Zune Tips: Connections Afar and Away

In what started with the small task of adding a hard drive to my PC, I’ve been through a fairly lengthy media-managing saga.

From this I have three Zune tips involving library management, sharing media with a 360, and syncing with a physical device.

Clearing the Zune Library – I thought I had to do this when I moved my Video folder from C: to D:. I may have – I may not have – but either way I found two different ways to do it. First way is low maintenance: go to %localappdata%\microsoft and delete the Zune folder. This will blow away the majority of your Zune’s library but if that’s not enough there’s also a downloadable utility that will do this for you: ZuneMediaCollectionResetTool. This will clean out the Zune library as well.

Zune sharing for 360 in the registry – Once I got Zune to see the Videos on the D Drive, I had another problem… my 360’s couldn’t see my shared Zune library anymore… then I realized that even after an uninstall, library purge, and re-install, that Zune still knew about my 360 and share name – that meant that it was storing that somewhere else… for me, I had to remove the Zune Sharing information from the Registry, which is stored as a unique User ID looking thing at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Zune\HME – blow away the subkey and you’ll be forced to re-activate Sharing in the Zune PC software but you’ll be starting from a clean state: it should work after that.

Zune 3.1 requires a random service to sync – Now that the library was good and the 360’s could see my Zune library, the last thing that went wrong for me was sync-ing the actual device. This one bamboozled me and it was partially my fault – but not entirely. As of 3.1 of the Zune PC software, the Zune devices required the service named “Windows Mobile-2003-based device connectivity” to be running. Now, it is true that I’m a Service Watchdog in Windows: if I have nothing running, there shouldn’t be more than 50 processes running… I mean honestly: why does every single freaking ISV feel they need to create their own scheduling Service in Windows? In Unix they have CRON – in Windows they have AT. It’s always available yet Symantec, McAfee, and CA all make their own scheduler Services… sad and sucks. And it’s also something I would have disabled.

So when I look at the list of Services, I said “Hey, I don’t use a Windows Mobile 2003 device” and disabled it over a year ago. It was only after going talking to some support people at Microsoft that I learned about this dependency… after all, if I uninstalled, reinstalled Zune, I was able to sync the device that one time – all other sync’s failed. I couldn’t even get my Shuffle By Album app onto the thing in that condition… turned on this Service and *baM* it started working again.

Don’t know if anyone else needs the info, but this is as much for me as it is for the intertubes!

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