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iTunes 7 broke my iPod Nano

:: Saturday, September 23rd, 2006 @ 2:58:48 am

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iTunes 7 must have been upset with me after I went on a rant about it not long ago. An hour ago, I plugged my little iPod Nano into my Mac Pro, and iTunes 7 rendered the poor thing completely inoperable. It took quite a bit of work to resuscitate it…

iPod Nano, originally uploaded by echeng.

This is roughly real-time, as I try to fix it:

My Mac doesn’t recognize the thing at all — it does absolutely nothing when I plug it in, even in forced disk mode. iTunes Windows detects a “corrupted” iPod and tries to restore it, failing each time. When I inspect the drive in Windows XP Disk Management, it shows up as “Unreadable”, so manual re-formatting is impossible.

I rebooted my PC and ran iTunes 7 again. I ran a restore, but the iPod disappeared from iTunes and wouldn’t come back. This time, the Nano showed up in Disk Management, and I was able to re-format it with a FAT32 file system.

iTunes 7 (both platforms) now states, “iTunes has detected an iPod in recovery mode. You must restore this iPod before it can be used with iTunes.” After this, iTunes 7 for Windows refuses to recognize it, but iTunes 7 for Mac properly recognizes it as having a Windows file system.

iTunes Mac did a proper restore! I’m going to try to fill the Nano with music…

OK, it works now.

I can’t believe I just had to go through that!

This instance of Nano death isn’t an isolated incident. If you do web searches, you will find other instances of iTunes 7 killing Nanos.

So, Victor… now can I officially declare iTunes 7 to be a piece of crap? The fact that iTunes 7 breaks iPods is pretty bad!


Many Windows users have had luck re-mapping the iPod to a different drive letter. Read the comments for details…

| Oakland, CA | link | trackback | Sep 23, 2006 02:58:48
  • http://www.bigblueimages.com Mike V

    Mac eh?!?

    can i send you some more tylenol?

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Come on, Mike. You’re not being helpful. iTunes 7 on Windows is far worse than the same on Mac.

  • http://www.bigblueimages.com Mike V

    ummm.. i am not here to be helpful, i am the peanut gallery for entertaining but useless comments….


    don’t even know what version mine is, only ever used it to download 2 podcasts from Mary Lynne…. 1.9kb the other day! smokin!

  • Peter

    Just found this post online, I have a similar problem with iTunes 7 on a PC. My iPOD is fine. Never had any trouble with it – until I upgraded to iTune 7, which thinks my iPod is in some constant state of recovery mode. Even after I do recover it, iTunes will not play ball.

    I’m about to reinstall iTune 6.

  • sd

    Eric, when I upgraded to iTunes 7, the first time I used my iPod nano it had to upgrade the software, so it took about five minutes or so to do that, and it couldn’t be taken out either, (the nano screen says this too). I thought it might have frozen because it was taking so long to upgrade but it didn’t, it just was updating everything to the new features of iTunes 7. No problems here.

  • http://ihatepink.com Caroline :)

    is that a standard cautionary notice on all ipod nanos? (couldn’t be?!) or did you specify that to be there? hahahahah.

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    sd: glad you had luck with your upgrade. upon software “upgrade” for me, iTunes 7 made my nano inoperable.

  • J

    Broke my mini. But I can’t get it going again. And I have a mac, tried everything. :(

  • kieren


    Just wanted to let you know that I was having similar problems to Eric with my iPod Nano on a PC. However I eventually discovered that the problem was with Windows Disk Management and mapped drives that are automatically created on my PC at work. When the iPod was attached it was given the same drive letter as one of the mapped drives. Using the disk management utility, I forced windows to assign a different drive letter to the iPod and from that moment on, it was fine. Problem solved.

    Hope that helps anyone with a similar issue.

  • Darn

    Just want to verify what the last poster said…

    My ipod works fine (whatever that means). I use my home comp as the ‘pods ‘home base’ and primary sync comp. When at work, i plug her in and enable manual management and play music thru itunes. I have to do it this way because my library is stored at home.

