How To...

If Your Zune Won’t Turn On

If Your Zune Won’t Turn On

A couple days after getting my Zune, I woke up and went to turn it on – and nothing. Nada. I went online in search for the answer, and found a lot of answers – and none that were the answer I was looking for.In my situation, it was far simpler than all of the crazy solutions I read about. So if you’re a new Zune user, and your Zune won’t turn on, you might have the same problem I had…

The battery went dead and needed charging.

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Zune Won’t Turn On

Before you laugh – read on. Naturally, I thought it could be a dead battery, but wrongly assumed that when I plugged it in, the power from the USB cable would immediately wake it up. That is wrong.

If your Zune goes dead, it will take several minutes (give it 10 minutes even) of charging from the USB connection before it will turn on. I believe that’s because the power from the USB cable doesn’t directly power the Zune, so it must charge the battery enough to run first.

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If that is not your problem, I did learn of other things to try when researching my “dead” Zune problem. The most common answer I saw was that you need to simply reset the Zune. How to reset your Zune? Simply hold down the back and up button on the control pad. Also, make sure the keypad isn’t locked on the top, so that if you do need to reset it the keys will actually work.

If your Zune ever seems to be acting strange, it might be wise to reset it. This is the exact same as rebooting a computer when it’s giving you problems.

Some people said to merely plug it into the USB cable and that might “wake it up” so to speak.

Other Zune battery tips

I noticed that leaving it on in wireless mode will drain the battery far faster than with wireless mode off. If you use the wireless sync, be sure to turn wireless mode back off as soon as the sync is complete. And if you’re like me and hate to pick up your Zune after a night of sleep, only to see the battery’s charge has gone down, you can also turn the Zune completely off instead of having it go into standby mode. Standby mode allows it to come up faster, but slowly drains the battery over time. Press the back button and push the control pad down and it will power off in a few seconds. Press and hold the play button to turn it on again. It takes longer to power up, but those extra few seconds are easily saved in extended battery time.

So to recap the commands…
Back + Up = Reset/Restart
Back + Down = Turn off, also known as Sleep mode


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  • Oneye Photography

    Great advice…thought my zune was a goner….thanks a lot!!!

  • Jeremy

    I’ve seen the same info posted on Microsoft’s site, but mine seems to have a bad charging port. I was wondering if there is any way to open the zune up to get the songs off the hdd?

  • Andrew

    Make sure you’re plugged into a true USB port, and not just a USB memory stick reader. The readers are low-power and will charge devices over a period of days, not hours.

  • Alex

    I was sad for brief moment because I couldn’t power on my zune and didn’t see the charging symbol after plugging it in to charge. I found this page, and plugged my zune back in. After nearly 7 mins… voilà! The charging symbol appeared! Thanks! :)

    • waffles

      It’s hard to be patient when you aren’t sure it’s even going to come on!

  • Gary

    Holding the start button down for 15-20 seconds worked for me. My Zune was charged overnight but wouldn’t turn on in the morning. When plugged into my laptop it was still not turning on and not recognized as a connected device in Zune.

    I simply held down the start button and then it booted up. Fully charged and operational now!

    • josean

      Thank you so much!!! my zune started!!!

  • Roger

    My Zune wont turn on

  • waffles

    Thanks… we’re glad to help!

  • Brenna

    Omg you saved my zune I was worried I would have to get a new one or something. Thanks for this man

  • Jennifer Blanco

    Hello, I’m just curious is there a way to reset the touch screen zune? I was listening to music with the charger full yesterday morning. I Shut it off to start working thinking everything is fine . After work I press the power button and it wont turn on :(
    I connected it to the wall charger and still the same. Waited about 10 minutes and nada. Connected to the laptop and now just simply woke up with the battery symbole with a lighting bolt. Now my laptop is reporting no connection and the UBS windows device attached to the laptop is malfunctioned. Its charging as we speak but Zune software on the computer isnt reading it :/
    Now the zune is acting weird :/

    • Some Ipod kid

      It won’t be detected by the computer until the Zune is powered by it’s own battery. (same with ipods)

  • wolfey

    P.S., it was dead for 4 years until recently when i finally charged it.

    • waffles

      I have three Zunes. It seems to me that the batteries on the older ones degrade to the point that the battery won’t hold a charge. A year after getting an 8GB Zune, it barely lasted 30 minutes before the battery died. The newer Zunes don’t seem to have that problem.

