Zune Freeze: Leap Year to Blame, Microsoft Says

Remember that teensy little glitch that caused countless Zune players to stop working on New Year’s Eve? Microsoft now says the fault lies within the fact that 2008 was a leap year. (Apparently, Zune’s programmers had no way of anticipating that sort of thing.)

The good news, though: The Zune freeze quickly dubbed “Z2K” is finally finished. At least in theory.

Zune’s Leap Year Bug

A “bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year” led to all 30GB Zunes freezing on the loading screen with the logo stuck on screen, the company says. The issue should supposedly now have resolved itself.

Frozen Zune Fix

If your Zune is still experiencing problems, Microsoft suggests you take the following 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. 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. Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally.

You may also have to resync your Zune with your computer to restore any DRM files after completing that fix.

Zune Battery Disconnect

Microsoft mentions that some Zune users followed advice in the Zune forums and disconnected their device’s battery. If you did this, Microsoft recommends the following procedure to get your Zune back in working order:

• Wait 24 hours from the time that you reset the Zune and then sync with your computer to refresh the usage rights; or
• 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.