Zune "Y2K9" bug confirmed

January 2, 2009 // 9:16 a.m.

Tags: #bug #firmware #flaw #ipod #leap-year #media-player #microsoft #mp3 #mp4 #timecode #y2k #yk29 #z2k #z2k9 #zune #zune-30gb

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.

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