Tiny musical device wrecks girl's life shortly before 6-week trip.
January 18, 2006 5:04 PM   Subscribe

It's my turn to have ipod woes. Has this particular problem happened to you? Please help before my ipod dream is tragically ended.

The thing basically asks to be formatted every time I plug it into the computer, and consequently erases anything I've managed to load onto it. An error message pops up when I plug in the ipod saying something to the effect of "<:iTunes.exe - Corrupt File. The file or directory \iPod_Control\iTunesPrefs is corrupt and unreadable. Please run the Chckdisk utility." Some variation in the error message, sometimes involving garbledyguk characters, sometimes not. Sometimes this doesn't happen, and then I can usually put about 80 songs on the ipod, at which time the error message pops up and the &#&Q(!*!*# thing erases itself again.

I took the ipod to the Apple store and they said the ipod is working perfectly well. (Unfortunately they were running so late I had to leave before they were done and they didn't fix the problem. And now I have only a couple of days left to return the ipod, so I'm giving it this last shot.)

Some details: last week I received a 30GB video ipod. My computer is a Dell Inspiron 600m apparently running XP Professional, supposedly with SP2.* I have loaded mounds and mounds of music onto my computer using Windows Media Player to upload and play the music. I did install iTunes several months ago in order to buy a couple of songs.

Apple tech support has walked me through lots of troubleshooting to no avail. Here's what we've done:
(1) removed iTunes and iPod software, downloaded replacement software, run the iPod Updater and tried again. (We've done this many times.);
(2) run the checkdist utility;
(3) removed everything iTunes and iPod related on the computer that I can remove, and downloaded everything again;
(4) did msconfig and started the computer in selective start mode so that only itunes was in the start menu.

Here are some wild ideas my uneducated computer mind has considered:
(1) I have 2 USB ports in the back of my computer. Could one of those USB ports be defective, but only for ipod purposes?
(2) There's something screwy on my computer - possibly involving Windows XP/SP2 - that is blocking itunes/ipod software.
(3) My prior use of iTunes is screwing with the new software in ways I can't comprehend.

*I say apparently, because when the computer arrived, it had XP Home, and I thought it didn't have SP2, but now it appears to have XP Professional and SP2. This may sound crazy, but I might have changed it to XP Professional and SP2 and now I can't remember if I did that or not.
posted by Amizu to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
This happens to me after my iPod has been off for three+ days. I recall reading on the iPodLounge forums that the iPod goes into a sort of 'sleep' and a file gets corrupted. Running chkdsk has always worked for me; I do recall other suggestions on the forums, but I recall having to wade through a lot of crud to get it.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:31 PM on January 18, 2006

Make sure that your ipod firmware is up-to-date. I don't know how to do that on a Windows machine, but it's probably analogous to the Mac solution, which is to download a simple standalone app called 'iPod Updater'.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:03 PM on January 18, 2006

The answer to this problem is that it shouldn't be your problem at all. You are still under warranty and you need to get the service you deserve. You paid for a working iPod. You need to ensure you get one!

I guess there is a chance that the issue is your OS or your computer or some kind of strange conflict happening with your software? In that case. . . I'm not a PC expert. Sorry.
posted by visual mechanic at 6:04 PM on January 18, 2006

yeah. those "geniuses" at the apple store will try anything to get you not to return it or tell you that there is either nothing wrong with it or that it's your fault.

I've had to deal with them on more than one occasion for my powerbook. ou just have to state your case/problem, making sure they understand that you understand that it's still under warranty and that it's not working to the standard that their company has promised that it would and you would like to exchange or return it.

It is possible that you got a bad one. It took me 3 replacements to get a decent powerbook (granted it was refurbished but nonetheless).

You paid good money for you iPod and you want it to work like it's supposed to. At the very least, see if it works on another computer.
posted by eatcake at 6:59 PM on January 18, 2006

Response by poster: They've already agreed to take it back. I was just wondering if someone in the wide world had experienced this particular poblem, so that I don't have to give up on having an ipod at all. Would be nice to have one.....

