Red Ring of Zune? 30GB Versions of Microsoft mp3 Player All Fail at Once

It’s not exactly a video game story, but…

Multiple reports are coming in that every 30GB Zune (Microsoft’s mp3 player) failed this morning at 2 a.m.

College OTR has this:

Microsoft is just squeezing in under the wire to claim the rights to “weirdest tech story of the year.”Last night at approximately 2 AM, every 30GB Zune model on the planet crashed… The Zunes reset, powered up, then froze on the loading bar screen, and no conventional method of resetting them appears to work.

This is brought to you courtesy of Microsoft, who has been selling a video game console with a nearly 100% fail rate for three years. The Zune situation is all the more disasterous however seeing as all of them failed at the exact same moment, which people have taken to calling 2K9.

From Gizmodo:

Right, so this is a weird one: we’re getting tons of reports—tons—about failing Zune 30s. Apparently, the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless.

The crisis has been dubbed by Zune users ‘Y2K9’, due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country… This report is consistently corroborated by literally hundreds of others across the various Zune support and fan forums.

GP: Zune users, jump to comments and tell us what is happening with your player…

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  1. cppcrusader says:

    This post makes no sense to me.  Neither of those consoles are manufactured solely in their country of design origin.  Yet you say that’s going to drive more companies to build things outside of the US, which they already did.

  2. Verbinator says:

    My Zune slept through the mess. Battery had already run down, so when I recharged it yesterday, the clock reset as the Zune folks said it would. No drama. Since its a software/firmware issue and not a hardware issue, it will likely be resolved in the next system update.


  3. finaleve says:

    I’ve owned Creative Labs Zen products for awhile (probably since 05).  I’ve had issues with them for awhile.  They all tend to freeze after awhile of use.  Thankfully I can hard reset the thing when such a freeze happens.

    Singapore is considered a 1st world country.

  4. Wolvenmoon says:

    The answer to RRoD, and this is simple:

    Don’t pay jack s*** for stuff that isn’t made or programmed in first world countries. Examples:

    Nintendo wii failure rates (Very low) versus xbox 360 (Very high).

    The bulging capacitor problems (which was caused by a japanese employee of a company stealing an incomplete formula for the fluid in the capacitors and selling it all over china, etc) that we still have TODAY in really off brand electronics.

    Hard drive failure rates  (last time I looked it was 12-16% high estimate, 8-10% low estimate)


    Need any more? Don’t be surprised when these companies move mostly out of the U.S, and just laugh when everything breaks like this.

  5. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Mmm bandwagon humping…don’t we bitch about the "inteluctual insest"(famliy) friendly groups do that?


    100% fail rate for the updated modles mabye?….

    Shearing/Downloading will never be a mainstream market.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys

  6. Conejo says:

    well this is good to know. now i can tell my wife why her zune is broken.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  7. GrlGmr says:

    Not like this kind of thing is that unusual in the wired world. Just about every BlackBerry nationwide had its browser configuration deleted over the past two weeks because of a flub on RIM’s part. So it’s not like Microsoft is the only company.

  8. cpt crunchie says:

    times like this i am glad i have a sansa as well as my zune. though, irony of ironies, i just got my new gears of war edition zune, and got it set up and filled up, then go to check my old zune, and it was frozen! on the day i got my new one, my old one broke. it’s being relegated to a stationary music backup when/if it comes back online in the new year.


    It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

  9. SeanB says:

    So the official response right now is


    Wait Till Tommorow

    Let the Battery Die (which will take forever since it’s probably using NO power)

    Recharge/Reboot the machine


    Because the machines wont even reboot to allow a new version to be updated. Wow.

  10. Adamas Draconis says:

    *Is rocking to his Sandisk E250 and laughing at MS while crying for the Zune owners*

    (man thats a hard multi-task)

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  11. Orelup says:

    Well i have a first gen 30gb saw this article pulled it out, and yep bricked.


    Thankfully got an ipod touch for x-mas that i was planning to switch to as my music player anyway so moot point and good timing for me.

  12. achilles says:

     Huh, I didn’t realize more than 6 people owned a Zune.  It does make me glad I planned ahead and buried a cache of supplies in the woods, today its the Zunes, tomorrow it could be the MS mice.  

  13. ezbiker555 says:

    What? Toshiba has it own version of a ipod?

    Wow, that’s even more of a fail.


    Update: Found this on Wikipedia

    Zune 30 Freezing

    At approximately midnight Pacific Standard Time, on December 31st, 2008, first generation Zune 30s were reported to have rebooted and frozen during the boot process.[48][49][50] A response from Microsoft about this possible time bomb is pending. Commentators have speculated that the problem may be related to 2008 being a leap year, making Dec 31st the 366th day of the year.

