I’ve been detailing my experiences with the red-headed stepchild of portable MP3 players, the Microsoft Zune, for a little while now. While my time with the device itself has largely been positive in terms of functionality, sound quality and ease of use, a couple of incidents that occurred over the course of this summer leave me unable to say the same thing about the Zune’s warranty support.
Around June, the dust under the screen of my Zune reached the level where it seriously impeded my ability to view video except in low-light conditions. I called up Microsoft Zune support and after haggling with more than one representative (largely my fault, as I was unaware that dust under the screen was a valid warranty replacement claim), I was told that they would be sending me a box and a shipping label so that I could return my Zune to be serviced. They also explained that it would most likely be replaced with a refurbished unit instead of actually being disassembled, cleaned and returned to me.
So I waited approximately 5 days, received my box, and then sent the Zune away to wherever Zunes go just before they end up in the big landfill in the sky. This reset my waiting clock, and it was another 15 days before a shiny, new-to-me Zune was delivered back to my home. Grumbling a bit, but feeling largely powerless I opened up the box and set about restoring both my music and my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes to the unit.
Upon connecting it to the software on my PC, I discovered that the Zune that had been sent back to me was not exactly…fresh. Browsing through it I discovered that there were a number of video files already sitting there on its hard drive. Thinking that they were perhaps promotional vids from Microsoft, I simply deleted them and didn’t think too much about it until a few weeks later when I was listening to my music on random. Suddenly, I was hit with a song that I hadn’t loaded onto the player, by a band I in fact despised. Surprised, it took me a few seconds to realize that there must have been a number of music tracks also pre-installed on my supposedly refurbished Zune that I just hadn’t noticed when I first booted it up.
Later that day, I connected the device back to the software interface in order to delete the offending track. Unfortunately, according to my PC, the song did not exist on my Zune hardware. No matter how I searched for it, it just didn’t turn up. A sinking feeling began to form in the pit of my stomach as it dawned on me that somehow, the OS on the Zune had become corrupted to the point where someone’s old music was now sharing the space with my own – old music that was completely impossible to remove.