Zune Wireless Sync in Windows Server 2003

This is probably irrelevant to 99% of the population, but on the off chance that anyone else out there is trying to get their Zune to do wireless (wifi) sync with their Windows 2003 machine, this post will help you do just that.

Step 1 – Enable UPnP on Windows Server 2003

First thing that we need is to enable UPnP services on Windows Server 2003 since one of the Zune services depends on it. Fortunately, Alan Robinson has written a guide on doing just that. It’s fairly straight forward – just make sure to read the instructions closely. Also see the comments for some clarification on creating the registry entries. I grabbed all the necessary DLLs from the Windows XP SP3 network install package and the XML files from an existing Windows XP install on another machine.

Step 2 – Install the Zune software

Not complicated, done in the same way as installing most XP-specific software. Just extract the files from the setup package (i.e. instead of running it) and run the packageZune-x86.msi from the extracted files. FYI I use WinRAR and it does a great job of extracting the setup packages. If you need more specifics, there’s a comprehensive post on Rafael’s blog. Don’t delete the extracted files just yet, you’ll need them in the next step.

Step 3 – Install the Zune Bus Enumerator driver and service

Okay here’s where it gets a bit tricky. For whatever reason, the drivers for the “Zune Bus Enumerator” device and service do not get installed during the course of the Zune software installation in step 2. So, you’ll have to do it manually.

To get at the driver files, you’ll have to extract that Zune-x86.msi file that you used to install the Zune software in step 2. For that you’ll need a program capable of extracting MSI files. I’m sure there are several out there, but Universal Extractor is the best in my opinion – just right-click the .msi file and choose “UniExtract to SubDir”.

Among the files extracted from the Zune-x86.msi package should be? the folder ZuneDriversZuneBusEnum. The INF in there contains the driver definitions we need to install. To install this hardware, you need to use Control Panel > Add Hardware. The wizard will do a search for new hardware and should find nothing (if it does find something, you’ll have to install whatever it finds and re-run it). When prompted if you have already connected the hardware, choose the “Yes, I have already connected the hardware” option. Next, select the “Add new hardware device” option. Choose the “manual selection (Advanced)” option, then “Show all devices”, then finally you can click the “Have Disk…” button. Browse to that ZuneBusEnum folder that you just extracted and choose the Zumbus.inf file.

In the hardware list, you’ll see 2 devices: Zune Bus Root Bus Enumerator and Zune Bus Enumerator. You are going to install the Zune Bus Root Bus Enumerator ONLY for now. After you’ve installed the device, you should probably reboot.

OK, almost done. You’ll now need to install the Zune Bus Enumerator service. In order to do that, you’ll need a program that can install Windows services. The easiest way is to get a hold of the Srvinstw.exe tool from the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit. For conveneince you can grab it here (while it lasts): srvinstw.exe.

First, copy the service executable, ZuneBusEnum.exe, to the C:WindowsSystem32 directory. You’ll find ZuneBusEnum.exe in the directory where you extracted the Zune-x86.msi package to. Now run srvinstw.exe and choose to install a service on the Local Machine. For the service name, enter “Zune Bus Enumerator Service”. On the next step, browse to C:WindowsSystem32 and choose the ZuneBusEnum.exe as the executable. Next, leave “Service is it’s own process” selected. Next, leave “System Account” selected and “Allow service to interact with desktop” unchecked. Finally, leave the startup type as “Automatic”.

Now that the service is installed, go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services and start the newly created Zune Bus Enumerator Service. As soon as you do that, you should get a prompt to install the Zune Bus Enumerator device. Remember when you installed the “root bus enumerator”? Well the driver for this device is in that same INF. So use the advanced option, and specify that ZuneDriversZuneBusEnum folder that you extracted from the Zune-x86.msi package as the search location for the driver. Windows should find it right away and install the driver.

That’s it for installation – finally! Now make sure that all of the necessary services are running. Check that ALL of these are started, and you’ll probably want to double check that their startup types are all “Automatic”:

  • SSDP Discovery Service
  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host
  • Zune Bus Enumerator Service
  • Zune Network Sharing Service


Now, when you first try to do a wireless sync you should get an Add Hardware prompt for a Zune wireless device, or something like that. Just choose the automatic installation option and it should be installed without further action required on your part. With any kind of luck the Zune software will open shortly and you’ll be on your way!

Step 4 – Something’s not working!

Okay, if for some reason something went wrong along the way and something isn’t working properly – a service not starting, etc. – then you may be missing some required files. I haven’t confirmed if these are necessary so if you discover anything on the topic let me know in the comments.

What you need to do is use the handy Zune Device Sync Diagnostic Tool to establish what files are missing. Go to the “Report” tab, and check under the “Files” section for any files that are labeled as missing. Chances are the file you are missing is wlanapi.dll. This file is only included with XP, so you’ll need to grab it from there somehow. Either do so from an existing XP install, or grab it from the XP SP3 network install package (in case you’ve forgotten, you can do so by extracting the SP3 exe and running “expand -r wlanapi.dl_” from the command line in the appropriate directory). Copy that wlanapi.dll file to C:WindowsSystem32 and you should be golden.

