back to article Microsoft plague threatens 30GB Zune extinction

It would appear that a Microsoft software bug has put the world's 30GB Zune population on the verge of extinction. According to Zune owners from across the globe, thousands of Microsoft's 30GB iPod imitators suddenly gave up the ghost at exactly midnight Pacific time last night. "We've got two Zune 30GBs," says one poster to …


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  1. Phill

    Should have brought an iPod

    Boo ya'

    Microsoft's reputation strikes again. No, I don't feel bad for those people. They knew who they were buying from. Ha ha ha ha.

  2. James O'Brien

    Cue the

    I hate M$ and Zune. Apple/*nix is so much better blah blah blah.

    I dont have the energy to write anymore on that.

    I have Touch and love it but the first one of them I bought was DOA so even Apple isnt immune to failures.

    /mines the one with the earphones hanging out of the pocket.....thanks

    Happy New Years all you fellow drunkards out there

  3. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    For glod's sake

    And the Royal Navy runs our warships on widoze...

    Paris, cos even she would not buy a zune

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Phill

    "Should have brought an iPod"

    Brought it where? Presumably, because it's a portable MP3 player & you tend to carry it with you, you would have brought it anyway.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    No need to wait for Redmond

    If it was bought recently, at any rate. Just take it back to the shop for a refund (unfit for purpose, Sale of Goods Act), and buy something else. Or spend the money on beer.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The Ghost in the Machine...

    There's a Sony clock radio that has the dreaded Midnight Bug where it often turns itself on at midnight at FULL VOLUME, even though this wakeup time has not been set.

    (For balance) I suspect that it runs Linux...

  7. K. Smyth
    Gates Horns

    Why it happened?

    I blame Microsoft programmers who are still upset over Y2K having been such a non-problem.

    Evil Bill, because... yeah.

  8. Chris Leuty


    At least the fact that it's a Zune limits the number of people affected.

  9. Daniel
    Gates Horns

    The dreeded Y2k9 Bug

    Been reading on the forums (I KNOW, I KNOW) but many people believe its because of the leap second to be added at the end of tonight. I can see the forum posts now...

    "MS are always behind the game. they where even 9 years late for the y2k bug"

  10. adnim


    boycott both Apple and Microsoft (amongst others) products because of their consumer fucking, share holder loving practices, not to mention Microsofts bug ridden code. (ah, I just did). So, as I drink my wine and prepare for another year of being treated like shit by multinational corporations and the UK government, I will allow myself a little snigger. Yes it maybe at the expense of those poor saps who think Microsoft are anything other than bunch of self serving <substitute your own expletive here>. However, I am not going to apologise for this selfish attitude. Maybe someone somewhere as learned a valuable lesson and m$ have lost another customer. In which case this fiasco is worthy of celebration.

    Yes I use XP as well as Linux but XP was free, a gift. I wouldn't give Microsoft or Apple the steam from my shit.

    With all due respect, for the new year I wish that every Register reader and staff member get what they deserve. ;-)

  11. Robin Szemeti
    Paris Hilton

    Color me stupid but ...

    If the thing wont even boot, then it's not exactly going to be easy to issue a patch now is it?

    Still. you could argue it was actually an improvement. I go with the earlier respondent, don't mess around, just return it from whence it came and cite the Sale of Goods Act, don't let them fob you off with "we are waiting for a patch" .. turn it on, show it doesn't work, hold out hand, ask for folding stuff.

    Paris, she's dumb enough to have bought one.

  12. Daniel
    Dead Vulture

    RE: Color me stupid but ...

    I don't have one myself (ipod touch here) but i'm hoping the thing has a recovery mode (like any decent firmware powered device out there)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But it was cheaper than an ipod right?

    And as I have been told my a number of folks "just as good"

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Quick fix...

    Soak the Zune in warm water for up to an hour, or until soft and pliant.

  15. Frank Thomas

    Why all at the same time I wonder

    Sounds like a TPM/DRM issue to me

  16. Justin

    Don't laugh. Murphy bites.

    This is almost too terrifying to see as a joke. If MS can screw up a calendar rollover, how many *other* simple/stupid/trivial-but-vital things are going to break down today/tomorrow?

    Maybe they'll get better tomorrow, but I'm putting my money on "permanently bricked".

