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Kay Browne Level 1 (0 points)
Hi... I have an older 20 g iPod. I dropped it (only 3 feet but hard surface) last week and after that it malfunctioned and then stopped functioning. I have tried the reset several times without success. My Mac does not recognize it either in the information about this Mac or the disk utility or the iPod updater. I would love to be able to revive it but had assuimed it dead. I can get an apple on the screen when I do a reset and the battery icon shows that it is charging ... and then the exclamation point with the folder comes up.

Any thoughts would be more than appreciated. Kay

iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.4.6), also use with Harmon Kardon drive and play
  • annieb22 Level 1 (10 points)
    I am having the same problem with my daughter's ipod but don't think it was dropped. Cannot get itunes to recognize it. It showed up as a unrecognized disk once and showed up in disk repair as ipod media. When I found out how to use the disk utility before updating it would no longer show up on my ibook at all. The screen goes back and forth between charging, the apple and the folder with the exclamation point. There is a constant whirring and clicking and I cannot shut it down. I have also restarted my computer. Any suggestions?
  • Mitch 751 Level 6 (11,525 points)

    If a sad iPod icon or an exclamation point and folder icon appears on your iPod’s screen, or with sounds of clicking or HD whirring, it is usually the sign of a hard drive problem and you have the power to do something about it now. Your silver bullet of resolving your iPod issue – is to restore your iPod to factory settings.

    If you're having trouble, try these steps at different levels one at a time until the issue is resolved. These steps will often whip your iPod back into shape.

    Make sure you do all the following “TRYs”

    A. Try to wait 30 minutes while iPod is charging.
    B. Try another FireWire or USB through Dock Connector cable.
    C. Try another FireWire or USB port on your computer .
    D. Try to disconnect all devices from your computer's FireWire and USB ports.
    E. Try to download and install the latest version of iPod software and iTunes
    F. Try these five steps (known as the five Rs) and it would conquer most iPod issues.
    G. Try to put the iPod into Disk Mode if it fails to appear on the desktop

    If none of these steps address the issue, you may need to go to Intermediate level listed below in logical order. Check from the top of the lists to see if that is what keeping iPod from appearing on your computer in order for doing the Restore.

    Intermediate Level

    A. Try to connect your iPod with another computer with the iPod updater pre-installed.

    B. Still can’t see your iPod, put it in Disk Mode and connect with a computer, instead of doing a Restore on iPod Updater. Go and format the iPod instead.

    For Mac computer
    1. Open the disk utility, hope your iPod appears there (left hand side), highlight it
    2. Go to Tab “Partition”, click either “Delete” or “Partition”, if fails, skip this step and go to 3
    3. Go to Tab “Erase” , choose Volume Format as “MAC OS Extended (Journaled), and click Erase, again if fails, skip it and go to 4
    4. Same as step 3, but open the “Security Options....” and choose “Zero Out Data” before click Erase. It will take 1 to 2 hours to complete.
    5. Eject your iPod and do a Reset
    6. Open the iPod Updater and click “Restore”

    For Window computer
    Go to folder “My Computer”
    Hope you can see your iPod there and right click on the iPod
    Choose “Format”. Ensure the settings are at “Default” and that “Quick Format” is not checked
    Now select “Format”
    Eject your iPod and do a Reset
    Open the iPod Updater and click “Restore”
    In case you do not manage to do a “Format” on a window computer, try to use some 3rd party disk utility software, e.g.“Partition Magic”.

    C. Windows users having trouble with their iPods should locate a Mac user. In many cases when an iPod won't show up on a PC that it will show up on the Mac. Then it can be restored. When the PC user returns to his computer the iPod will be recognized by the PC, reformatted for the PC, and usable again. By the way, it works in reverse too. A Mac user often can get his iPod back by connecting it to a PC and restoring it.
    a. It does not matter whether the format is completed or not, the key is to erase (or partly) the corrupted firmware files on the Hard Drive of the iPod. After that, when the iPod re-connected with a computer, it will be recognized as an fresh external hard drive, it will show up on the iPod updater.
    b. It is not a difficult issue for a Mac user to find a window base computer, for a PC user, if they can’t find any Mac user, they can go to a nearest Apple Shop for a favor.
    c. You may need to switch around the PC and Mac, try to do several attempts between “Format” and “Restore”

