How to Fix a Corrupt IPod/ITunes music database
The other week I posted an article about my IPod music and videos suddenly disappearing. I had some time this evening to start digging into the problem and came up with some interesting results. The first thing I did was backup my entire iPod (originally formatted under Windows).
I was planning on restoring, and then importing all music and videos from the backup drive. However, after a little Googling I came across a lifesaving article on LifeHacker:
Hack Attack: Add music and movies to your iPod from any computer without iTunes
Adam Posh reviewed a cross-platform iTunes replacement called Floola. The reason why I was even investigating an iTunes replacement was to find a way to copy a number of .mp4 files directly to the iPod. I use Rhapsody quite a bit and have purchased a number of albums over the last 2 years. Although Rhapsody does support transfering the files to the iPod in MP4 format, these files are not playable in iTunes. In fact, since these songs are no longer recognized on the iPod, if I try to import them I get an authorization error. My thought was that Floola would allow me to perform the copy, but that was not the case.
Fortunately, I discovered an option in Floola that allows you to “repair” a corrupt iTunes database (under Tools -> Advanced -> Repair). Apparently this rebuilds the iTunesDB file under the hidden iPod_Control directory based on the existing music and video files that are on the iPod. Sure enough, after clicking and waiting for a few minutes, 4,000+ of my songs and videos were recovered. This didn’t include the tracks purchased through Rhapsody, but I’m sure I’ll be able to recover if I re-transfer using my PC laptop.
Thanks to LifeHacker and Floola, I saved a ton of time in trying to solve a tedious problem!
Edit (2018): For a current and very comprehensive guide on 1st to 5th generation iPods, check out WikiHow (image credited above). See: https://www.wikihow.com/Fix-a-Broken-iPod