How to Repair Bad Sectors on an IPod (3G)




Introduction: How to Repair Bad Sectors on an IPod (3G)

I've been having this iPod (3G) around far like few years. I had almost thrown it away since it was giving the folder icon.

I was thinking of buying an MP3 player with a power button (after the bitter experiences with the the 3G getting stuck sometimes) few weeks ago and I thought I'd give apple a one last try. After Googling for couple of seconds I found the resetting, disk mode and diagnostic mode hot keys so I thought to my self that it was functioning again. So I installed iTunes and updated the thing to get a fresh start and started coping my music on. The problem was no matter how hard I try it never could copy any thing beyond the 1GB mark. I tried like everything. I tried software like Songbird (by the way a pretty nice open source music player which supports iPod syncing) I tried copying songs till about 990MB and then copying notes (like hundreds of them) or contacts (hundreds of them) just to try to copy something beyond the 1GB point but every time it either got stuck or got corrupted. making me restore it back to the original state using the iPod. restore -> corrupt or stuck, reset or restore -> corrupt or stuck... this had to go on for quite some time for me to realize that the hard disk was actually having bad sectors at about 1GB
The 3G gave no problem at all if I stayed inside the 1GB margin it was like having an iPod 3G with just 1GB :D. any ways after seeing this I decided that it was the end of it!
Then I was thinking to my self if I could just get beyond the 1GB point some how it was smooth sailing for the rest of the 12GB (hopefully) - the total was 13.7 GB or something. So I set out to repair the damaged disk.
After few hours I had a 12GB iPod (3G) in my hands

Heres what you need (Or what I had)
1. A rough Idea where the bad sectors are
2. Of course the Firewire cable (the iPod (3G) doesn't charge off USB)
3. A windows XP PC
4. With the iPod updater installed (I don't know whether you can use the updater in iTunes or not)
4. An ubuntu PC (I have a dual boot)
5. With gparted installed (Maybe any partition tool would do. Any how I used this)
Now you are good to go!

Please not that some of the images are from Google, not from me
Oh, & By the way use this at your own risk, I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipment
I don't think that you might have any thing to lose in your iPod (3G) by the time you read this :D

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Step 1: A Fresh Start!

Step 1
on Windows XP
Use the iPod updater to restore your iPod to the factory defaults state
If you do this in iPod made it will automatically restart and finish the process
If you do this in disk mode you'd have to do a manual reset once you see the "OK to disconnect" sign
reset by holding the menu & the play button without disconnecting, Or you'd have to do this again.
once reset you'll see the Apple logo and a status bar filling up, and then again the "Do not disconnect" screen will appear
and the iPod updater will say that the iPod has been restored
Disconnect the iPod by clicking the remove media icon in your system tray
Then you'd have to select the language
OK now the iPod is as new

Step 2: Format!

Step 2
on Windows XP
Right click on My computer and choose Manage
In the Mange Window click on storage -> disk management (local)
Now I have the Ipod hooked as Disk 1 and you will see an unallocated space about 39MB in front of the iPod (Note that in the picture I have here there is an unallocated space of few gigabytes, that is after the process is complete)
Right click on the allocated healthy partition of the iPod and select Format
1. File system : FAT32
2. Allocation unit size : 16K
3. Tick the perform quick format check box
and click on Format

Step 3: Resize!

Step 3
on Ubuntu
Connect the iPod (cancel any autorun dialog)
Go to gparted
in gparted click on the/dev/*** (** GB) button which is the disk being displayed at the moment,
Click on it and from the drop down select the drive which is the iPod.
You'll see that unallocated 39MB and the FAT32 formatted rest in the table(the image attached is not the actual thing)
Click Device in the menu bar and select unmount
Now click on the FAT32 formatted part of the disk and click on the Resize/Move button
yow will see the resize window with a bar with 2 handles on the sides
Now resize the partition (just drag the handle) so that the region we think is the bad sectors are out of the active region, in my case I pulled the left handle till i skipped the 1GB mark
The second & third time I did it, I typed in 12288 in the New size text box (since 12288 MB = 12 GB) pulled the active segment all the way to the right so the free space following is zero
Then Click Resize
The status bars will start and after few minutes you'll see that the autorun dialog that appear when you plug in you iPod will appear you can either ignore or cancel it
And the Process will finish (sometimes it ends with an error but its ok)
Close gparted
Unmount the iPod
And Bingo!!! You've got yourself a 12GB (in my case) iPod that is free of bad sectors.

Step 4: Music?

I recomend that you move on to Windows for copying music on to the iPod,
I still use songbird for copying music on to the IPod
I didn't even try iTunes after the lil recovery because songbird seems to do such great job

Step 5: Caution!!!

Now here the catch
You have to wake the iPod up at least once a day, as long as the iPod goes to sleep it'll wake up but some how if you didn't wake it up for one whole day it will turn off. (I dont know the exact time period it stays asleep or turns off) Then it will turn on but it will be showing the bad folder icon then you'd have to do the whole thing all over again
As long as you use your iPod frequently no problem!

Ok that's it! I hope it'l work out for you, I guess if you have a good partition editor that runs on Windows that allows you to resize partitions, you wont need that Ubuntu bit! I've Googled for hours on recovering hard disks but gparted was the only decent piece of software that I found.
Feel free to comment, or Question!

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    14 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i feel bad for you having no comments so here


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yep....but its good even without the quilt factor....


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    the fact that its been out since Nov and no ones commented.....i felt quilty


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    uhhh, about reviving a dead thread...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    and aren't you adding to it? maybe im an internet/instructables "newbie" who doesn't quite understand the practice of "keep-away-from-dead-thread" and btw, who are you to decide what's dead? what if i had a pertinent question...? :/


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    which i do-have a question i mean-will this work on all gen's of ipods? w/ a HD


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    ....and as to your question it should work...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    hmmm, its dead because its old...and yes im adding to it because its now alive (because its been revived) ....and as to your question it should work...