Question about Rio Carbon MP3 Player

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Rio Carbon stuck "WRITING"

First I had the "upgrader" msg. I tried the firmware fix and rec'd a msg stating "semaphore timeout expired". Now my Rio has "WRITING" on the screen. Tried the pinhole reset and combo button solutions and no effect. The msg just went away - blank screen. But when I plug in the USB, the same WRITING msg appears. Oh, I also tried hitting it a few times too.

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Re: Rio Carbon stuck "WRITING"

The writing message may appear for a good forty minutes after completing the firmware upgrade - make sure your player is fully charged and just let it sit for an hour on that writing status - it will stop eventually.

Posted on Mar 20, 2008

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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.

Dec 13, 2010 | 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

1 Answer

RIO Nitrus

It says "upgrader" because it is looking for a firmware upgrade - you will not be able to get rid of this message without doing the firmware upgrade - go to the rio website and follow the instructions for doing a fimrware upgrade - the msg will be removed, and you will be good to go

-Tha Mp3 Doctor

May 28, 2008 | Rio Nitrus MP3 Player

1 Answer

Rio Carbon Stuck in Upgrader Mode

Hi Allyson,
This is a problem which I have encountered alot with my Rio Carbon.
A solution which always works for me is to hold the player face down in my left hand and then slap the back of it with my right palm a little harder than I would if I was winding a baby.
Best wishes, I hope this works for you as it does for me.

Feb 17, 2008 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

1 Answer

RIO MP3 PEARL stuck in UPGRADER mode

Your Pearl hard drive is probably broken. This is common because they are fragile. Replacing it is the olny solution if it is broken i'm afraid. Read my post: for more info.

Hope this helps,


Dec 29, 2007 | Rio Cali Sport MP3 Player

1 Answer

Plz Hepl Me

Stuck in upgrader mode. Try resetting by inserting a small #1 paperclip in the player. Otherwise, go to the Rio website at realnetworks and download the firmware upgrade.

-Tha Mp3 Doctor

Dec 28, 2007 | Rio CE2100 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Rio carbon upgrader message

Hi Linda, Your Rio Carbon is telling you that something is messed with its firmware and it can be resolved with an upgrade. You have to determine the exact model of your unit and download the firmware from Again you must choose the exact model. There are two ways of updating firmware updater or internet updater. complete instructions are also available. further you would need to connect your Rio to a PC to perform the upgrade. Good luck and pls post back should you need further information. Kind regards.

Aug 20, 2007 | Rio Carbon MP3 Player

18 Answers

Stuck in Upgrader etc

well i own one too and thats probly the hard drive being stuck...just smack it against something hard , like sorta bump the rubber armor against the heel of your hand or a countertop...worked good for me...ya have to do it a few times...dont worry rio is defunct so theres really no warranty to think of anywayz

Feb 22, 2007 | Rio Carbon 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

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