Why does my iPod hate my computer (or vice versa)?
July 25, 2008 8:34 PM   Subscribe

My iPod has recently stopped communicating (almost) entirely with my computer. I'm really at a loss to explain it.

So here's the story:

5g 80 gig iPod, and I'm using Windows. I've had this iPod for almost 2 years and have had no serious problems until now. When I plug in the iPod to my USB hub, the computer makes the *donk* noise (albeit in a stuttery way) and gives me the standard "this device can perform faster" message.
Problem is, the iPod doesn't show up in My Computer, or in iTunes. The iPod doesn't even draw a charge through the USB cable. I've tried the 5 Rs (reset the iPod, retried a different port, restarted my computer, reinstalled iTunes, restored iPod) with no success. Even though I couldn't restore the iPod on my own computer, I tried my friend's laptop (with the same USB cable, just in case that was the problem) and the iPod showed up just fine. I restored it and tried it again on mine. Nothing.
Why is the USB message and sound triggered when I plug in the iPod, but nothing else? I've even left it connected overnight, just in case it took a while to synch. Again, nothing. So what could the problem be? Is there anything else I can do? I'm really at my wit's end.
posted by Bromius to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Sounds like the computer's problem. The stuttery donk sound might mean the drivers are screwed up in some way. That's my guess, anyways.

How about taking off the USB hub and trying it via the original port? Also, do other devices work correctly with the hub/original port?
posted by curagea at 9:08 PM on July 25, 2008

Curagea: I've tried connecting it via the original port, with as little success. One of my external hard drives occasionally disconnects and immediately reconnects, but other than that I've had no problems.
posted by Bromius at 9:17 PM on July 25, 2008

Could you borrow a cable from someone else, just to eliminate that possibility? I've had some odd issues from a failing ipod cable.
posted by pompomtom at 10:42 PM on July 25, 2008

I could try, yes, but my current cable was absolutely fine in another computer. Still, not a bad suggestion.
posted by Bromius at 11:20 PM on July 25, 2008

A possible reason you're getting the USB message for the ipod might be because the ipod is your only USB2.0 device you have. There's two common versions of USB, and 2.0 is the faster version. If it can't connect via USB2.0, it tries to downgrade itself to the older version, and I don't know if the ipod supports that.

Can you upgrade (or downgrade) the drivers for your USB ports? That might help it connect at "hi-speed" rates.

You said you tried other ports--have you tried them all? Sometimes different ports plug into different places on your computer--and could be connected to different "controllers".

One more thing--I have a flakey USB port in a laptop, which does the disconnect and immediately reconnect thing. I've figured that the jack is loose, and I need to apply pressure to the top of the plug to keep it connected. If you have a hardware issue like this, it's probably fixable (unless you're on a laptop).
posted by jsmith77 at 7:24 AM on July 26, 2008

razdrez, I think I get the USB 2.0 message with every device I plug in, but I'll look into upgrading my USB drivers. I have tried all my USB ports, yes. My computer only has two, one of which is connected to my hub.

Thanks for the advice on the loose USB port, too; I'll see what I can do about that.
posted by Bromius at 8:26 AM on July 26, 2008

From what you describe, it appears that your computer only has USB 1.1 ports. As you can see from this requirements chart from Apple, your iPod should work with USB 1.1 but is not recommended. This might be the difference between you computer and your friend's. The reason your iPod suddenly stopped working is that iTunes may have updated the firmware in your iPod without your noticing and the new firmware might have a timing bug that causes a problem with slower USB 1.1.

You might try seeing if you can either update to a later iPod driver or downgrade to a previous driver.
posted by JackFlash at 9:53 AM on July 26, 2008

If it's the hardware, you could tell by running a live Linux CD & seeing if that detects it.

I'd think a driver problem would have been caught by reinstalling itunes.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2008

Well, I solved it myself. I ran device manager with the iPod attached, and saw it listed as a deactivated USB device. All I had to do was activate it, and now everything is absolutely fine. How it got deactivated in the first place I have no idea.
posted by Bromius at 8:25 PM on July 26, 2008

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