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Troubleshooting SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player Problems

Updated on December 10, 2014
Max Dalton profile image

Max holds a BS in Mass Communications from SIU and an MA in Communication from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.

Common SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player problems include:

  • Sansa Clip Zip doesn't turn on or is not recognized by a computer.
  • Selected song or podcast doesn't play.
  • The device freezes.
  • Artist and album information don't appear for the selected song.

Most problems with audio files can be resolved by ensuring that the file you're attempting to play is supported by the player and by entering the correct metadata for the audio file. System problems can often be resolved by putting the device into mass storage class (MSC) mode, uninstalling and reinstalling the device's drivers, and forcing the device to shut down and then rebooting it. If you're experiencing SanDisk MP3 player problems on a regular basis, ensure the Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player's firmware is updated.

The SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player offers 4 GB of storage space and features a built-in FM radio receiver.
The SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player offers 4 GB of storage space and features a built-in FM radio receiver. | Source

Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player Won't Turn On

If your Sansa Clip Zip's battery became completely drained while the device was frozen or locked, the device likely won't power on when you connect it to a computer. To solve this problem, you'll need to put the device in mass storage class (MSC) mode while connecting it to the computer for the computer to recognize it.

You can put your device in MSC mode while connecting it to the computer by doing the following:

  1. Hold the center button down on the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player.
  2. While holding the center button down, connect the device to your computer using the USB cable that came with the device. The device should turn on shortly after being connected to the computer.
  3. Leave the device connected to the computer to charge before disconnecting it again.

The only difference between MSC mode and the standard mode is that when you connect the device to your computer when it's in standard mode, it displays under Portable Devices in Windows Explorer. When you connect your device to your computer in MSC mode, it's displayed under Devices With Removable Storage. Upon disconnecting your MP3 player from your computer it will no longer be in MSC mode.

Computer Doesn't Recognize SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player

If your computer isn't recognizing your device, first try putting the device in MSC mode as outlined above. If that doesn't work, try checking the device drivers by doing the following:

  1. Reconnect the MP3 player to your computer using the USB cable.
  2. In Windows, open the Start menu and right-click "Computer."
  3. Click "Manage" to open the Computer Management window.
  4. Click the expansion box to the left of System Tools and then click "Device Manager." The Device Manager appears on the right half of the program window.
  5. Click the expansion boxes to the left of Portable Devices and USB Mass Storage. Your device will be listed under one of these options.

If there is a yellow exclamation point next to your MP3 player's name, then there is a problem with the device's driver. The driver needs to be uninstalled and then reinstalled. To do so:

  1. Right-click the name of your MP3 player and then click "Uninstall." The device's driver is now uninstalled.
  2. Click "Action" along the top of the program window and then click "Scan for Hardware Changes." The computer will detect your device and reinstall your drivers. If you experience this problem on a regular basis, try updating the MP3 player's firmware as outlined in the Update SanDisk Clip Zip Firmware section.

Selected Song Won't Play

If a song won't play on your Sansa Zip Clip, double-check the following:

  1. Check the file format. The SanDisk Sansa Zip Clip only supports audio files in the WMA, MP3, secure WMA, WAV and Audible formats. You may be able to load an audio file that isn't in a supported format to your MP3 player, but it won't play when you select it.
  2. If your audio file type is supported by the player and it still won't play, you may not have permission to play the audio file on the device. For example, MP3 files purchased through iTunes are only capable of being played on five devices. As a result, if you purchased a file on iTunes, loaded it to five other devices and then tried to play that file on your Sansa Clip Zip, the file won't play and it will automatically skip to the next track.

Sansa Clip Zip is Frozen or Locked

If your SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player is frozen or locked, perform a hard reset to unfreeze it. The power button is located in the middle of the left edge of the MP3 player. You can perform a hard reset by pushing the power button up and holding it in place for at least 15 seconds.

Performing a hard reset forces any programs that were open to close and forces the entire device to shut down. Wait a few seconds and then reboot your device, which should now operate without locking up, at least for a while.

Why Won't My SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip Play Podcasts?

