How to Reboot, Reformat, and Restore your Zune device (Now Includes Zune HD)

I find that many sync problems can be fixed by simply rebooting the device, reformatting it, or reinitializing it. Here is a list of the device commands for both V1/V2 and Zune HD devices. Try these actions first if you are having a problem with syncing to your Zune device.


  • Zune HD:
  • Press and hold power button (button on top of the device) for 10 seconds
  • Zune30/4/8/16/80/120 Devices: Press and hold the Back button (<-) + Up on the directional pad at the same time

Format Device from the Zune software (All devices):

  • Go to Settings > Device > Sync Options > Then click the "erase all content" button.

Sleep Mode:

  • Zune HD: Press the power button once
  • Zune HD: To power off, hold the power button for 3 seconds then pull down on the screen saver
  • Zune30/4/8/16/80/120 Devices: Press and hold Back + Down

Initializing and formatting your Zune HD Device:

  • To Initialize/Format - Reboot device (turn the device completely off) then when turning the device back on hold the home (center) button and media button(on the side) at the same time. This will delete all content off of the device and allows firmware reinstall.
  • To enter Recovery mode – Press and hold the power and media buttons for 15 seconds. The device reboots into Recovery mode (content is not erased, allows for firmware reinstall). This is a good option if you want to keep the content on your device, but reinstall the firmware.

Formatting and reinitializing your Zune30/4/8/16/80/120 Devices:

  • To perform the following, you must first reboot your device (hold the back button and up), and then when the screen goes black, hold the corresponding buttons until the process begins. (“OK” refers to pressing the center of the D-Pad/Z-Pad.)
  • Clear Content (Format from Device) – Clears all media content from the device, but leaves the firmware intact.
  • V1 Devices (Zune 30): Press and hold Back + Right + OK
  • V2 Devices (Zune 4/8 and 80): Press and hold Back + Play/Pause
  • Initialize Disk – Removes the content and the firmware. Device will be inoperable until connected to a PC so new firmware can be installed.
  • V1 Devices (Zune 30): Press and hold Back + Left + OK
  • V2 Devices (Zune 4/8 and 80): Press and hold Back + OK + Play/Pause

dofacc (Ted Th… (not verified)

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 17:31

I have two 80 Zunes. I have tried all of the above multiple times. One Zune will take about 20 giga of info, and then tell me that it is full, despite having told me that it wasn't going to be even half full when I started the upload.

The second Zune tells me I have to update the software. When I attempt to do this, it tells me it is to full to take the new software.

I have reinitialized, I have supposedly cleared the HD by holding down the three buttons as described, and I have supposedly erased all the content using that command internal to the Zune software that sits on my PC. As I say, I have repeated this multiple times, with the same result each time.

Now what?

Anonymous (not verified)

Sat, 07/02/2011 - 06:35

Hi, I am using 30zune (the 1st gen).I have tried all of the above multiple times but still i couldn't connect my device to the computer.
Do you have any any how can i transfer my files from computer to the device? i have check the cable, i could find the reason why i couldn't get my device connected. I need an answer as soon as possible. many thanks!