    College on the Record has dubbed the event 2k9, Entertainment Weekly and TechRadar have dubbed it Y2K9, Gizmodo has dubbed it Y2K9 and Z2K9.

    As of 11:00 AM (EST) a comment has been posted the the front page of the support site stating that Microsoft is aware of the issue. Phone support representatives have stated that the issues should be addressed within 24 hours.


    Time Bomb? O.o

  14. cppcrusader says:

    That hard reset trick people have been passing around on there doesn’t even work.

    I should also point out that there have been reports of this happening with the Toshiba Gigabeat as well, which is what the Zune essentially is.

  15. ezbiker555 says:

    No doubt. I looked at the zune formums right? The mods there are fliping out. So many people with zune problems and no way to fix it except those void the warrenty methods.


    I feel bad for M$

  16. cppcrusader says:

    As hard as it is to believe, it’s true.  While it may not be every single last one, as units with an older firmware seem to have survived, it practically is.

  17. Adamas Draconis says:

    since most people tend to update their gear’s program as soon as available, we’re still talking a large majority of units doing the "i don’t wanna work for you anymore!"

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  18. ezbiker555 says:

    O.o Are they serious when they say every single one across the planet? Some of this is kinda hard to take in.

  19. finaleve says:

    100% failure?  Well then I should check my 360…

    …nope?  Still no RRoD?  I’ve had it for a year (2 by May) and still no real issue.  Sure it’s locked up a few times (mostly in Fallout 3) but outside of that…its fine.

  20. Michael Chandra says:

    Imagine a C++ program where there’s a mistake somewhere and after spending ten minutes with the student you FINALLY figure out it’s caused because an if without brackets had a second line added… Or an else that was tied to the wrong if. The students I assist are directed towards always-use-the-damn-things by me, due to things like this.

  21. zel says:

    I don’t do it to save keystrokes, i do it to save lines, i don’t like having something so simple take up 3 lines or 4 lines (when i use brackets i put the open bracket on it’s own line so 4 when i do it). Everyone has their preference though so its not really right or wrong. I only pointed it out for the laughs myself 🙂 The whole "fix it quick!" was a joke too cause when I replied to it you could no longer edit it 😛 no offense intended


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  22. NovaBlack says:

    totally agreed!!


    it takes what.. 2 key presses to type out the brackets… and it just makes things neat and consistent.


    lol @ the shorthand too. i barely EVER use it. It isnt like its actually more efficient. And it saves barely ANY typing. Yet its far more confusing.

  23. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I’m not upset or anything. I did laugh about it. I just don’t like to leave loose ends.

    Personally, it is a pet peeve of mine to not have the brackets even if there is only a single statement within an if. It is easier to read and harder to screw up if you put the brackets. I also hate those annoying short hand if else statements that use ? and :. Those drive me nuts because I can never remeber which side of the : is true and which is false.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  24. zel says:

    I was just yanking your chain man, hell i remember learning VB in high school and taking C++ in college. The first thing through my mind was of course that the {} brackets were unnecessary considering you only had one statement and it coulda been cleaned up and i’m sure you knew that too but I just just wanted to have a lil laugh at the exclusion of the ; on that last statement considering you’re talking smack about the MS programmers hehe. don’t get so defensive, just laugh 😀


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  25. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I wasn’t going for syntax completion nor optimization, merely demonstrating how easy it is to check for leap year.

    If  Iwere really doing it, I would have put that semicolon and combined both if checks into a single if check with an or operator.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
    Facebook Page:

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  26. zel says:

    you’re missing a semi-colon, fix it quick before anyone notices!

    Edit: on second though maybe they copy/pasted your code and thats the bug crashing zunes! O.o (kidding) 🙂


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  27. E. Zachary Knight says:

    How the freak are they having problems with leap years? Leap year logic is a core part of Date data types in any API. Unless they are writing their own Date class, they shouldn’t have any problems.

    But knowing Microsoft and how many stupid programmers think they know better than the people who wrote the API, I could see that being the problem.

    Here is the proper logic for figuring out a leap year:

    if( year % 4 == 0 && year % 100 != 0 ){
        leapyear = true;
    elseif(year % 400 == 0){
          leapyear = true;
        leapyear = false

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
    Facebook Page:

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  28. ZippyDSMlee says:

    From my best guess new 360s have a fail rate of 10-15% while the refurebs added to it add another 10% to the total, its a mess any way you look at it with 2-3X the normal fail rate of any tech gadet.

    Shearing/Downloading will never be a mainstream market.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys

  29. Flamespeak says:

    Not to be a douche here, but there is something like a 20% failure rate still. While it is better, that is not a number to be proud of by any means.

  30. Bennett Beeny says:

    "Gotta love the hyperbole 100% failure rate comment. Last I read, the highest proffesionals were claiming was 33%."

    Yeah.  If mine has failed, someone must have forgotten to tell me, or maybe elves fixed it while I was asleep.