Enjoy the full Zune experience on Window Server 2003!


  1. Peter

    July 4, 2008 at 12:27 am

    When did you get a Zune? Supposedly there’s one in the mail that I get to review. Maybe you can give me the pre-review review.


  2. […] Zune Wireless Sync in Windows Server 2003 […]


  3. Derek

    July 4, 2008 at 8:19 am


    I got mine at Future Shop… and just the 4GB version.

    In short: I like it. I find the UI really intuitive and all the functions are easily accessible. The touchpad control is a great addition and really speeds up navigation. Initially i found it a bit to easy to accidently activate the touchpad, but you get used to it – and the “Hold” button is conveninently placed.

    As far as the physical size, it’s perfect as far as I’m concerned. And the player feels very solidly built… No cheap plastic – something I hated about the Creative player I had (briefly). The screen is on the small side, but still easy to read from a distance and looks great. Gets a little washed out in direct sunlight, but still readable. Also the included headphones are fantastic (for my ears, anyway) – really comfortable, stay in great and look good.

    I’m not an audiophile, but it sounds great to me. Really clean sound and crisp through all the frequencies. The FM radio (which I use a lot) also sounds great and the reception seems to be pretty good.

    I have two complaints: One is that the USB connector is proprietary – mini USB would have been nice. The second is that it doesn’t do USB mass storage. In other words, the only way to get songs on the device is via the Zune software. That will of course be a deal breaker for some people, fortunately for me I use Windows and I happen to really like the Zune software – organizing and finding music is really slick.

    Other notes:
    – Wireless sync is a useful addition – I intend on using it to automatically sync with some podcasts that I listen to in the morning before I leave home.
    – I question how useful the “social” funtionality is… not sure how many other people out there are walking around with their Zune’s wifi turned on.
    – Haven’t looked into the Zune marketplace much, although it looks like they have a decent selection and the Zune Pass subscription service sounds interesting.


  4. ZoonerBooner

    July 4, 2008 at 1:18 pm




    THANK YOU!!!


  5. pink

    October 4, 2008 at 3:13 am


    thanks 4 nice tutorial

    have you tried wireless sync on windows 2008 server standard ?

    i have tried doing all from your description but wireless sync doesn’t work
    wireless sync stopped working at “connecting to pc”
    zune has static ip
    ssdp showing me some announcements…
    from files tab i dont have only zuneusbConnection.dll
    I think that it isn’t important
    usb sync works good

    I got stuck.


  6. Derek

    November 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I haven’t tried it on Windows 2008, so no, sorry.

    Worse news: I so far haven’t been able to get wireless sync to work with the new Zune 3.0 software on Windows 2003. Something has changed, just not sure what yet.

    If anyone know a solution, feel free to share!


  7. Brad

    November 19, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for this guide, Derek. It proved highly relevant to me. 😉

    On point of note: Be sure to save the install package! You’ll need it to upgrade the Zune software when a new version comes out.

    I tried to upgrade to version 3.1 and had to uninstall the previous version first. Unfortunately, Add/Remove programs does not work because the uninstaller fails the OS version check.

    You need to uninstall old version using the MSI you used to install it.


  8. Rob

    November 22, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. No wireless sync was a real deal killer for me. My entire house works off one repository of music hosted on my server. Then we all have laptop, no desktops at all in my house. So to host zune on your laptop meant the laptop had to be powered on to sync.

    Thank you again.


  9. dave

    January 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Dereck –

    Thanks for the awesome guide. I’m working with WHS (HP MediaSmart Server) and Zune 3.1.

    I followed your guide and everything seems to be as you suggested, however, I cannot seem to wirelessly connect to my pc from the zune, network connectivity is working.

    Using the Zune Diagnostics SW, I see it’s looking for a diff USB driver (looks like it’s been updated with a different name, and USB syncing does work) and I did copy the wlanapi DLL over, but on the system report, it says the wlanapi is unavailable (the file check for it passes – do i need to register it or anything?).

    Have you had any success with the new 3.1 software?


  10. dave

    January 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I found out a couple things for me. The drivers from the extracted MSI didn’t get copied over to c:program fileszunedrivers.

    also, some of the dll’s, notably the ip one for the zune didn’t make their way into the windowssystem32 directory. i had to manually copy them over.

    I also had to manually update the drivers for the wireless zune ‘device’ when you first try to connect to the pc. I discovered this by watching the device manager and an unknown device showed up when i’d try to connect.

    i updated the drivers for the unknown device, and it was recognized as zune wireless.

    after that, things started to sync.


  11. Mike Powell

    April 13, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    You’re a lifesaver! Thank you so much for posting this — I’ve now got the Zune software installed *with* wireless sync working on my WHS box. For what it’s worth, I didn’t have any issues with the Zune 3.0 software; maybe WHS installs some prereqs that aren’t present in a regular Server 2003 install.


  12. Mike Powell

    April 13, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Sorry, said 3.0 but meant 3.1.


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