May 03, 2005

Curious George: I have a friend with an iPod hard drive problem and I told him I would ask here, maybe one of you Monkeys knows! Not owning an iPod, I personally have no clue.

He says: "I formatted my iPod on a Mac and ripped a bunch of stuff onto it. Now that I don't have access to a Mac, I can't load any more files onto it since all I have is a PC. I installed iTunes on my PC and when I connect my iPod, it sees it but it wants to reformat the iPod to a PC OS. I've looked up all kinds of crud on this but I can't find any solution other than reformatting it and then re-ripping everything. It totally sucks because I spent well over 100 hours ripping. Damn! So it's not the file format - it's the iPod hard drive format that's the issue."

  • Friends have succesfully used MacDrive to mount MacOS HDs and cartridges on Windows. But I have no experience with iPod HDs, so this may not apply. The safest, cheapest way should be hooking up with some Mac-using person in his area.
  • I'd say Macopener might do the trick. You'd need to use that, or something like, to open up the iPod, copy the files somewhere else, format it as Windows, and then replace the files with Windows iTunes. A pain, but easy peasy.
  • It's not just the drive format. iTunes will replace the files anytime you move to a new machine, so that you can't use it to move music from machine to machine. It's part of their arrangement with the labels to make it seem like you can't use it as a piracy tool. However, an iPod really just an external hard drive with an interface attached. It can be mounted on a PC or Mac desktop and the hidden directories that hold the music files can be accessed and music can be copied from the one to the other. These guys say that they can do what you want:
  • i'd check out ephpod ( on windows/linux to see if it can mount the drive and extract files. there's also a commercial product for windows called "xplay". a few years ago, i read an article by someone who'd munged together a hybrid mac/pc ipod. this could be a last resort if you can track down the article and it's still relevant.
  • Monkeyfilter: technical support for your friend's iPod.
  • My friend (Dave, by the way) is very happy that y'all are trying to help him out, and sends his thanks! You guys rock.
  • and will probably be great places to look for info on it.
  • You can copy files from an iPod to a PC - as McCroft says, they are in the hidden files. Downside is that the files are randomly sorted into different folders and the names can be truncated, which is a problem for me since I like to keep my file names all organised with artist and song. It sounds like your friend needs to reformat the iPod for a PC. This will loose him the songs, but if he can get the PC to read it like Mac Drive and get them off, that will be okay. Then he can try reformating the iPod entirely (I hope this is possible, I haven't tried). That said, I would reccomend that your friend back up his ripped music to CDs if he doesn't have one standard computer, that way it can be transferred around computers more easily, and he won't have to rerip.
  • jb- does it really matter if the files are all jumbled up though? Surely the id3 tags of the mp3 files will be intact, so when the files are imported into iTunes (or equivalent software), wouldn't they be automatically placed into directories by artist and album?
  • damn kids these days, all this ripping and such
  •             i have kidnapped your music!             you must buy more software to get it back!            /           / ╔═══════╗ ║ ░░░░░ ║ ║ ░░░░░ ║ ║       ║ ║       ║ ║   ►   ║ ╚═══════╝
  • Thanks to roryk, we now know the truth: iPods have retractable claws that sink themselves into our soft, Mac-pliant flesh.
  • Of course, Getas, but I used to sort some of the meta information in the filename, and keep the files organised that way. It also makes it very hard if you just want to share a little bit of music with a friend. So instead of pirating a little, I transferred 6GB worth of music to my fiance's computer. (Actually, a bunch of it had come from his CDs to begin with).
  •             alnedra knows too much             send one of the minis to disable her             with its irresistable cuteness.            /      _    /     / /|    / / |   / / ░|  /_/ ░░|   | |░░ |                        i'm on it boss!  | |░  |                       /  | |   |                 ╔════╗  | |   |                 ║ ░░ ║  | | ▼ |                 ║    ║  | |  /                  ║    ║  | | /                   ║  ► ║  |_|/                    ╚════╝
  • *waits by mailbox*
  • I drop my mini. The floor was very hard. The mini still works, amazingly, but it now has a sizable dent on the corner. Poor little mini.
  • *blinks* That's... wow.
  • I'm playing with iPod Agent a bit (mentioned in a recent thread). Seems a little more up-to-date than EphPod. Both are free (unlike CopyPod).
  • *double-take* *falls out of chair*