Manual or Automatic Sync

Before you can sync media files with a portable device, you have to set up the device. During initial setup, Windows Media Player makes some default choices based on your device configuration and the size of your media collection . If the storage capacity on the device is more than 4 GB and your entire Player library occupies less space than the total capacity of the device, Windows Media Player sets up an automatic sync relationship . Your entire library is automatically synchronized to the device each time you connect. If the device has a capacity of less than 4 GB, or if your library is larger than the total capacity of the device, Windows Media Player configures the device for a manual sync.

In the case of a manual sync, the option that gives you the most control over the contents of your device is to drag items (including existing playlists, individual tracks, entire albums, or artist names) into the sync list pane, create a list on the fly, and then click Start Sync to begin transferring items to the device.

If you prefer, you can define custom sync settings using existing or new playlists. To customize sync settings, first insert the device and verify that it appears in the navigation pane. Then click the Sync tab to display the sync list, use the Next Device link if necessary to select the correct device, and then click Set Up Sync from the Sync Options menu, which you open by clicking the unlabeled button in the upper right corner of the Sync tab (alternatively, you can right-click the device name in the navigation pane and choose Set Up Sync). If this is the first time you're setting up the device in question, you're given an opportunity to give it a friendly name in place of the generic device name or drive letter it receives by default. After that, you see the Device Setup window. Figure 13-8 shows this window after we've created an automatic sync routine .

Figure 13-8 Use auto playlists to fill a portable device with favorite tracks and fresh content.

Note that in this example, Sync This Device Automatically is selected. As a result, any time you connect the device to the computer while Windows Media Player is running, it will examine the current contents of the device against the contents of the Playlists To Sync list.

All available playlists show in the pane on the left; select anything from that list and click Add to move it to the list of content that will be synchronized. Use the up and down arrows beneath the right pane to adjust the priority of items. This order is crucial if the playlists you select contain more content than will fit on the device. In that case, Windows Media Player moves through each list in order, from top to bottom, stopping when the device is full. (To randomize this selection instead, select the Shuffle What Syncs box beneath the Playlists To Sync list )

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