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In order for the Sansa device to be seen as a drive letter, it needs to be in MSC mode.
OK, enough background! On your Sansa device, go to Menu | Settings | USB and select MSC. Once you exit the menu and connect the device to your Windows XP machine it should be recognized as a drive letter.
This method worked for my Sansa M240. Hope this helps!
When I had the same accident this is what worked for me. I disconnected my sandisk player from my computer. After waiting until the sandisk software completed it's termination programming, I re-connected it to the computer.
Because I use Microsoft Windows XP, a window pops up asking if I want to open the device in Windows Explorer. Answering "yes" and then selecting the "Folders" from the tabs at the top of the window will display the sandisk along the left column as "Sansa e250". By double clicking on the folder labeled "PPI NAND" a drop down list of subdirectory folders should be displayed. If the folder "MUSIC" is not there, you will need to create a new folder and label it "MUSIC".
Here is how to create a new folder.
With the folder "PPI NAND" highlighted, move the cursor up to the upper right hand corner of the "Windows Explorer" window and select the tab "File". From the drop down menu select " New Folder ". This should cause a folder to appear in the window to the right of the "Sansa e250" window. The new folder should be highlighted and labeled "New Folder". Select the "New Folder" and rename it "MUSIC". When renamed, select the PPI NAND folder and the new folder "Music" should be listed as one of the folder in the subdirectory. If so, you can select it to see if the Music folder contains and music files. If not, you will need to copy or drag your files into the new "MUSIC' folder.
Once I did all of this and disconnected my sandisk player, the player and let the software complete the programming work before shutting it off, it worked fine. My original problem was caused by shutting my sandisk player off after disconnecting it from the computer before the sandisk software completed its work.
We had the same problem with Windows XP. We found some help on the Sandisk web site. On the device go to the Settings menu, then USB. We changed from AutoDetect to MSC mode and everything is working again. Our computer saw all of the songs on our computer fine. Some of the old songs on the Sansa didn't show up on the detect list in Windows Media Player, but they were still on the device.
I have XP Media Edition w/SP2 and I see the M240 as a Media Device and NOT a hard disk, AND it has MEDIA and DATA subdirectories only. Media has to go into the MEDIA subdirectory to be seen/read played.
Now, on my plain XP system, the M240 it shows up as a disk drive with different layout. There is no MEDIA directory, so putting files into the mass storage device letter will lockup the unit.
I haven't tried Media Player 10 solution, but if you have one of these, do NOT put files in it unless you see the MEDIA subdirectory.
You probably put files into the Mass Storage view (on my computer) rather than in the MEDIA subdirectory of the Portable Media Device view (called 'Sansa M240') -- I use Windows XP Media Edition and have no problems, but my plain old XP doesn't see the device correctly.
You should load Windows Media Player 10 to have it seen as a portable media device with DATA and MEDIA directories. All MP3 files belong ONLY in the MEDIA directory.