30GB Zunes simultaneously fail

Beginning around midnight last night Pacific time (2008-12-31), 30GB Zunes everywhere started freezing at their boot screens, with the progress bars ironically at 100%.  Zunes that were in use at that time spontaneously rebooted in order to get to that frozen state.  Obviously, this was due to a disturbance in the force, emanating from Cupertino.

OK, maybe not.  Users are calling this event Z2K9, because of its proximity to the beginning of the new year — but it’s unlikely to be related to the calendar rollover, because Microsoft never releases anything ahead of schedule.  However, a relationship with the calendar is not out of the question.  One commenter on Gizmodo suggested that it might be related to the fact that today is the 366th day of the year (due to the leap year), and that the Zune’s firmware may not have accounted for that.  The problem only seems to affect 30GB Zunes running later versions of the firmware.

Users have found that the problem can be corrected by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery and hard drive.  However, this could endanger your warranty or possibly invalidate some sort of permanent fix from Microsoft.

The Zune support site reports the following status (11AM PST):

Customers with 30gb Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware.  We’re aware of the problem and are working to correct it.  The Zune Social might be slow or inaccessible. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience!

“Issues” might be a bit of an understatement.

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