Re: How long can it possibly charge for the first time?
With USB mains charger it takes approx 18 hours for the first ever charge so I would hate to be using the usb to pc to do the same. Once this initial charge is achieved though it will charge by usb to pc as you work even though it does ask "usb connection or Charge"
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I think the USB cable is defect, or one of the connectors, on the tablet, computer or even on the cable. First try a new cable and check if nothing is in any of the connectors, like dust or other debris.
You should keep your eye on the device after its been plugged to the PC it will give you 2 options "charge" or "usb" you ca not establish a connection without picking usb connection option on the Archos screen when it pops up. If you are doing so and problem still existed then i would recommend you to download the latest windows media player. Because it comes with new devices sync driver update.
Depending on which settings you have on the archos 5 or 7 itself, (you can select "Windows Media Player mode" or " Hard drive/PC/Mass Storage mode" when you choose enable USB a new letter will appear as shown below (if you are on XP - same goes for Vista):
Go to the archos website on your PC and download the latest firmware. Once you have the firmware downloaded to your desktop, connect your archos to the PC with your usb cable.
The computer should recognise the archos as an external drive.
Open the archos drive on your desktop and drag the new firmware into the window. The computer will copy the new firmware onto the Archos drive.
DO a safe disconnect from your pc and restart your archos. The new frimware should start to load itself on your Archos when it powers up. You will need to reconnect the usb cable for the downlaod to start running. Once it is finished it will restart itself again. You will probably need to recalibrate your touch screen interface as well. You need to use the buttons on the side of the unit to scroll through the menu to get to the "settings" screen, and then the "display" screen. Choose "calibrate touchscreen" and follow the instructions.