You could be like Star-Lord and own a classic Zune that might not work

Star Lord reaching for his Zune music player in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel's Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 3's sleeper star may be the all-but-forgotten Microsoft Zune portable music player and now there's a chance you could own a pristine, unopened 8GB Zune, though it's anyone's guess what you can do with it.

Microsoft is currently running sweepstakes on Twitter (you have to enter by liking and retweeting by May 17, 2023) where you could win a never-opened 8GB Zune. Sounds exciting, but even Microsoft admits that they have no idea if the device even works.

Assuming the digital media player does function, that doesn't mean you can simply unbox it, fill the Zune with music, and go for a run. As I wrote two weeks ago, getting a Zune to play nicely with a modern Windows 11 system is almost impossible. 

The Zune.net site Microsoft launched to celebrate the Zune and its role in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 includes a video tutorial on how to make the Zune work with modern Windows and, yes, because Microsoft doesn't even support this possibly 14-year-old hardware anymore, the video includes third-party tools and even some coding.

The point is, if you do manage to win this Zune, it might be little more than a museum piece (or something you sell on eBay for $114)

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Bring back the Zune

My thinking, though, is that if Microsoft can generate just a little bit more interest and excitement, and if the well-received Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 plays on the big screen just a little while longer, maybe the Windows-maker would consider raising Zune from the dead.

Actually, that's a terrible idea. There's almost no place for a single-purpose portable like the Zune, not when we're already carrying one of the best iPhones or the best Samsung Galaxy phones in our pockets.

Sure, there's a market for high-end, ultra-expensive portable music players, but Microsoft isn't going to build millions of Zunes to sell, perhaps, thousands of units to audiophiles.

The other option is to take Microsoft's faltering Surface Duo line and redesign it as a Microsoft Zune Phone. They could slim down the somewhat wide dual-screen Duo to a more palm-friendly size, and swap the white for more a more muted and Zune-like palette.

That won't happen, either. In fact, once GotG V3 is done with its theatrical run, and some lucky person walks away with the shrink-wrapped Zune, we'll probably forget all about Microsoft's ill-fated music player.

That's okay, though I do hope that whomever wins it does take us on the journey of how they got it to play music again.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.


Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.