More on the Zune 30 ‘coma’ problem

Matt Akers of the Zune team posted the following message on the Zune Hardware Forum:

Today 5:25 PM

re: Zune 30 freezing issue

Guys I just received a response from the team. Looks like this issue will resolve itself over the next 12-24hours, great news!

Here is the response (it’s also on the first page):

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. 

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.

Matt Akers
Zune Product Team
.: This posting is provided "as-is" with no warranties, and confers no rights :. 


OK, fair enough. There is a bug in the clock code.  OK.  So, they are not going to fix this?  Will it repeat itself in four years?  Granted, I probably won’t be using this device then, but I might. 

What really irritates me about this is the length of time it took them to tell us to ‘just wait’ until tomorrow when the date changes.  It took them ALL DAY.  The problem was known in the we hours of the morning. I don’t expect them to look at it at three in the morning, but from 11 am (EST) until 5:20PM(EST) to tell us that?  Seriously?  To be fair to the Zune team, there could have been any number of things to cause this issue and we don’t know what they were doing to find an answer.  I know how difficult it can be to troubleshoot code, let alone hardware.  But…Seriously?  Seven hours?  I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one, but they should fix it anyway…even if SHOULD NOT happen again, they should fix the problem.

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2 thoughts on “More on the Zune 30 ‘coma’ problem

  1. Again I understand your frustration, but being a geek I can also see the Zune war room…. oh crap we have an issue; if they crack the case open and disconnect the battery and hard drive they can get past the leap issue. then an ominous voice says "we can’t do that, we have told everyone that if they open the device it is no longer under warranty" lots of pondering… well based on the bug once the internal clock sees day one of the next year the problem will no longer exist. As for fixing it, I would think that the Zune30s would drop off the supported devices by then.

  2. Yeah, I can see that too! I guess I am more disappointed than I am mad. I love the Zune and the ZunePass, so having something this basic cause the thing to ‘brick’ is really disappointing. It is the first honest-to-goodness problem I’ve had with the device.I’m not even sure what disappoints me more: that it happened or the way they presented it.Thanks for bringing some sanity here.

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