If you have a Sansa Clip that will respond while connected, the “Properties” option is only available if the Clip is in MTP mode.
Have a look at the device in Windows Explorer (My Computer, or use [Windows key] + E). If the device shows up as a media player under Other , you can check charge status by right clicking on the device. If the Clip is in MSC mode , it will show up under Devices as a flash drive. Properties will not be available.
If the device goes dead once disconnected, there is a problem with the battery connection. Contact SanDisk technical support at 1-866-SANDISK for information regarding warranty replacement.
If communications under firmware version 1.01.11 is the issue, as MSC mode isn’t selectable on the device with the earliest firmware, all you need to do is update the firmwaer by following this thread: Firmware for Hardware Revision 1.0.
The battery in your Clip may have a broken connection.
The 8GB Clip has a different hardware layout. For this version, the 2.0 Revision thread is your choice.