SanDisk Guru
Posts: 2,871
Registered: ‎08-14-2007

How to fix: Bad Track, Free 6 MB, Unknown Songs

I'm posting this again because the board reorganization hid the link here.  Not trying to be repetitive, but I think it's useful for a lot of people.

Bad files or bugs in the Sansa can corrupt files and make the unit go wacky.

For Bad Track or the message about 6 MB needed in database, run ChkDsk. Put the unit in MSC mode. (On E2xxR units, Rhapsody units, MSC is called Rhapsody Mode). Connect, find the driveletter (whatever it is...let's call it X:/Sansa E2xx) in My Computer.

Start/ Run / type: chkdsk X:/f  (X is the correct driveletter). Windows will check for corrupt files and ask you if you want to save the bad files (or chains). You don't need to.

Q: I put all these songs on my player and I can see them in My Computer, but they don't show up under Album or Artist or Song--and there are a lot of Unknown songs. What should I do?

A: The Sansa organizes its songs by ID3 tags: Information that is part of mp3 or wma files. For instance, the Sansa displays its Artist list from the ID3 tag for the artist--not from a folder name, filename, etc. Without tags, it classifies the files as Unknown.

Files that are purchased online usually have correct ID3 tags. Files that are ripped from your own CDs with WIndows Media Player or other ripping programs (iTunes, Media Monkey, Winamp, etc.) usually collect tags online as they are ripped. But if you are not online when ripping, or if you are making your own mp3 files from podcasts or other recordings, they will need tags.

Tag the files on your computer, not on the Sansa.  When you have updated the tags on the computer, delete the Sansa files with missing tags and copy the newly tagged files onto the Sansa.

To look at the tags in any file, on the computer, right-click the song and choose Properties, then the Summary tab and click
 Advanced.  If you need to add information, you can input the data such as Artist, Album, Song Title, Track
Number, Genre, and Year.

You can also change groups of tags at the same time. If you have a folder of songs from an album, drag them into Windows Media Player, go into Library view, highlight all the songs, right-click and with Advanced Tag Editor you can give them all the same Artist or Album Title at once. iTunes and Media Monkey have similar functions.

To do a lot of ID3 tagging, you can also get free software made especially for the job: mp3tag

NOTE: Files with unconventional tags--like foreign characters, characters that are not letters or numbers, or very long tags (Comments are often a culprit)--can confuse the Sansa and read as bad files. Check the tags in Properties and edit them if they look strange.

ALSO: Sometimes folders of mp3s come with extra files: .nfo, .sfv or .m3u files. Those can be deleted from the folder. .m3u files are playlist files that can cause trouble if badly written.

NOTE: The Sansa is looking for ID3v2 tags. If you see an option in your tagging software, make sure your tagging software is using ID3v2, not ID3v1.

Actually, it is looking for ID3v2.3. And just to mess things up further, it sometimes has trouble with ID3v2.4 . So if you have a choice between 2.3 and 2.4, make sure it is 2.3. If there's no choice, just see what happens.

Some people have had trouble with Unicode tags, another option in some programs (Linux), so un-check that one if you have problems.


Q. I put new tags on my files and transferred them over again.  But the Sansa still shows the same tags for the old songs! WTF!!!

A: You need to delete the database, the index that the Sansa has built from the ID3 tags. Once you delete the database--which has nothing to do with the files themselves--the Sansa will rebuild  a new database from the files it finds in the unit.

With E200v1 or E200R units, the database is the DATA folder within the System folder. It's a hidden folder--you'll have to Un-hide hidden folders in your computer.

With E200v2 units, the database is mtable.sys in the root directory: the driveletter itself. The Sansa shows up in Computer as X: Sansa E2xx.  Click to Explore that, and you should see mtable.sys.

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