The day the Zunes stood still

Yesterday morning, thousands of previously happy Microsoft Zune 30 owners woke up to a interesting situations. Their Zunes were dead in the water.

As Neowin reported yesterday, "At exactly 2am CDT (12am PDT), the docked Zune made the ‘unplugged from USB port’ bong-noise and went to the boot-up screen with the 100% loading bar…and froze." This situation was similar if not identical for every other Zune 30 owner who had their devices turned on. Those who didn’t received the New Years Eve surprise when their turned on their device to be greeted by the Zune boot screen, and nothing else.

Microsoft acted quickly, undoubtedly after being bombarded with angry phone calls, emails, Tweets and message board posts. Shortly after 2pm PDT, Microsoft posted on their ZuneInsider blog and explained the problem and the solution.

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.

Microsoft says they’ll have an updated firmware for the Zune 30 out before 2012, which is the next leap year and the next time this problem is scheduled to happen.

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