Frustration with Sansa Clip
April 1, 2012 7:26 PM   Subscribe

I can't get my music onto my Sansa Clip Zip.

I bought a Sanza Clip Zip on the recommendation of the green, and I'm ready to throw it in the trash and go buy an IPod. I can't get my music onto it.

Everything appeared to go well (USB setting is set to auto detect, I just dragged and dropped the files to the external card), but when I disconnected it and tried to play it, it showed the device as empty. I plugged it back into the computer and the folder was empty too, even though the space was used up.

So I formatted the internal memory and external card (through the menus in the player) and tried again with one test album. Disconnected, music was on the player, reconnected, it was showing up on the computer. So I then do all my music. I disconnect it, and it says it's refreshing my media library, but then it turns off. I turn it on and it does the same thing. When I finally manage to get it on, it has skipped over the media refresh part and the only thing on there is the test album. I plug it into my computer and again no files are showing up (not even the test album, not even the folders for music/books, etc.) but the space is being used.

I just installed the firmware a week or so ago since that's when I got it. Show hidden files and folders is checked in my settings. Music is a mixture of files from CDs and things obtained online from different sources.

I then tried to install RockBox thinking that would help but it always crashes at the step where it detects my player. (Before I can even install it.)

Seriously? I thought this thing was supposed to be easy to use. Thanks.
posted by unannihilated to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Are you just pulling out the USB cord when you disconnect or are you doing it via "Safely Remove Hardware" or the like? Sometimes if I don't follow proper procedure before disconnecting an MP3 player the stuff I put on it isn't there or won't play.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:41 PM on April 1, 2012

Perhaps a stupid question, but are you sure your music is in a compatible format? Is any of it DRM-protected WMA? FLAC?

I think there's something else going on, because the rockbox crash-at-detect thing is suspect.

What, if any application is your music library manager? Winamp always played well with my Sansas (Clip and Fuze).
posted by Sunburnt at 7:43 PM on April 1, 2012

Response by poster: Cowbell, I'm not because I don't see that option in the menu. When I right click it doesn't give me that option to safely eject like you get with a USB or similar. The detect new hardware message doesn't come up in the taskbar so I'm not able to do it that way either.
posted by unannihilated at 7:55 PM on April 1, 2012

Response by poster: sunburnt, mix of mp3 and mpeg4. It all plays fine on my IPod. The only thing I was using to manage music was ITunes.
posted by unannihilated at 8:02 PM on April 1, 2012

A couple of thoughts:

1. If it's in MTP mode, put it in MSC mode (should be in settings somewhere)
2. Maybe some of your music files are corrupted or in an unsupported format? Try reformatting and copying over only one basic mp3.
3. Seconding what cowbell says about ejecting safely. Unplugging unsafely can potentially corrupt the filesystem, which could explain the "space is used but it appears empty" problem and the crashing problem.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:19 PM on April 1, 2012

Where are you putting them on the Clip? On the "Clip Z" (which I just got and like less than the Clip and Clip+), I put mine in the "Podcasts" folder and they show up under "Books"->"Podcasts".
posted by straw at 8:45 PM on April 1, 2012

I suspect that what's happening is that the computer isn't handling the MP3 player properly, so that when you're disconnecting, it's not actually done closing out all the files. This could be caused by a couple things - the easiest one is that it has special drivers. It looks like the Sansa Clip Zip comes with a starter CD that may have drivers on it - this is probably a silly question but did you install the software off that CD? Sometimes, with MP3 players, I have lots of USB detection problems until I install their software (which I'm guessing comes with the correct drivers) although I would never use the upload software and just treat it like a USB drive. The other trick was that you had to make sure to install the driver before you plugged in the USB mp3 player, or you'd have to restart before installing.
posted by muddgirl at 8:51 PM on April 1, 2012

I got a Sansa Clip Zip a while back and ran in to a similar problem due to corrupted files. I had to do a tedious copy some files, unplug, let it refresh media, copy more files, repeat until I finally tracked down the bad files. My old media player had just quietly skipped over these files, but the Sansa just crashed when scanning them instead.
posted by ckape at 12:33 AM on April 2, 2012

I have a Sansa Clip, but not the Zip.
My flow goes like this:
I turn on the Clip
Plug Clip into USB port.
Clip appears on the desktop (I'm using a mac) like an external drive
I drag MP3's into the Music folder.
I right click to Eject the drive
It disappears from my desk top
I unplug the Clip
I see a message on the Clip that it's updating the database.
After that, I go to the Menu and I can see my new songs on the Clip.

Also, are you sure that your firmware for your Clip is up to date?
posted by THAT William Mize at 4:15 AM on April 2, 2012

Response by poster: 1. There is no way for me to safely eject. When I right click on it under Computer the only options I get are Explore, Open, Import Pictures, Create Shortcut, Rename, Properties. It shows up as a "Portable Device."
2. The CD I got with it wouldn't work, so I went to the website and installed the firmware instead. (The CD listed it as an alternative so I assume it was the same.) I just installed it a week ago from the website, so I'd say it's up to date.
3. It's in Auto Detect Mode. Some of the files were purchased from ITunes, and I thought I had to use MTP mode for those to work.

I have a sinking feeling that ckape's is the solution, in which case I'm pretty disappointed.
posted by unannihilated at 4:42 AM on April 2, 2012

Are you trying just to drag and drop music? I am sadly useless as to specifics, but my last MP3 player, I think because of the MTP/MSC thing, looked totally empty if you actually tried to look in the folders, everything *had* to be transferred using Media Player or something along those lines when it was MTP. No corrupted files or anything, it's just that the computer couldn't see it as a drive when it was in that mode. Have you tried managing it through a media player program instead of just through Explorer?
posted by gracedissolved at 5:30 AM on April 2, 2012

Response by poster: I haven't, Grace. I was just looking at Sansa's online help documentation and they mentioned doing it through ITunes so that was going to be my next step.
posted by unannihilated at 5:49 AM on April 2, 2012

I have a plus and MTP makes files invisible which I can see with MSC. I just avoid MTP and the problem goes away.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:12 AM on April 2, 2012

Response by poster: I thought I needed MTP to play certain files, though?
posted by unannihilated at 6:23 AM on April 2, 2012

You do need MTP for DRMed files, generally. So, right. That would be next step, I think, just using iTunes or whatever and seeing how that goes. It's a little weird to get used to using something like iTunes when you're used to drag-and-drop, but I'm pretty used to it now.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:37 AM on April 2, 2012

Response by poster: But from the documentation I was reading online it looked like you could only do your files in MTP or MSC but not both? I want all my files to work!
posted by unannihilated at 7:24 AM on April 2, 2012

I don't know how recent your iTunes purchases are, but they've been DRM-free for years now. MTP might be needed for DRM'd Windows Media files, but not for unprotected aac/mp4/m4a/mp3 files - so use MSC mode.
posted by unmake at 10:21 AM on April 2, 2012

Also, Rockbox will fail (as you say yours does) detecting your device if it is in MTP mode.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:20 AM on April 7, 2012

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