Owners of the 30gb 2006 Zune models found their devices frozen on this New Year -- at midnight, thousands of Microsoft's MP3 players spontaneously and collectively crashed and locked up on the loading screen. Users were perplexed, and the forums were soon alight by frustrated Zune owners.

It turns out that the leap year is the culprit.

The widespread crash, which has been dubbed Z2k by Zune users, is one of the more perplexing technological anomalies I've experienced. I'm own a refurbished 2006 30gb model and use it frequently. I've never had a problem with the device or the software, and have generally been pleased with the intuitiveness and reliability of the product.

This was just a weird situation that was widespread enough to illicit an immediate response from Microsoft, who pegged the problem and offered a solution -- wait a day. And it seems to have worked. Forum users are reporting Zunes back up and running without problems across the country, so it seems the potential crisis (and possible patch/recall) has been averted.

More coverage of Z2k:
LA Times
LA Times II


  1. As my understanding has it, it wasn't a leap year that caused the problem so much as it was a leap second.

    At midnight, Dec 31, 2008, the sciency powers that be in charge of the universal atomic clock thingy in Colorado (or wherever it is) added a leap second in order to rectify the discrepancies between the calendar their clock uses and the solar calendar determined by the earth going around the sun.

    A second might seem like an insignificant amount, but when computer programming, which is often sensitive to these sorts of things, is affected, stuff like this pops up.

  2. Just offering up that as a plausible explanation. Stupid clocks.


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