Question about Rio Carbon MP3 Player

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Rio Carbon upgrade problems

I recently formatted my Carbon because the hard drive was clicking during startup, and startup took about two minutes. It also deleted all of my songs except the most recent two downloads. So as I said, I formatted it thinking it would get rid of the problem. But now, the startup still takes forever and it still makes clicking sounds. When i tried to upgrade it, it said it couldn't because the period had timed out, or something like that. But, when the carbon's screen read "upgrading", it would start making the clicking sound again, then it just shut off. This is when the computer gave me the message about not being able to upgrade. The only way to start it up again is to reset it, then let it take another two minutes to startup with the two songs that are left. Please, help. Thanks.

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Re: Rio Carbon upgrade problems

Download or install/reinstall if missing your RIO Carbon Software

Then in Windows Go to 'Control Panel', Then 'System', Click on the Hardware tab to get to 'Device Manager'.
Then from the 'Device Manager' go to 'Universal Serial Bus Controllers' at the bottom. Open it and find the device that says "Unreadable Device'. Right click and select uninstall. You may want to disconnect your RIO Carbon. If this does not work then wait until your RIO's "upgrader' message is no longer displayed in its viewer. Then plug in back into the USB Port.. The problem is that Windows gets Corrupted this could happen if you don't properly use the "Safely Remove Hardware" functions prior to disconnecting your RIO.

I hope this Helps...

Posted on May 17, 2010

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Re: Rio Carbon upgrade problems

Sorry dude, with the hard drive clicking you are probably looking at a toasted drive or controller chip. When you get the 'upgrader' screen the device cannot get information from the drive. Your best bet is to remove the drive and try it in another device such as a digital camera or a PDA with a slot. The average life of these devices seems to be about 2 months, with a (very) few people eeking out a year or so. Most of the time the volume control breaks, or cycles, or the drive interface craps out ('upgrader' screen)

Posted on Jan 21, 2007

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SOURCE: rio carbon

Just to say to ThaMp3Doctor:

The Rio Carbon supports direct file drag and drop to the player. Please get your facts right before posting comments that are not correct. There are also many programs that will work for file transfer with the Rio Carbon.

The 3.04 developers cut firmware is available here:


Posted on Jun 18, 2008

  • 155 Answers

SOURCE: my rio carbon says "upgrader"

At best, the hard drive will have come slightly disconnected or seek arm may have become stuck. Try giving it a sharp tap and re-try.

The hard drive may be permanently damaged however.

Posted on Feb 02, 2011

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1. look on ebay for battery if anybody would sell one.
2. go to walmart look in the flash drive isle for a sandisk ultra 2 cf card 8gb about 40$ .
3. open the rio and take out the old hard drive and then find a pc to format the cf card with a cf card reader make sure to format with windows 7 in my computer and choose quick format select default allocation size and then hit start.
4. when succesfully formatted put cf drive in rio carbon.
5. then put back plate back on carbon.
6. then look here for rio carbon developers firmware
7. go to bottom of wikipedia page and click 3.04 Download link 1 and download the exe program and then run as administrater load up the firmware and then walla you have a working mp3 player again.

Sep 03, 2012 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player


Wipe and reboot Rio carbon

Many problems have been found with the Rio carbon and although it is a good media player I think most people will have some problems with it.

Many of these problems can be solved by wiping and rebooting your player:

This may fix the upgrader message but if not the try replacing your hard drive (see:

Windows only... Sorry but I am not familiar with the way to do it with a mac or linux pc...

Open My Computer with your Rio plugged in.
Right click on your Rio player and click on format.
Leave the default values - if it asks you something then use your initiative.
Then click on format.
Then when it has finished formatting go to your firmware (can be downloaded from:
Follow the instructions and then it should load the firmware onto your player.
When it has done then your player should (in theory!) work properly.

