A few days ago I found my ZuneHD. I thought I lost it over a year ago and I was so happy to have found it again. I charged it back up and went to sync some of my newer music so I could take it to work. The sync failed with cryptic errors. I thought maybe there was an issue with the device, so I erased and tried again. Still, nothing would copy.
A little bit of internet research indicated it was due to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Since that update, the Zune software would no longer downsample music for the players. That change effectively made my devices unsyncable and thus unusable. At first, I wasn’t ready to concede defeat. I installed Windows 7 in VirtualBox, but wasn’t able to get it to see the Zune device. Then I figured I would try using Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtual machine for once.
While I was setting up that machine, I gave some consideration to how I would access my music files. In VirtualBox, I would map a network drive to the host machine. With my hyper-V machine, I didn’t see any simple way to set up networking and if I remember correctly from previous attempts to use Hyper-V, it was generally a PIA.
That gave me the idea to have a separate virtual hard drive with my music on it. That could be pretty interesting, I leave it attached on my main machine until I need to sync something, then I detach it from the main machine and attach it to the virtual machine. All the files still remain in one place.
So that was a big project, copying 300GB of music to a VHD. And at this point, I still don’t know if the VM is going to see the Zune. I spent all day yesterday cleaning up album art in my VirtualBox VM and it was all for nothing since VirtualBox wouldn’t see the Zune. I definitely have little problem with wasted effort. however, I think the compartmentalized VHD of music will be a nice modern advancement. I am praying that VHD files are resilient. You know, that’s a single file containing 14k files. The digital equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket.
The Windows 7 virtual machine was a bust. I guess Hyper-V is optimized for Windows 8 and better, so… reinstallation time. The Windows 8 install appeared hung up, so I restarted the VM. That resulted in an endless loop where Windows said the computer restarted unexpectedly and to click OK to restart and continue the install. It was all for naught anyway. Reading up on this solution, I learned that Hyper-V has even less support for USB devices than VirtualBox. Pretty un-fucking-believable.
What are my remaining options? I have to have a physical machine that is running a Windows version less than 10. What good does that really do me? I’ll have to access my entire music library over the network – inefficient. The move of all my music to a VHD file has turned out to be pointless as well, since I have nothing to share it with now. And, since my music files are now moved the a new drive, Zune had to rescan everything again, wiping out over half my album art. I literally spent hours yesterday cleaning up the album art in my VirtualBox install and now I have to do it again??
It looks like my time with Zune is at an end, with both devices and software. It’s a real shame considering how much Zune equipment I have and how it still works so well. I don’t know where to go from here. Using Groove on a phone isn’t as pleasant of an experience as the Zune was.
I guess this is where I’ve been slowly headed for a little while now, back to physical media and good old stereo systems. Maybe in a few months I’ll be saying how great it is to not have all my music at my fingertips and being less distracted by the massive amount of choices available to me at any time. Time will tell.