This paradoxical behavior is a sign of a huge file allocation table, and a busy processor.
Note that this issue is most prevalent with secure WMA files, and tracks longer than about 7-8 minutes?
Backup your music, and format the Sansa using the device’s resident format command: Settings > System Settings > Format > Yes. Indeed, this will erase all media from the device, and you will need to reload your music. The tradeoff is that you will have a proper File Allocation Table with the optimum 32KB cluster size.
What’s happening is that the Sansa’s processor is busy hunting for your music file, looking at teeny 4KB clusters. Windows has a nasty habit of using 4KB clusters, which don’t work too well with your application. With an 8GB player, we are talking about a gihugic FAT.
The objective here is to play music for the longest time possible. The Sansa is great at conserving power by running the processor in its most efficient mode. Decoding secure WMA is tricky, and I noticed this behavior with longer tracks. When you toggle the display ON, the processor responds to your command and resumes redrawing the screen. It drops the power saving priority, and goes to work. It also continues decoding your audio track, but can do so running at a higher speed, hence no more click-click-click.
With flash memory, we “pepper” the data across a wide area, rather than in a sequential arrangement, as in a hard drive. This is because of the nature of the rotating media: fastest access is accomplished by arranging the data in streams. This isn’t necessary with NAND flash memory, as we have no rotating parts. Using a wide area of the memory device optimizes tha life of the memory. Think of that old cassette in a phone answering machine, for those of you who worked with one- the repeated use of the beginning section of the tape gnarled that tape in short order!
It’s the FAT that tells the device where to look for your next cluster of data. A huge FAT means a bigger task of locating your track.
Once you format in FAT32 with the cluster allocation at 32KB, your skipping will be a thing of the past.
For those who have updated to the latest firmware, it’s a good idea to use the format function, at least once, to allow the Fuze to redefine the database size anyway, giving you an 8000-track capability.