Microsoft changed the Windows Media Player interface when WiMP12 debuted with Windows 7. WiMP11 has a similar function, found “hidden” as a little button at the bottom edge of the Sync tab.
In WiMP12, look for the little icon just below, and to the right of the tab. In either case, the function is called Set Up Sync.
Automatic synchronization can be both a blessing and a curse, as it allows WiMP to tinker with your files on the device in strange and amusing ways. It’s nice if you have regularly updated podcasts, as the latest ones are sent to the device, but let’s start with the set up part, as it can be a real pickle.
The first time set up is opened, using WiMP12 as an example, a mask pops up that lets you choose whether you’d like to clear the device and start fresh. There’s a list that pops up, in Windows fashion, with the choices of what types of media you’d like to have synchronized automatically. At the bottom of this list is the evil choice, “all media”. By all means, be sure to remove this one, unless you’d like everything including the kitchen sink sent to your sansa. The menu works backwards, so select the choice on the right and then click on “remove”.
The oddball choices like “tv shows from the last week with three stars” and such make little sense to me. Remove those ones too. Same thing for “all photos”, as this is indeed bizarre.
Tapeworm doesn’t like the auto sync, or WiMP either, for a logical reason. If you have mastered manually deciding what you’d like on the device, this is an easy task. I choose the middle road, using the Sync function manually without using the auto-sync option. Simply plug in, click the sync tab, and drag-and-drop what you’d like transferred over to the sync pane on the right. Of course, nothing will be sent over until you click on the Start Sync button- this omitted step might be why many folks wonder why there’s nothing on the Sansa after unplugging.
If you have a collection of devices, the Sync options make managing multiple devices very simple, since WiMP remembers your preferences for each individual device.
Ah, one final thought! Don’t worry if WiMP sent everything over to the device. Leave it plugged in (or plug in from scratch), select the Set Up Sync function, and remove all the choices you don’t want. Once you click on the Start Sync button, Windows Media Player will undo the mess it made on the first try automatically. Trying to correct the disaster manually does take some time, so it’s much better to let the media player fix the sync for you.