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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues iPod
My iPod suddenly began hanging when playing a song, and would then freeze. After resetting it, the Apple logo came up, and there was a distinct clicking sound as the hard drive spun up, died, spun up, clicked, and died again. This repeated several times while the Apple logo was showing, and then progressed to a sad iPod picture (and at other times, a folder question mark picture).

Plugging it into the computer didn't do much -- it usually did the same thing with the Apple logo and wouldn't start up. Rarely, it would get past that point and iTunes would inform me that the iPod is corrupt and needed restoring. I searched a bit online, and found that this is caused by a faulty hard drive (specifically, loose parts in the hard drive). But to my joy, there is a relatively easy fix.

Open up the iPod, and place a folded-in-half business card (or equivalent substitute) between the outer metal casing and the hard drive itself. This puts a small amount of pressure on the hard drive, and has permanently fixed every iPod I've tried it on. Both my iPod, and two of my friends' iPods, have had this issue -- I think it is more common then people realize. An easy $300 save.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this on my iPod, and would probably only recommend it as a last-chance fix. But if it's the difference between recycling and continuing to use, it might be worth a shot. If you've got any experience with this solution, please post in the comments.]
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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: aethiolas on Jan 22, '07 08:12:01AM

I haven't personally tried this but I definitely am going to. I have a 4g iPod that had this same issue about 4 months ago and it broke my heart. That was my baby. I've since purchased a video iPod but would LOVE to get my old one working so I'm going home in a little while to try and will def post back asap!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: ptit tom on Apr 10, '07 12:49:52PM

Well, this is another big "Thank you" for saving my girlfriend (er, I) 279€.
It now works like a breeze, with my business card inside.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: dsaponaro on Jan 22, '07 10:14:33AM

Seems to work with my 60 gig ipod photo Though I did break one of the clips trying to open mine.

My ipod quit working about six months ago and after a few weeks of inconsistant freezes and lock ups it finaly died and gave me the sad face icon as well as the exclamation mark folder icon. I left it for dead, and bought a new silver nano to hold me over till the next major ipod revision comes out.

After reading this hint I dug the old ipod out and it was still giving me the same greif so I tried the steps above and it actualy started working again. Though I dont know how long this fix will last seems like a pretty Temporary solution.

Can anyone explain how this is "solving" the problem?

Also on a side note. Out of the six ipods Ive had 3 have had the same hard drive problem presented here. While I do not baby them with indestructable cases by any means I am fairly careful with them.

dsaponaro



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Reformat.
Authored by: jdc on Jan 22, '07 10:16:17AM

I have a 3G iPod that used to give me pretty much the same symptoms (I would try to copy a large file off the iPod, and it would stop copying and start with the clicking, then saying it was corrupt).

The way I fixed it was to open Disk Utility and reformat the iPod drive, making sure to use the "zero all data" option in the security options menu. It seems that when the system does the zeroing out, it finds out which blocks are going bad and routes around them (please don't hold me to this explanation of HD formatting voodoo). Then you run the iPod restore software and your iPod is back to factory specs.

I thought my iPod was a goner before I did this, and I haven't had a problem since. Useful if you're not in the mood to open up your iPod and tool around in it.



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Reformat.
Authored by: jingerfinger on Jan 24, '07 03:24:39PM

I have a 30GB 3G which would simply not work for more than half a song without beeping like crazy and getting stuck. Forget about copying music to it. I eventually retired it eight months ago.

After reading this I tried the folded card and it did not help. I then left the battery unplugged overnight. Not sure what this did because I then proceeded to format the iPod. I then started "zero free space" (tiger Disk Utility) which took about 8 hours (!!!) of beeping continuously. It eventually finished, thankfully there was a progress bar showing me slow progress. At the end about 54MB of space was gone. I then used iTunes to restore and YES!!.. it worked!! I copied 28GB of my music and it beeped only a couple dozen times. It has been playing fine in shuffle for the past 3 and a half hours.

