30 was based on the Toshiba Gigabeat. See this:
Jeff Flowers: “So they don’t expect Zune 30s to be used by the next leap year?”
To me “a large number of which are still actively being used” suggests they didn’t expect any Zune 30s to still be in use 2 years after they were released. One could argue that they didn’t expect the hardware to last this long, but they probably simply over-estimated the number of early-adopters out there who always buy the latest and greatest version of a device.
Having said that, leap-year testing is Programming 101-type stuff. Someone’s going to lose their orange badge over this.
Now, i wonder what Apple and Steve Jobs think, maybe they might pull out another TV ad to mock the Zune.
One feature that i know Microsoft wont admit, is that, if they are working on a Zune that will have more XBOX 360 features, like game content or use the thing as a remote, in a way like how a PSP and a PS3 are working together.
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