What to do if your Zune stops working?

Every once in a while I get a posting response from someone asking what they should do if their Zune device stops working (especially if they are out of warranty). First, I would try a hard-reset and maybe wipe out the current firmware (as explained on one the blog pages here) to rule out any software/OS issue. Next, I would make sure the Zune device is charged sufficiently by charging it with one or more sync cables (to rule out having a bad cable) and also charging with an AC Wall adapter. Once you’re certain your Zune is charged sufficiently and that isn’t the problem, then it just may be that you have a true hardware failure.

So if the screen doesn’t light up or one of the buttons just doesn’t work, I think you’re stuck with a broken Zune. I’m not aware of any Microsoft-certified place where you can send the Zune in for repair. So what are your options?

First, I know that lots of people who have Zunes have invested heavily in building up a Zune music library that they might not want to give up if switching to an Apple iPod. I’m not a big music buff so I don’t know the specifics to what you can transfer over and not to a different device like the iPod. So here are some possible options:

  1. Send your Zune into a repair shop like http://www.rapidrepair.com. I don’t recommend going this route (especially with one of the cheaper Zune devices) because the repair cost may be close to the price of a new device.
  2. Buy a used Zune device off eBay. I did a quick search and found several different models going for around $50 to $100 US. If you’re looking for the cheapest route and don’t mind getting a used device, this may be the way to go.
  3. Buy a new Zune HD device. I checked http://www.newegg.com and they have a Zune HD 16GB for $180 US, a 32GB for $250 US and a 64GB for $340 US. So if you want to stick with a Zune device then this might be a good way to go if you are willing to pay for a new one. The only issue I see, is that we don’t know how much longer Microsoft will be selling the Zune HD. I haven’t heard of any new Zune models coming out, but I suspect Microsoft may have something similar to the Apple iPod Touch which would be a Windows Phone 7 device without the phone component.
  4. Switch to a Windows Phone 7 device and use it for both your phone and as a Zune media player. From what I understand, the WP7 devices have excellent integration with the Zune Software so you can use it as your Zune for listening to music and watching videos. I haven’t personally handled a WP7, but from what I’ve read it works well as a Zune-replacement. So if you’re on the AT&T or T-Mobile cellular network and want to switch phones this might be a good option.
  5. Jump ship and go with an Apple iPod. There’s lots of models available, ranging from a small iPod Nano up to the iPod Touch. Personally, I recently upgraded to an Apple iPod Touch 64GB (with the high-res retina display) and I love it. The screen is absolutely beautiful. I made the switch because I now use an Apple iMac desktop computer and it was easier to sync with an iPod than my Zune HD.

Now, if you’re into apps I highly recommend switching to an Apple iPod Touch. If you’re not and just listen to music and watch videos/podcasts, then you might go with a smaller and cheaper iPod Nano device. Again, I’m not sure how easily it will be to transfer your music and video collections from the Zune to the iPod, but that is still an option.

Personally, I would go the cheaper route and get a used Zune off eBay. That way, I can wait to see what new products Microsoft might release on the Zune line. And later if I decide to get a new Zune device or switch to an Apple product, I could always sell the used Zune on eBay and recoup some of my cost.

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