  • wolfey

    i have the orginal zune. IDK what happened. I had it on the charger all night and a few hours later i had to leave so i grabbed it and headed out. I thought id be jammin to my tunes soon enough. Nope. Even though i left it on the charger it was dead. I angrily brushed it off thinking i could just plug it up and charge it. Nope. If i look closely i can see the faint battery symbol appear and then fade away like an original gameboy when its cut off. It wont stay. There is no bolt. I have tried resetting it. It wont do anything. Ive plugged it in the wall charger and computer. IDK if theres something wrong with my zune or maybe the 95 cent charger from Amazon just isnt adaquate. It was before. What changed? SMH can anyone help? My ear are lonely :-(

  • Matt

    I had My Zune plugged in, and the Battery was fully charged, a moment later when I went to use it, suddenly it’s completely dead, it wont work at all, I tried doing the reset thing, and I have it plugged in still, it wont Work…

    • Emory

      Yeah…me, too. Now what???

  • Brian Erdmann

    Yep i thought it was the unfortunate end of my Platinum 32gb Zune hd. I was downloading music from on my final Free-trial of the software and had my Zune plugged into my netbook. I noticed that it was turned off but i knew it had a full battery. I kept pressing the power button and nothing. I went online and was about to send it for repairs but according to Zune the warranty expired last year. Was going to purchase their new replacement one for a decent price but thought i look online for help posts. I came across your site and sure enough…..just needed a reboot by pressing top power button and the back button at the same time! THANKS for your help!!!!

  • asia

    This didn’t help me at all. I tried thia multiple times and nothing

  • hayle

    It still wont turn on when i want it to. It is not even dead, its fully charged. Do I need a new zune if this didnt work. I have 120 gb and ive only been able 2 listen 2 like 600 songs because it turns off only hours after I unplug it from the computer

  • Rachel

    I hope this works if the screen stays black even if you plug it in….no zune mark, no charging symbol, nothing. We’ll see!

  • manal

    YOU ARE SO BRILLIANT! I was so upset my zune was totally busted. I plugged it in, nothing, then reset it ,nothing. But i tried plugging it in like you said but i waited this time and it worked! Thanks again for posting this info!

  • Tammy

    Thank you so much. I’ve never known how to turn the Zune off and it is always dead when I want it! They should tell people how to completely turn the thing off in the instructions! Thanks for the help.

  • C.J.

    Hmmm…nothin’. Mine won’t turn on at all. I can’t even reset it. I “charged” mine overnight (meaning I had it plugged into the computer all night). Still, nothing happens. Any ideas? PLEASE HELP!!!!

  • Tom

    Thanks for the guide, waffles. Almost a year after your post, you’re still helping people. My new zune didn’t want to work this morning… You saved me troubleshooting the problem on my own.

  • Emma

    Thank you so much for the zune battery tips! I was having trouble getting my zune to turn completely off, but now that you’ve explained the difference between standby and completely off my problem is solved! Thanks for the great advice!

  • Bigz

    Great advice! This really helped me fix my zune, much more informative and correct than other sites I explored. Thanks!

  • hplover

    Thank-you sooooo much! All i had to do was reset it and now it is working. I am about to go on a loooonnnggg trip and i was gonna listen to it but it wouldnt turn on and it wouldnt charge. but now it is working so thank you soooo much!

  • Bert

    Thank you MAN!!!! I was sad because I didn’t pay for the warranty and my Zune just froze and shut off and wouldn’t turn back on! I was Like “Oh my God, I have a dead Zune now!” Thanks to you, I am saved! My life is saved, many peoples lives are saved!

  • Serj

    Nope, same problem and this solution did not work for me.

  • DK

    And it worked. Thanks for getting me less stressed. (Got it two days ago, so you can’t help freaking out)

  • DK

    Thanks, my Zune stopped while I was downstairs (I have it upstairs) not long after it got in contact with a very small amount of water. :O (As in a sort of wet pack of gum, wet because you had it while walking in the rain like a half hour ago, touching the Zune quick leaving slightly visible water stains), when I came back up and it didn’t work and I didn’t get any sort of response right away I freaked out a little. Hope it works. 😛

  • tano

    Ahh you are a life saver – mine died in germany, would have been a real problem

  • Stefano

    Great tip!! I live in south america and we got no Zune tech support…it turned on after charging for 15 minutes!!!

  • waffles

    Thank YOU for the comment! Glad you found the site, and I hope I was able to help in some way. Good luck to you!

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