  17. CodyT07

    2nd Zune

    I got a free zune threw the Microsoft game site. When it arrived it lasted for a week then broke. Microsoft would not take it back, so off to Wal-Mart (mind you im american) bought another one. Came home and flipped the cases, e.g put the new case on the old zune and returned it. for my money back

    Now this....

  18. Eric the Girl

    Sales of Goods act...

    They don't have a Sales of Goods Act in America and Canada which is where the Zune is exclusive at the moment... last I checked there was no release date for it in Europe which is kinda annoying because it'd be nice for Apple to finally have some competition in high capacity players...

    Anyway Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie were right, every OS sucks.

    The goggles because you have to be a bit of a boffin to care about Zune availability...

  19. Martin Usher

    Its just DRM in action I suppose...

    The obvious question is why would a MP3 player need a clock, much less a clock connected to its operating internals? As ever we seem to buy gadgets that are increasingly pre-loaded with malware.

    I'm just going to stick with my old-fashioned MP3 player, the one that takes a memory stick. Simple, foolproof &tc. Even my phone's more reliable, it just plays music as well. I have no use for these devices with their built-in software junk.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait for the rest of the Universe to Reboot?

    So the fix is to wait and hope it fixes itself tomorrow? This is still being handled by the off-shore first-line support isn't it?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...share holder loving practices..."

    Horrors! How dare they?!

  22. Doug Bostrom

    Windows for Submarines

    Just put the war on hold for 24 hours. Reboot, restart the coolant loops, and you'll be good to go.

  23. Haku


    /Nelson Muntz

    *merilly listens to his 4 year old iRiver H140 with original battery which is still going strong with daily use and sounds better than an iPod (proven with the v2 Nano was given & very rarely use)*

  24. Anonymous Coward

    CDT and PDT

    Since the U.S. has not been on daylight saving time since November, I would need to point out that the failure would have had to occur at 12:00AM PST (Pacific Standard Time) and not PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) - 2AM CST, not CDT. Unless, of course, the message poster happened to reside it the U.S. Eastern timezone (CDT=EST) and Microsoft inadvertently wrote a bug that causes their device to hang at midnight MST (PDT).

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Another quick fix:

    Buy an iPod

  26. Anonymous Coward

    ms fanboy alert...

    @ Frank Thomas. DRM? I still don't quite get this but please feel free to enlighten me. I have an 80GB Zune (unaffected by the leap second coding bug) as does a friend. I take my Zune to his place, connect to his laptop as a 'Guest' and can drag music both from his collection and from my Zune to his collection. DRM my butt! Have you tried doing that with an iPod? Good luck to you, sir.

    @ Martin Usher. Uhhmmmm, I assume you are talking about the time that Apple shipped its iPods with Troj/Bdoor-DIJ ;-)

    My 80GB Zune has been rock solid since I bought it to replace my 3rd gen iPod 40. IMO, I won't be going back. I'm so glad to see the backside of iTunes and all the other rubbish that comes with it.

    El I still allowed to use ;-) now that it's been copyrighted in Russia?

  27. neil

    More complex, more problems...

    Having several i-pods in the family, and all sorts of problems with them/i-tunes I wouldn't buy ANY of them now, cheap mp3 players you an afford to throw away WHEN not if they fail is the best way for me. I can't even update my i-book to use i-tunes now as Apple seem to have a deliberate no backwards compatability policy 'you need to update your i-book sir, buying a new one is the only way to update'...Foxtrot Oscar Apple!

    As for microshite...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Do they still make them in brown?

  29. Steve Evans

    Leap year...

    As a programmer, as there is nothing special about the 12th month having 31 days, the first thought that crosses my mind is the 31st December 2008 was the 366th days of the year.

    Does anyone fancy keeping that firmware version for the next 4 years to prove me right?

    As to why a music player would need a clock, well don't forget that DRM has the ability to expire media after a set time, so it looks likely that the DRM "feature" has actually caused the deaths.

  30. Robert Brockway

    Things to come

    Like a lot of people here I've been in IT a long time. I've seen the distinction between hardware & software blur and it has worried me. When we have devices that won't even boot because of a firmware bug then we have a serious problem. MS are just lucky that the thing is going to recover when the clock rolls over (as per their own reports). Expect to see more and more reports of devices that just break and won't boot following firmware or software updates.

  31. Florence
    Thumb Up


    Same here, the iriver h140 is still working like a charm.

