So you want to fix up a Zune…

Categories: Electronics, Music

You remember the Zune, right? I was an iPod shuffle gal back in the day but when I went to plug mine into my computer I discovered it’s no longer readable by modern operating systems. After a few minutes of combing through ebay for a sub $50 mp3 player I stumbled upon the little flash memory Zune models. $50 later I ended up with three Zunes that could, according to the sellers, no longer hold a charge yet the photos showed them powering on when plugged in.

Totally broken down 8gb Zune

These are in no way difficult to pop open as they’re Microsoft products which means it has those lovely tabs they enjoy so much. (For those who have popped open an Xbox 360/One you’ll know what I mean.) Unlike some folks who insist on gluing everything together these were straightforward to open given you have a basic mini screwdriver kit that contains a 00 sized tri-wing screwdriver. A few plastic spudgers to pop open the case and you’re gold.

The hardest part of this whole replacement issue is the battery. Since they’re so old and the original owners loved them to death these batteries are toast, the red one was even leaking. (Be sure to take your dead lipo’s to a shop that recycles them like BestBuy or an Apple Store, don’t just toss them in the bins up front, hand them off to a person.) The thing is that these bad boys are soldered in place. Microsoft had no intention of you replacing this yourself but it’s not hard to do if you have a good iron and some helping hands.

Here is where this post took two weeks to finish. I bought cheap batteries on ebay without researching them first. Don’t do this. Don’t buy the HQRP batteries with green wires. Don’t buy the ones on Amazon with 2 star ratings. Just don’t. Buy them from this place while they still have them:

The video below will show you how to open up the device and change the battery:

How to replace the battery in a flash based Zune
Battery changed out, now works off the cord.

So once the batteries were handled and the suckers could hold a charge there was the minor issue of connecting them to a computer. Microsoft took down all the links to the Zune software when they ended support for them. That’s totally understandable. Unfortunately if you want to, you know, use the Zune by adding songs to it you’ll need to get it working with the Zune software. Thanks to the fellas on the r/zune subreddit I found this video showing how to locally host the software and trick the Zune software into using local files instead of non existent online ones:

How to get Zune software running without MS servers

Out of the three ebay Zunes I now have two working ones. The pink one became a donor for some parts that I discovered were broken in the black one. These little things are fun to play with and unlike your phone aren’t connected to the internet. I’m attempting to get away from streaming audio services and making sure I own physical or at the very least mp3 versions of the music I listen to.

If you have any questions on the flash Zune models let me know and I might be able to help you out. I have not messed with the big brick models but I know a few guys who have fixed theirs up recently and the r/zune subreddit is going to be a great source of info.

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