Thursday, June 4, 2009

Repairing my Creative Zen Vision:M 60GB (not Flex related)

I've spent many hours this year trying to fix my Creative Zen Vision:M 60GB. It died in January after I connected it to my laptop to charge it up (using a cheap adapter that I bought on ebay). Ever since it wouldn't turn on, just had a solid blue light (or a blinking blue light when it was plugged in to the computer or wall charger). And it was not recognized by the computer either.

My first thought was that the motherboard had died (probably because of my cheap usb adapter cable), but motherboards are quite expensive to replace, so instead I bought a new battery (off ebay too!) just to make sure. When the battery arrived I installed it and nothing changed - exactly the same scenario. So then I went back on ebay and bought a motherboard (not as expensive as I thought - only $20 USD plus shipping). The motherboard arrived this week and I took the old one out and put the new one in. See below for links on how to disassemble the ZVM. It isn't that difficult as long as you have a tiny Phillips screw driver, and steady hands.

After the new motherboard was installed I first connected it to the computer with the real cables that came with the player and charged it up. The computer instantly recognized mp3 player, and installed the drivers for it. But when I went to the properties in Windows Explorer it said it was only 50mb (instead of 60gb!). After searching google it appears that many other people have had this scenario. The reason for it is the firmware isn't correctly loaded, or is out of date, or the hard drive is faulty.

When I turned on the mp3 player the screen then showed an error message saying incorrect firmware version (0.0.15) and gave me the option to clean , format, reload firmware, and reboot. Cleaning did nothing - the screen said "scan disk..." forever. So I tried to reload the firmware. I downloaded the latest version from the Creative support website (linked at the top) and ran the exe (version 1.21.02), but every time it said "Your player is not connected. Please connect your player." even though my player was connected AND was recognized by Windows Explorer. A few people mention that this error happens on Windows XP when you have Windows Media Player 11 installed, so I rolled back to Windows Media Player 10 and still the same problem.

So, next step was to find a way to get the firmware onto the player with out using Creative's default firmware updater. I came across a support forum on mentioning that some people had hacked/cracked the Zen Vision:M firmware and had been able to change the fonts, colors, themes etc. So after days of searching I finally found some tools which helped me fix my zen. I haven't been able to find an original version of my 60gb firmware, so instead I'm using a modified version that uses a different font (Comic Sans MS). It works, so I don't care :)

Here are the steps I followed:
  1. Download the hacked Firmware Updater (it is for the ZVM 30gb but also works with the 60gb)
  2. Download the modified firmware nk.bin and put it in this directory (on Windows) C:\CtJbFW\newbin
  3. Connect your zen, and run the updater. All being well it will update the firmware and reboot your zen and it will work!

I've recently bought the new Creative Zen X-Fi2 mp3 player, with the touchscreen interface. At first it was a little sluggish (the touchscreen), but Creative has released a few patches that greatly improve the performance.


Anonymous said...

I have the same problem, but still encounter the "Your player is not connected" error. Have any suggestions?

Chris Callendar said...

Do you have any idea what you did to cause your player to not be recognized?
Does your operating system recognize the player? Windows could see mine, but it was always saying that it was only 50mb (instead of 60gb).
I think my problem was partially caused by putting in a 30gb motherboard into a 60gb zen, and so the Creative firmware updater didn't recognize my player since the hardware was unusual.

Johan's blog said...

Hi! What kind of motherboard did you buy off Ebay? -I'm currently looking for the same, but find only a board for the 30GB version...

Do you still have the URL for the 60GB mainboard?

Chris Callendar said...

Unfortunately not, eBay deletes all transactions and items after 90 days, so the only thing I can tell you is that I bought it from this seller: podimus*com:*com/

But I checked their store and I don't see any creative zen vision motherboards.

You know I'm actually pretty sure I ended up buying a 30GB motherboard (not on purpose) and after following the steps I mentioned above it still works with my 60GB harddrive. I guess I lose out on the few extra features that the 60GB motherboard offers, but I can live with that. I remember when I was searching on eBay for 60GB motherboards I couldn't find any either... but tons of 30GB ones. I do remember that I only paid $20US for the motherboard.

Good luck!

Eva said...

Hi -
Thanks for going to the effort to post this. I had tried to update my Vision M Firmware and ended up with the player being un-recognised by the pc and useless. Your hacking instructions and crucially the firmware file helped me fix it.
It also works with their slightly easier to use, newer firmware updater. Comic Sans font isn't too bad either.

Chris Callendar said...

Excellent! That is the kind of comment I like to get :) I'm glad that my post helped someone. It is such a great mp3 player that it would be a waste to throw it away.