Hope this helps


on May 16, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

3 Answers

Rio carbon

Try taking out the hard drive and see if your pc recognizes it. If not then try flattening it (could take some time!) and recharging it multiple times.
If you can get it to recognize it then try replacing the hard drive with another or a CF card (see: REPLACE BROKEN HARD DRIVE IN RIO CARBON...)
If it does not recognize then I'm afraid there is probably something else wrong with it that probably involves the main circuitry and I can't help you with that.


Jul 11, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

1 Answer

More Rio Trouble >.<

I presume that your computer does not pick it up at all.

Try taking out the hard drive carefully and putting it in a usb card reader. Then if it picks up, format it, put it back in your carbon. Your pc should then pick it up and then reformat it (may be needed) and reload the firmware (from:

If it doesn't pick up then your hard drive will be bust :(

for less than a 10er you can buy a 1GB CF card and replace it with that (see my post:

Hope this sheds a bit of light on your problem


May 17, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

3 Answers

Rio Carbon 5GB Problem

I had the same problem. I smacked the back of it (in my hand, not off any surface) to try to release the pin stuck on the hard drive. Rio Carbon currently works for me, but I will not expect too much. I have had mine for awhile now.

This is probably only a temporary solution, in the long run your hard drive will most likely get stuck again.

Mar 13, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

1 Answer

Rio Carbon upgrade


I have had my Rio since they first came out and have had no problems. It gets daily use and has seen many drops and lots of travel. I got 23 hours when new, now more like 15+.

I have not found a replacement battery yet but will post when I do.I found the company but not a distribution source.

Hard Drive Upgrade

If you are going to replace your hard drive because of the issues you mentioned, you might be interested in what I just did:

I just (today) upgraded my drive because the 5GB was not enough. I love the Rio simple interface and wanted more space so I took a chance and bought an 8GB Seagate drive. I just finished installing it and it works great.

Upgrade procedure:

0. Buy the drive

I Used Seagate ST1.2 Model: ST68022CF

I got the certified repaired drive for about $35 at I figure if it dies, I have music backed up anyway and it was cheap.I didn't want to spend much on a test. I will now look for larger capacity drives to see if they work as well since I like the Rio form factor so much.

I purchased the drive here:
Digitalet Item #42399184
8GB Seagate ST1 Compact Flash CompactFlash CF II Card
Price: $33.95
Inventory SKU: DMC-ST68022CF-R

1. Offload music

... from existing 5GB Drive. I simply used Windows Explorer and dragged the entire Music directory on the Rio to my laptop HDD. This preserved the music in folders which I like.

2. Open the case

I found instructions somewhere on web but cannot remember where. At the end of the day, it is an exercise in patience and feel. There are 4 clips that hold the back cover to the unit. Use 2 small flat ***** drivers or a thin metal blade.

3. Remove existing drive

Remove the drive from leaving the cable that goes from the board to the drive attached tothe board (you can remove it but I wouldn't). The end of the cable has traditional pins that mate to a CF card so be careful not to damage them as you remove the cable.

4. Install new drive

Being careful not to damage the pins.

5. Turn on the power and Flash the firmware

You will see the message UPGRADER on the display .Go to the Rio support site and download the firmware. Follow the instruction on the site to upgrade the firmware.

6. Reload Music
Once upgraded, the drive is formatted by the Rio and you are ready to reload your music files. There is about 7.6GB free space after the upgrade. I used the Rio Music Manager to reload the music onto my player.

