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I've been using WMP to sync to my Creative Zen since I bought it a year ago. It worked fine when my collection was still smaller than its capacity, but that's no longer the case, and I can't find any way to specify which music should be synced/not synced. WMP's sync by alphabetical order is an unacceptable option.

What I think I want is something that would show my collection organized by artist/album/song (with file size info) in a treeview with checkboxes that saves my selections so I just have make adjustments as needed with new albums instead of having to rebuild my list from scratch every time.

Trayplayer has a UI similar to what I really want for a playlist builder; but aside from the run once per boot register nag it doesn't appear to work well with win7-64. It can't embed itself into the win7 taskbar and the only way I can open it is via hot keys.

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You could continue to use WMP but switch to a playlist-centric syncing method.

For example you could use song ratings as a way of determining which songs are synced:

  1. Rate all the songs that you don't want synced as 1-star
  2. Rate the rest as 3-stars (this can be done in bulk by selecting all tracks, right-clicking and using the Rate option).
  3. Create an auto playlist of "all songs rated higher than 1-star"
  4. Only sync that playlist by changing the sync settings for your device.

You can then change the ratings - in Windows Media Player or on the device itself (depending on which Creative Zen you have) - and the changes will be reflected on the device when you next sync.

More information on syncing using WMP is available on this MicroSoft page - see especially the To choose what syncs automatically section.

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+1, this is really the most maintainable option. – Sasha Chedygov May 24 '10 at 5:20
Only a relatively small chunk of my files are rated; and the ratings don't really match up with what I want on my player anyway. eg audio books I've ripped show up and tend to be well rated but I don't want them in my music shuffle; then there're genre's that I don't find really suitable for listening while out on a walk but do enjoy while sitting around at home. – Dan Neely Jun 3 '10 at 1:26
The more general problem is that I've yet to find a play list editor that doesn't suck when it has thousands of files in it. Regardless of how they represent the main music library, the playlist always seems to be only visible as a list of individual tracks. This is annoying with a few hundred songs and completely untenable with a few thousand. In WMP's case teh fact that it doesn't appear to have a way to show the size of a playlist in MB is another failing. – Dan Neely Jun 3 '10 at 1:29

You could try songbird at and use a playlist. If you run linux you could try Banshee, but I see your on WMP.

Doesn't Zen have its own software?

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I think it does, but IIRC its reviews were bad even by the very low bars set by creatives competition and windows driver teams. – Dan Neely May 24 '10 at 3:29
Yeah, I haven't seen good things about it, usually proprietary software sucks anyway :) – alpha1 May 25 '10 at 16:54

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