Solving USB Connection Problems With MP3 Players

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

Syncing Music to Phone
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It is frustrating when you own a digital music library but can't seem to get your computer to sync songs to your MP3 player. Several things can prevent Windows from recognizing your portable device.

If the version of Windows installed on your computer doesn't recognize your portable music player (PMP), or any other USB gadget for that matter, it could be as simple as a corrupt or missing device driver. If this is the case, it can usually be resolved by reinstalling or updating the driver. Sometimes connection issues that aren't driver-related can be fixed by upgrading your portable's firmware, particularly if you have 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 remedy the problem.

Is it a Driver or Firmware Issue?

If you have a new MP3 player and Windows doesn't recognize it, one of the first things to check is whether it's compatible with the version of Windows installed on your computer. You can find this information in the documentation that came with it or use the manufacturer's website to look up your model.

If you find that it is compatible with your version of Windows, then the problem is most likely the driver. If your MP3 player worked on an earlier version of Windows, but not on the recent version, the driver is almost certainly the culprit. If this is the case, check for a possible driver on the manufacturer's website. While you are there, see if there is a firmware update, 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 click the Enter key.
  3. Check to see if an unknown device is displayed.
  4. If there is, you need to download the correct driver before updating by right-clicking the unknown device.

Is Windows Up-to-date?

Make sure your version of Windows is up-to-date. Ensuring your operating system is up-to-date can sometimes fix a compatibility issue.

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 recognized.

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 click the Enter key.
  3. Look in the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section by clicking the + next to it.
  4. Double-click on the first USB Root Hub entry in the list. Click on the Power Management tab.
  5. Clear the box next to the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option. Click OK.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all the USB Root Hub entries have been configured.
  7. Restart Windows and try to sync your portable again.