    Advance Level

    A. Diagnostic mode solution
    If you have tried trouble shooting your iPod to no avail after all the steps above, chances are your iPod has a hardware problem. The iPod's built-in Diagnostic Mode is a quick and easy way to determine if you have a "bad" iPod.
    You need to restart your iPod before putting it into Diagnostic Mode. Check that your hold switch is off by sliding the switch away from the headphone jack. Toggle it on and off to be safe.
    Press and hold the following combination of buttons simultaneously for approximately 10 seconds to reset the iPod.
    iPod 1G to 3G: "Menu" and "Play/Pause"
    iPod 4G+ (includes Photo, Nano, Video, and Mini): "Menu" and "Select"
    The Apple logo will appear and you should feel the hard drive spinning up. Press and hold the following sequence of buttons:
    iPod 1G to 3G: "REW", "FFW" and "Select"
    iPod 4G+ (includes Photo, Nano, Video, and Mini): "Back" and "Select"
    You will hear an audible chirp sound (3G models and higher) and the Apple logo should appear backwards. You are now in Diagnostic Mode. Navigate the list of tests using "REW" and "FFW". The scroll wheel will not function while in diagnostic mode. For further details on Diagnostic mode can be found at
    Try to do the 5in1, HDD R/W and HDD scan tests. Some successful cases have been reported after the running the few tests under the Diagnostic mode. In case it does not work in your case, and the scan tests reports show some errors then it proves your iPod has a hardware problem and it needs a repairing service.

    B. Format your iPod with a start disk
    I have not tried this solution myself, I heard that there were few successful cases that the users managed to get their iPod (you must put your iPod in disk mode before connecting with a computer) mounted by the computer, which was booted by a system startup disk. For Mac, you can use the Disk Utility (on the Tiger OS system disk), for PC user, you can use the window OS system disk. Try to find a way to reformat your iPod, again it does not matter which format (FAT32, NTFS or HFS+) you choose, the key is to erase the corrupted system files on the iPod. Then eject your iPod and do a Reset to switch out from Disk Mode. Reboot your computer at the normal way, connect your iPod back with it, open the iPod updater, and hopefully your iPod will appear there for the Restore.

    If none of these steps address the issue, your iPod may need to be repaired.
    Consider setting up a mail-in repair for your iPod
    Or visit your local Apple Retail Store
    In case your iPod is no longer covered by the warranty and you want to find a second repairing company, you can try iPodResQ at your own risk

    Just in case that you are at the following situation
    Your iPod warranty is expired
    You don’t want to pay any service charges
    You are prepared to buy a new one
    You can’t accept the re-sell value of your broken iPod
    Rather than leave your iPod as paper-weight or throw it away.

    You can try the following, but again, only do it as your last resort and at your own risk.

    Warning ! – It may or may not manage to solve your problem, and with a risk that you may further damage your iPod, which end up as an expensive paper weight or you need to pay more higher repairing cost. Therefore, please re-consider again whether you want to try the next level

    Last Resort Level

    1. . Disconnecting the Hard Drive and battery inside the iPod – Warning !! Your iPod warranty will be waived once you open the iPod.
    In Hong Kong there are some electronic shops offering an iPod service for Sad iPod, the first thing they do is to open up the iPod’s case and disconnecting the battery and the Hard Drive from the main board of the iPod. Wait for 5-10 minutes and reconnecting them back. The reason behind which I can think of is to do a fully reset of a processor of the iPod. In case you want do it itself and you believe that you are good on fixing the electronics devices and have experience to deal with small bits of electronic parts, then you can read the following of how to open the iPod case for battery replacement (with pictures)
    Have I tried this myself? No, I am afraid to do it myself as I am squeamish about tinkering inside electronic devices, I have few experiences that either I broke the parts (which are normally tiny or fragile) or failed to put the parts back to the main case. Therefore, I agree with suggestion to have it fixed by a Pro.

    2. Do a search on Google and some topics on this discussion forum about “Sad iPod”

    What should I do with my iPod? Send it or keep it?

