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3  Quick Start

3.1 Basic Overview
3.1.1 The player’s controls
3.1.2 Turning the player on and off
3.1.3 Starting the original firmware
3.1.4 Putting music on your player
3.1.5 The first contact
3.1.6 Basic controls
3.1.7 Basic concepts
3.2 Customising Rockbox

3.1  Basic Overview

3.1.1  The player’s controls


Throughout this manual, the buttons on the player are labelled according to the picture above. Whenever a button name is prefixed by “Long”, a long press of approximately one second should be performed on that button. The buttons are described in detail in the following paragraph.

Additional information for blind users is available on the Rockbox website at BlindFAQ.

3.1.2  Turning the player on and off

To turn on and off your Rockbox enabled player use the following keys:



Long Play

Start Rockbox

Long Play

Shutdown Rockbox

On shutdown, Rockbox automatically saves its settings.

In the unlikely event of a software failure, a hardware reset can be performed by inserting a paperclip gently into the Reset hole.

3.1.3  Starting the original firmware

Rockbox has a dual-boot feature. To boot into the original firmware, when the player is turned off, press and hold the Rec button, and then press the Play button. This will bring you to the short menu where you can choose among: Boot Rockbox, Boot MPIO firmware and Shutdown. Select the option you need with Rewind and Forward and confirm with long Play.

3.1.4  Putting music on your player

With the player connected to the computer as an MSC/UMS device (like a USB Drive), music files can be put on the player via any standard file transfer method that you would use to copy files between drives (e.g. Drag-and-Drop). Files may be placed wherever you like on the player, but it is strongly suggested NOT to put them in the /.rockbox folder and instead put them in any other folder, e.g. /, /music or /audio. The default directory structure that is assumed by some parts of Rockbox (album art searching, and missing-tag fallback in some WPSes) uses the parent directory of a song as the Album name, and the parent directory of that folder as the Artist name. WPSes may display information incorrectly if your files are not properly tagged, and you have your music organized in a way different than they assume when attempting to guess the Artist and Album names from your filetree. See section C for the requirements for Album Art to work properly. See section B.1 for a list of supported audio formats.

3.1.5  The first contact

After you have first started the player, you’ll be presented by the Main Menu. From this menu you can reach every function of Rockbox, for more information (see section 5.1). To browse the files on your player, select Files (see section 4.1), and to browse in a view that is based on the meta-data1 of your audio files, select Database (see section 4.2).

3.1.6  Basic controls

When browsing files and moving through menus you usually get a list view presented. The navigation in these lists are usually the same and should be pretty intuitive. In the tree view use Scroll Down and Scroll Up to move around the selection. Use Enter to select an item. When browsing the file system selecting an audio file plays it. The view switches to the “While playing screen”, usually abbreviated as “WPS” (see section 4.3. The dynamic playlist gets replaced with the contents of the current directory. This way you can easily treat directories as playlists. The created dynamic playlist can be extended or modified while playing. This is also known as “on-the-fly playlist”. To go back to the File Browser stop the playback with the Long Play button or return to the file browser while keeping playback running using Enter. In list views you can go back one step with Menu.

3.1.7  Basic concepts


Rockbox is playlist oriented. This means that every time you play an audio file, a so-called “dynamic playlist” is generated, unless you play a saved playlist. You can modify the dynamic playlist while playing and also save it to a file. If you do not want to use playlists you can simply play your files directory based. Playlists are covered in detail in section 4.4.


From the menu you can customise Rockbox. Rockbox itself is very customisable. Also there are some special menus for quick access to frequently used functions.

Context Menu

Some views, especially the file browser and the WPS have a context menu. From the file browser this can be accessed with Long Enter. The contents of the context menu vary, depending on the situation it gets called. The context menu itself presents you with some operations you can perform with the currently highlighted file. In the file browser this is the file (or directory) that is highlighted by the cursor. From the WPS this is the currently playing file. Also there are some actions that do not apply to the current file but refer to the screen from which the context menu gets called. One example is the playback menu, which can be called using the context menu from within the WPS.

3.2  Customising Rockbox

Rockbox’ User Interface can be customised using “Themes”. Themes usually only affect the visual appearance, but an advanced user can create a theme that also changes various other settings like file view, LCD settings and all other settings that can be modified using .cfg files. This topic is discussed in more detail in section 13.3. The Rockbox distribution comes with some themes that should look nice on your player.

Note: Some of the themes shipped with Rockbox need additional fonts from the fonts package, so make sure you installed them. Also, if you downloaded additional themes from the Internet make sure you have the needed fonts installed as otherwise the theme may not display properly.