You’re pushing the limit with all those files, since the Fuze wasn’t initially made to handle such a big microSD card–they didn’t exist yet. But that’s a huge wait and you should definitely be able to streamline.
First, make sure you have copies of your music somewhere besides the 32GB card. Things in the album folders that your computer might love are not necessary or useful on the Fuze.
This is only a guess but the Fuze is probably struggling to read the tags–the electronic labels that name Artist, Album, Title, etc.-- as it loads each song. The Fuze was designed to work with Windows, and Mac and Windows have different ways of encoding things–even things as basic as the alphabet.
If you have a friend who can give you some time on a Windows machine–I have no idea how much, might be 10 minutes, might be an hour–then you could at least fix the alphabet. You’d have to install a free program and then uninstall it when you’re done–not a big deal.
The program is mp3tag. http://www.mp3tag.de/en/
Install mp3tag (Run the program you downloaded.) When you install, let it add itself to context menus (an option while installing).
Open mp3tag and in Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg make the Write option ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1. (That’s standard Windows encoding. Your Mac encodes the alphabet in UTF-8, and the tags are probably ID3v2.2, which the Fuze can read but doesn’t love.)
I’d suggest taking out the card, if that’s where all the music is, and putting it in a USB card reader–or an adapter if the computer has a slot–to work faster with the Windows machine.
Connect the card reader, open Computer or My Computer (depending on what version of Windows it is) and find the driveletter of the card, and click on that to open it. Continue to wherever the albums are if they’re in a Music folder or something like that.
I don’t know how many files mp3tag can handle at once, but you can probably do at least 10 albums at a time, maybe more.
Highlight a bunch of albums, right-click, choose mp3tag from the menu. It should list all the mp3s in the albums. Highlight them all. In the panel on the left, change Comments to <blank> from the drop-down menu. Some people put entire encyclopedias and pictures of their puppies in the Comments, and the Fuze can’t read them, but it tries.
Under File on the upper left, hit Save Tag. This will change the encoding on the tags to ISO-8859-1, more Fuze-friendly, and blank out the Comments. That should speed things up.
There may be another problem that would take more time to deal with. If the files have the cover art image imbedded in the tags, the Fuze is also trying to read each image as it loads the song. For this you’d have to go album by album. Right-click on an album folder, open it with mp3tag, and highlight a song. Does the cover art appear on the lower left? Dang. It’s imbedded.
The Fuze only needs the cover art in the album folder–not in every tag. Mp3tag can help with this too. Highlight the whole album (with luck the same image is imbedded in all the songs). Go to View and choose Extended Tags. On the right are three icons. The one that looks like a floppy disc, the middle one, will save the imbedded images from the tags as folder.xxx–hopefully it’s a jpg. The X below it will take the imbedded images out of the tags. It’s a slower process than Save, and if you care about cover art you’ll have to go album by album. Otherwise, of course, you could do a bunch of albums at a time and just hit the X.
And while you’re connected, you might as well look in the album folders generally. All the Fuze needs in a folder is .mp3s and, to display cover art, folder.jpg or album.jpg. Everything else is clutter and can be deleted.
When OSX rips albums, it adds a subfolder called MACOSX of finder files–0kb files that Mac OSX needs to find the actual mp3s. You might simply search the Fuze card for MACOSX and if any of those folders appear, delete them.
Anyway, after you’ve uncluttered the files as much as possible, go to Control Panel in Windows–search Help if you don’t know how to get there–and go to Add or Remove Programs or Programs and Features (depending on which Windows version) and uninstall Mp3tag.
And one more thing, which may require a little geekness. If you’re really uncomfortable with computers, don’t bother with this.
MTABLE.SYS is the database the Fuze uses to index the mp3s, and when you delete it, it will rebuild the database with your shiny new streamlined ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1 tags.
The Fuze should rebuild the database automatically when you put the card back in…but sometimes it doesn’t entirely finish the job. So it’s best to delete it and let the Fuze start from scratch.
Turn on the Fuze and turn the wheel to Settings. Go to System Settings/USB Mode and change it to MSC. Connect the Fuze to the Windows computer and open the Sansa Fuze driveletter (like F: SANSA FUZE). Look for MTABLE.SYS and delete it.
You might get a warning about deleting a system file. That’s because Windows operating system files are .SYS files and when Windows sees .SYS it gets nervous. But you’re not touching Windows–just the Fuze.
Don’t see MTABLE.SYS? Go to Windows Help and search “show hidden files” and follow the directions. Don’t forget to uncheck that when you’re done deleting MTABLE.SYS.
Unfortunately you are an innocent bystander in the battle between Apple and Windows.