    Strange error on iPod (probably death)

    Sad Face on iPod for no apparent reason

    Meeting the Sad iPod icon

    Sad faced iPod, but my computer won’t recognize it?

    iPod Photo: unhappy icon + warranty question

    4th Gen iPod Users - are we all having the same problem?

    Low Battery, and clicking sounds

    Sad faced iPod, but my computer won’t recognize it

    Sad iPod solution

    I am not suggesting that you should follow as well, but just read them as your reference. You are the person to make the call.
  • Chiquita banana Level 1 (125 points)
    hi my ipod like died(?) whenever i hook it up to my XP i will show hte apple sign then doa sad face with a ! and shows a batery which is partly charging (not moving). and its doesnt get recongized by my comp. so i cant restore it, though ive updated my itunes and ipod updater. finally it wont let me put into disk mode, it just des hte aple logo and a sad face. what the **** can i do... its in not so good shape- scratches ans stuff- so its out of my warrenty. please help its an ipod mini nad it stopped may 22
  • Wazman21 Level 1 (0 points)
    Seriously, i just had EXACTLY the same problem... give the top right hand corner of your iPod a quick bang on the desk and it could well spring back to life. Sounds stupid, but i just did it and my iPod(4G) is back in action!
  • James Shead Level 1 (15 points)
    I have just spent 2.5 hours going through every single combination to restore my girlfriends ipod mini, all very interesting and useful.

    It had the unhappy face etc.

    The ipod now works from one very useful piece of advice... i hit the top right hand corner quite hard against a wall.

    Technology is great.

  • thornebush5 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for that. I hit it a few times on my table. It worked. Sweet jubilation.
  • Steve Allen1 Level 1 (5 points)
    thankyouthankyou-- I've been going through all the advice, ipod kept clicking and whirring, couldn't get computer to recognize it, etc etc--then i found this post that said "give the top right corner a quick bang on the desk." presto! it works again! (still holding my breath that it will keep on working; warranty long expired)
  • TiGrBaLm Level 1 (0 points)

    I was outside today, working and my Ipod fell (detached from my lame belt-clip) but it's in a silicon case so that shouldve protected it. It did, but after I turned off the music to talk to someone I couldnt get anything back. It was totally dead, like plugging into the comp or the wall didnt do ANYTHING. I was pretty sad, since my warranty expired last year and my extended warranty via my credit card was going to expire on Monday, and I didnt even have the necessary documents to file a claim. Well I was prepared to fork over 25$ for a new battery until I came here and as the last resort I banged the **** thing against my desk 4 times then did the reset (menu+select) and WHOOPIE! it worked!

    Thanks so much dude!
  • mjr1233 Level 1 (0 points)
    Wow could not believe it have been searching this site and others trying to get my ipod fixed. Tried everything battery out diagnostics etc etc. Read the bang on desk trick, was so wound up with it hit it very hard and it made a funny ticking noise and hey presto itunes instantly recognised it and am busy reloading now.

    Just joined to say thanks so much for the "technical" advice. BRILLIANT!!!!
  • Manbass Level 1 (0 points)

    Bang on desk. After same Sad Screen Icon and 2 restores, I just started banging.

    It worked.

    Sheesh. Love to see that in the Troubleshooting guide.

    Dell   Windows XP  
  • Nicole Kasprzak Level 1 (0 points)
    Yeah, I went through the whole process TWICE, and iTunes and the Updater still wouldn't recognize my iPod. I found this thread, banged the thing on my desk, and bam...I plugged it back in and iTunes started right up. I'm not confident it'll last, but hey, even as a possibly temporary solution, it's the only one that's worked.
  • Afoxbs250 Level 1 (0 points)
    That was the best advice ever tried doing all that apple told me. got mad and started banging on the top right corner works great now. Thanks alot


  • pheonyxe Level 1 (0 points)
    Oh my god you are a genius!!

    nothing else worked over 2 days of frustration - banged the top right corner...Presto

    I love you man..if I was a woman, I'd want to have your babies
  • BoniJean Level 1 (0 points)
    Wow! Thanks for the awesome advice! I have been trying everything I can find for several hours now and getting more and more frustrated, so I took your advice, banged the top right corner against the desk a couple times - the iPod made a clicking sound and jumped back into action, computer recognizes it and everything. Thanks for the advice - isn't technology wonderful?!?!
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