The MP3 player does play podcasts, but the podcasts you load to the device have to be in one of the supported audio formats: WMA, MP3, secure WMA, WAV or Audible. There are a variety of free audio converters available online that will convert most non-supported file types to a supported file type, such as Any Audio Converter.

Sansa Clip Zip File Listed as Unknown Album and Artist

This problem is a result of the metadata for that particular audio file not being filled in, which is common in songs acquired through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Generally, if you purchase an MP3 online or if you rip one of your personal CDs, the metadata will be filled in automatically. You can input metadata on your own by doing the following:

  1. Right-click the audio file you want to enter metadata for to open a context menu.
  2. Click "Properties."
  3. Select the "Summary" tab.
  4. Click "Advanced" beneath the Comments box. Various metadata fields will be displayed, such as Artist, Album, Year, and Genre. Click any of these files and input the data you want to be entered for that particular audio file.
  5. Click "Apply" and then "OK" after making your changes to save your file. You'll have to remove the existing audio file for that song from the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player and load the newly saved audio file to see the changes.

How to Update SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip Firmware

Most other problems with the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player can be resolved by updating the device's firmware. Updating the firmware adds functionality to your device and also addresses problems discovered in your device since the last firmware update release. You can update your device's firmware by doing the following:

  1. Download and install the Sansa Firmware Updater program on your computer.

  2. Plug the larger end of the USB cable that came with the device into the computer and then connect the other end of the cable to the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip.
  3. Click "All Programs," "SanDisk," "Sansa Updater," and then "Sansa Updater" again. The Sansa Firmware Updater program will launch. If a firmware update is available, it will be listed beneath Downloads.
  4. Click to check the box to the left of Firmware and then click the "Download Now" button at the bottom-right corner of the program. A blue progress bar will appear beneath Firmware, displaying the progress of the download.
  5. Click the "Finish" button after a screen appears confirming that the firmware has finished downloading.
  6. Unplug the USB cable connecting your SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player to the computer. A message will appear on the screen saying that a firmware update is currently occurring. When the firmware update is finished installing itself, the device will shut itself down.
  7. Restart your SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player and continue using the device as you normally would.

When do you listen to your MP3 player most?

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© 2012 Max Dalton

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    • profile image

      Ray 8 weeks ago

      when i try to skip a track it freezes ,I have rebooted it but it still does the same !!!

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 3 months ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Alm,

      It won't turn on or your computer won't recognize it? If the computer won't recognize it you may want to try a different cable.

      Max

    • profile image

      alm260 3 months ago

      I've done everything this page has suggested and my computer will still not recognize my sansa clip player. The player won't come on at all.

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 6 months ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      You may have to reformat it.

    • profile image

      help please 6 months ago

      just says transferring. screen stays lit screen and displays transferring seems frozen. help please

    • profile image

      Karina 12 months ago

      My MP3 player works just the screen won't light up and show anything. How do I fix it?

    • profile image

      roz 14 months ago

      I have transferred mp3 files to Sansa Zip. When I look at internal memory of Zip, they show up and can be played via PC. However, when I disconnect Zip from PC, they do not show under Music or any other category on Zip and cannot be played.

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 14 months ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Does it even turn on? Does it work when connected to AC power?

    • profile image

      Roxie 14 months ago

      use just for radio when walking. is fully charged but when I turn it on nothing happens

    • profile image

      BoB B 18 months ago

      Mine is stuck at refreshing your media even after taking out the SD card. PC and Sansa Updater wont recognize and there are no driver issues. I have tried the reset of the power button and power button + menu button. No matter what I do, the refreshing media screen always appears upon turning on or plugging in to PC. I cannot reformat or anything.

    • profile image

      Mike 22 months ago

      Sandisk Clipsport seems in lockdown. Early symptoms were Playlist 1 locking up on save to. Now opens to "File System Error. Restart the device or format to recovery" Can you help?

