Zune Connection Issues… Solved!

mechanicOver the last few weeks, I’ve been having problems getting the Zune Software on my Vista Desktop PC to recognize a connection with my Zune 80. When I plug in my Zune, I hear the tone sound indicating a USB device connection but the Zune Software ignores the Zune and doesn’t make a connection. I tried using different USB ports, different sync cables, but nothing. I also used the Unzoone software to completely remove the Zune 3.1 Software off my PC, rebooted, and then reinstalled a fresh copy. After doing all this, it seems my Zune would only connect to my PC 2% of the time. Even rebooting my PC didn’t ensure my Zune Software would see the connected Zune. Very frustrating!

After doing several Google searches, I finally found the solution to my problem. Mark Akers on the Zune.net forums posted some troubleshooting suggestions and this is the one that fixed it for me:

  1. Click Start -> Run -> Services.msc
  2. Look for a service “Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity”
  3. If that service is in the “Disabled” state, change it to “Manual”
  4. Restart the Zune software
  5. Connect device

As it turns out, a few weeks ago I was cleaning up my PC and decided to turn off various unused services to speed up my system boot up sequence. One service that I disabled was the “Windows Mobile 2003-based device connectivity” since I no longer sync a Pocket PC 2003 device to my Desktop PC. Apparently, this syncing mechanism is also used by the Zune Software! Thus, you need to set this service to “Manual” so that Zune Software can do it’s thing to make a connection to your Zune.

So if you’re pulling your hair out trying to figure out this one, you might check that this service is set to “Manual”.


26 thoughts on “Zune Connection Issues… Solved!

  1. Clayton says:

    I’ve been having similar problems. but when i start to sync my music to my 30gb zune i can only sync one song at a time out of 3500 or i get the error code C00D124D. Were your trouble shooting tips for a operating system before Vista, b/c i couldn’t find anything in service that read “Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity”. Also if you are not running vista do you know what I should be looking for in Vista?

  2. zunetips says:

    Clayton: What Operating System are you using (Windows XP?), and with what Service Pack? Also, how old is your PC? If you have a PC that’s a few years old, you might check for an updated BIOS firmware that you can flash on your computer from your PC’s manufacturer’s web site or motherboard site. It may be that your BIOS is using an older version that is causing issues with syncing data through the USB port.

    You could also try the usual things, like rebooting your Zune, trying a different USB port (in the back of the PC), use a different sync cable, and completely removing the Zune software (using the Unzoone application) and reinstalling it.

  3. John says:

    I’m having problems connecting my zune, i plug it in to the usb port and it doesn’t recongize the device and has malfunctioned. is it the port, or the usb connector?? i tried to download videos to it and i pressed the copy to cd option on the computer, and it didn’t do it. i tried uninstalling the zune software and installed it again and it still does it. what’s the best way to get it fixed.

  4. zunetips says:

    John: It might be one of many possible issues: (1) Zune is not working properly, (2) Zune software on your PC is messed up, (3) Computer USB port is not working properly, (4) Sync cable is bad, (5) Required background services on your PC are not running properly.

    Here’s what I suggest you try:

    (1) Reboot your PC, and reboot your Zune (hold down back button and up button). Then, try connecting your Zune to your PC using different USB ports in the REAR of your PC. Do you hear a “dong” sound from your PC’s speakers when you connect to any of the USB ports? Does the running Zune Software on you PC recognize the connected Zune?

    (2) Try connecting your Zune to a different PC or laptop. If you get a connection, then the problem is probably the Zune software on your PC, or a missing service running in the background on your PC.

    (3) Try using a different sync cable and see if that fixes the problem.

    Also, does your Zune appear to be charging up when you connect it to your PC using the sync cable?

  5. nick says:

    Holy crap dude I had to go through msft support and they couldn’t give me this answer ! Turns out you know more then they do!

  6. zunetips says:

    nick: Google is a wonderful thing…. that’s were I get most of my answers! 🙂

  7. Alex says:

    I’m not quite gettin anythin that ur all getting. I’ve re-installed zune (using unzoone), and it still does it. I plug my zune in, it recognises it, installs it but when it’s installed it doesn’t recognise it. It just keeps doing ‘dong’ noise for ‘something is plugged in’, followed by the ‘dong’ for ‘something’s just been unplugged’ over and over again. It does it with by my zunes (30gb and 120gb) and both my computers. I’ve also bought a new sync cable, with no difference.
    Running xp sp2.
    Any ideas? Thx.

  8. zunetips says:

    Did you check you running services as I described in this posting? Also, I’d try installing the Zune software on a different computer just to see if you can get your Zune to connect. if you can, then there’s definitely something wrong or missing with your original PC system.

  9. Alex says:

    Ye, I’ve looked on my services list and XP doesn’t seem to have the ‘windows 2003 based…’ thing. Thing is both my zunes do the same thing on my laptop, and I installed zune on that from fresh. It only started doing it recently, and they both used to work fine. However, my zune connects fine to my friend’s xbox 360. (Haven’t tried the 30 gb). Thing is it recognises zune fine when zune software isn’t installed, it’s just when the hardware and software are both installed it starts doing the ‘dong’ thing.
    Cheers for the quick reply last time, but have you got any more suggestions.

  10. Deron Wagner says:

    Thanks so much! I have been trying to figure out which Windows service I disabled that killed my Zune connectivity. Had no idea it would be Windows Mobile Devices 2003.

    Appreciate the info.


  11. zunetips says:

    Deron: You’re welcome! I’m glad you got that issue resolved.

