MP3 Player reads 'No File' After Files are Loaded

Regardless of how easy transferring music to an MP3 player is supposed to be, it's not always the simplest task to complete. TechLore has been asked repeatedly over the last month why MP3 players read "No File" when songs have been succesfully transferred using popular software programs like Windows Media Player.

Since no one on the TechLore staff has actually ever encountered this phenomenon with the many different players we've tried, it has been difficult to come up with a clear answer on why this occurs.

Possible Issues

MP3 Player Doesn't Support the Format

Newcomers to MP3 players often forego the software programs to transfer music to the player. This is acheived by using the player as a removeable disc drive, similar to a USB keyfob. Many players support this ability, which means that owners can move music files to and from the player, similar to moving them to and from different folders on your computer.

There are many different popular music formats currently in use. MP3 is the most recognized, but there are also WMA, AAC, OGG, and many others. For a description fo the most popular check out the article Understanding Digital Music Formats.

There is no player that directly supports every single music format in the market. So, if you transfer an AAC file to a player that only supports MP3 and WMA, the player will not be able to play the song.

Don't let the packaging fool you. Many players say that they support many different formats, but often they rely on special software to convert the song into a compatible format prior to transfer.

Trouble with WMA Files

If you know your player specifically supports WMA files, but are having difficulty playing them back, there could be an explanation. The WMA (Windows Media Audio) format is a very powerful audio compression format. However, not all WMA files are the same. WMA supports something called variable bit rate (VBR), which isn't always compatible with existing hardware.

When you rip in your music using Windows Media Player, try adjusting the options under "Rip Music", to only use the regular WMA format.

Copy Protection Enabled

This industry is only in its infancy when it comes to legally purchasing music online. While Apple has been successful selling music to those that have iPods, the other companies are struggling with compatibility issues with the so many different players available on the market.

Music purchased from Wal-Mart and MSN Music stores are copy protected with a technology known as DRM (Digital Rights Management). While this music is legal to download, it must be properly transferred to the player using Windows Media Player or compatible equivalent. Simply copying and pasting the music into the player won't work for copy protected files.

Another thing to watch out for is when you rip your CDs using Windows Media Player. One of the default options is to copy protect ripped CDs. Though we at TechLore are advocates of anti-piracy efforts, copy protecting music you own usually ends up giving you a headache. Check your settings for ripping CDs.

Different File Formats or Extensions

Many MP3 players get confused when you load files of different types or have different file extensions on them. For example, you cannot successfully load both WMA and MP3 files onto a player at the same time.

Also, make sure that all of the files that you load onto your player have the same file extensions. For example, make sure that you are not loading MySong.mp3 and MyOtherSong.m3u onto the same player. The player might get confused in certain instances.

What Can You Do?

It seems that much of the trouble stems from WMA issues. Check the things above to determine if you have something set wrong. If all else fails, try ripping your music into the computer in the MP3 format. MP3 files tend to be the most universal, and shouldn't give you many issues once it is in the player.


I realize my 1G MP3 player is cheap (was free w/iPod purchase) but I still have problems. I was able to load some tunes (though I don't know how). I deleted them (about 10) and attempted to load from Media Player a list I created by dragging to


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