Using Your New Toshiba Gigabeat: Tips for Keeping Your Sanity

Recently I purchased a new Toshiba Gigabeat F40. Right out of the box I was very happy with my new toy. I was really happy about the price; just under 200 USD for 40 gigs of memory. That beats the I-Pod by about 200 USD. The sleek simple design and the cool accessories like the wired remote control and the USB cradle made it even more appealing. Everything was going fine up to the point where I plugged the thing in.

Wow, what a pain. The instructions that come with the Gigabeat are only slightly better then worthless. They only hint on how to put songs onto the unit and have no useful information on how install pictures. The kit comes with a disk (of course) that has a program called “The Gigabeat Room”. Unlike most current programs “The Gigabeat Room” is not real easy to figure out. You do have the option to Sync with Windows Media Player but even that does not come easy.

The Gigabeat has the option in its menu to Sync with either of the two programs but when you pick Windows Media Player and plug into your computer to sync you still get “The Gigabeat Room”. No matter how much you beg and plead with your Gigabeat it will not sync with the Media Player. So now you’re stuck and you have to attempt the Gigabeat room.

What I did not know at the time was that the only way to Sync with Windows Media Player was to use the USB Cradle. I think most people fall into this trap the same way I did. First you plug the USB cradle into the computer with the supplied USB cable then you put your Gigabeat into the cradle and VoilÃ?  … nothing. The computer doesn’t see it, Windows Media Player doesn’t see it, even the annoying Gigabeat room doesn’t see it. So, most people give up and plug the USB cable directly into the Gigabeat and have no choice but to settle for the Gigabeat room. What the instructions could have told us was not only COULD you use the AC adapter to charge your player in the cradle but that you MUST plug in the cradle or it will not Sync up to the computer.

Once you do find out how to use the cradle and finally do Sync up with Windows you feel that sense of relief that you can now finally enjoy your new player and life will go on but, you’re not out of the woods yet. You still have a few annoying challenges ahead.

Now the real fun. You finish downloading every CD that you own onto the hard drive, after all you have about 10,000 songs worth of space to fill. This will start to take your mind off of the fact that just several hours ago you hated your new Gigabeat and wanted to toss it out the window.

After the final CD is sync’d with the Gigabeat you are ready to explore. You turn it on and scroll through the album section and “Hey, what the heck” the stupid thing took my “Best of the Blues” album (Disks 1 and 2) and instead of putting it in one album like all of the other Cd’s, it put in 40 individual “albums” all labeled “Best of the Blues”. OK, no problem, I’ll just delete the albums and try again, right? Yes, that seems easy enough. You call up your handy Media Player, highlight the entire selection of 40 albums and one click later your in heaven again.

You, give the album one more try and take your player out for test number two. You look once again into the album directory and you see your new album divided into “Best of the Blues” disk 1 and 2. Everything seems to have worked out but … yes, you guessed it … the 40 albums are still there. Only now, there are 42 albums labeled “Best of the Blues”. That bad feeling starts to return (the one about throwing it out the window). OK, no problem, I’ll just delete the album files one at a time with the delete function on the player itself. Well, you can’t see me but I’m already laughing at you as I write because … you can’t delete them. Why you might ask. Since there are no actual songs in the files (you just deleted them remember) the Gigabeat will just report to you that the file is empty. The only way to delete the file is to select it and then go to the delete function on the menu. Basically, if you can’t select it you can’t delete it.

Your next guess would be to try the Gigabeat program to delete the extra folders but you would be wrong. You can rename the files, click on delete and even swear at them but the Gigabeat program will not help you either.

Now what? First of all, instead of deleting the files with the Windows Media Player or even with the Gigabeat itself use the Windows Explorer. You can then manage the files just like any other files on your computer. You can also put pictures directly into the picture file folder instead of going through the torturous hours I did trying to get them to load with the Gigabeat Room program (I will not elaborate just trust me on this one). Once you have deleted or added your files then you MUST now sync up to the Gigabeat Room program. Do this by directly connecting the USB cable to the Gigabeat and refresh the library. If you don’t the Gigabeat will get real confused and not know where your files are at.

Refreshing the library is the only easy thing that you can do with the Gigabeat Room program. Either hit Ctrl+F5 or find “refresh library” in the Tool (yes tool not tools) menu. Refreshing the library will also get rid of those nasty extra album covers you have laying around.

Now, and only now, can you go back to liking and eventually loving your new Gigabeat. I’m sure there will be something else that will come up but for now, I’m at peace with my Gigabeat.

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