Feb 17, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

2 Answers

Downloading problems

I tried you solution mowcius (except the part about burning it) and it didn't work. It showed up as an unrecognizable USB device in windows Vista and nothing I did got rid of the "Upgrader" screen.
I did get it to work, but remember the stuff I did could destroy the player. It worked for me, but if it hadn't I was going to pull the CF card and chunk the player.
I plugged the  2100 into Vista. Vista stopped responding during a file transfer and the 2100 went into "Upgrader" mode. Nothing I tried worked. A google search gave me this page so i tried it. 
I wasn't going to spend money on a CF card as I already have the broken volume wheel, so I thought "what if I took the CF card out, put it in a CF card reader, re-formatted it, reinstalled it into the 2100, then re-installed the firmware". 
I did that, but I couldn't get the "Upgrader" screen off during all of this. So I figured I'd try something that would either clear it or destroy it - i used a screwdriver to cross the positive and negative leads on the battery for a second. The screen went blank and I figured it was dead as it wouldn't respond to the power button. I plugged it in with the USB cable and the Firmware flash program saw it finally. I reinstalled the firmware and now it works fine. 
This may or may now work since crossing those wires could've burned the whole thing up or blown the battery up. I did this knowing these undesirable results were more than possible. However, it appears to have worked. 
If you're going to chunk yours and don't care about a possible fire/explosion you can try this.

Dec 28, 2007 | Rio CE2100 MP3 Player

5 Answers

My Rio says upgrader when I turn it on

UPGRADER is a mode that purges the firmware from the Rio player prior to flashing the unit. Firmware is basically the operating system for the player, so if it is corrupted any number of things can occur. You can enter UPGRADER mode to update the firmware on your player by holding down the MENU button when you power the Rio ON. Flashing the player in this mode erases all content. Try the following to get the unit out of UPGRADER mode, if powering OFF the unit will not correct it. ALL PLAYERS - If you accidentally entered UPGRADER mode, turn the unit OFF and then back ON again. - Download the latest version of the firmware for your player and upgrade the unit. Visit - It may be necessary to run the firmware update more than once. - This process may erase content from your player. - If the player is detected by the computer, it is recommended that you format the player, which WILL erase content from the player. - Macintosh user's try flashing the player on a PC. FLASH MEMORY PLAYERS - Remove the battery and replace it, this will reset the unit. The Rio Forge, Rio se510, Rio Cali [Black Rio Stick], and Rio Chiba [Black Rio Stick] can lock up causing the player to be unresponsive. If this occurs there are two things that need to be performed to resolve the issue. First you want to remove power from the player this includes the battery and a USB connection for 20 minutes to reset the player. There is a capacitor on the player that stores a charge that holds the player in the locked state. By waiting the duration the capacitor will discharge and the player should function as normal. Second you will want to upgrade the firmware to the latest version and format the player to prevent future occurrences. HARD DISK DRIVE PLAYERS - If you have a Carbon, Nitrus, Eigen, or Karma, use a paper clip to reset the unit. Your Rio will power off automatically when it has been reset. It may be necessary to connect the player to AC power and then reset the player if it will not turn on. If you are still unable to have the player exit UPGRADER Mode, then try it on another computer. UPGRADE FIRMWARE - Connect to the internet - Go to - Click on the appropriate player - Click on the FIRMWARE tab [showing by default] - Click on the latest firmware file [example: RioForge_firmware_133.exe] - Click SAVE when prompted - From the SA

Feb 14, 2007 | Rio Forge Sport Digital Media Player

3 Answers


this means that your hard disk is fucked.the best thing to do is connect it to your usb and format it.Then upgrade the software using rio;s website.hope this helps. cheers

Jan 29, 2007 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

1 Answer

What does upgrader mean

You may have broken the hard drive,

Try replacing it with a CF card,

Everybody says that this does not work but it definitely does!

My Rio got dropped and I completely buggered the hard drive so after reading many forums saying that it didn't work I read one that said that someone had told them that sandisk ultra II ones worked (very vague!)

Because I had nothing to lose I went out and bought a 1GB sandisk Ultra II CF card. I then took apart my rio and replaced the hard drive with the CF card. Still not thinking it was going to work I plugged it into my computer and installed the latest firmware (from the rio website) and then HEY PRESTO!!!!!! it works.

I have yet to try an 8GB ultra II card but when I do i will keep you posted.

If you don't believe me then I don't blame you but If you send me a request then I can send you pictures and more details...

Rio will live on

Hope this helps


Jan 17, 2007 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

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