13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2011 1:19 AM by Scott Garrett
FlySparks Level 1 (0 points)
Whenever I connect my iPod to my Dell laptop iTunes freezes. When this happens, iTunes does not crash, it only freezes. During this time, iTunes will finish the song that it is playing (if doing so), but after the song finishes no further media will play. Also, the iPod does not show up on the sidebar of iTunes at this time (iTunes appears exactly as it was before connecting the iPod).
I am unable to eject the iPod safely at this point as the computer tells me that the system is using the iPod. If I remove the iPod from the computer, the error message: "Unable to sync iPod" comes up in iTunes. At the same time the iPod shows up on the sidebar of the iTunes, but it disappears as soon as I click "Ok" on the error message. At this point, iTunes returns to normal and is no longer frozen, even without restarting.

I have tried using a different computer and the same thing happens. I have also tried a different cable and the same exact thing happens.
Most recently, I have tried putting the iPod into disk mode, but still the same thing happens when I connect it to the computer.
If I go into My Computer (the same thing occurs in or out of disk mode) and click on the iPod, it will take me to the iPod folder, but My Computer will begin to Not Respond and then the only way to close it is to force close the window (ctrl, alt, del). If I right click the iPod, the drop down menu to access properties or to format the iPod comes up, but once again My Computer begins to not respond and I must force close it.

My iPod is an iPod Classic, 120 GB.
My computer is a Dell Laptop, Studio 1558
I have also tried on a Dell Desktop

Dell Studio 1558 (Laptop), Windows 7
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,844 points)
    Hi, welcome to Apple Discussions.

    Try the following. Close iTunes. Click the icon to start iTunes and immediately press and continue to hold down the SHIFT key until asked to create or choose a library. Do neither for now - this just stops iTunes from getting involved when you connect the device.

    Hold Select+Menu on the iPod for about 6 seconds until it resets, then hold Select+Play as soon as the Apple logo appears, again for about 6 seconds to put the machine in disk mode. Now connect it to the computer. Does it get given a particular drive letter? Ideally use the Windows disk management tools to assign a new drive letter that is different from other devices that you plug in, e.g. I for iPod. You should make sure (don't know how offhand as I'm still on XP) that Windows isn't trying to use your iPod for ReadyBoost memory. Also make sure that any Antivirus software ignore the drive.

    If you get this far and the iPod is behaving like a normal external drive, cancel that dialog and then restart iTunes. Any better? I think iTunes can connect to an iPod in disk mode (I have an iPhone these days) but if iTunes can't see the iPod then reset it while it is still connected to the computer.

  • FlySparks Level 1 (0 points)
    After closing iTunes and doing what you said with the libraries, I put my iPod into disk mode and plugged it back into the computer.
    This prompted iTunes to open and immediately freeze.

    The computer still recognizes the iPod, and it shows up on the E: drive, which it has always been. Right clicking the iPod (E: drive) or opening the iPod folder still results in My Computer freezing.

    Nothing seems to have changed here, but thanks for the suggestion.

    If it is any help, this is just a recent problem, and prior to this, I have been able to plug this iPod into this computer and transfer or play music. For some reason I am unable to figure out, it all of a sudden just stopped working the other day.
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,844 points)
    OK, lets check out the iPod's hard drive...

    *Check your iPod with Diagnostics Mode*
    It's possible that your iPod's hard drive has started to fail. Take your iPod and place your right thumb on the centre SELECT button and your left on the top MENU button. Press down both thumbs for about 6 seconds until your iPod reboots. Immediately move your left thumb around to the rewind button |<< on the left and hold this down together with SELECT for a further 6 seconds. Your iPod should now switch into Diagnostic Boot mode. Press MENU for *Manual Test*, then select *IO > HardDrive > HDSMARTData* to reveal your stats. For comparison here are mine for my 2 year old 6th Generation Classic:
    Retracts: 889
    Reallocs: 12
    Pending Sectors: 0
    PowerOn Hours: 2202
    Start/Stops: 894
    Temp: Current 24c
    Temp: Min 10c
    Temp: Max 50c

    Take a note of your results. When finished press *SELECT & MENU* for 6 seconds to reset the iPod again.

    With modern disc drives sectors are no longer marked bad by a disc scan, if the SMART firmware detects a sector it has trouble accessing it will attempt to invisibly reallocate it to a spare area of the disc.

    Note that I've only 12 remapped sectors and none pending. To help explain what the numbers mean here is an extract from the Wikipedia S.M.A.R.T. article:
    *Reallocated Sectors Count*
    Count of reallocated sectors. When the hard drive finds a read/write/verification error, it marks this sector as "reallocated" and transfers data to a special reserved area (spare area). This process is also known as remapping, and "reallocated" sectors are called remaps. This is why, on modern hard disks, "bad blocks" cannot be found while testing the surface – all bad blocks are hidden in reallocated sectors. However, as the number of reallocated sectors increases, the read/write speed tends to decrease. The raw value normally represents a count of the number of bad sectors that have been found and remapped. Thus, the higher the attribute value, the more sectors the drive has had to reallocate.

    *Pending sector count*
    Number of "unstable" sectors (waiting to be remapped, because of read errors). If an unstable sector is subsequently written or read successfully, this value is decreased and the sector is not remapped. Read errors on a sector will not remap the sector (since it might be readable later); instead, the drive firmware remembers that the sector needs to be remapped, and remaps it the next time it's written.

