The player is an older model Sansa. It is used for audio books in mp3 format. It has had music in the past but has been devoted to audio books for awhile.
Nothing ever put on it has DRM attached. Many of the audio books were recorded from cassettes, by me. Most of the rest of the stuff was extracted from CDs. Sometime there is a story purchased from Audible, but because Audible does not support this player, the audio is first transcribed to regular mp3 so it can be played from the Sansa.
No player software is involved in loading onto or deleting from the Sansa. It shows up as a simple removable disk in Windows Explorer. The stories, each in it own folder, are copied to the Sansa system folder labeled Albums. There is also a Music folder on the Sansa but that is never used.
Everything has been going fine for a long time but last week my daughter had her notebook "upgraded" to Win8. Now the Albums, Music, and Playlists folders do not show up in Windows Explorer. Other Sansa folders, such as Pictures, Record (for the built-in microphone) and System seem normal. There are a few small microphone recorded audio files on the player.
I brought the player home with me to try on my Win7 system. It is normal here. I easily deleted her last collection of stories and added nine new novels. My guess is that Window 8 has something built in to prevent access. Any knowledge or suggestions?
Are the folders hidden? A default Windows install of any version won't show those.
I'll try with my wife's sansa when I get a chance. A quick test with a folder called music full of mp3s didn't do anything weird on the Win8 system I have.
Afterwards I thought about the possibility of hidden folders. I did not know anything except certain system information could fall into that category but maybe that is a feature of Win8. Hiding audio doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to me but it is something I will check out the next time I have access to her notebook -- if I can figure out where Win8 hides it controls. I definitely don't like the interface.
I can't imagine what the logic is but folders Albums and Music are among those hidden by default.
Looks like you've figured it out, but here's a few other tidbits on hidden files:
1. While system files are one type of hidden file, any other file/folder can be designated as hidden, too.
2. This is not a recent feature, it goes back to Windows 95 at least, I believe even DOS.
3. The default behavior in Windows is not to show hidden files. This has also been the default for as long as I can remember. It's possible for this to be customized by the manufacturer prior to or during installing the OS but I've never seen an installation "in the wild" that did this.
On your old machine, either the manufacturer did some unusual (but helpful) customization, or it was changed manually at some point to show hidden files.
As for why the folders were hidden in the first place - maybe Sansa wants you to use their own utility for uploading music? Just guesswork here, I've never used a Sansa player.
When you do a Windows upgrade (I believe this started with either Vista or 7) your complete previous windows install goes into a directory called c:\windows.old. This includes any and all user documents such as music, etc. Check there for your old files I guarantee that's where they are. So the directory (assuming you've used standard structure) c:\windows.old\users\*usernamehere*\music. Simply cut and paste all your stuff to your current installation. There is no longer a 'windows upgrade', it's always a clean install nowadays.