Zune 4.7

I’ve gotten a few emails about the new Zune PC software version that will be required for Windows Phone, so I thought I’d share a few details.

Until you install this update, you can attach a Windows Phone to your PC, but Windows won’t be able to find the drivers. Install Zune 4.7+ and you’re good to go.


Device setup and sync works almost exactly as with the Zune HD. The Phone screens are blue instead of gray. Why? Who knows.


Most of the application hasn’t changed since the previous Zune version. Quickplay and Collection views are the same, basically. (With one big change, see below.) Ditto for Social. Marketplace now has an apps store for Windows Phone, which is of course new.



The only big change in the Collection view is that Movie content (Videos, Movies) is now segregated into DRM-Free and Purchased sections. What’s interesting here is that the Zune service now tracks all of the TV show and movie purchases you’ve made over the years (and any movie rentals) and makes them available streaming (or, when applicable, downloading) at any time, from any Zune compatible device. You can see this for yourself today on the Xbox 360: If you navigate to Zune Videos, all your content is there ready to be streamed. So I purchased "Hot Tub Time Machine" on the PC and actually watched it, via instant-on HD streaming, via the new Xbox 360 S. Works (and looks) great.


(No comments about my movie choices, please.)

There are other small changes, most of which amount to informational text throughout the UI explaining what else you can do (share pictures on Windows Live Photos, etc.). These messages disappear over time.


The Zune PC software is as nice as ever and the type of thing people assume Apple makes, when in fact their media software is bloated, slow, and looks like dBASE III. So no worries for media sync. This is a superior solution.

The bigger issue here, I think, is that Zune is the only way to synchronize pictures from the phone to the PC: Windows Phone does not appear as a USB drive in Explorer, and won’t work with the built-in Windows photo acquisition software, or any third party software for that matter. The ramifications of this are many. On the photo front, you’re not given a way to name your pictures as they’re downloaded, which is inexcusable.

But it also means Windows Phone won’t work like a normal MTP-type device anywhere else either. So if you plug your Windows Phone into, say, an Xbox 360, nothing happens. With an iPod/iPhone, Zune, or whatever, you can actually browse the device’s media collections from the console and playback media on your TV that way. It doesn’t work with Windows Phone.

These are both (related and) bad design decisions, and I’d like to see Microsoft fix both of these issues.

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49 Responses to Zune 4.7

  1. z_williamson says:

    Regarding your movie choices…

    Paul Thurrott, you’re my hero.

    Oh, and the dBASE III reference? Wow. I gotta hand it to you – that’s a hell of a name drop.

  2. I love the Zune software, but it’s the most touch and pen unfriendly app on my computer. For instance scrolling doesn’t work with your finger unless it’s on the scroll bar, and the TIP doesn’t come up when you are in an input field (you have to manually call it up). Do you know if this has been addressed in 4.7?

  3. Mike Cerm says:

    Why would Microsoft create their own transfer protocol, MTP, and then not use it for Zune, and then use something even worse for Windows Phone? I guess it’s possible that Microsoft could roll out a driver update that makes Windows Phone at least act sort of like a normal drive, like MTP devices do in Windows. I’m sure that’s yet another feature that will be coming at some unspecified time in the future. I hope Windows Phone support is at least coming to Xbox as part of the big fall update that will also bring Kinect.

    Paul, have you gotten ANY indication from Microsoft when “the future” will happen? Even with the limitations, I’d consider buying a Windows Phone on day one, if there were some indication that a fairly substantial update was coming in 3-4 months. If Microsoft thinks they can do yearly releases (like they have for Zune), Windows Phone WILL be a huge failure.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No, the impression I’ve gotten is that they really don’t know. I’ve expressed my opinion that updates need to be early and often many times.

      • paschott says:

        Very much agreed with that. At least initially they need some very frequent updates and be more responsive to the community than they have been w/ the Zune forums. Some people are still frustrated w/ Zune issues and MS being pretty non-responsive. Be open. Let people know if there’s a problem and let people know if they’re working on it and how they’re progressing. That goes much further than one post saying “Thanks for pointing that out” followed by months of silence.

  4. paschott says:

    So is Zune 4.7 currently only available if you have a WP7 dev device? Is it currently available for download? I’d like to update if possible, but can’t quite tell if this is GA or only for beta.

  5. Any word on when 4.7 will we available for download to the masses?

    dBASE III…nice.

    The Zune PC software is one of the best-looking interfaces I’ve seen and I’m glad Windows Phone won’t change that. I would like Microsoft to change the software to view more format types though. Almost none of my Blu-ray MP4 rips will show in thwe Zune software.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No, but Zune has historically shipped major new updates each fall. Certainly WP compatibility will happen before the devices hit.

    • paschott says:

      Kind of agreed here. My Zune software won’t show pics for M4A files. Be nice if the software could show those. I’ve heard that they work properly in iTunes, but have no desire to install iTunes just to see an enhanced podcast.

  6. Pingback: Zune 4.7 Required for Windows Phone 7 - Rod Trent at myITforum.com

  7. jkimrey says:


    This doesn’t relate directly to the Zune Software, but speaking of syncing:

    Will the ability exist to download new episodes of a podcast (via cell signal) on a Windows Phone?

    If we can stream Zune Pass music, hopefully we’ll also be able to get new podcast episodes while away from a PC running the Zune software?


    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No, not that I can see. It works like the Zune HD currently. Why podcasts aren’t on the OTA store is unclear.

  8. fatavatar says:

    Is the color used possibly the accent color chosen from the phone or is it blue no matter what accent color you use?

