I give up.
I bought a Sansa Clip+ three days ago, and am ready to shoot it.
Quick disclaimer: I am a software developer with 18 years of experience. I have owned numerous mp3
players over the years, including a Creative Zen, iPod & iPod Touch, and have used these with a variety
of PCs/Macs over the years, with various syncing software. None has been as unfriendly (or as unfinished?)
as the Clip+'s software.
I have a collection of 200+ “Teach yourself French” mp3s, which I wanted to be able to carry
around easily, but the lessons must (obviously) be played in a particular order, so Playlists are very
important to me.
Before buying the Clip+, I went onto SanDisk’s website, downloaded and read the instructions. I also
read the reviews on Amazon, and based on the glowing reviews, I bought an 8Gb Clip+.
I got it home, ran Windows Media Player 11, said that, yes, I would like to automatically sync
my Clip+ with WMP11. I selected a few Playlists, and dragged them to the Clip+ device. Clicked on the
Sync button, and, wonderful, WMP happily showed it syncing, file-by-file, playlist-by-playlist.
Afterwards, it showed that the Clip+ has just 5Gb free, rather than 7.3Gb, and I could use Explorer,
browse the device, and view my freshly synced mp3 files, sitting there on my Clip+. But the device
didn’t actually show any Playlists.
The only visible playlist was the default “goList” playlist. I spent ages trying to get the other PlayLists
showing, but failed miserably. The files were there, I could view the individual files on the device, but
it refused to show the playlists.
So, I thought perhaps I’d need to upgrade the firmware.
However, each time I’ve tried this (on two different XP machines), the SansaUpdater reports "Service
update is not available".
Even worse, this morning I connected my Clip+ to my laptop, but it didn’t show up (as a removable drive)
in Explorer. However, Task Manager showed a SansaUpdater.exe process running in the background
(but not shown anywhere on the taskbar or on the screen), and using up 50% of my CPU. Googling
this problem, it looks like I’m not alone with this issue.
Eventually, I manually stopped the process in Task Manager (after patiently waiting 10 minutes for it
to finish, or at least reduce it’s CPU useage), then re-connected my Clip+. Then, SansaUpdate ran
again, but this time on the screen, with the ill-thought-out slotRadio advert playing.
Once the video finished running, it went back to showing the helpful “Update Service is not Available”
Ah, but now that the S__ansaUpdater.exe process isn’t running, my Clip+ player is being shown in Explorer.
So it looks like SansaUpdater.exe was actually preventing the Clip+ from being recognised. Genius.
And yes, I have since realised that I can ignore SanDisk’s badly-written firmware-updating software,
and just update the firmware by drag’n’dropping the files from one of their .zip files. Assuming
the device is recognised, and that “SansaUpdater.exe” isn’t preventing it from being recognised,
Clip+ Firmware: http://www.actaeonlf.com/sandisk/Clip01.01.17.zip
Btw, after Googling this problem, I’ve followed suggestions from other users, I’ve gone into the
registry, and removed the “SansaDispatch” value from the “Run at startup” registry key, to prevent
this badly-written CPU-hogging software from running at startup. (Strange… I don’t remember giving
this software permission to run at startup…)
More research later, I found that the Clip+ doesn’t work properly with WMP11, unless you set the
USB mode to “MTP”:
Why the heck don’t the instructions tell us this in the WMP section of the user guide ?! Why is this
essential information “buried” in the forums ?
What really winds me up is that I READ the User Guide before buying this device. I followed the
instructions (which come complete with easy-to-use screenshots), but it doesn’t work. As far as I
can see, no one will be able to get the Clip+ working properly with WMP11 playlists without wasting
time searching through the (often quite technical) SanDisk forum articles first.
Oh, when you first use your Clip+, or you restore to factory settings, it sets the USB mode
as “MSC”, so by default, the Clip+ isn’t setup to work properly with WMP11.
I made this purchase on the large number of very positive reviews on Amazon.co.uk. I plan to
post my own review, describing SanDisk’s poor documentation and firmware-updating software, in
the next few days.
If any SanDisk employees would like to justify why I’ve had to waste so much time getting this
mp3 player up and going, I’d love to hear from them.
I’m also confused about this whole “MSC” USB mode. So, if you haven’t got this USB mode
turned on, WMP can correctly sync the mp3 files to a device, but can’t create the Playlists ?
Is this true ?
Apparently, “MSC” mode only works for MP3 files and WMA files without DRM copy protection",
and you need to use “MTP” if your files DO have copy protection.
Problem is, none of my mp3 files have any copy-protection on them. And it doesn’t explain why the
mp3 files get synchronised (and can be played), but the PlayList details don’t…
I thought Windows Media Player 11 is supposed to simplify the whole syncing process…?
Message Edited by UncleMikeUk on 06-14-2010 04:50 AM