Thursday, October 21, 2004

iPod Seizure

Saturday past I noticed something odd. I plugged my trusty iPod into it's
dock to transfer over some new tunes I bought, and iTunes told me it
couldn't communicate with the iPod. Hmm, that's odd I thought. It's been
working flawlessly for some time now. I look down at where it's sitting and
it is in it's connection mode, tell me "Do Not Disconnect." I figure iTunes
can't find it anyway, and even if I turn off the computer the iPod will
still think it shouldn't be disconnected (this I know from experience), so I
give it a "manual undocking," that is I pull it out despite the stern
warning to no disconnect.

I restart it, and this is where I notice trouble. It begins an endless cycle
of restarts. Ack! Hard drives aren't supposed to like being constantly res
tarted, so I immediately try to put it into sleep mode... and it continues
to restart. Now I'm concerned. I don't want it doing this until the battery
runs out, and I certainly want it back to playing music. I lay it on the
desk, it continues to seize, an d I start to try to find a solution.

First thing I discover is there is a way to put the iPod in "Disk Mode". I
restart it, and just as it begins to boot I hold down FWD and REV on the
controls. Bingo, it's out of the restart cycle. I won't play music th ough
in disk mode, it will only function as I hard drive. I plug it back into the
dock and iTunes is still not recognizing it. I know I can try a factory
restore, returning the software to the original state. In the process all
the data on the drive would be lost too, so this isn't an attractive idea to
me (it took me months to fill it, and while I've got my tracks on CDs, I
don't want to go through the time consuming process of reloading them from
CDs to the iPod).

After a little more web research I discover there is a "Diagnostic Mode" for
iPods. I restart the iPod, and simultaneously hold down FWD, REV, and
SELECT. The screen flashes a backwards apple and makes a chortling noise...
and bingo, a new menu I've never seen before! There many options, but none
of them have to do with playing music. Fearing the worst, I select the
option "HD Scan" and let it begin the process of scanning its drive. At
first I think nothing is happening, so I leave it on the desk and go to the
other room to chat with Neal. T he instructions on the web said it may take
15-20 minutes for the drive to scan, so I'm not going to stare an nothing
for 20 minutes, after all there's college football on TV.

After some time I return to peek at the iPod... bad news. "HARD DRIVE FAIL
0x000400x" is what the iPod is telling me. NO! I don't want my iPod dead
already... we've only been together a short time, but it's been great. This
is a relationship that needs to be salvaged. Understanding the inevitable,
that I'll have to try the factory restore, I begin the process of
downloading the most current iPod software version. Better to have a blank
iPod to fill which works that one that is full but doesn't play music,
obstinately hiccuping every 30 seconds. It doesn't take long to update the
so ftware back to factory settings, and wonder of wonders, the iPod has
stopped seizing and has booted to its simple menu. Knowing it will take me
days to reload the songs, I put it to bed and resolve to begin the process
sometime this week (which I did, a couple CDs at a time in the morning
before work).¿


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