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Microsoft to Zune 30 owners: It's a leap-year problem. Wait until tomorrow

December 31, 2008 |  2:41 pm

Bug

UPDATE: Many Zunes appear to be working now. Read the full story.

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Microsoft this afternoon sent out a message to frustrated owners of its Zune 30 digital media player: Wait until tomorrow.

An estimated 1 million owners of the 30-gigabyte Zune woke up this morning to find their devices inoperable. They quickly dubbed it the "Z2K" problem, after the dreaded Y2K computer bug that never materialized to the extent feared. After deploying a team of engineers to investigate, the Redmond, Wash., company said its engineers had discovered that the problem was related to the Zune's inability to handle the extra day in a leap year (this is the first one since the Zune was introduced in 2006).

Turns out, Microsoft's remedy for Z2K bug is similar to what a doctor would prescribe for the 24-hour flu: Just wait a day, and it will go away. Here's the full statement:

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. That being the case, 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 are 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.

Here's a Q&A about the Zune problem that Microsoft recently posted.

How do you feel about Microsoft's explanation and proposed solution? Sound off in the comments below.

UPDATE: Many Zunes appear to be working now. Read the full story.

-- Alex Pham

Photo credit: Peter Adams / Los Angeles Times

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