    Won't be an easy one to replace!

    Zunes, iPods? Why would anyone want any of those?

  32. Robert E A Harvey
    Gates Horns

    planned shelfware?

    There is a chunk in the official M$ response that puzzles me:

    "(a large number of which are still actively being used) "

    Sorry, why else did they suppose people bought them?

  33. vincent himpe

    laugh all you want.

    i got a zune + dock + fm transceiver cheap when compusa went out of business. Ripped it apart , After some soldering and a dab of hot glue here and there i built it into the car (sits underneath the cneter console. Entire thing is hidden. Plays through cars sound system. Works perfectly.

    Try that with those ipods. You can't even hack the hardware on those. Its all 'proprietary'.

    The original zune is a Toshiba player in disguise. All standard parts.

  34. Ceiling Cat
    Gates Horns

    Typical . . .

    I bought a creative Muvo V100 3 years back to wear while I'm at my crappy job. For all it's weird little flaws, quirks, and f*ckups, it still manages to do the job better than most of these newer, higher-tech players.

    Satan. For obvious reasons.

  35. jason

    @Martin Usher - Why a clock?

    The reason the Zune has a clock is that Zune owners asked for the feature and MS put it in a firmware update a few months ago. You know those FREE updates we get that give us the same new features the newer Zunes get.

    As for DRM, no DRM on my Zune, just 330 lovely DRM free albums.

  36. Apocalypse Later


    If every one of these objects, whatever the manufacturer or trademark, failed permanently this instant never to be revived again, the world would continue on its way, with nary an injury, let alone a death. Once you have disposed of your "disposable income" you might as well regard it as gone. The tinkling noises in the background may or may not continue.

  37. John Larger

    Needs snappy acronym

    How about SIZL - Sudden Inescapable Zune Lockup?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leap Years again..

    For gods sake, what is this problem Microsoft have with Leap years. Its not like its hard to understand.

    Did no-one think of testing their clock software? Its not like they don't have previous...

    I remember with great fondness the Daylight savings bug when the clock went back an hour and then one hour later hit 2am so went back to 1am...

  39. John Young

    Re @ Phill

    "Brought it where? Presumably, because it's a portable MP3 player & you tend to carry it with you, you would have brought it anyway."

    Phill is clearly from the West Midlands, probably the Black Country. Round there, 'brought' can mean bought as well as fetched.

    Ace software from Microsoft though - has to make you laugh that they only allowed for 365 days in the year!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are people really this dumb?

    Why would anyone buy hardware from a company with a history of selling defective operating systems and software? Did you really think Microsucks had a clue? Do you have a clue?

  41. Doug Southworth

    For the love...

    What is it with you anti-Microsoft people??? Every platform has serious pitfalls, Apple and Linux are no exceptions. I happen to use Linux as much as Windows, and both have their strong points. Get over it, as far as computing goes, NO ONE is right...if it works for you, that's all that matters.

    Mine's the one with the multi-boot hard drive in the pocket...

  42. Nordrick Framelhammer

    Typical Macro$lut. And as for that IPod crap...

    Why am I not surprised that Macro$lut cannot do something as simple as taking account of leap years. I bet the UK sailors are really looking forward to hearing "CRASH DIVE" over the tannoy and not knowing if it is a real emeregency or just another reboot.

    And as for those crappy ipod things, if it cannot natively play FLAC and OGG VORBIS files then it ain't worth shit.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you know what's depressing about this?

    So a MSoft product has a 'feature' - big hairy. Do you know what is so depressing about this? That I've seen this rabid fandom so many times before; Betamax vs. VHS, previous to that LaserDisc vs. Videotape (spent 4 years in the US as a kid)...etc.etc.etc. Now it's Wii vs. Xbox. vs. PS3 vs. Apple vs. Msoft vs. Linux. I understand no-one likes to back a loser but jeez...Reminded of the penny-arcade axiom about the internet (google it unless!you!hate!google!)

    -GiGo, same as it ever was.

  44. Thomas Bottrill

    Not a Microsoft bug

    It's apparently a bug with FreeScale's clock driver.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least they were trying to compete

    with the fanboy favourite iplop (Tried one, didn't like the rubbish battery life, bad sound quality and itunes). Back to the old Sony and other Japanese players for me.

