My problem was because of my own stupidity, but I did manage to get some good out of the experience and thought I’d share it here.
Since the Clip only works with PCs, I wondered what would happen if I plugged it into a Mac. Obviously, there were some read/write issues and in the Mac’s attempts to make some sense of the data on the Clip, it did some weird things to the directory. It also bricked my Clip. When I would turn it on, the welcome screen would remain displayed. I plugged it into a PC, and though it would connect with the PC it couldn’t fix itself or be recognized as an external device.
I called the customer service number a couple of times, and got many responses, from “mail it in to get it returned” to “wait for the firmware update coming out”.
Someone there told me to do this with the frozen Clip, and it worked like a charm:
Before plugging it into a PC, put the Clip on “hold”, and press and hold the main select button. Then plug it into the PC. It’s an awkward motion but it finally got the device to be recognized by the PC.
Then, right click on the device under My Computer and format it.
The funny thing was, I lost all my loaded songs but my settings remained the same. I didn’t have to go back and reconfigure my equalizer, and the other settings were in tact as well. I can only guess that wiping the corrupted database made the firmware right itself.
Anyway, I hope this little trick can help others who receive similar problems, whether they be unfortunate or self-inflicted.