Is it safe to "erase and sync" an iPod containing non-iTunes data?
November 4, 2008 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Can I synch an existing ipod to a new host machine without wiping out all my non-music data?

- I have a 160 GB ipod Classic formatted as NTFS that contains about 20 GB of music and about three times as much other stuff that has been copied there using disk mode (work backups, etc.)

- A couple weeks ago, the iMac that I this ipod was paired and synched with crashed and died.

- Using tips found online, I replicated the library on a different machine, a Vista laptop, by dragging the Music folder of the iPod Control folder on the iPod into iTunes, thereby substantially reconstituting the library lost when the iMac died.

Now I'd like start adding music and podcasts to the Vista machine and synching them to the iPod, but when I try, I get a message that has scared me off for the moment. It states that since the iPod has previously been synched with another machine, synching it with the new machine will cause existing iPod data to be erased.

My question is whether iTunes will be smart enough to erase only the iTunes data, leaving my non-iTunes files untouched, or will it be stupid and just erase the full disk leaving me data-less and unhappy? I'm currently backing-up this extra data just to be safe, but it would save me some time if I could be certain that only the iTunes stuff would be affected.
posted by hwestiii to Technology (5 answers total)
Back it up. It can be lost.
posted by rokusan at 1:23 PM on November 4, 2008

And I think you can avoid this warning if you can get it to the point where that iPod is in your sources list, if you select the "Manually manage music" option. I forget exactly how you tell iTunes not to automatically try syncing the first time, though. One of the ctrl/shift/alt keys when you plug it in, I'm sure.

On the other hand, if you want to start automatically syncing with the new box, yeah, I'd back up, reformat, and replace the data and music.
posted by Kyol at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2008

There's a saying that digital data doesn't really exist until there are at least two copies of it.

Make backups.
posted by flabdablet at 5:07 PM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: Happily, iTunes seems to recognize the difference between iTunes managed data and user added data. I first backed up the stuff that I was worried about, at the cost of three hours of my time, then synced the iPod with the new computer.

End result was that all of my non-iTunes data survived the process intact, and I don't have to worry about spending another three hours waiting for all that stuff to copy back.
posted by hwestiii at 6:11 AM on November 5, 2008

When your iPod falls off its lanyard tomorrow and goes under the wheels of that bus, you'll be glad you made that backup :-)
posted by flabdablet at 2:44 PM on November 6, 2008

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