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Go ahead and do this, in case the DB is corrupted:
Format - Erases Everything: Connect your Sansa player to the computer and open Windows Media Player. Click on the Sync tab. Pull down the drop down menu underneath the Sync tab by moving your cursor over the Sync tab and left clicking on the little black arrow underneath the Sync tab. Highlight "Sansa 1GB" (wording may vary slightly), and then select "Format." - this should erase everything.
Firmware Upgrade- Erases Everything: Get the latest firmware upgrade from Sansa - it updates the firmware and erases every song in the player all at once. Note: this method doesn't work if already have the latest firmware. Go to this website and click "Firmware Updater" to find out: http://www.sandisk.com/Retail/DriverDownloads.aspx
The rechargable battery is dead, and unless you can replace it, you have a useless paperweight. Generally, when the battery is fully discharged it comes up with the missing STM3500 message. When it recharges in the usb port, the message will go away after uninstalling the MP3 player. When it won't recharge, it is gone without a new battery.
My sansa did the same thing while I was listening to it.
My suggestion is to register it on Sandisk.com and if it is less than a year old, they will replace it. I sent mine for a replacement today, and I should get my new one soon.