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I have an old Sansa Clip mp3 player that I used to use. I dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu, and I know that the Clip works just fine on Windows and that there are a variety of questions about the Sansa Clip on superuser. But I think my question is different.

I decided to try to mount the Clip and charge in while on Ubuntu. What could go wrong? I want to find it, so I run sudo fdisk -l and get

Disk /dev/sdh: 7916 MB, 7916748800 bytes
244 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1022 cylinders, total 15462400 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x6f20736b

This doesn't look like a partition table
Probably you selected the wrong device.

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdh1   ?   778135908  1919645538   570754815+  72  Unknown
/dev/sdh2   ?   168689522  2104717761   968014120   65  Novell Netware 386
/dev/sdh3   ?  1869881465  3805909656   968014096   79  Unknown
/dev/sdh4   ?  2885681152  2885736650       27749+   d  Unknown

Partition table entries are not in disk order

I thought sure - it doesn't quite understand what's going on. That's fine. Charge ahead. So went ahead and mounted sudo mount /dev/sdh ~/foo. So check out foo/, and it looks like the contents of the Clip. But upon looking closer, it looks a bit like there's nothing of content there. Let's display everything with human readable sizes, ls -alhR

$ ls -alhR
.:
total 1.9M
drwxr-xr-x  9 root  root  4.0K Dec 31  1969 .
drwxr-xr-x 69 bar   bar   4.0K Feb 25 08:51 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 ALBUM
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 AUDIBLE
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 AUDIOBOOKS
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  root  1.8M Jan  1  1980 MTABLE.SYS
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 MUSIC
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 PODCASTS
drwxr-xr-x  4 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 RECORD
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  root   51K Jan  1  1980 RES_INFO.SYS
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  root  4.0K Jan  1  1980 SPORT
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  root   328 Jan  1  1980 SYS_CONF.SYS
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  root     0 Jan  1  1980 temp.dat
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  root    87 Jan  1  1980 version.sdk

./ALBUM:
total 440K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00000456L
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00000456S
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00000594L
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00000594S
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00001c5aL
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00001c5aS
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00003d54L
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 00003d54S
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 0000415eL
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 0000415eS
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 0000646cL
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  36K Jan  1  1980 0000646cS

./AUDIBLE:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..

./AUDIOBOOKS:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..

./MUSIC:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..

./PODCASTS:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..

./RECORD:
total 16K
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 FM
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 VOICE

./RECORD/FM:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 ..

./RECORD/VOICE:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 ..

./SPORT:
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jan  1  1980 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root 4.0K Dec 31  1969 ..

There are a couple of interesting things here. What's with all the Jan 1 1980s? Or the Dec 31 1969s? More interestingly, nothing of any size is showing up here. Some vacuous files in the ALBUM directory appear, but that's about it.

But I see a MUSIC directory. I have some music. So I put in an album of music and nothing blew up. I unmounted with sudo umount ~/foo, pulled up the Clip, threw in some headphones, and voila - my album appeared! Will it play? I ask. Yes, in fact it does!

In fact, the proper things transferred. So the Clip correctly understands its album art, artist name, album name, etc. But I have one large question:

Where is the music already on the device?

You see, I already had some music on the device. But in the ls -alhR call earlier, none of it was visible. So where is it? I suspect the answer is a bit more subtle than simply a location (and more related to the semi-meaningless boot information from fdisk).

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This comes down to MTP vs MSC. I've run into this with my Clip, the best bet is to go into the settings and changing it from "Auto Detect" and forcing it to always use MSC. See http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/207

Of course, it always helps to make sure you've got the latest firmware

| improve this answer | |
  • Do you know about the internal organization of the Clip? I find it interesting that the directory structure was exposed to Ubuntu while the (previous) music files are not, and yet music from both Ubuntu and Windows was viewable from the device itself. – davidlowryduda Feb 25 '15 at 16:45
  • Nope, I never went farther than just getting the files to show up. It would be interesting to find out what the actual mechanics are, though. – charlesbridge Feb 25 '15 at 18:00

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