Solving USB Connection Problems With MP3 Players

What to do when Windows can't sync songs to your portable

Syncing Music to Phone

Probably one of the most frustrating things about owning a digital music library is when you can't seem to get your computer to sync songs to your MP3 player. And, to make matters even more complicated there can be a combination of reasons why your portable isn't being recognized.

If the version of Windows installed on your computer isn't recognizing your PMP, or indeed any other USB gadget for that matter, then it could be as simple as a corrupt (or missing) device driver.

If this is the case then it can usually be resolved by simply re-installing / updating the driver. Sometimes connection issues that aren't driver-related can be fixed by upgrading your portable's firmware. This is especially true if you've got an older device that has known issues in this area.

If you are trying to connect your MP3 player, PMP, or other USB gadget and Windows fails to recognize it, then work through this checklist to try and quickly remedy the problem.

Solution 1: Is it a Driver / Firmware Issue?

If you have just had a new MP3 player and it isn't recognized then one of the first things to check is that it's actually compatible with the version of Windows installed on your computer. You can find this information out in the documentation that came with it. Alternatively, use the manufacturer's website to look up your model.

If you find that it is compatible then it is most likely a driver issue.

This is also quite probable if your MP3 player worked on an earlier version of Windows, but not on the more recent version you now have. If this is the case then check for a possible driver on the manufacturer's website. It's also a good idea to see if there is a firmware update too which might fix this problem.

You can also check to see if there is an unknown device in Windows which is a good indicator that you need the correct driver. To do this:

  1. Hold down the Windows key and press R.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the run box and hit the Enter key.
  3. Check to see if an unknown device is displayed.
  4. If there is then you'll need to download the correct driver before updating (by right-clicking the unknown device).

Solution 2: Is Windows Up-to-date?

Make sure your version of Windows is up-to-date and has the latest Service Pack installed. Ensuring your operating system is up-to-date can sometimes fix a compatibility issue.

Solution 3: Try a Different USB Mode

Try setting the portable player to use a different USB mode if the unit supports it:

  1. Disconnect your portable from the computer.
  2. Look in your portable's settings to see if you can select another USB mode -- such as MTP mode.
  3. Connect the portable again to your computer to see if it is now recognized.

Solution 4: Tweak USB Power Management

Tweak the USB power management option. To do this using Device Manager:

  1. Hold down the Windows key and press R.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the run box and hit the Enter key.
  3. Look in the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section by clicking the + next to it.
  1. Double-click on the first USB Root Hub entry in the list. Click on the Power Management tab.
  2. Clear the box next to the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option. Click OK.
  3. Follow steps 4 and 5 until all the USB Root Hub entries have been configured.
  4. Restart Windows and try to sync your portable again.
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