    • profile image

      Bill Pollak 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi:

      I just got a SanDisk Sport MP3 player. I plugged it in to power adapter and then computer. All I see on the screen is "SanDisk". Is this normal? what is my next step. Please help. Bill

    • profile image

      Gary 2 years ago

      I got a sansa sandisc clip 4 g. & it want power up it will when u plug it in to a power sourse but when u unplug it nothing what is the problem

    • profile image

      Ryan 2 years ago

      I have a problem where my Sansa will freeze at certain points during certain songs and I'll have to do a hard reset as described above. The problem is that from that point on it will always freeze at that point in that song and it just pops up in new songs seemingly at random. Did I get a bad mp3 player or is this a bug that can be fixed?

    • profile image

      nives 2 years ago

      Hi there!

      Can you check out something and probably help? My sansa clip erased on its own everything what was on it...and it says there is only 350MB left of space....but 0 files.... is there any way to get files back? I am travelling right now and I can't load files back from computer...

      Thank you!

      Nives

    • profile image

      Bill 2 years ago

      I am trying to download firmware, but it keeps telling me the download failed "try again later". The problem I am having that made search for firmware is: I am no longer able to sync songs to it using Windows Media Player (on either of my computers).

    • profile image

      SoniaS 2 years ago

      Thank you . It worked!! I know have an Mp3 player instead of a little brick.

    • profile image

      everyman123456 3 years ago

      I realize the hour is late here, but I found a solution to the green screen issue during bootup. If you were smart about it, you have a local copy of your music on your laptop in roughly the same layout as your device folders, as I did. If you are lucky like me, connecting the device to the computer results in the screen coming up to show a connection but no text appears on any screen. What worked for me: 1) Format the drive (blow away everything), then 2) manually reinstall the firmware. Basically, this resets it to factory spec. You can then recopy the music and such back into the correct folders and get back to rocking... Link for manual firmware install is here: http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/300 (see method 2), the determination of the fix was from earlier post here: http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/34/s... Play on!

    • profile image

      kara 3 years ago

      I purchased the sansa clip zip from Amazon for a Christmas gift. After a couple days of use it wouldn't turn on. So I sent it back. The New one worked well for 4 days and now the screen is so dark you can barely see. I've changed the brightness and everything. Is there anything I can do before I send this one back to and go to a different band of player?

    • profile image

      krishna 4 years ago

      I recently purchased Sandisk ClipZip from ebay and after a couple of days, it is frozen. When I press the power button, nothing is displayed except green screen. It is not even detected by computer. Is there any option to make this working?

    • profile image

      sonia 4 years ago

      hi max

      thanks for the clear and detailed instructions...i'm also stuck at the "refreshing your media" screen...

      i don't understand your instructions to load batches of files. does that mean fewer songs at a time? i'm a newbie in general

      i haven't loaded any firmware updates since i bought the zipclip a year ago...could that be the problem?

      i've also had the won't turn on and computer won't recognize problems...is this a bad and buggy device? thinking of buying another one but all these problems give me pause....

      thanks

      sonia

    • profile image

      looseconnection 4 years ago

      I have bought two zipclips trying to get one that doesn't lose sound connection when you move it! There is no sound when I push the jack all the way in,when I can get sound the jack falls out or loses connection! what kind of product is this? They came from Amazon.

    • howtoguides2learn profile image

      Vidhya L 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thank you so much. very useful.

    • profile image

      lav 4 years ago

      can the sansa clip zip 4gb be locked off when not in use? i keep mine in my pocket and keep draining the battery as button gets pushed accidentally

    • profile image

      selenabee 4 years ago

      Hi Max,

      Thanks for the tips. I have a new clipzip and it seems stuck on radio. I can't figure out how to change to music. I've downloaded the updates, downloaded music to it (so I know that works), but can't figure out how to change it to (or even find) the music option. I miss my old clip!

      Kim

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 4 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Beth,

      It's quite possible that you got a lemon. However, I'd try loading batches of files to it to see if that resolves the problem. My sister has one of these that I helped her with, and we didn't have any issues loading smaller numbers of files.

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      Beth 4 years ago

      Thanks for all of your tips!

      I have a problem... I bought a Sansa Clip Zip for my mother for Mothers' Day (which is tomorrow... a bit last minute!) and I loaded it with 3 BG of songs from my MacBook Pro's iTunes 10 library after putting the Sansa in MSC mode. It blacked out on me a couple times (though it is more than 60% charged -- I think I might have had the top button pressed when I plugged it in -- forgot there was a button there and had to hold onto it somewhere) and I had to do the 10 second power button trick a few times. Now I'm stuck on the "Refreshing your media" screen... it hasn't progressed past about 20% (the blue bar) in 10, 20 minutes, and when I restart it it goes right back to the screen then restarts itself, and back to the same screen again. Grr. Was 3 GB too much for it all at once? I'm used to iPods but my mother is just sure she'd never use an MP3 player so my brothers and I thought we'd start small and not shell out the big bucks to start, but this is pretty frustrating. Now I've even updated it with the latest firmware via http://forums.sandisk.com/t5/Sansa-Clip-Zip/Sansa-... and it is again stuck in the same "refreshing" spot. I even added a podcast and deleted a song to see if it would change and no luck. I've left it to "refresh" now for over an hour...

      Do you suppose I got a lemon? Thoughts? Thank you for your help!

    • profile image

      electricrelish 5 years ago

      Thanks Max. Your article proved my clip zip still worked. You prevented me from experiencing a lot of trouble and disappointment.

    • profile image

      Falero Treat 5 years ago

      Good artilce

    • profile image

      Paul 5 years ago

      Thank you for this very clear instruction for troubleshooting. This device seems to be haunted it has so many quirks. Good thing it is not expensive and it's the right size.

      Thanks again,

      Paul

    • profile image

      mixie 5 years ago

      Hey, thanks for all the good info!

      I had an older style Clip for years and loved it, but it went belly up a few weeks ago so I traded it in for a new ClipZip. The new widget lasted just a few weeks before it started freezing in the middle of a podcast, then would only turn on to a green screen. I traded that one in about three days ago, and the new one froze up after less than 48 hours' use.

      It stopped in the middle of a podcast, so I shut it off, and now it won't turn back on. It wouldn't accept the hard reset, won't turn on when plugged in to the AC adapter, and the computer only recognizes it as an external storage space. It tells me that it needs to be formatted before use but won't complete the format. I tried the MSC mode trick but it gives me the same "must format F drive" and "can't complete format" error messages.

      I'm a little embarrassed to trade this one back in for the third time in less than a month, but I truly cannot imagine what I might be doing to these things to cause them to die so quickly. I'm only using it indoors and listening to podcasts downloaded through iTunes. Any suggestions?

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 5 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Jerald,

      Sorry it took so long to respond. Can you be a bit more specific about where you're getting hung up?

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      Jerald 5 years ago

      Computer Doesn't Recognize SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player

      If you're device is working but your computer doesn't recognize it, first try putting the device in MSC mode as outlined in the Device Doesn't Turn On section. If that doesn't work, try checking the device drivers by doing the following:

      Reconnect the MP3 player to your computer using the USB cable that came with the device if it's not already connected and then click he Windows Orb on the taskbar to open the Start menu.

      Right-click "Computer" on the right side of the Start menu to open a context menu.

      Click "Manage" to open the Computer Management window.

      Click the expansion box to the left of System Tools and then click "Device Manager." The Device Manager appears on the right half of the program window.

      Click the expansion boxes to the left of Portable Devices and USB Mass Storage; your device will be listed under one of these options. If there is a yellow exclamation point next to your MP3 player's name, there is a problem with the device's driver. The driver needs to be uninstalled and then reinstalled in an effort to resolve your problem.

      Right-click the name of your MP3 player and then click "Uninstall." The device's driver is uninstalled.

      Click "Action" along the top of the program window after the driver is uninstalled and then click "Scan for hardware changes." The computer will detect your device and reinstall your drivers. If you experience this problem on a regular basis, try updating the MP3 player's firmware as outlined in the Update SanDisk Clip Zip Firmware section.

      i don't know how to do No. 5 .. please help me thanks :(

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 5 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Mariah,

      No problem. I hope the article helped.

      Thanks for reading.

      Max.

    • profile image

      Mariah 5 years ago

      Thank You So Much!!! Very Helpful!

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