'Zune 30 Midnight Meltdown' Angers Music Lovers (NewsFactor)
While the rumor mill is focused on Apple developing a larger-screen iPod touch, the blogosphere is churning with angry reports about frozen 30GB Microsoft Zunes.
Discussions board like ZuneUser.com, ZuneScene.com and Zune.net offer first-hand accounts of the problems with Microsoft's music player. It seems the Zunes reboot, then freeze once the status bar reaches 100 percent.
Some are calling it the "Z2K" problem, playing off the infamous Y2K bug that many thought would throw the computing industry in chaos at the beginning of the century when dates changed from 1999 to 2000. That's because the problem seems to have started at exactly midnight PST Wednesday -- the first moments of the last day of 2008.
A Fix That Fails
Microsoft wasn't immediately available for comment on what observers are calling the Zune 30 Midnight Meltdown. But the forums are ablaze with complaints and demands for updates from Microsoft.
"I had my Zune docked on its iHome ZN9, charging, and all the sudden I hear it start whirring as I'm sitting here at the laptop. I looked up just in time to see it restarting itself at exactly 12:00 midnight, watched the loading bar, and then the freeze. Great. WHAT is going on!?" VS Venom Shot wrote on the Zune.net forum.
Meanwhile, a Zune.net user named Dmodegirl claims to have solved the problem. She said the Zune needs a "hard reset" and suggested using a small screwdriver to pop off the plastic shielding where the Zune cable plugs in and remove the two screws on either side of the plug.
"Pop the cover off and locate the battery plug at the top left corner of the Zune. Using your screwdriver, pop the cable connection halfway off, and do this to the other plug on the right side," she wrote. "Wait three seconds, then push down the right connector and then the left battery connector. Your Zune should start up immediately. Press the backing of the Zune down (make sure headphone jack is aligned) and put the screws and cover back in place."
Some users reported success with this method, but when they plugged their Zune back in to charge, it froze again. Others were concerned with trying the hard reset for fear of turning the Zune into a fancy paperweight. Still others are hinting that Microsoft should compensate Zune users with a free Zune Pass.
A Black Eye for Zune
"This problem is something that never should have made it out of testing. I've been with the Zune Pass since day one and I'm seriously looking into other devices and services due to this. We at least need some kind of acknowledgment or statement from MS that clarifies the issue and puts in place a plan of action," a user named Furious Mittens wrote on the Zune.net forum.
Those comments aren't something Microsoft wants to hear. Indeed, frozen Zunes after the holiday shopping season is not welcome news, according to Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media."Microsoft has got to close the ground on the iPod, and the only way to do that is with a superior product," Leigh said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. First impressions are important for new buyers, and this is a bad first impression."