Question about SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player

2 Answers

Problem with Sansa E280R: ?Load main image failed Switch to recover mode?.


I’ve got a major problem with my Sansa e280R and wondering if someone could please help me. I bought my player in Canada, but am working in Africa for the next year, so I don’t have a way to return it to the store. So I’m willing to try anything…

The problem:

I switch on the device. After about 5 seconds of the usual “Sansa” start-up screen, I get an error message that says “Load main image failed Switch to recover mode”.

What I tried:

1) I tried starting it in recovery mode and then dragging in (into the 16 MB folder) a copy of the newest firmware, which I downloaded from the Sansa website. After ejecting the device, it says a few things on the device screen, including “Upgrade finished resetting the system”, after which it goes to the back to the main error message “Load main image failed…” I tried this both 5 times.

2) I tried 1) above again, but also simultaneously dragging in a blank Notepad document called “Sansa.fmt”. When I do this it spends a few formatting, and then does the same thing as in 1). I tried all this about 5 times too.

3) I then downloaded the Sandisk Connect Recover Tool from the Sandisk site and tried to run the program. However, the program gives me the message: “ERROR! Application failed to read the version details”.

4) I then cursed repeatedly and then posted this thread…

Thanks very kindly for any help you can provide me. I depend very much on my music here, so any help to get it going again is very appreciated…

Posted by on

  • 1 more comment 
  • fixya8001 Nov 21, 2007

    Thank-you mixmaster for the reply. It was similar (and possibly the same) as what I've tried before. I still went through it about a dozen times, but it didn't fix it. Once I complete steps 1-6, the device displays the following text...

    Formatting . . .

    Format finished

    Reading main image

    Writing main image

    Time taken=2Sec

    Upgrade finished

    Resetting the system

    The system then shuts down. When I restart as instructed, I don't get the error message mentioned in Step 7, but just get the
    original error message: "
    Load main image failed Switch to recovery mode".

    Do you have any other suggestions? I'll try anything, since I can't return it to the store where I bought it.

    Thanks again greatly for the help.

  • fixya8001 Nov 21, 2007

    Thanks for the new file. I tried it about 10 times and I still get the error message. Maybe it's just time for me to give up and junk it... I guess I can just make my own music eh?

    Thanks again for the help.

  • fixya8001 Nov 22, 2007

    I just fixed it! For those who have the same problem, don't do what I did and trust the model number printed on your device... check to make sure you know exactly what model it is (I guess the manual or package if you have it, which I didn't, or the store you got it from). Although my device said e280r on the back and also says Rhapsody on it, the firmware that fixed it was for the e200 series.



2 Answers

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Vice President:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 100 times.

  • Master
  • 626 Answers

Try this;

Please copy and paste the following links into your web browser address bar, and then click Go or hit your Enter key. When prompted, choose the option to Save the file to your desktop.


1. Double click on My Computer so that you can see it on your screen.

2. Turn the player off.

3. On the top of the player is a Hold switch, move it to the right (toward the headphone jack) so you see the orange colour.

4. On the left hand side of the player is a Record button, press and hold it while connecting the player to the computer. Continue holding the Record button until you see a new icon under "My Computer" called "16MB FORMAT". Once you see that icon you may release the Record button.

5. Double click the RHAPSODY- file you downloaded earlier and open it. You will need WinZIP or WINRAR to "unpack" it. Inside you will see a file named PP5022.mi4 drag this file onto the 16MB Format in My Computer mentioned before.

6. Double Click on the Sansa.rar and open it. Drag the Sansa.fmt file into the 16MB Format as well (this forces the device format and erase all data)

6. Disconnect the player and look at the screen. Several things will be displayed, and when you see Key Lock, System Shutdown, move the Hold switch on the top back to the left.

7. Turn the player on and watch the screen. If you see a Refresh Database Fail error, you will need to follow steps 1-7 again until you do not get the error. If it does not work the first time, it could take up to 3 times for it to work.

Please RATE my solution at the bottom.

Best of Luck.

