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Zune Software Basics

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The Zune is a wonder of modern technology and capable of doing fantastic things all on its own, but no matter how impressive the Zune appears when you're looking at it in your buddy's hand, the fact is that it requires a strong foundation. Someone (the source of this quote is unknown) once said, "Behind every great man is a great woman." In the case of the Zune, a great piece of software behind the Zune helps it rise to lofty levels in the realm of digital media players. This chapter looks at the Zune software, what it can do, and how best to use it.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

The Basics

This section examines the fundamentals of the Zune software, from installation to basic navigation to the various options and controls available to you. Much of this information is self-evident, but because the software does not come with an instruction manual (at least, not a printed manual), I can show you several things that you might not have been aware of otherwise.


Installing the Zune software is a breeze; just put the startup disc in your CD/DVD drive and let the auto-play function take over. You do not need to have the Zune attached to your PC at this point, but if you do, you won't damage it.

Following are a few of the steps that occur during installation.

  1. Put the Zune disc in your computer's CD/DVD drive.

    You see the Zune logo followed by the screen shown in Figure 3.1.

    Figure 3.1

    Figure 3.1 The first Zune Setup dialog box welcomes you to "the social" before installation begins.

  2. Follow the instructions to start the installation process.

    As the process moves along, the software shows you how far you have gone (as a percentage of the total), as well as some nifty pictures (Figure 3.2).

    Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 Something to watch while you wait.

  3. When the software is fully installed, restart your PC.

    The software displays a screen with a Restart button to help you do that (Figure 3.3).

    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 Click Restart to complete the installation.

Zune setup

Now that the Zune software is set up, you need to set a few parameters for the Zune itself. Connect the Zune to your computer and then follow the onscreen instructions:

  1. In the Relocating? screen, specify whether you want to connect as a guest or to sync with the library (Figure 3.4).

    Figure 3.4

    Figure 3.4 Go with the guest option if you're not ready to lose the preinstalled content.

    If you choose the sync option, the content that came with your Zune will be erased, so if you want to keep this content for a while, you need to connect as a guest.

  2. In the next screen, enter a name for your Zune (Figure 3.5).
    Figure 3.5

    Figure 3.5 Give your Zune the name that other people are going to see.

  3. Indicate whether you want to sync videos and pictures between your Zune and the Zune software library (Figure 3.6).
    Figure 3.6

    Figure 3.6 Even if you don't choose to sync videos or pictures, your music will always synchronize, because the Zune syncs music automatically by default.

  4. Choose your library settings (Figure 3.7).

    Usually, it's best to select the Express method, which is fine for most users.

    Figure 3.7

    Figure 3.7 Microsoft recommends that you pick Express, and so do I.

    If you choose Custom, you see the Options dialog box (covered later in this chapter), which lets you make the Zune software the default player for various types of files (Figure 3.8). When you finish making choices in this dialog box, click OK to return to the Zune software, and go on to step 5.

    Figure 3.8

    Figure 3.8 You can set the software so that certain types of files trigger the Zune software by default.

  5. Decide whether you want to stream content to an Xbox 360 (Figure 3.9).

    If you have an Xbox 360, you may as well choose Yes unless there's some reason why you don't want content on your gaming machine. (Perhaps you don't want another Xbox user to see some of your pictures or videos.)

    Figure 3.9

    Figure 3.9 Go ahead and stream to your Xbox if you've got one.

Zune account

The last part of the installation process is creating a Zune account, which effectively is part of your Windows Live ID. If you don't already have a Windows Live ID (many people do from using other Microsoft services), you can create one at this point.

  1. First, create your Zune tag (Figure 3.10), which is the name that others will see when they view your Zune via Wi-Fi.
    Figure 3.10

    Figure 3.10 Your tag is your electronic name badge in the Zune community; it's the moniker by which you are identified.

  2. Next, enter your Windows Live ID or, if you don't have one, create a new ID (Figure 3.11).
    Figure 3.11

    Figure 3.11 If you have an MSN or Hotmail account, you may already have this ID.

  3. Finally, enter your address and other key information (Figure 3.12).

    Figure 3.12

    Figure 3.12 Fill out your personal info, and you're done.

    Voilà—your account is set up (Figure 3.13). Now you can enjoy your Zune and the software that came with it.

    Figure 3.13

    Figure 3.13 You're ready to roll.


The Zune software's main window is fairly straight-forward, but a few features may be a bit of a mystery, because they appear only as icons. Figure 3.14 identifies each area and each menu item for you.

Figure 3.14

Figure 3.14 The Zune software main window.

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