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Zune "Y2K9" bug confirmed

Zune "Y2K9" bug confirmed

The last thing Microsoft needed was another reason not to buy a Zune - but an inability to handle leap years is pretty basic.

Microsoft has confirmed a firmware issue which has caused 30GB Zune media players to crash on the stroke of New Year's Eve.

According to an article over on Wired, the flaw seems to be a failing in the internal clock to handle the leap year we've just left. As the clock ticked over onto its 365th day the system panicked rather impressively, with the result that owners of 30GB Zunes – as few as that may be – were left with a completely unusable device.

While the flaw – already being referred to as the “Z2K9 bug” – is embarrassing for the company and awkward for users, the good news is that it's already righted itself with no intervention required on Microsoft's part. Now that we've left the last day of 2008 behind, Zunes should start behaving themselves once more – as the clock resets back to day one of a new year. The flaw will likely resurface next leap year, of course, but it's expected that Microsoft will release a firmware update before that time.

As for users left with frozen devices, Microsoft is advising that they “allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure your device is recharged, then turn it back on.” As the clock will reset once the battery is drained, this will bring the device back to life. If users are subscribed to the Zune Pass service, they'll need to re-sync the device with their PC to refresh the DRM and allow content to be played once more.

With Zune a seemingly unpopular choice in the media player market – especially when compared with Apple's all-conquering iPod range – the last thing Microsoft needed was an embarrassing – and avoidable – gaffe like this one. Let's hope there are no more surprises left in the firmware.

Any Zune owners wondering why their devices had stopped co-operating, or are all of our readers sniggering behind their iPods at Microsoft's seeming ineptitude? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
goafreak 2nd January 2009, 11:27 Quote
just glad my xbox didn' crash ;)
naokaji 2nd January 2009, 11:36 Quote
And my Ipod crashes approx once per week where I have to drain the battery completly to be able to use it again, if the zune only crashes every 4 years, damn thats almost a reason to get one.
chrisuk 2nd January 2009, 12:10 Quote
Its a shame the Zune isn't more popular because, despite this, it's a better music player than any of the iPods (the touch excepted.) The slight bashing here, and ridiculous post by Gordon Kelly at trustedreviews are quite funny because it's a fairly good bet that few, more likely none of you have ever actually used a Zune.

I've got a touch which I love, but having used my mates Zune it blows all of apple's other player out of the water. Even the Zune Software, despite being Windows only, is actually quite a bit nicer than iTunes. Yeah apple have the whole ecosystem, but how far behind do you think Microsoft really are, especially if they go global?
Krikkit 2nd January 2009, 12:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisuk
The slight bashing here, and ridiculous post by Gordon Kelly at trustedreviews are quite funny because it's a fairly good bet that few, more likely none of you have ever actually used a Zune.

Slight bashing? For a bug-report, I'd say that was pretty kind. There aren't actually any bad words against the player in there, just a kind of "tut tut, should've checked that firmware" kind of tone.

And I'd bet that a few people at the BiT offices have used a Zune.
DXR_13KE 2nd January 2009, 12:47 Quote
even if this is only 4 in 4 years... it is kind of unforgivable...

me? i want one of those great mp3 players from sandisk...
Paradigm Shifter 2nd January 2009, 13:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
even if this is only 4 in 4 years... it is kind of unforgivable...
Nah, not really. The player has not been out long enough to have experienced a leap year yet, and if the thing the OS on it is based upon doesn't have issues with leap years, there isn't much reason to expect the Zune to exhibit it.

Still, it's a lesson learned, and one more thing to get the QA testers to check. ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
me? i want one of those great mp3 players from sandisk...
I dunno about the newer Sandisk MP3 players... but the Sansa e260 I have is... well, let's just say I hate it just as much as I love it. Goes completely bonkers and crashes at the oddest times... and I don't do anything other than listen to 256kbps MP3s on it.
Ending Credits 2nd January 2009, 13:10 Quote
Luckily my creative zen isn;t a Zune then :p
DXR_13KE 2nd January 2009, 13:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
I dunno about the newer Sandisk MP3 players... but the Sansa e260 I have is... well, let's just say I hate it just as much as I love it. Goes completely bonkers and crashes at the oddest times... and I don't do anything other than listen to 256kbps MP3s on it.

i want to correct myself... i want a pandora as my standard music player :D
chrisb2e9 2nd January 2009, 14:23 Quote
Someone at work last night saw my zune 80 and asked me what kind of ipod it was...
After I was done explaining to her what it was she wanted one over her ipod. Its a good device, its just that no one knows of its existance.
Nexxo 2nd January 2009, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
And my Ipod crashes approx once per week where I have to drain the battery completly to be able to use it again, if the zune only crashes every 4 years, damn thats almost a reason to get one.

Something wrong with your iPod there --mine has never crashed.
Nexxo 2nd January 2009, 14:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
i want to correct myself... i want a pandora as my standard music player :D

iPod Touch with Pandora app? ;)
Tomm 2nd January 2009, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by goafreak
just glad my xbox didn' crash ;)

Mine RROD'd on the 31st :'(

But since I haven't heard of a mass 360-RROD-a-thon, I won't call X2K9 on this. Mind you, it's working again now.
Mongoose132 2nd January 2009, 14:38 Quote
8GB Creative Zen arrived this morning, Had a Zune, but a family pet sat on, and broke, it. :(
Good despite what people say :P
GoodBytes 2nd January 2009, 14:54 Quote
iPod don't have such issue, as they die before such issue could arise.
After passing on my fourth iPod... I decided to check out the Zune. I have the Zune 120, and I say it's worth every penny. Comparing a Zune and a iPod Classic 120GB, you feel the quality on the Zune. Comparing the Zune internal pictures and my opened iPod, I can say that the Zune doesn't have circuit made on a sheet of plastic where if it bends, it brakes.
Furymouse 2nd January 2009, 18:00 Quote
I love my 80. Its funny, aall of my friends have Zunes, about 6 roughly, and they all get used everyday. But the family all has Ipods and I have never seen them leave their desks :D
And the " Z2K9 BUG "? That is the clunkiest name I have ever heard of.
Cupboard 2nd January 2009, 18:26 Quote
My 30GB Zune was retired when I got my Cowon D2.
So if anyone wants one...!
Dr. Strangelove 2nd January 2009, 19:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongoose132
... but a family pet sat on, and broke, it. :(

