In the meantime, I had a series of nasty BSOD's that apparently (and permanently) corrupted some system files, but I refuse to do another full VISTA install, I just did it in May this year after another major problem left me no choice (it takes me over a month to reinstall all my apps and get them set up the way I want them to run). As a result of one of the system crashes (god I hate Vista!), when I got my shiny new Pilot player and plugged it in to a USB port WMP11 said "the detected hardware uses an outdated driver and cannot be read". WMP11 is built into Vista, so you cannot use any other version of WMP! Fscking MickeySh*t programmers....and since that line of Insignia media players is discontinued they do not have any updated drivers (why the same PC and OS *used* to recognize the Sports player but now not the Pilot is a mystery to me, they use the same internal software).
So I tried downloading and installing a series of other media apps including Rhapsody, Media Monkey, Real Player, XMPlay, and WinAmp, none of which would/could right a working M3U or PLA file to the Pilot. The Insignia players native playlist format is PLA, but you cannot modify it using any kind of software because it shows up as a 0 byte file on the internal storage drive. I have spent OVER A MONTH trying to figure out how to create playlists, and it was literally driving me NUTS, and even worse, Media Monkey would change the tags of the files on the player, screwing up the titles :-(
Anyway, I FINALLY discovered the simplest (and only) way to create working M3U playlists over the weekend! WOO-HOO! It's so easy I can't believe it took me so long to figure it out....here's what I do, only requires a few simple steps (you might be able to use another player to follow these directions, but avoid MM at all costs!):
1) Copy all of your music files (MP3s only) into a single directory (or subdir) on C: drive, I call mine C:\My Music\All Music 10-5-09\ . I put the date in there so when I created the directory, useful so when you collect more songs, you then can change the directory name date to the current date so you know when you last modified the contents of that directory.
2) Delete the entire contents of your WA music (audio) library, just the songs, not your playlists.
3) Import the songs from your newly created "All Music [current date] subdirectory into WA's audio library, create an "All Music [current date]" playlist, add all the music from your audio library to the playlist, then save the playlist. DO NOT SCREW AROUND WITH THAT FILE -- it's your "backup" playlist in case you make a mistake.
4) Create a new "All Music" playlist and save it to your local drive in the app's native playlist format (usually M3U), this is the one you'll use to make new playlists in the future.
5) After you delete specific songs from the "All music" playlist and organize what's left the way you want, click on the "Manage Playlist" button located at the bottom right side of the WinAmp Library window and select "export playlist". Create a new filename and save it as an M3U playlist on your C: drive.
6) Open the new file with a text editor like Notepad. You will find a file that look like this:
#EXTINF:358,The Rolling Stones - Moonlight Mile
C:\All Music 10-5-09\Moonlight Mile.mp3
#EXTINF:298,Bruce Cockburn - If I Had a Rocket Launcher
C:\All Music 10-5-09\If I Had a Rocket Launcher.mp3
#EXTINF:340,Genesis - The Carpet Crawlers
C:\All Music 10-5-09\The Carpet Crawlers.mp3
<the rest of your list>
7) Use the "find and replace" function, put "C:\All Music 10-5-09\" in the find box and "L:\Music\" in the replace box, click replace all. Save the file, and make sure to save it as an "all file types" file with an M3U extension, not as a text file (very important!).
Ok, the hardest part is over. Now to your player: use the players "erase internal memory" function if you have that option, it will save you a ton of time vs. deleting all of your MP3's using Windows Explorer.
8) Set the player to the "file and folder" mode, plug it into a USB port, open Windows Explorer and find the player (you may be asked what drive letter you want to use for the player the first time you plug it in, I picked L. Create a new subdirectory named "Music" in the internal memory directory.
9) Copy all of the songs from your C: drive "All music [current date]" directory into the player's "Music" subdirectory. This will take some time, go drink a beer or something while you wait ;-)
10) Create a new subdirectory on the player called "Playlists". Copy the modified M3U playlist into this directory, then use the MS "Safely Remove Hardware" function to disconnect the player from the PC. DO NOT just pull the USB plug out, it will lead to all sorts of problems with your PC and player (they'll think they're still connected).
Now you wait as the player rebuilds it's library database, this can also take a long time. It may appear to be "frozen" or locked up, but be patient and let it do it's thing. If you turn off the player before it finishes writing the database your playlist will show up as empty when you try to access it later.
That's it, you're DONE! You can do the same search and replace trick with previously existing playlists, but the filenames and tag info of the songs in the playlist must *exactly* match what you have loaded onto the player. I spend quite a bit of time "scrubbing" every single song on my PC to make sure I got rid of all of those damn [Remastered/Remastered/Rhino-records 2008] kinds of crappy IPV3 tags that some MP3 download sites add to the tag info. Trust me, it's worth the work and you only have to do it once!
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