Zune Repair: Replacing a Flash Zune’s Glass

Over a year ago I bought a second generation Microsoft Zune.  I bought the highest capacity available with flash-based storage (8GB), instead of the higher capacity hard drive-based options, because I’ve already broken two like players in my lifetime—a forth generation 40GB Apple iPod and a first generation Creative Zen Vision (no suffix).

This time the problem wasn’t the storage.  Last week I broke my 8GB, second generation Microsoft Zune, but this time I could repair the thing myself!

ready to go!

I reI got the tools and replacement glass from rapidrepair.com.  Everything (including shipping) cost $45.97.  I used RapidRepair’s general disassembly guide and a YouTube video as references for the repair process.

The first step was to remove the silver backing insert.  I wedged the safe open tool into the top to accomplish this.
 

This exposed two Tri-wing screws, which I removed with the Tri-wing.  I found that the bigger (red) Tri-wing screwdriver worked on all of the screws in the Zune.

Now I could remove the back casing, so I used the safe open tool to undo all of the snaps around the edges.

 

With the back off, I saw three more screws to remove.

The communications board is now only connected by the Zune by a cable.  I didn’t remove the board at this point, doing so would have made the process ahead a bit easier.

The communications board is attached by wide, orange ribbon cable.  You can detach one end by flipping the little black latch that goes along the width of the cable at either connection point.

Now I had to remove the battery.  I was a bit concerned that the battery flexed a bit when I tried to pry it off, but the Zune still works after my repair, so I can only assume that this was normal.  The battery is afixed to the rest of the Zune with an adhesive.  I used the safe open tool for the task.
 

(at this point the communications board got in the way too much and I removed it.

Removing the battery exposed a final Tri-screw.  (You can see it in the previous picture.)  I’ve been puting all of the screws in a headphone case to keep track of them.

At this point the rapidrepair tutorial became a bit unclear, so I started to poke around to figure out the next step.

Here I pull up the board with the memory chips.  Notice how this piece connects with the navigation controls below it.  (There is are little “docks” on each component that fit together.  This tripped me up the first time, because those to pieces weren’t making contact.  I could only turn on the Zune by plugging it into my computer, and then the Zune would start up, shut down, and restart.)

After a bunch of finagling I got the screen and it’s frame out.  I’m sure there are very specific clips that I had to simply detach with the safe remove tool, but I didn’t find them all the first time.  The inner frame has some week points, so be ginger.

Now I had everything apart, and access to the back side of the glass.

I pushed around the edges of the glass from the back to break the adhesive.  The glass came of fairly easily.

At this point I used Windex and a paper towel to clean up the area on the Zune that the new glass would stick to.

Do you remember that big spool of foam from the first picture?  That was protecting this itty-bitty piece of glass:

I stuck the new glass on no problem.  (This was the easy part!)

Remember how I said that the inner frame had some weak points?  I know that because I broke part of it.  It doesn’t seem to matter much, though.

Now everything goes back together in reverse order.  I got some dust on the LCD screen, so I sprayed a mist of Windex on a paper towel and gently whipped the surface of the screen.  After watching all of the liquid evaporate from the surface of the screen, I put that piece back into place in the Zune.

Make sure to put the memory board back into place before you put in the first screw.  If you put in the screw first, not only will the memory board not secured, but the tiny difference in position will prevent that board from communicating with the navigation controls.  (I made this mistake…)

After all of that effort (which was mostly fun), my Zune was back to normal. :-)
fixed!

Edit, May 23, 2009:

The Rapid Repair glass broke a few weeks after I installed it.  More on that here.

12 thoughts on “Zune Repair: Replacing a Flash Zune’s Glass

  1. Hi! Glad you got your zune back up and running. Not a favorite thing of mine to fix screens of small over priced electronics.

    I found your site because your domain and my domain are quite similar. I just bought pieceoftheinter.net (though I don’t have much of a website running on it yet). I googled it just see if it had been picked up yet (which it hasn’t) and found yours.

    Just thought I’d drop by and say hi to a fellow witty domain owner!

  2. Is it possible to remove and replace the screen from the front without disasembling the device by using a thin sharp obect like a razor blade and sliding it carefully under the edges of the glass?

  3. Nowadays, one can find an entire non-working Zune with a good front panel on eBay for under $20. It’s a lot easier to replace the front panel than just the glass, and you’d be left with other parts that might be useful in the future.

  4. The “final tri-screw” beneath the battery does not need to be removed. The entire assembly will lift out of the faceplate without removing it.

  5. wow that was really helpful, too bad im not the type of person who tries to fix anything because if i do then i just end up breaking something more. so it never works out. who would you recommend to take my zune to changed the screen for?

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