Posted on Nov 20, 2007

  • Timothy D
    Timothy D Nov 21, 2007

    You can try adding the newer firmware, with out the .fmt file.

    Put it back into recovery mode and extract this file, it is also named pp5022.mi4, although it is the newest version of the firmware.

    Best of Luck.


  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

I link you posted on rapid share does not exist, is there any alternatives?

Posted on Dec 04, 2009


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

A 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
The service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.
Good luck!

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

E280R was froozen and is still froozen even with it plugged in pc

i'm sorry to hear that. Now, my friend u may go this site for help:

Feb 26, 2010 | SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player

2 Answers

Sansa 260 R load main image failed message


The Sansa e260 Rhapsody could be recovered by resetting the player.
How to reset the player :
1. Player switched on.
2. Press and hold the power button for approximately 30 seconds.
3. Put the player back on.

When the fault is not resolved a firmware update / reinstallation needs to be made. There are 2 steps needed for getting new firmware on the player.

Step 1: switching the player into recovery mode / MSC mode

1. Turn off the player.
2. Slide the Hold/Lock switch on top of the player so an orange color is showing.
3. Press and hold the REC button and connect the device to the computer.
4. A message will appear on the device display screen confirming the connection and a memory partition will be viewable in My Computer.
5. Release the REC button.
Step 2: Update the firmware ( updating firmware always in MSC mode, see Step 1 )
Use next link for updating the firmware:
The Sansa updater installation on the computer should be the easiest way to update firmware.

Need more help ? Just post a comment.

Dec 17, 2009 | SanDisk Sansa e260 MP3 Player

1 Answer

How can you tell if it is a version 1 or 2?

Sansa e200 series has 3 not interchangeable versions of firmware:
  • version 1: e200, firmware starts with
  • version 2: e200v2, firmware starts with
  • version rhapsody: e200r, firmware starts with
Site for the difference between these versions:

The exact type should be on the back of the player: model e280R.
For the rhapsody there is only 1 firmware available.
The zip file can be downloaded here:

When another firmware is needed, go to the download firmware wizard on next page and select your model:

Sep 25, 2009 | SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Sansa e280r wont connect with laptop

On your Sansa, go to "Settings," then "System Settings," then USB Mode, change the mode to MSC, then try it. If that doesn't work try the other modes just in case.
Hope this helps!

May 06, 2009 | SanDisk Sansa e200 MP3 Player

1 Answer

How do i switch to recovery mode? her is a link to a kid showing you how to goto recovery mode make sure you have the update software from this link(
and run the software before you recover

Apr 19, 2009 | SanDisk Sansa e260 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Sansa E280R resets when i open Music folder

if that doesnt fix your problem try this...

1 connect your sansa to comp via usb cable
2 right click start on windows desktop go to explore
3 scroll down to your sansa's drive rifght click it go to properties
4 go to tools tab and click "check now" under error checking will take awhile and will erase your memory on the sansa but it will probably work again

I hope my post was helpful let me know!!!!

Mar 14, 2009 | SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Load main image failed SunDisk Sansa e280r rhapsody Refurb

load main image failed Switch to recovery mode e260

Aug 05, 2008 | SanDisk Sansa e260 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Sansa e200 load main image failed

i'm thinking that it has too much info on it, so it ets stuck when you turn it on.

Jul 31, 2008 | SanDisk Sansa e260 MP3 Player

1 Answer

Some songs sound lifeless on my e280r

There are many settings in Windows Media Player for Ripping music. Make sure yours are set to WMA with 192kbps or higher..

Windows Media Player>Tools>Options>Rip Music (Copy CD).

Best of Luck.

Oct 14, 2007 | SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player

Not finding what you are looking for?
SanDisk Sansa E280 MP3 Player Logo

965 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top SanDisk Audio Players & Recorders Experts


Level 3 Expert

102366 Answers

Donald DCruz
Donald DCruz

Level 3 Expert

17130 Answers

Gyula Lacz

Level 3 Expert

484 Answers

Are you a SanDisk Audio Player and Recorder Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides