Make my iPod nano visible again!
December 30, 2006 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Why does my IBM laptop hate my iPod nano?

I have an IBM T40 laptop running XP Pro and two iPods, a 3G and a 1G nano. Ever since I updated iTunes a while back, the computer wouldn't recognize the nano, said it needed to be restored, etc. At some point I started getting the 1418 error. I tried a lot of different things to fix it, including:

-Restoring the nano multiple times.
-Uninstalling iTunes and reinstalling it.
-Uninstalling iTunes and reinstalling an older version of the iTunes software.
-Testing the cable (it works) and the USB ports (ditto).
-Updating Windows.
-Testing whether the computer would recognize the old 3G (it does, both in iTunes and as an external hard drive in My Computer).

I finally gave the nano up as irredeemably corrupted and the Apple Store swapped it out for another one. I just plugged the new nano in and . . . same problem! In the right hand corner, it tells me an unknown device is connected. In iTunes there is nothing.

Any suggestions?
posted by amber_dale to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
See if you can find a different computer to plug it into, and test it with that, preferably one without any of the support software installed; it should just show up under My Computer as a removable storage device. If you can drag files to it and open them, that's a pretty good indication that the Nano is OK; if not, it's b0rked and you need to swap it out One More Time. Yes, this happens.

I had a customer with an iPod Shuffle that worked on every computer except theirs. Turned out the 5V rail on their PC's power supply was out of spec (it fluctuated between 4.65 and 4.7V) and this was giving the Shuffle some grief. If your Nano works on somebody else's computer, it might be worthwhile to try running it via a plugpack-powered USB hub on yours.
posted by flabdablet at 5:51 PM on December 30, 2006

Does it show up in the device manager?

Right click on My Computer. Choose manage. Choose Device manager.
posted by filmgeek at 5:54 PM on December 30, 2006

Response by poster: filmgeek, it does not show up in Device Manager. I just plugged it into my boyfriend's PC and it showed up in My Computer and was recognized by iTunes.

The old nano used to work just fine on my laptop. Ever since I upgraded iTunes, it's been borked. I don't know if that could coincide with some kind of power supply problem. It is also no longer under warranty (the guy at the Genius Bar today said he would "let it slide" since it expired recently), so I don't think I could get a second swap.

We don't have a powered USB hub. For the cost of one of those, it might be worthwhile to just get the battery replaced on my 3G and sell the nano. Augh.
posted by amber_dale at 6:30 PM on December 30, 2006

first, I concur that it could be the USB ports not providing enough juice, but since it used to work fine on the laptop, it seems unlikely. Since the nano works on another PC, it's probably also fine.

I note you don't specify that you've reinstalled windows. It's possible the nano driver (even USB storage devices have drivers) has been corrupted - especially since it came after an itunes update.

Uninstalling and reinstalling can help, but also leaves quite a bit of cruft behind unchanged - and if your problem is the cruft, you're a bit stuffed. It is possible to manually clean the registry and .inf files relevent to the nano and itunes from windows, but it's a job for a serious geek, more than you'd get at your average windows repair shop.

It's worth reinstalling windows every so often anyway, so you could backup your data (don't forget email!) and reinstall. If you don't want to go through all the hassle just for this problem, you can use gparted to resize your partition(s), free up some space and install a 2nd copy of windows to test with - but you'll need a proper copy of windows to install, not just a system restore disc.

Final choice, using a powered external USB hub might still work, because it'll force the nano being picked up as a new device through a new interface, tho it won't fix using the nano straight into the ports. I can recommend the i-rocks crystal ir-4300, they're about $12 from online retailers.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:51 AM on December 31, 2006

...tho it won't fix using the nano straight into the ports on the thinkpad itself. Gah.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:57 AM on December 31, 2006

Have you tested other USB2 devices on your T40? I had a T40 that the USB ports just stopped working correctly on - they would only work OK with USB1 devices, USB2 devices would sometimes work for a few minutes and then they'd spontaneously disconnect themselves and sometimes reconnect as USB1 devices.

The way I identified that it wasn't Windows but my USB ports that were broken was to boot the laptop from a Knoppix CD (Linux Live CD) and see if the ports worked then.

You could see whether updating the BIOS sorts out the ports, although it didn't do anything for me. I never tracked down the cause of the problem on my T40, instead I bought a CardBus USB2 card and just used those ports for USB connections. (You can get one off ebay for $10)
posted by koshmar at 5:01 AM on December 31, 2006

Response by poster: My digital camera uses the USB ports and it seems to work fine. I will try updating the BIOS as prelude to potentially reinstalling Windows. Sigh.
posted by amber_dale at 7:48 AM on December 31, 2006

The power supply voltage sensitivity issue that b0rked the iPod shuffle didn't affect any of that customer's other USB devices either. If you can possibly borrow a powered USB hub to rule that possibility out, it might save you hours of faffing about with a Windows reinstall.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 PM on December 31, 2006

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