What kind of pet does your family have
severedhead 2nd January 2009, 19:12 Quote
I love my 30. I bought it because it didn't have touch sensitive controls, and even though the new ones do have it (kind of), I'd get another to replace it with when it dies.
serial_ 2nd January 2009, 20:16 Quote
lmao, Zunes are infinitely more appealing to me than an ipod. It's apples marketing that really bothers me, they make the device out to be the end-all be-all, and tbh the only impressive thing i've seen out of that company is the iphone, but they chose the worst network to put it on >.< *facepalm*

I hate dealing with apple support.
I hate having to send **** in.
I hate white-walled glass-floored houses.
I hate pretentious apple users who refer to buying a piece of hardware as "joining the movement." or are so glad to "be a part of the apple community." You didn't move into a new neighborhoood, you bought a ****ing music player. When did you ever hear people so glad to be a part of the Walkman community? Good god!
I hate silhouetted advertisements with emofags dancing like epileptics.
I hate trendy apple stickers (especially on a Prius).
and most of all, i hate itunes. I hate it almost as much as I hate Quicktime. SCREW ITUNES.

SO i think that list is a fairly concise description of why I would rather own a zune. The only reason I don't own one is I have a Zen. And the zen is the only thing i've seen that I like more than a zune. Now if I didn't care whether or not it could fit in my change pocket, then I would own an archos... mmmm portable media center.... om nom nom nom...

So i'd gladly take one small annoyance in 4 years over constant annoyance every time i have to launch itunes, or having that spamware **** attempt to take over my entire media experience.
1ad7 2nd January 2009, 20:51 Quote
I hate apple just as much as any American should. but I do love my ipod :) Ive had a 60gb video and a 80gb video and they both rock, as long as apple doesn't do anything different with the controls or add any weird drm type **** Ill buy ipods till I die.
Wolfe 2nd January 2009, 22:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
me? i want one of those great mp3 players from sandisk...
I dunno about the newer Sandisk MP3 players... but the Sansa e260 I have is... well, let's just say I hate it just as much as I love it. Goes completely bonkers and crashes at the oddest times... and I don't do anything other than listen to 256kbps MP3s on it.

Put rockbox on it. (http://www.rockbox.org/) I've had a sanza e-260 for about 6 months now, and I don't think rockbox has ever crashed on me.
sui_winbolo 2nd January 2009, 22:50 Quote
I <3 my Zune 30GB.

I won it at a small team based high school competition, well I won 4 of them, since I was the only reason why we won. :p

I didn't sync my Zune during the time period of failure, so I haven't experienced any problems.

I've been using it since May 2007, no problems here ever.

Oh and Zune software is really well done. It was alright when I first used it, more like a windows media player clone, but Microsoft has kept updating it and making it much better.
n3mo 2nd January 2009, 22:58 Quote
serial_

You phrased my exact thoughts, so I can now just say "amen to that".

All this apple-lifestyle-of-ignorance is so pathetic it makes me lose faith in humankind.

Personally I am a music "enthusiast" spending lots of my free time in my friend's mastering studio, so the only actual choice for me was a Sony MZ-R909 - this baby blows every other portable player away in terms of sound quality.

But remember, kids - using headphones is bad for your ears, basically most of the "ipod generation" have their hearing more damaged than their parents. I've seen many kids in the studio having problems hearing anything over 12kHz or having something like a -12dB suppressor in their ears.
LordPyrinc 3rd January 2009, 00:32 Quote
I have an IPod Classic 120 GB version and it has a pesky tendency of freezing when I connect it to my computer. Seems like it happens nearly every time lately. I like the capacity, but not impressed with it.
adam197 3rd January 2009, 01:39 Quote
Posted this in the other thread but just in case you missed this moment of brilliance:
Code:
while (days > 365) 
{
    if (IsLeapYear(year)) 
    {
        if (days > 366)
        {
            days -= 366;
            year += 1;
        }
    }
    else
    {
        days -= 365;
        year += 1;
    }
}
dyzophoria 3rd January 2009, 10:48 Quote
Quote:
even if this is only 4 in 4 years... it is kind of unforgivable...

well I think a patch would be out within a year to fix the bug, id still get a zune over an ipod though
Cobalt 3rd January 2009, 10:51 Quote
Yay for infinite loops
adam197 3rd January 2009, 11:28 Quote
Technically not infinite. Only lasts a day as im guessing days is updated elsewhere.
dyzophoria 3rd January 2009, 14:14 Quote
found this on gizmodo, sorry MS haters, this time it seems its not MS's fault, its with a chip that has to do with the unit's power management, which also causes the Toshiba Gigabeat S to crash on a leap year (which was what the Zune 30gb was based on)

from gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/5122659/the-culprit-of-the-zune-massacre?skyline=true&s=x
jakenbake 3rd January 2009, 15:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
found this on gizmodo, sorry MS haters, this time it seems its not MS's fault, its with a chip that has to do with the unit's power management, which also causes the Toshiba Gigabeat S to crash on a leap year (which was what the Zune 30gb was based on)

from gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/5122659/the-culprit-of-the-zune-massacre?skyline=true&s=x

this entire thread just got owned.
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