Anonymous said...

can someone PLEASE tell me how to find this directory i cant find it i need simpler instructions:(

P said...


I had spent a while trying to get my Zen working and was so frstrated these steps worked magnificently!!!!!!!!

Well done..!

Hendrik said...

I have a 30GB version and the same problem. But my player isn't recognized at all. Will the firmware upgrade work also on the 30GB version?

Chris Callendar said...

The firmware upgrade is actually for the 30GB player, so it should work fine.

Anonymous said...

why does my player creative zen vision m 60gb not recognized? what are the solution? :)

Anonymous said...

I cannot find any files named C:\CtJbFW\newbin
Can someone help me, I cannot figure out where to put this file, I am using Windows XP Media 10, My Zen stays in Recovery Mode, none of my computers can see it, tryied two cables....

Chris Callendar said...

In Windows you have to create the directory C:\CtJbFW\newbin\. After you've created it, then put the nk.bin file in that directory. Then connect your Zen and run the updater.

Anonymous said...

I have Zen V plus after doing all these things, still when i run the updater it says the player is not connected any idea???


biggestbrat said...

I have the Creative Zen Vision M 32gb. I believe my problem happened because the device was recording and ran until the battery was totally dead. This happened 3 or 4 times before it finally produced the firmware error. I did all the usual things that everyone else tried and then could never get off the safe mode menu. Also the computer would not recognize the device. But after using the links and downloads in the 3 steps (firmware update etc) the zen is totally restored and now recognized by the computer. It seems to be totally functional. THANK YOU CHRIS CALLENDAR!!

Dr. Kendra Karr (almost) said...

Hey Chris,
Thanks for all the information, I have a question. So I bought a CZM 60gb off of ebay awhile ago, and didn't realize it had the 30gb 1.62.02 firmware on it. I wanted the 60gb firmware so I could use the usb host cable option. So I reformatted and got rid of the firmware. Now the mp3 player is in recovery mode (50mb deal). I followed your instruction and it wants to reinstall the 1.62.02 version, so I am back where I started. Am I stuck with the 30gb firmware and no usb host option?
thanks creative guru!

Chris Callendar said...

Hi almost doctor,

In my case I actually have the motherboard from a 30GB model, but mine is the 60gb model. So in my case I don't have the usb host option.

In your case you should be able to get it to work if you can find the 60gb firmware (nk.bin). This was the original website that helped me with my problem:

I did a quick search but didn't find anyone with the cracked 60gb firmware.

Good luck.

jedidrummer said...


Had this same issue with my Zen Vision M. The player would charge via USB cable or charger, however it would not connect to my PC (laptop or desktop), and would not be recognized or sync.

After searching different forums, I found no solution that seemed to solve my issue. I tried different cables, and I had the latest firmware installed.

After reading several posts, and still finding no hope, on a whim I looked into the player's connector slot. I noticed something odd, and confirmed it with my other Vision M.

Apparently the second pin of the connector had been bent up and pushed flat against the back of the connection port.

Using a narrow pick tool, I was able to hook it and bend it back forward into its slot.

I reconnected the cable, and VOILA! The player was recognized and synced.

My guess is that repeated less than perfectly aligned insertion of the cable had caught the pin, lifted, and bent it back.

So while this may not solve everyone's problem, it's worth adding to your troubleshooting steps. When you look into the connection slot, you should not see any gold pins sticking up from the connector. Above the connector, at the rear of the slot, you should only see black.

Hope this helps!

Luuk said...

I still don't get it connected and recognized.
I installed WMP10 on my win 7 pc.
I also get it to charge. but when i start the updater i also says: your player is not connected .....
Does anybody have any other ideas?

To those who had it fixed. Was the updater the key to succes? Was it just starting the updater and it got recognized?

Ion said...

Can anyone please help me with the nv.bin file from the 1.40.01?

Steven Armstrong said...


I have just converted mine to run an sd card. Does any one know if there is a maximum size that it will format and use?

Stef Hadjisoteriou said...

Hi Chris!

is the firmware you linked for 30GB too?


Chris Callendar said...

Hi Stef,
Yes the firmware is actually for the 30GB model, but happens to work for the 60GB one too.

Stef Hadjisoteriou said...

Thanks for clarifying Chris!

I haven't replaced the motherboard, but do you reckon updating the firmware will help my problem? When I turn mine on, the clean , format, reload firmware, and reboot screen comes up :(

Thanks again,

Chris Callendar said...

Hi Stef,
It's been so long since I did this (7 years ago!), I really don't remember very much!

You could certainly try updating the firmware, it should be easier than actually replacing the motherboard.