(And yes, I have tried the ipod updater many, many times.)
posted by Amizu at 7:18 PM on January 18, 2006

You really should try it on a friend's computer with a friend's version of iTunes and see if it loads your friend's music. That way you can know whether it's the iPod or your computer.

If it's the iPod, then viola you get a new one. If it's your computer, then that should be able to be fixed too.
posted by visual mechanic at 7:31 PM on January 18, 2006

As to the Windows XP Home/Pro issue, I'm pretty sure SP2 would install itself through automatic updates. With SP2, Microsoft removed the "Home" and "Professional" labels during the boot screen, so it might look like the edition of Windows had changed, but it almost certainly didn't.
posted by stopgap at 7:56 PM on January 18, 2006

It sounds like that the file:
\iPod_Control\iTunesPrefs is corrupt and unreadable. Please run the Chckdisk utility

is becoming corrupt.

Try nuking just the iTunesPrefs on your PC.

Have you tried a new windows user? How about a different windows box?

Apple is certainly within their rights if it's a problem with your machine. Perhaps a virus/malware is infecting the pod or your itunes files?
posted by filmgeek at 7:59 PM on January 18, 2006

There is a bug, but you'll be pleased to hear it's supposedly been fixed with the newest firmware. The Apple discussions site is full of posts about it.

Apple has a support article about it that has a link to the latest firmware, which only came out this week -- have you updated since then?
posted by bonaldi at 10:56 PM on January 18, 2006

Until recently I had a flash memory based player (Creative Muvo). This basically behaves like a hard disc from the point of view of windows: it mounts as a drive, you can put whatever you want on it and if this happens to be music then the device has firmware that allows that to be played. The whole thing was very reliable.

Three weeks ago I bought a 60Gb ipod - after waiting for nearly 40 minutes in line in an Apple store for the privilege of doing so. Whilst I love it I went through several days of quite severe problems in getting it to play properly with my PC. Many hours of effort in following online advice, reloading USB drivers, updating firmware, deleting preference files, etc. Apparently many others are having similar problems.

The revelation to me has been how different the ipod is from a standard external hard drive - Apple wants everything on there to be put there in a particular way for purposes that include product lock-in to I-tunes and DRM. Ipods were originally designed to work with the Mac OS only and it would appear that windows compatibility has been grafted on in a manner that is not always 100% reliable.

Skallas and others are right in saying that Amizu or I could return the device to Apple and ask for it to be replaced claiming that it does not work as it should. I do wonder how many of the other people who have made up the 40 minute line in the shop might be doing the same thing? Apple have a great product in many respects and they have got it to market quickly. But it seems to have a number of glitches that can only be solved with time and firmware updates.
posted by rongorongo at 2:51 AM on January 19, 2006

Response by poster: Apple has a support article about it that has a link to the latest firmware, which only came out this week -- have you updated since then?

Yes, unfortunately I have, and that didn't help. And that article was my guidance for running the chkdisk utility, which I've done twice now and still hasn't helped....
posted by Amizu at 5:22 AM on January 19, 2006

I've had great luck with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. I took my shuffle in for a problem and within 10 minutes I was walking out of the store with a new one.
posted by mmascolino at 10:25 AM on January 19, 2006

Response by poster: I've had great luck with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. I took my shuffle in for a problem and within 10 minutes I was walking out of the store with a new one.

Sadly I did not have good luck - they ran 45 minutes later, worked on my computer/ipod combo for about 45 minutes unsuccessfully at which time I had to go to another appointment. Maybe I'll give it one more shot....
posted by Amizu at 11:11 AM on January 19, 2006

Amizu: My location was terribly busy when I first went there, so much so that I couldn't make the apointment. I came back the next day just as the store was opening. That was the trick for me to get prompt service.
posted by mmascolino at 6:27 AM on January 21, 2006

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