Let’s see if I can detail the several different issues that are at play. I’ll try tackling them separately, since you are experiencing a “perfect storm” of issues. Hopefully, I can help make it simple enough…
Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple.
First, Rhapsody has gone through some big changes after breaking away from Real Networks. They’ve branched off, hopefully for the better. From what I’ve seen, it’s been good overall.
The Rhapsody servers have been streamlined in order to make access faster. One of these changes has been dropping the RAX format audio from them. Personally, in this age of faster and better servers, I would have preferred of they had kept RAX, but there is a limited number of devices that support it, the primary device being the special Rhapsody e200 series. Rhapsody unveiled the RhapPFS platform a few years ago which is used on all Sansas today as a replacement. If you authorize a Fuse or Clip, for example, it “morphs” into a device that blends wonderfully with the service, and the Rhapsody Channels function appears in the main menu automatically.
As you may have guessed by the name, the PFS part refers to the Plays For Sure or MTP mode on your device. On the R Sansa, select Plays For Sure for Rhapsody use.
Okay, now for the multiple quirks you may be experiencing. I’ll first list the issues together:
- MTP mode on your PC is driven by Windows Media Player 10 and later. This must be installed for the capability, though Windows Media Player does not need to be used to manage your device.
- The e200 cannot communicate in more than one USB mode at a time. Your original Rhapsody tracks, transferred in Rhapsody Mode (MSC) cannot be seen from the PC when in Plays For Sure (MTP) mode.
- When looking at the device using Windows Explorer, the Music folder on the device is hidden by default. This further complicates things.
- If you have selected Cache a File on the PC (or similar wording) in Rhapsody, you will have RAX format audio files on the computer. If you transfer these to the device, they will no longer play. This is why new tracks transferred from the Music Guide section will play, since they are in Windows Media Audio format.
- Your earlier cached versions should be replaced with the current format, and they will then play. If you pull a file from My Library, and the version was RAX, the “local” (on the computer) version is sent directly to the player, but not the new version.
If you have a large number of Rhapsody tracks on your PC, and these original versions are in RAX format, the client will transfer your old version of the track from the PC’s hard drive to the Sansa. This will happen if you are in the My Library section. Here’s the tricky part, there are two versions of your library, a virtual one on the server available via the internet, and a second one on your hard drive. What you need to do is delete the RAX format files from your PC, and then continue along using the new format.
This is a little weird, and seems a little scary to go in there and delete everything. You’re only deleting the cached copies of the Rhapsody tracks from the PC. Opening Rhapsody and going back on line afterwards, when you select My Library, the online version will reappear, and all of your favorites will still be there. Just what happens in the background changes. Rhapsody will send a new version of the track over to you from the server rather than the old version that was residing on your hard drive.
The concept of a “library” isn’t unique to Rhapsody, Windows Media Player does the same thing if you have multiple clients and formats in use. The “library” is nothing more than an index that the player uses, sourced names of files stored in various locations on your hard drive. If you use iTunes for example, or an RSS feed of podcasts, or you have photos from a camera or saved from the internet, these can all appear seamlessly in Windows Media Player or even in the Rhapsody client, but the original files aren’t actually “in” Rhapsody or Windows Media Player. They are stored in separate folders, and the client simply makes references to them.
In Rhapsody, I’ll show you where the tricky part is hiding. Go to Tools (at the top of the screen), then select Preferences. Under General (the first tab), you will see a box at the center of the window. File Locations is the center box. This is the location of the Rhapsody music files.
Please bear with me for a moment, as I’m having a little fun looking into the best way for you to solve this puzzle. I have Rhapsody open, WiMP (version 12), Windows Explorer, and quite a few other things running along, like IE9 plus Google Chrome with several pages each. Currently, something amusing and interesting is going on, and I can’t help but smile. It’s a flashback from my past. Nothing is cooler than the memories of a cool, climate controlled computer room, the smell of warm Bakelite, and the whirring sound of one-inch magnetic tape drives performing a search. Very geeky, I agree, but I have a pocket sized version of that running here. Amazing.
Okay, here’s the result. Depending upon your operating system, you can search for all files with the extension .rax and delete them. That’s the simplest way to go. The Rhapsody client will “fix” the missing files issue the next time you “transfer them from My Library”. What it actually will do is this: as you select My Library, and select to transfer the file to the Sansa, the client will download a new wma format file for you, and if you made no changes in Preferences, it will cache a new version of the file.
Back to the Rhapsody client. Let’s have a look at your settings, and I’ll show you the tricky part.
It’s Tools > Preferences, then select the My Library tab. Starting from the top, notice the second box in the list. This is the same situation as in Windows Media Player. See the option _Remove files from hard drive when deleting from My Library? _I prefer to leave this option unchecked. This way, the file is still there, and you are the one who decides whether to keep it.
Now the Crown Jewels of our problem are next. Have a look at the Add To My Library options box. You probably have that first box checked, “download tracks to my hard drive…enables offline listening”. You can still stick with this option of you prefer, though I like to save hard drive space (for many reasons), and selected the second option, to simply stream the files online.
Look at the next boxes. Here we are. Real Audio format. I love the format, but it’s gone the way of the dodo. Select WMA , the last option, to be safe. This will bypass the Rhapsody client trying to do anything silly, like choose a remnant file in RAX, you never know.
Back to the e200 device. You mentioned that is lists differently when shown in Rhapsody. This is a good thing, most likely confirming that MTP mode is working fine, so we don;t need t worry about that. Now here are the quirks.
- The e200 series Rhapsody uses different firmware optimized for Rhapsody. It will work fine In Plays For Sure Mode.
- In PFS mode, the only thing you’ll be missing from Rhapsody is the Rhapsody Channels function. This did not work on the basic e200 v1 series either, hence the Rhapsody version. The later v2 versions are RhapPFS devices that do support Channels. So are all later Sansas if you like this feature.
- The v1s do a goofball thing that was never fixed: the Music folder’s attributes are set to hidden by default. On your PC, using Windows Explorer, when looking at the Sansa’s Internal Memory (you will see this new option since you are now in MTP / Plays For Sure mode), go to the top of the screen and change the Folder View options to display hidden files and your computer will then remember this choice.
- All earlier Sansas except the Fuze+ have a USB controller that only allows you to see files in one USB mode at a time. Guess what! The music on your device will be invisible from the PC but will still be on the device. Note that the new wma format files are indeed visible.
- The e200 version-1 and Rhapsody players DO NOT have a “delete track” function on the player (all of the later versions do), so you must delete the old files via the computer.
- You can delete the old Rhapsody RAX tracks from the device of you select, on the player: Settings > USB Mode > Rhapsody and then plug in. Remember, this is MSC mode. After deleting, unplug and go back to Plays For Sure mode for Rhapsody use with the new format (wma).
Holy moly, I hope this makes things a little clearer. Please feel free to post any questions you may have, and we can tackle it one bit at a time.