    Large numbers of Reallocs or Pending Sectors would suggest your drive is failing and that you may need to repair or replace your iPod. Check your stats after another attempt to update your iPod. If the numbers increase that again points to hard drive failure. While it won't be good news at least you'll know it isn't some random software problem and you can decide what to do next.

  • FlySparks Level 1 (0 points)
    I put my iPod in diagnostics mode and after doing a manual test, my iPod gave back the following report:

    Retracts: 7
    Reallocs: 8
    Pending Sectors: 16
    Powerton Hours: 264
    Start/Stops: 10980
    Temp: Current 34C
    Temp: Min 54C
    Temp: Max 254C

    My remapped sectors are only 8, which is below your number, so this should be fine. But in comparison, my pending sectors are at 16, which is high in comparison to your 0.
    Is this high enough of a number to demonstrate that the hard drive might be the problem? Or is this number still not at a level at which is should be a concern?

    Thanks for all your help so far tt2
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,844 points)
    Those temperature readings are way off the beam which might indicate some form of data corruption that's not being reported properly. However, that aside, if those 16 pending sectors are responsible for storing the root folder of the drive that might explain why things lock up. Try putting the drive in disk mode and then formatting it as FAT32 without ever exploring the drive. Again you need to make sure iTunes doesn't try to attach to the drive. Press and hold SHIFT immediately after clicking on the icon to start iTunes and keep holding it down until asked to create or choose a library. As far as I know with this dialog box on screen iTunes will be tied up until you chose or cancel so it shouldn't interfere with Windows formatting the drive.

  • FlySparks Level 1 (0 points)
    Got iTunes to stay on the Library message instead of opening and freezing.
    Went into My Computer and right clicked the iPod, then selected Format on the drop down menu. This opened a new window with several options. File system is currently set to "exFAt (Default)". Clicked the file system drop down menu, but the only other available option, aside from exFAT, is "NTFS". There is no "FAT32" option to choose. Any thoughts? Is "NTFS" worth trying or will it not do anything?

    Here are my current format settings:
    Capacity: 111 GB
    File System: exFat 32 (Default)
    Allocation Unit Size: 256 KB
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,844 points)
    I'm sure the current format will be fine.

  • FlySparks Level 1 (0 points)
    If I format the iPod at this point, will I lose all my music?
    I will do this if it means saving the iPod, but if there are other possibilities that will avoid losing my music, I would like to try them.
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,844 points)
    Yes, formatting the iPod will lose all the music currently on the device. Normally I'd suggest a bunch of ways for recovering media from the drive, but if you can't open it in Explorer there is no point. My best guess is that the sectors holding the root folder structures of the drive are corrupt and unreadable. Until these are mapped out by a format the device will be useless. Having your iPod as the only location for your media is a recipe for disaster. I can't guarantee that this approach will be successful, however I recently had a similar issue with the external drive housing my library which would lock up solidly. Thankfully I had a complete clone so I reformatted the drive and put the data back. It's as if I never had a problem.

  • morticia36 Level 1 (0 points)
    hi - sorry to butt into your conversion. I'm having similiar problems with my classic 160 ipod. I pulled up the smart data like you said and I don't think it's a good sign. The data said :
    Pending sectors:0
    Power on hours:1119
    temp current: 29c
    temp min: 7c
    temp max: 56c

    Do you think it's something that can be fixed? It's a limited edition Ipod and I really don't want to just let it die.

    Message was edited by: morticia36
  • Donchev.D Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello, I have a very similar problem. I have an Ipod classic 80GB and I'm trying to connect it to my laptop (Windows 7).
    I have the ipod for two years now and everything worked just fine until a few weeks ago when I uploaded some new music files using iTunes. I'm not sure if I ejected properly or not, but when I disconnected all my music was lost (which doesn't bother me much because I have it all on my hard drive), but since then I can't connect the ipod to the computer. Every time I try it iTunes freezes. The Ipod constantly changes between the sync and plugged-in icons. Windows Explorer recognizes the device, but starts working very slowly and if I try to format the ipod, the format options dialog never appears.
    When I tried the ipod analytics it shows:
    +Retracts: 102+
    +Reallocs: 0+
    +Pending Sectors: 3+
    +PowerOn Hours: 132 (I haven't even used it much )+
    +Start/Stops: 85+
    +Temp: Current 27c+
    +Temp: Min 15c+
    +Temp: Max 50c+
    What do I do now?
    Please, Please, Please Help?
  • Donchev.D Level 1 (0 points)
    I found a solution to my problem. I used Command Prompt to format the Ipod. At first it objected that a process was using it and asked me if I want to force dismount. I confirmed. I used the fat32 format. (Just typed: format /FS:FAT32 X: (X: being the drive letter of my ipod)). After the format was complete, iTunes immediately found my iPod and I was able to restore it.
    So the problem was caused by some kind of a process. This most likely isn't the most elegant solution to my problem (erasing all the music from the iPod) but it worked for me.
  • Scott Garrett Level 1 (0 points)

    I found a solution too. Easier than others posted, but then, mine is probably for mac users only. Here's what to do:


    1. Put iPod into disk mode

    2. Quit iTunes. Connect iPod to computer

    3. Open disk utility

    4. Erase the iPod by choosing the disk identity immediately above iPod in the list, and clicking the 'erase' tab

    5. Eject iPod by dragging desktop icon into trash

    6. Reset iPod


    Your iPod behaves like it's brand new. Hook it up to iTunes now, and you can start again.