BTW, I also left a folded business card in there for voodoo.

Thanks guys!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: mtts on Jan 22, '07 10:36:17AM

Might try this, though I have my own solution for this problem: open up the ipod case, unplug the wire that gives the board its power and leave it to sit for a while (not sure how long exactly, but definitely longer than ten minutes). This drains some capacitor, I'd guess. When you plug it back in, the ipod will reset itself and the hard drive functions normally again.

I don't think it's a case of loose bits in the hard drive (as that would completely destroy it sooner rather than later) but rather an issue with the (hard drive) firmware.



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Low power
Authored by: Slinkwyde on Jan 22, '07 11:04:38AM

When my iPod (monochrome 20GB 4G) does this, it's because of a simple issue: low power. That is, sometime the battery is so drained that the drive head doesn't get enough power. I simply plug the iPod in for a few hours, reset ting it if need be, and then it works.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: aperkinsfan on Jan 22, '07 02:22:37PM

A simple, yet great hint. I just tried this procedure on two "dead" iPods and they are now operating. Time will tell how long they work, but no other hints worked for these two iPods in the past (a 3gen and a 4gen color); each of them died within a month of their warranties expiring. Thanks!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: ignored on Jan 22, '07 04:38:33PM

I have a 4th gen. iPod that was corrupt...
That is until I opened it up, put the folded business card between the metal case and the hard drive like you said and voila! Amazing. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this.
We'll see how long this fix will last.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: sprocketjockey on Jan 22, '07 05:31:55PM

Wow! I think this is actually working for me. My 3g died about 2 years ago. I opened it up, pulled the little cable that gives power to the board and also pulled the whole drive out, but not from the drive connecter. (The whole blue apparatus) and then reconnected it pushing it down nice and firmly. Whaddya know when I connected to itunes it read the drive, reformat and its know loading songs!!!!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: momerath on Jan 22, '07 07:10:16PM
I've had the same problem every once in a while. When I put it into "force disk mode" it'll work again with no problem.

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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: jazziest on Jan 22, '07 08:01:13PM

Insanely great! A 3G iPod was put on the shelf after it wouldn't finish updating or reset or anything else I tried. Hardware mode indicated a bad HD so I threw in the towel--over a month ago. Now this hint. Hmm? Tried it. Voila!? After it mounted, iTunes asked to update it to v2.3 which I did. But the "OK to Disconnect" display never changed. Unplug/replug then after mounting in iTunes again chose Reset. Wait for 13GB of music to copy over... "OK to Disconnect" appeared and I ejected the iPod--iPod reborn! Thank you, Dude! I hope I'll get to enjoy this moment for years to come. In any case (pun intended) this hint has some serious Mojo. Voila!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: mustangjames on Jan 22, '07 08:20:01PM

I noticed this too. Sometimes - not too often- that lately, the iPod would freeze up. It couldn't seem to unlock from the "do not disconnect" screen.
I opened it up carefully so as not to damage it. I unplugged the batterie and plugged it back in again- and, VOILA! it reset itself to normal. no worries.
it works fine.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: tigfox on Jan 23, '07 01:32:39AM

4G hard drives are tricky. I've noticed on many that the connection between the drive and the board is the culprit. Reseating that connector via a "firm tap" on the bottom of the case (the dock connector end) usually gets it working again, at least temporarily. If you have the same issue again and again, open it up and tape the connection down. Wrap the tape all the way around the bottom of the drive to make sure it's secure, and close the case back up. Remember that cellophane (ie. scotch) tape is static producing, so make sure to ground yourself.