    Yesterday I was fooling around with the logon scripts in my office and mapped some new drive letters. This morning, I plugged her in at work (as usual) and received the “iTunes has detected an iPod in recovery mode. You must restore this iPod before it can be used with iTunes.”

    Wow, did I pull my hair out!! I was listening to the pod with no problems on the subway, and now it’s konking out!!

    I was about to give up when I read Kieren’s post. After reading it, i instantly remembered all of the drive letter bullhockey I was playing around with yesterday.

    Running computer management was a bit tricky. Here’s what I had to do in order to re-assign the drive letter:

    Start -> Run -> compmgmt.msc Drill down ‘Storage’, highlight Disk Management Plug ipod in. Wait. Make sure the computer management window is the topmost window. If you don’t, you won’t be able to get in there and change the drive letter of your ipod. The ipod will disappear out of the computer management window once itunes rejects it, or accepts your acknowledgement that it’s rejecting it. Then I think i right clicked on the volume (or something) and changed the drive letter. Just to make sure windows remembered my change, I ejected the pod and plugged it in again. Looks like it was mapped to the letter I had specified. Don’t know if this setting will hold after a reboot/cold boot.

    Anyway people, check this…ipod seems to want to take a drive letter closest to your fixed volumes. At work, I have a C and E internal HD, so Ipod was looking for F:. But F: was mapped to the porn directory on my company’s server, so I got the error (NO, NOT PORN. heheheh). Now I forced ipod to take G:. I guess the best way to avoid this issue on a network like this is to keep all the low letters (A->G or something) reserved for your local comp, and the high letters (Z -> M or whatever) for mapped network drives.

    Rock on in Lebanon!

  • http://www.ericandjodi.com/jodi Jodi

    Just wanted to say thanks for the help and note that changing the drive letter worked for me too. Hurray! I’d also like to complain that in iTunes 7, I have to show the browser every time I plug in my iPod…in previous versions it remembered this setting. I find it annoying.

  • AlaN

    via device manager (win xp), uninstall ipod and then scan for hardware changes w/o removing ipod. worked great.

  • Adel

    Device Manager; deleted USB Mas Storage Device related to iPod (you’ll find it in properties). Took out iPod and re-inserted (it might work rescan as alan posted)

  • skinny_puppy

    That drive letter re-mapping also worked for me, great tip!

  • Tombombidil

    Thank you all for this fix, it was driving me, and a friend who works for apple, crazy. all I had to do was unmount a network drive and the thing worked fine. thank you all again for making life easier.

  • Pingback: Daniel Tull

  • Jose Martinez

    I had the same ‘restore’ problem. The Disk Management letter change did the trick.

  • http://www.gordonknight.co.uk/wordpress Derek Knight

    I had the same problem today – and it’s now six months since the first reported case. I just installed a new version of iTunes ( Again remapping a network drive – in my case G: fixed the problem. Apple seem to have dropped the ball on this one

  • http://echeng.com/journal/2006/09/23/itunes-7-broke-my-ipod-nano/ Josh

    So glad I found this info here…Apple’s site is useless.

    I mapped a G: drive & the iTunes/iPod is so inflexible it just couldn’t hack it. Too bad I found it after it zeroed all the bits. It’ll be fun for hours recopying it all…ah well…

  • smithee

    Thanks, the disk management trick help me, too.

  • Jayboogie70

    I need some assistance in mapping the drive letter to see if this works for me. Cans someone help

  • mundofr

    wow! i had really hard time trying to change the letter.. i always clcked on change not remove and then add, so everytime i tried to change it the app crashed, but i removed the letter and then added it and it worked :D

    thanks to all!

  • Bryan Triplett

    Thanks for the drive mapping hint. Worked perfectly for me. We had 2 ipods with bad restore symptoms. Problem went away immediately when I unmapped my local network drive letter G:

  • Wayne Brown

    Change of drive letter in disk manager worked for me, too. Original problem appeared when I attempted to dock my nano in the viewsonic port. This is a pretty stupid gadget anyway, but I used it “because it was there” :-{

  • Leanne

    Why do you think it’s happening? It almost feels like it only happens to PC formatted iPod Nanos.

