Some Zune tips and tricks (syncing, type of tracks, etc.)

Zune Subscription content rights problem and how to fix

Prior to installing the Windows 7 release, I was having all sorts of problems syncing my Zune content with both the player and the Zune software.  The problem I was having was that my subscription content-not all of it, but quite a bit-would either not play or sync.  In some cases, it would play in the software, but not on the device.  It was frustrating and got so bad that I had sworn off the Zune and was ready to ditch my Zune Pass. 

Well,I discovered that the problem was mostly confined to my desktop computer, but my laptop was syncing just fine.  So, that told me that there was a problem with the desktop.  At the time, the desktop was a Vista Home Premium, 64bit, machine that had the Windows 7 RC installed (which was ‘upgraded’ from the beta, which was an ‘upgrade’ from Vista.)  Since there were two ‘upgrades’ for Windows 7 over Vista, a practice that Microsoft said was problematic, I suspected that must be the reason for the issues I was having.

So, I gave Zune another chance.  Plus, I had, by that time, seen the Zune HD and decided I wanted to get that. When I upgraded-read that, did a clean install-of Windows 7 (released code) I noticed that most of the Zune issues went away.  I did re-download many of the tracks that had issues and, now, all is good.  What I did not realize, however, is that this problem is more common than I thought and most likely not related to the hodgepodge of Windows 7 pre-release bits that I had.  It is so common,however, that Microsoft released a tool to reset the subscription content condition.  The tool was released in 2007!  I had no idea.  I guess I did not search well enough.  Anyway, go here to download the tool.  Close the Zune software and run the tool.  It should fix the problem.

Sync your Zune content among your computersconverttrackZune

The Zune software provides for upto three computers per account and three devices per account.  This is a really nice feature, but can make keeping it all in sync a problem.  One way to keep them in sync is use the Zune Marketplace account settings page.  Start your Zune Marketplace software, click SETTINGS, then ACCOUNT.  Select SUBSCRIPTION HISTORY on the left side menu.  After a few moments, you will see all of the subscription music that is NOT on the computer.  You can download individual tracks or click ‘RESTORE ALL’ in the heading about the music list.  Doing so will cause all of the tracks NOT on the computer to download.  If there is a track that you bought, but is also in the subscription content, a ‘In Collection’ status will be shown and the track skipped.  This works great and you can decide how often to do it.  It is pretty easy and straightforward to do and, once you have done this the first time on each computer, then next time you do it will be pretty quick.

Did you know…

  • …Microsoft offers free tracks every day. Start the Zune Software, select MARKETPLACE and in the upper section of the window, where the promoted artists are and you will see the free download of the day. It is usually reserved for up and coming artists and rarely for ‘brand name’ artists.  It is a great way to find out about new artists and build your collection.
  • Most tracks are going MP3 now.  To see if an available track is MP3 or not, look for the MP3 logo. If a track does not have the logo, then it is in WMA format.  PLEASE NOTE:  ALL subscription content will be protected WMA.  Once you purchase the track or use a credit, the file will be replaced with an MP3 track, if it is available. 
  • If you want to know if a purchased track is MP3 or not, select the track and right click.  Choose PROPERTIES.  Look toward the bottom of the window and look for the MEDIA TYPE tag.  It will tell you what kind of file you have.
  • You can easily use a credit to purchase a subscription track.  Select the track you wish to ‘purchase’, right click and select ‘USE SONG CREDIT’.  You will see the normal purchase window.  Click OK to download.
  • If you subscribe to the Zune Marketplace news letter, you will get notices on sales and special offers for music, movies and television shows.  You can subscribe here.
  • You can stop the automatic downloading of songs by: unsubscribing to any channels you may and smartdjplaylistsettingsby setting the Smart DJ lists to use only local content.  Tracks will only download automatically if you save as a playlist.  To have the list use only local content, edit the playlist by clicking  ‘EDIT PLAYLIST’, then select ‘My Local Collection’ only.  Click OK and it should use your collection to build the playlist.
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