Did Winamp kill my iPod?
December 30, 2008 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Did Winamp kill my iPod?

My wife handed down to me an iPod (3rd gen, I think) that she had managed from her PC using iTunes. When iTunes became irritatingly slow on my several years old XP machine, I switched to Winamp. I continued using Winamp when I replaced that machine with a 64-bit Vista a few months ago.

In my iTunes days, the iPod had needed restoring from iTunes a few times - but it eventually settled down into reliable functioning. Then not long ago I noticed that Winamp wasn't successfully removing some tracks from the iPod. About a week ago, the iPod would freeze in the middle of a track for no apparent reason and require a reset. Then it began ignoring attempts to scroll to the middle of a track and kept playing the track from the beginning. Last night I downloaded iTunes 8 for 64-bit machines for the sole purpose of performing another restore. Then as I was loading the iPod up again from Winamp, it soon gave me an error about the iPod being full [which I highly doubt] - an error that crashed me hard enough to require a power-button restart. [Which, for all the horror stories about Vista, is a rarer occurrence now than it used to be.] Now even a reset only brings up a "sad iPod" face.

My question is whether using a non-iTunes program to manage the iPod contributed to its demise. This comment gave me pause. Would it be needlessly paranoid to switch back to iTunes for the iPod Classic 6th Gen that's replacing the old player? Or sensibly cautious?

Assuming the latter, how best to avoid this? With what, in retrospect, appears a justified suspicion that Apple wouldn't let me escape so easily, after I switched to Winamp, I continued using the "iTunes Music" folder that iTunes had created to store all my shit. If I just tell iTunes 8 to look for music in that "iTunes Music" folder, will it create its library without any unpleasant surprises?
posted by Joe Beese to Technology (5 answers total)
Have you checked to see if there's an update to Winamp? Could be that the iPod syncing component of it needs an update to deal with the latest firmware.

As to whether using third-party syncing software will damage your iPod, I highly doubt it. I've used a third-party sync with two iPods (an old 20 gig and a 2nd generation Nano) without any problems whatsoever. The concern raised in that other thread isn't especially relevant to you; Apple can't update the software on your iPod without you using iTunes at all. It is true that Apple has taken steps to prevent such compatability, but if you've got an iPod that works with Winamp, it will continue to work with Winamp. Here's an interesting note from the developer of the iPod-syncing component I use with Foobar2000.

If you do decide to go back to iTunes, you can prevent it from hijacking all your music by going into its options and unchecking the "Let iTunes organize my music collection" (or some other similar term). However, it may do this on its first run, so you would do well to backup your collection somewhere in case iTunes behaves badly (and my experience with the program is that it behaves badly whenever possible).
posted by sinfony at 11:02 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

the iPod had needed restoring from iTunes a few times - but it eventually settled down into reliable functioning.

This part of your post points me in the direction of you having a flaky iPod from the beginning. I've never had any problem like this from my ipod.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:56 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Have you been removing the iPod properly? I don't have much experience with apple devices or software, but I've had generic mp3 players act flaky (and eventually die) in a similar way if I didn't unmount or "safely remove" them. In fact, I would suspect that it was the restart that (possibly?) bricked your device, not winamp itself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:43 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Have you been removing the iPod properly?

I've been using the "Eject" button in Winamp and waiting for the iPod screen to return to the main display. I have not been using the "unmount hardware" in Windows though.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2008

This sounds to me like your iPod's hard drive is failing. I went through 3 drive failures on a 4th gen, all covered by AppleCare.
posted by rfs at 8:11 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

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