Of course, only if it's out of warranty!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: nealdd on Jan 23, '07 08:53:40AM

Can someone tell me the best way to open my iPod?
I would like to try this hint- but can not open it.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: peetmoss on Jan 23, '07 05:46:16PM

wow what a surprise. after collecting dust for six months
my 4g ipod is working again. i cracked it open slid in
a business card. hooked it up to itunes and restored.
now it is working again. hopefully it continues to work
for a while. great hint. thanks a ton. peetmoss



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Did you try resetting?
Authored by: Slinkwyde on Jan 23, '07 07:46:59PM

@mustangjames: Did you try resetting the iPod by holding down menu and the center button for a few seconds? You may have not needed to open the iPod (and thus possibly violate its warranty, if any) at all. It's mentioned in the manual. Also, if you have to reset it a lot you could try restoring. Perhaps you already tried these things, but your comment didn't make it sound like you had.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: BenBurner on Jan 24, '07 03:01:02AM

This seems to have worked for my two years old beloved iPod 4G - thank you so much!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: qwdrty on Jan 25, '07 09:56:22AM

A-mazing!! You made my year!!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: osxfan57 on Jan 28, '07 09:55:23AM

Dang, this didn't work for me. I dropped my 3G a while back and have had the pod sitting in my closet. So I opened it up and followed the directions here. Still gives me the broken folder with the exclamation. I can go into disk diagnostic mode no problem. Anyone know if there's anything in there that might help?
As an aside, I prefer the touch buttons of the old 3G's much more over the click-wheels. In fact, I hate the click-wheel. I always end up going past the menu item I want and have to scroll back and forth.

---
G5 2.5GHz 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.7



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: ihafro on Jan 28, '07 02:57:25PM

I've had a dead 4thGen/20GB for close to a year now. HD started doing the whirrr. click, off...whirrrr,click,off thing and as the screen was cracked, I was SOL even with the warranty still active.

Although the hint about the business card didn't do the trick, the tip about forcing it into Disk Drive Mode and doing a zero-format brought it back to life! Still left the business card in there... just in case ;)

Now to just get that screen replaced.....



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: osxfan57 on Jan 29, '07 08:49:52AM

Mine is already is disk drive mode - but I can't get Disk Utility to erase it. It recognizes it but after starting the process, it freezes up after a short while and I have to force-quit it. Any ideas?

---
G5 2.5GHz 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.8



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: Great Dane on Feb 05, '07 10:35:58PM

Open the two clam halves on the IPod from the left or right side. There are four retainers, spring clasps on each side made of plastic, two at the bottom near the USB and nun at the top. Go slow so as not to break anything...I used two watch repair straight head screw drivers. Kind of like taking off a tire from the rim of a motorcycle, except your twisting a screwdriver head to separate and your focus should be separate one side first after perhaps gaining access threw the bottom section of the iPod. GD



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: ch4ot1c_0n3 on Feb 06, '07 10:09:53PM

I was getting the whir click click from the iPod, so I opened and did the business card. Now, when I plug into my computer, it shows the Apple icon, a sad iPod, and then a battery charging icon. I plug into the power adapter, and I get an Apple icon, a sad iPod, and then it just keeps looping that way. I would like to try to unplug the power to the board, but it won't unplug. Anyone got any ideas? Thanks.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: miles60 on Feb 22, '07 01:04:38PM

WHOEVER FIGURED THIS OUT IS WONDERFUL. I had been having numerous problems with my 4G ipod...computer thinks the HD is corrupted, sometimes iTunes will communicate but only very slowly, songs get skipped or stop partway through when played, etc.

I can't believe there hasn't been a recall for a problem as simple as this. It really points toward the shoddy engineering that Apple did with the iPod. On another note regarding quality control, there was an inordinate amount of debris inside the iPod considering it had never been opened.

I love the iPod for its interface, but I don't think I'd ever buy another one until they prove that they're willing to do the right thing for their customers regardless of warranty status.



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Thank you!
Authored by: wyntir on Apr 02, '07 01:07:55PM

This rescued my sister's left-for-dead iPod, with 1.5GB of photos from her year abroad in South America trapped on it. Amazing that it works, but it does. Excellent, excellent hint. (Hooray for voodoo!)

(Note: I also took the advice of some of the other posters and unplugged the power from the mainboard while I was in there. Not sure which actually fixed the thing; all I know is, it works perfectly now.)



