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There could be a damage or corrupted file in the sansa clip. I suggest to reformat the player. To reformat the player. First turn off the player. Then slide the power switch down it will be showing red, now press and hold the center or the middle button on the player while connecting the player to the computer. It will be detected as a drive on your computer, now right click on it and choose FORMAT, make sure the file system is FAT32 then click start to continue formatting the player. This will erase or remove all the songs on your player but this will fix the problem that you are having
Sandisk website will have it, and will have the vista compatible software:
here is the link for the sansa updater.
Ok...here is something you might want to do....I know you already formatted your device a zillion times already but please do it one more time using the Format option under Settings menu in your device....then restart your computer....then plug in your computer again after restarting to see if it recognizes now.....if not...here is one thing you could do....go to this link
download the USBDeView software and see if the registry has the player in there....select it and delete it and then plug in your PC again to see if it will re-register the device and works...hope this will help.
Do you have the software disc to the mp3 player? If you do have the software disc install it on your computer and try to detect it through the program the installs from the disc.If you do not have the software disc try going into yahoo or google and type the brand and model number of the mp3 device with the word software (example: samsung YP-K3 software)