  46. Bronek Kozicki
    Paris Hilton

    Freescale bug

    I wonder whether there are any other devices using the same Freescale code affected by the bug? Or was it some Microsoft coder meddling with the code who broke it?

    Paris, as she would not know either.

  47. Mike

    2006 is still bleeding edge for M$

    My 30Gb iPod Mini is the best Mp3 player I have ever had, excellent battery life (32Gb compact flash, upgraded battery), great sound, doesn't need iTunes (Linux) and very hardy (and only cost £45 to build at the time).

    >if it cannot natively play FLAC and OGG VORBIS files then it ain't worth shit.

    FLAC is great for multi stage component players/media centres (and lossless illegal downloads), OGG is better than Mp3 Mb for Mb but 160Bps VBR Mp3 is fine for a mobile device, definitely worth more than shit, what about SACD or 7.1 audio, that's better than FLAC, oh wait, it won't turn a rubbish song into a good one, maybe the music is more important than the technlology? and even good music is good on adequate technlogy? Nordrick - lose the technology for technology sake attitude and enjoy the music.

  48. Chris Seiter

    Zune Tatoo Guy

    What happened to the guy with the Zune tatoo? Did he just suddenly fall asleep and won't wake up until his internal clock fixes itself?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just a little bug in the clock driver

    year = ORIGINYEAR; /* = 1980 */

    while (days > 365)


    if (IsLeapYear(year))


    if (days > 366)


    days -= 366;

    year += 1;





    days -= 365;

    year += 1;



    if days =366 the while loop will hang.

  50. Cameron Colley

    RE: maybe the music is more important than the technlology?

    Maybe good music deserves to be played as intended and not mashed up by some CODEC or other. The only music I listen to in mp3 suffers as a result -- but, sadly, Amazon don't offer it in any other format. I would dearly love to hear the nuances of the singer's voice but have to put up with it being made empty by a CODEC.

    Granted, sometimes you can't tell the difference, and it doesn't always matter -- but deliberately listening to a reduced-information copy of something is just a waste.

  51. Cristhian Mejia
    Thumb Up

    Hardware DRM Experiment

    Well dames and gents you have now witnessed it, the beginning of hardware DRM, Microsoft's experiment is over. Happy "Zuning" .

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Is a zune one of those ugly blocky things that Americans have? I always mix them up with station wagons. At least I've *seen* a station wagon in the flesh.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    @ms fanboy alert...

    Drag and drop between iPods?

    Easy. Use the iPod plugin in WinAmp.

  54. Mikey

    @ Cameron Colley, and the Zune

    If you have some way to get music or indeed ANY sound to playback through any digital media device without some form of Codec, then I'd get out there and patent it as soon as you possibly can, because what you've found is a way to miniturise and replicate the original band small enough to fit inside a nice small portable case.

    Otherwise, the rest of us will have to go back to listening to our music quite happily and leave you fuming about your own audiophillic shortcommings.

    As for the issue about the Zune... eh, these things happen. Nothing that uses software is immune to bugs, and just because it happens to be a Microsoft product doesnt mean its any worse than any of the other million products out there that all do the same job? I'm sure if the unwashed masses that make up the linux zealotry can whip up a media player thats open source, free from DRM, and free in general, no? Oh, and free from any and all software bugs and flaws that seem to happen in just about everything else? Apple seem to be having problems doing just that, as do pretty much all the other media player makers.

    Still, its funny reading the vitriol and bile comming forth from people who seem to know that these problems were inevitable, yet did absolutly nothing to prevent them from happening. Strange, if I had the power of future prophesy, I'd make SOME use of it, after all :O)

  55. Jose Pina Coelho
    Gates Horns

    Every single product ???

    Is it me or every single microsoft product manages to have a leap year-related fuck-up ?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be a good thing if all Zunes were dead

    Then clueless former owners of said device could actually work on getting a life.

  57. TeeCee Gold badge

    The Zune OS.

    Turns out to be a load of Excel macros. Who knew?

  58. Gulfie
    Thumb Up

    Only available in North America?

    Here's hoping it stays that way. I'd like to think that your average European is a bit more discerning.

  59. Stratman


    If the problem is, as M$ maintain, the internal clock not knowing about the leap year, then how did know to stop working because of a leap year? Why didn't it just rollover to the new year a day early and carry on spewing out muzack?

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