    Thanks for the tip, btw.

  • Season

    i need some help changing the drive letter in disk management, can someone give me a hand?

  • vik

    For people who’ve tried the drive letter solution, but are still having problems with their ipod nanos:

    a. Force the ipod nano into disk mode More info: http://docs.info.apple.com/art.....tnum=93651

    b. Formating the ipod nano using Windows as a FAT32 drive

    c. Restoring the ipod nano using iTunes 7.0 or later

    I tried everything including the drive letter change (which didn’t help), but after 3 hours of extensive research, the above three steps put my ipod back on track and its working fine now.

  • NANO

    my nano had the message displayed before i hooked it up what happened?It displayed that for some reason

  • Nestor

    Hi Nestor from Costa Rica… great tip Darn; the renaming thing really worked for me!


  • Erika

    kieren is a lifesaver! I was having the same issue, all of a sudden itunes was detecting my ipod in recovery mode. turned out a new driver was installed and it just so happened to use the same drive letter that was designated for my ipod. i reassinged the drive letter for the new driver, and it works perfectly now! no need to restore my ipod or anything. thank goodness, as i would’ve lost a lot of songs.

  • http://none Chris

    This too (changing the mapping to G drive) fixed my iPod Nano issue. Thanks for the fix..would be nice if Apple actually had this on their site..or at least fixed. This was with iTunes version and Nano sw version 1.1.3

  • Vanessa

    Has anyone tried the mapping to the G-drive fix with Windows Vista? Please help! I don’t know how to get to disk management and I am leaving for a week long trip today…what horrible timing to lose my nano.

  • Vanessa

    I figured out how to change drive letter in Windows Vista and my nano is still dead. :-( Right click on my computer and select manage will get you to disk management (FYI) Any other thoughts are greatly appreciated! I also updated the drivers..still no luck.

  • FurBall

    Changing the drive letter worked PERFECTLY FINE! YAY! AWESOME.

  • http://echeng.com/journal/2006/09/23/itunes-7-broke-my-ipod-nano/ Paula

    I’ve read the comments and tried so many different ways to “fix” my iPod nano, and I’m now lost. I’ve changed the drive letter, put it in disk mode, and downloaded iTunes 8. I’ve gotten the check mark on the screen and finally gotten iTunes to detect it, but it keeps staying it needs to be restored, but doesnt work when I do it. I realize this has been explained but I cant seem to figure it out.Please Help!

  • http://www.bodydetoxdiet.net bodydetox

    iPod nano is very good as a walkaround mp3 player. my only complaint is that the included headphones lack good bass. I replaced it with the Sennheiser CX-300 and the sound was awesome.

  • NightWing

    Ok so when i get to disk managemant i only see (C:) under volume. Im on a computer htat doesnt belong to me and im unsure of what will exaclty happen when I try to remove and add a new driver. your steps were a little to vague for me. Could oyu maybe tell me step by step and what ur screen is showing?

  • Pitbulljeff2010

    it worked great on my 4gb nano..tytytyty

  • Huzefa Shakir

    Haah finally got this resolved. Its easy changed the drive letter to closest disconnected and reconnected to check if the changes are saved for letter, post that formatted iPod with fat 32 from disk management screen and reseated iPod and it worked. Follow these steps: 1) Start -> Run -> compmgmt.msc 2) Select storage.

    3) Highlight Disk Management and wait!! will take sometime to load.

    4) Check if iPod is showing in the drive list. 5) Right click 6) Select Change Drive Letters and Paths

    7) Select Change 8) From the drop down selet the closest drive letter. (iPod seems to want to take a drive letter closest to your fixed volumes)

    9) Click OK 10) Select Yes 11) Right click on the iPod drive and select Format. 12) Click OK

    13) Remove iPod and insert it again and check iTunes.

    This worked for me i hope it works for you if you’re facing similar issues.

    All the Best!!!

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