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: anscan on Nov 12, '07 01:24:53PM

Fantastic hint! My old 4G is re-born and will work wonderfully in the car. I'm very happy.

I've tried all the partitioning and erasing with zero-bit tricks I've picked up on this site and others, but to no avail. This hint sounded the most far fetched but worked first time.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: wastemytime on Nov 16, '07 01:46:56PM
This absolutely worked perfectly on my 20Gb 4G iPod. However, I would suggest following these directions for opening up your iPod case.

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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: klipper on Mar 02, '08 10:34:40AM

Was just about to see if my 4th gen ipod had wings until i saw this thread. ipod was showing sad ipod icon and the hard drive was whirring and clicking (not the first time this has happened) Opened it up and disconnected the hard drive left it sit for a few minutes and then stuck it back together with a folded card...everything working fine again...cheers!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: yvesL on Apr 09, '09 06:04:48AM

Very helpfull tips here. Wasted many hours and nerves trying to make my used ipod 4g work until i found this. Comunication between ipod and itunes was always interrupted. I was able to load songs at all, they were not played or only partly played. Combined the following suggestions from above and afterwards it worked perfectly!
1. opened the ipod and disconnected the cable which connects the battery with the board for some minutes
2. placed a 1x folde business card between drive and metal case, assembled ipod again
3. set ipod to volume mode by pressing Menu and selection button together until the apple sign appeared, afterwards I pressed immediately the selection and play button together until the check mark sign appeared

Now I was able to load the songs. To get back to normal mode I performed finally a reset (menu and selection button)



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: yngw13 on Apr 10, '09 12:48:18PM

WORKED!!!Ipod Vid 30gb 5th gen
Symptoms:HD clicking on PC connected (disk mode)-sad icon-wont restore-error 1418-wont charge-constant reboot-freezing- >dead end
+++There is a plethora of solutions but this hit the bullseye.
I ordered HD + battery yesterday (found out too late) before finding this =$30 expense BUT got this non working for $40 THANKS TO THE OP! I guess Ill just store the extra parts I ordered for future purposes.>awesome



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: paddy313 on Apr 16, '09 05:37:14AM

Oh my sweet saviour! This saved an ipod that had been gathering dust for 2 and a half years, i couldnt afford a new one and its just been saved! Thanks for your excellent tip!



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: jagphotog on Mar 06, '10 04:54:34PM

Dude, you saved my 5th gen iPod Video. Now I have a spare iPod for the car instead of another Apple artifact. Sweet!!! Thank you. The business card works, believe it or not!



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Ipod Hard Drive - One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: Smoothcrooner on Jun 05, '10 08:00:29AM

It's sunny in Manchester for a change so I thought I'd try and revive my Photo Ipod which has been dead for several weeks since all the hard disk whirrings and sad Iphoto logos which are familiar to you all!

I must say I was really grateful for the tips here and have tried the :
- Business Card trick
- The battery removal and reassemble
- the hard drive removal and reconnection

For the first time for ages it's whirred back into action and seems to be syncing with Itunes. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that it works and I've saved the cost of a new battery and hard drive.

I'll let you know.

incidentally when I took it into the local Apple store they told me it was a dead hard drive but I could have 10% off the value of a new equivalent - I may have saved myself 180.

Thanks for all the posts.



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One possible fix for iPods with hard drive issues
Authored by: Jaace on Jul 22, '10 12:07:11PM

I can also attest to this working...didn't think it would revive the white rectangular paper-weight that I've been keeping in my desk drawer for years....but it has, to my surprise!

I used an index card folded once in half and then half again and placed directly on top of the harddrive.

Hopefully this will keep up! I am still having "syncing" issues with iTunes but that may just be iTunes not playing well with such an old iPod. I have to sync my iPod and errors pop up saying a file is being used already. I have to quit iTunes and then eject the iPod outside of iTunes. Ejecting within iTunes doesn't work as I keep getting this error.

It's playing the synced music just fine so far though!



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