  9. gpsarakis says:

    I sorta expected when WP7 ships that the Zune software would get a major update and hit v5.0 finally. Could this maybe still be the case? and 4.7 be just for early dev use atm?

  10. mdtauk says:

    Have there been many changes for Zune HD users, and in the non phone parts of the software? Folder view pivot for music? etc…

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Nothing major. Two odd notes:

      1. The Zune HD doesn’t have a Back button. So the way you go “back” is to tap the top part of the screen instead, as you know. This doesn’t work on Windows Phone, which I’m reminded of again and again; I keep tapping the top of screen, even now.

      2. Some of the items in the various Zune interfaces have been reordered for some reason between Zune HD and WP. So on Zune HD, for example, the Music interface offers Playlists, Songs, Genres, Albums, and Artists, in that order. On Windows Phone, it’s Artists, Albums, Playlists, Genres, and Songs, in that order, instead. Why? Who knows.

      That’s about it off the top of my head.

      • mdtauk says:

        Sorry I wasn’t being clear, and I know you are tired :)

        I was talking about the Zune Desktop Software, not the Zune HD Firmware.

        I know the Desktop Zune software now has support for Windows Phone devices, but have there been any other changes made that would effect Zune HD users, or those who just use the Zune Software as a library manager and player?

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        Sorry… No, I don’t believe so.

  11. sk says:

    “apps for Windows Phone 7”

    Does that mean no apps for Zune HD?

  12. roberthleeii says:

    2 things:

    the first is trivial but important to me. how will i import my wp7 pictures to windows live photo gallery? right now i import them from my iphone or camera memory stick directly to my photos. i like the way i have it set up to name the folder and photos.

    second any info on a wp7 based zune HD?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      You can’t import photos from WP7 to anything other than Zune. Obviously, they’ll show up in Windows Live Photo Gallery, and from there you can add tags and edit them in other ways. I do wish there was a way for this to work; I’d prefer to import with WLPG as well.

  13. pjcolmer says:

    Hi Paul

    I don’t have a Zune so my apologies if my question relates to functionality that already exists and isn’t new to WP7.

    Does the Zune software support transcoding WTV recordings from Media Center over to WP7 or, indeed, is WP7 capable of playing WTV recordings directly?



  14. pjcolmer says:


    Yes, I did know about the contest but MS have given them a nice big get-out clause by stipulating that they could choose any of the top 150 apps in the contest as the one to develop.

    In this regard, however, I was more interested in the offline ability of WP7 to play WTV files rather than its potential use as an extender – although I am very interested in that potential functionality as well but that really is blue sky for the future.

    It was good, though, to see how many people identified with the possibilities offered by using WP7 with WMC!


    • Paul Thurrott says:

      You know, I have in fact copied the Windows 7 same video, Landscapes, to the phone. This is a WTV file.

      • jkimrey says:

        Philip – understood. It’s really amazing how nice WMC has become, even though it seems like there is a very limited audience currently using it. I hope MS continues to support and enhance it.

        Paul – did the Zune software convert the WTV file to put on the phone, or was it the native WTV file playing on the phone? Regardless, I guess you’d probably want to convert the file to something smaller due to storage limitations on the phone, right? (8 gb wasn’t it?)

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        No idea. :)

        I assume it’s converted since WTV files can be quite big.

  15. Chris Patterson says:

    I think the reason you sync pictures through the Zune software is so they can take advantage of the WiFi sync capabilities.

    While it would be ideal to have the ability to do both the standard image acquisition and the WiFi sync, I can see it being nice that all I have to due is plug my WP7 into a charger at night and all of my full resolution photos are automatically transfered to my PC.

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  18. steveymacjr says:

    Paul you were mentioned on the ZuneInsider Podcast#78! What’s cool is the guy who did the work on the Zune Software that you posted in the screen shots actually hosts the show and he was stoked that you liked it!
    I don’t know if it would be possible but it could be cool if you could get him on your podcast! I really like knowing from the devs themselves why they made the decisions they did with the software, just geeky that way.

    BTW i learned from this ZuneInsider epi that they named it Zune 4.7 because it’s the Zune software 4 windows phone 7, i just think thats cool…

  19. zero0000 says:

    so will there be more apps for the zune hd and will the apps on windows 7 also work on the zune hd

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Zune HD apps can’t run on Windows Phone and vice versa.

      I don’t know about the future of Zune HD, but I’d imagine it’s limited unless Microsoft opts to create a new Zune HD version that is based on Windows Phone (and is thus Microsoft’s version of the iPod touch). Of course, that wouldn’t help existing Zune HD users.

  20. adamucf says:

    So this isn’t so much about Zune 4.7 but about the Zune capabilities of WP7. If I plug the phone into a device that recognizes Zunes, will it be able to play audio? For example, cars with USB ports and docks that work with Zune. I’ve got a GM car with the “PDIM” which supports the current Zunes and I’m wondering if it will work with the phones.

  21. internetwjm says:

    Hi Paul,

    are there any additions to the zune software in terms of marketplace content? In the podcast you said that Microsoft is somewhat behind contentwise. Any chance of disney, pixar, dreamworks and other content providers to get in on zune?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      They’re not going to all over the air access to video content, at least at first.

      On the PC… No evidence of that, but the overall content on Zune really has improved over time.

  22. kytepheonix says:

    This is probably un-related in every way, but will this new software address the zune’s slight inability to play m4a podcasts and videos?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      I haven’t seen any huge functional changes but with regards to those specifically, not that I’m aware of.

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