  12. Aaron C says:

    Zune 120 only syncs about 40 at a time songs then stops. I ran into a setting somewhere that limits the number of songs it syncs each time you sync it, but cannot find it anymore. All songs are ripped in 320 from FLAC. The USB cable is connected to a separate i/f card w/ 2 x IEEE ports and 2 x USB 2.0 ports. It recognizes 16,785 items under the NOW SYNCING, but it doesn’t sync them. I’ve tried
    a.) Syncing ALL MUSIC
    b.) Making groups then syncing those
    c.) Manually sync.
    I would think option “a” would be the best as it’s supposed to monitor the folder for any changes. After calling M$ Support, they had me send it in, three weeks later I got a used one back w/ ~10gb of spanish songs on it and an older firmware, first thing I did was wipe the firmware / update, renamed it to something different than my old Zune and tried re-syncing on XP/SP3.
    When I first got the thing for X-Mas it worked fine, I had ! 10k of songs on it, then I updated the firmware to the latest back in June and it hasn’t worked right since.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I would hat to send it in again.

  13. zunetips says:

    That’s really strange, as you shouldn’t have such a limit with your Zune. So the issue is either with the Zune software on your PC or the firmware on the Zune itself. I would try to do a hard-reset of your Zune and see if you can sync all your music. If that doesn’t work, then the problem is probably on the Desktop PC end. In that case, I’d do a Google search and see if you can find a system registry entry that might fix the problem.

  14. Joker says:

    I connect my zune… my computer recognises it.. but the zune software does not. My 120 Zune says “Connected” on the screen.. but still.. the software doesnt recognise it. Ive looked at all the services… ive re-installed zune.. ive tried different cords, and different ports… it still wont work. However.. on my friends computer… it was able to sync with his, NO problem at all.. ive been tryin to figure this out all night.. ive googled the problem and all.. im about ready to cry… i just want my music >_>..

  15. zunetips says:

    Sounds like something is messed up with your PC. I suggest you try using the “Unzoone” application to completely remove the Zune software from your PC, then do a reboot, then reinstall a fresh copy of the Zune software downloaded from zune.net

  16. jessica says:

    please help me!! im very upset because my zune just wont work.., i really think it may be broken but i dont want to believe it…
    first i plugged my boyfriends 4 g on there and everything worked properly and i put music on his and then i hooked in mine and it keeps sayin unrecognized malfunctioned blablabla so i have been looking to try to see if there is anything i could do .. i did the thing where i turn on the 2003 device thing… then i uninstalled the zune software n reinstalled it and i looked through my computer to see if there was anything i could do … i plugged it into different ports and still nothing my zune just wont work and i was wondering if there is anything elsei could possibly try .. if so please email me at bowwowwifeyfolifey@yahoo.com thankyou =[

  17. zunetips says:

    If your boyfriend’s Zune works on your PC, then it is most likely not a problem with the PC or the Zune software. It seems to be an issue with your Zune. I would suggest you try doing a full reset/reboot by pressing these buttons:

    Back Button + Up Button

    Then, see if your Zune will sync with your PC.

  18. jennifer says:

    Ok fix computer reloaded Zune and my old zune with the busted LCD screen hooked up and synced fine. My better Zune(that my 15 yr old brat baby dropped in the pool, I dried out and worked fine) the computer dosn’t reconnize. Is this fixable??

  19. Chris says:

    I’ve installed new software on my computer, updated my zune 80GB, rebooted computer and the zune… nothing! my computer doesnt recognize it! and i go to services and look for windows mobile device 2003 and its not there. when i plug my zune in, it makes that chime that its connected. The problem with that though, is that it keeps disconnecting and reconnecting. Any suggestions?

  20. zunetips says:

    Did you try rebooting your Zune? You might need to do a full-reboot to get it working again. Check out “tips” page.

  21. ck says:

    instead of “Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity”, look for “Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service”. I’m not 100% this is a sure-fire fix but it has been working for me lately.

    The status of this servcie is “Automatic(delayed)”. Change it to “Automatic”

  22. Sadie says:

    I have an old first gen Zune I think (it looks like a brick, though a very stylish one). And due to this tech problem i have since moved onto an ipod. but the problem i had last year was that i updated the software on my computer, and that software stopped recognizing my device. I could still charge my zune but could no longer sync it to download or anything else. rendering it somewhat useless. I talked with someone the other day and they said that all i had to do was reformat it? and help with this would be great.

  23. zunetips says:

    I’ve never re-formatted the hard drive in an old Zune, but I also have read that it can be done. I suggest you do a google search and see what may turn up so far as instructions. From what I understand, after you re-format your drive you can load the OS back onto the drive from protected ROM on the Zune device.

  24. Rachel says:

    This article is WAY mad old, but I recently purchased a 1st gen Zune from amazon and I wanted to PULL MY FREAKING HAIR OUT wondering why it would stop syncing mid sync and had the code error pop up even after rebooting and reinstalling at least 10 times…I wanted to kill myself. After DAYS online trying to find a solution, this one finally nailed it. I think I love you.

  25. Austin says:

    I’ve been struggling with my Zune for weeks. Somehow by magic i stumbled upon this article. Needless to say, my Zune is once again working. Thanks mate!

  26. zunetips says:

    Wow, Austin. I’m really surprised you still have a working Zune! They all seem to have gone extinct shortly after Microsoft stopped making them. Or rather, like the Dinosaurs the Zunes have evolved into Microsoft Windows Phones. 🙂

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