Using MP3Tag with Zen X-Fi

I have a Creative Zen X-Fi and up to now have used Creative Centrale, the software supplied with it. I have had a number of problems witht this software in the past, and I gather that it is generally regarded as not very good and best avoided. However, I have managed to use it for about a year, although it's been a struggle at times. But then just yesterday, after I had been using it to edit music files on the Zen, it suddenly refused to recognise any of the files, and has continued to do so despite my re-setting the Zen several times and re-installing the software.

In view of Creative Centrale's bad reputation I decided to try something else, and someone on another forum recommended using MP3Tag for editing tags on the Zen. I have tried this, but when I try to access files on the Zen I get messages saying "Filename not valid".

I should be grateful for any advice. I should point out that my technical knowledge is fairly limited so it would be helpful if any advice is given in simple language!

Many thanks

How do you access files on your zen?
Can you copy those files back to your hard disk?
can you play these files with e.g. Windows Media Player?
What type of files do you store on the zen? (Format like wma, mp3 etc.)
How do you store these files on the zen (internally? removable flash card?)

Right now it is not clear to me whether you have a problem with the file system on the zen, the zen itself, the individual files, access rights and such stuff. That is why I am asking so many questions.

Thank you very much for your response. My answers to your questions are above.

Right on: before you cannot access your files from the outside (perhaps use the original zen software to backup the files on the hard disk) I do not see very much chance to see what is wrong with the files (if at all).
So: could you first try to get the audio files from the zen on the harddisk.
Or, if you have a backup anyway, open the backup files with mp3tag to see if they are ok.
If that is so, hand them over to the synchronization program of the zen to transfer them to the player.

For all further investigations I would suggest the normal Windows Explorer as file managing tool and not the Windows Media Player.
If you connect you zen to a PC, does it appear as a drive?

Now then, I also googled a litte. And apparently the default setting for the Zen is to behave not like a drive.
There are other forums which describe how to replace the driver for the zen from MFT (or whatever that was called) to generic USB storage.
Like that you have access to the file system and can see what happened to the files.

Thanks again for your help.

The PC does recognise the Zen as a drive, and I've experimented with transferring files to the Zen using Winows Explorer, with no problem (I tried it with a JPG file).
I'm coming to the conclusion that the best solution is to erase everything on the Zen and copy it all again with different software (I already have nearly all the music on the PC hard drive, and the rest is on CDs). You suggest Windows Explorer to do this - if I use this, will I be able to transfer the album art as well, and will I also be able to edit the file properties on the Zen?


I do not know how the zen wants albumart to be able to display it.
If it has to be incorporated in the music files then mp3tag would be a good tool to do that.
Perhaps you have to consider the maximum size for albumart on the zen - you have to look for an appropriate tool to resize the albumart as mp3tag does not do it.

In general I would use the local computer as primary data source and always copy the finished result to the zen. As it is probably connected via USB the repeated reading and writing that is required to modify the files with mp3tag will take longer via USB than the hard disk access via IDE or SATA.
Also, with the PC as primary source, you have a backup in case the zen should get lost.