Advisory: 30GB Zune issues noted today, related to time and the leap year

MP3 players

First it was questions about whether or not we’d have to worry about the coming Leap Second, then today after our power came back on, customer questions about the Zune 30.

As we have a couple of Zune 30s in our home going strong, I was surprised to see a post on the Zune Insider blog WRT the 30 GB Zune and news of issues reported today related to leap years (which some referred to as Zune2K and Y2K9), especially with all of the efforts we have applied to dealing with time and calendar changes around the world.

The team has been working throughout the day on this issue, and Paul from the Zune Insider blog offers this update this afternoon:

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 (

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. 

From the FAQs:

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.

The Zune service is unaffected — as are all Zune 80, 120 and Zune flash models — so we’ll be listening to music via our PC this evening.

Happy New Year.

Tags: Microsoft, Zune.

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