  31. zel says:

    Ya i was thinking the same thing, i mean my 360 has been chugging along just fine for i dunno how long now, two years? something like that. It has frozen up mid-game 2 or three times but never RRoD, then again my PS3 has frozen up mid-game a few times, even my Wii has frozen up mid-game once or twice so it’s hardly unique to the 360.

    On another note, my PS3’s blu-ray drive failed and had to be repaired under warranty. It was out for almost 3 weeks. At least it got repaired free of charge, even shipping, but still my ps3 failed before my 360 and i bought my 360 before my ps3.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  32. silversnowfox says:

    Gonna say this with pride here my friends, I’ve been playing my 360 since the initial launch. Got mine as a present for ma birthday, and it still runs like a dream.  I’ve had one friend have their 360 go bad, and it wasnt even a RROD, his graphics card decided that since McCain lost, it was going to commit suicide (No kidding here, the card died just after Obama won the election).

    Christianity in a nutshell:  So an Invisible Wizard in the sky created everything and knows everything and is everywhere at all times, sent his son, who is also him, down to earth so that he could become a zombie and thereby take responsibility for everything bad that you’ve ever done.  Becuase if he didnt, then you would go to a horrible place where you would be tortured for all eternity, because you were a bad person, or too stupid to pick the obviously correct religion.  And he does this all because he loves you.

  33. NovaBlack says:

    to be fair, i own a 360,ps3 and a wii.. and the 360 is the only one that has broken.

    I have 10 friend with 360s too and 7 of them  have experienced the RROD, one of them 3 times!

    And that includes friends with the later models (elites etc)

  34. -Jes- says:

    Not to mention no ps3 fankid will ever admit to having had the Yellow Light of Doom already. 🙂

    Meanwhile I can sit down and play on my xenon-model 360 and STILL play it like RRoD was just an imaginary spinup.

  35. Father Time says:

    If Microsoft tried that I’d imagine a really large class action lawsuit.


    Debates are like merry go rounds Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  36. Adamas Draconis says:

    And have a repeat of the RROD fiasco? Even Microsoft can’t swollow ANOTHER billion dollar pill like that, especially not now when consumers are looking for reasons to distrust a Corp.

    . Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  37. zippy says:

    Knowing microsoft, they won’t fix them for free…what business would? If every zune failed, that’s a crapload of money for them….

  38. cppcrusader says:

    Well, I don’t think its a case of them pushing something out last night that caused the problem.  I sync my Zune wirelessly and the only way to update the device’s firmware is to connect it via the sync cable.

    There was an update about a month or so ago, so it could be a bug from that one.  I’ve seen a couple comments in the Zune forums from people with older firmware that were unaffected this morning.

  39. Adamas Draconis says:

    Same here. But I got mine because I despise Itunes.

    Sansa owners unite!

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  40. zippy says:

    Haha…if my xbox RROD’d, I would just open the thing myself and fix it. xD No sense in MS sending me another peice of refurb crap that is going to break again….

  41. Zen says:

    Really glad I decided to go with my 120GB black one on Dec. 26th as my day old birthday gift to myself lol.  Listening to it now actually. Still really weird that all of them went out like that.  Glad I bought the "whatever happens we replace it" warranty from Best Buy now lol.

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  42. Azhrarn says:

    Well over at HardOCP they seem to have concluded that it’s the latest Firmware for the Zune 30GB, it’s having issues with the fact that 2008 is a leap year and this is the 366th day of the year.
    Zune’s that haven’t been updated with more recent Firmware are functioning just fine, so are the larger capacity models.


  43. E. Zachary Knight says:

    This really sounds like some kind of software problem. They must have pushed a firmware upgrade or a software patch that was not fully tested.

    Hope they fix everyone’s Zune for free.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  44. cppcrusader says:

    I’m one of the many who woke up to find their Zune frozen.  I had it sitting in its dock and apparently it tried to reboot itself at some point overnight and it froze there.  Needless to say, I’m a bit on the pissed side since I just had mine repaired back in October.

  45. cppcrusader says:

    The current speculation is that the software didn’t take the leap year into account properly.  The theory right now is that our Zune’s may function again tomorrow.

  46. PhillySpartan says:

    This is madness. Microsoft always finds a way to look like complete idiots. How the heck is it possible that every 30GB just upped and died today? I was just about to pry mine open and hard reset it before I checked the web. And then the bozos that Microsoft are have absolutely nothing posted up on the zune website. Just goes to show how much they care about the consumers that bought their product. This just simpley sucks. I am beyond pissed off.

  47. cppcrusader says:

    There’s some speculation going on right now in the Zune support forums about whether the new clock feature that was added in the 3.1 update may be at the root of the problem.

    Look’s like that speculation is moot as there was finally a report of someone with the clock disabled and still being frozen.

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