How to recover lost data/files in your iPod

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UltimatePG

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If you've ever lost information on your iPod, from accidentally reformatting, or a crash, there are a couple of simple ways to possibly get that information back (depending on the severity or damage caused).

First thing to do, DO NOT start copying files onto your ipod. Unless a thorough format is done, your data is still on the iPod, just checked off to be overwritten. A quick format just checks off everything to be erased. If you start copying files back onto the iPod, the data will start to be overwritten. This is how your file system works on your computer as well.

All your data is organized by the FAT32 file system, so a recovery isn't difficult, and can be done from a windows 98 computer if need be.

Now, to recover the data, you need a program that thoroughly searches all the clusters on your iPod's HD for data. The program I'm currently using is Recover4All Pro v2.26. The free version allows you to scan your iPod's drive for free (and see all the contents that have been deleted), but you need to register in order to recover the files it found.
http://www.recover4all.com/

Another program I would suggest is PC Inspector, http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm, but it's also limited unless you purchase it.

And finally, Handy Recovery, which can be found at http://www.handyrecovery.com/index.shtml, but it's also limited until you purchase it.

In either case, I've found recover4all to work best for me, it's pretty simple, and you can recover files while it's still searching. This is pretty useful, since it takes about 2-3 hours to scan the entire 20gb iPod HD.

Most of the time you lose your original file structure, but the files are intact unless they've been overwritten, or the Hard Drive itself is damaged.

Edit:
Data Recovery for Mac Users

I've searched around for Mac compatible recovery software, and came up with 2 results. (There may be more, but this is all I can seem to find).

Stellar Information Systems has one that's compatible with Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.x and above. There's a demo you can try, but the full version is priced a bit steeply at $300 (this may not be so steep considering people lose data that is invaluable to them).
http://www.stellarinfo.com/mac-data-recovery.htm

Another one I've found is called Virtual Lab that's also compatible with OS X and OS 9.x. You can try it for free, letting you search the entire HD of the mounted iPod, but they have a novel approach to pricing; you pay by how much you wish to recover. I can see this working for people who do not need an entire software suite, and would just like to recover their data one time only.
http://www.binarybiz.com/vlab/mac.php

The same process to recover data applies to Mac users.
 
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robsyrobsie

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I am hoping this will give me the answers. I don't know where all the date went, just dispeered and left me all sad. Things were going so good for awhile.
 

blode

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UltimatePG said:
If you've ever lost information on your iPod, from accidentally reformatting, or a crash, there are a couple of simple ways to possibly get that information back (depending on the severity or damage caused).
Sadly not much use if your ipod won't mount.

Mike W
 

smirf83

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Thanks for this thread, I don't have need of it yet (and hopefully never will) but it's good to know that there are solutions if worst comes to worst and my ipod crashes.
 

debtman7

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For mac users, there is a program called PodSalvage by SubRosaSoft that is specifically designed to recover MP3 files from your iPod (also from any hard disk, usb device, etc). This found all of my mp3's when I accidentally re-synced with a new OS/HD install. And at $40, it's by far the cheapest recovery option I have seen as most of the others are at least $90. Unfortunately there is no trial version, but they claim to have a full 30 day refund if it doesn't work for you.
 

blode

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UltimatePG said:
I added a part for Mac users.
Referring back to my reply earlier - these proposed solutions will not work if the Ipod will not mount at all. :-(

I suspect there must have been a head crash or there was an inherent defect in the HDD. Either way it had to be sent back to Apple - FWIW, the replacement arrived within a week and works fine.

Perhaps in extreme circumstances the HDD can be extricated and data removed but this would be very expensive... and invalidate the guarantee.

I've just about got over the loss of our holiday photos - but it's a warning that data storage on the Ipod is potentially risky.

Blode
 

ScriptCable

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I love you. XOXOXOXOXO * 10 ^ 9999999999
THK YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU MAN
don't think i'm ### but i'm just happy, omg i love you so much
i love you
 

Lexy6200

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But I need MORE info!

This is great news, but I'm on the recover4all website, and i don't know where to go from there. i lost all of my info yesterday when i attached my ipod to my work computer (i'm a new user - i didn't know i would lose everything). Please help me learn where to go after downloading the 2.26 version!! i am not computer savvy!
 

waletzkoc

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I just finished restoring my ipod files using PodSalvage. A million thanks to whomever posted that info.

One warning - PodSalvage recovers EVERYTHING from your ipod, - even old versions of mp3's that you've renamed or added artwork to. I had to clear out 15 gigs of space from my HD to make room for it all.

Thanks again. Now everybody, go into itunes right now and select "manually manage ipod updates" so this disaster doesn't happen to you!
 

fordoix

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another recovery problem

I just recovered my accidentally deleted files from my iPod(3rd Gen 40gig) using EasyRecoveryPro ...the files copied back to my PC(WinXP) no probs but they lost all ID tags info and now wont open in iTunes or any other Media Player. The files are in MP3 format but none of the media players recognise them. Does anyone have any ideas on why this is? Does the iPod encode the files so they cant be played once copied back to PC?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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fordoix - I suggest maybe using one of the listed programs to recover the songs or check the programs 'Help' section and see if you did something worng or forgot some setting. Also, check the website.
 

oeck

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If I reformatted my iPod with 2000 songs on it (because of a problem im experiencing connecting it) from FAT to FAT again to fix this, would I be able to use this method to recover my songs? if so how many or how reliable is this?
 

fordoix

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Ok I tried to recover my deleted files again, this time using the latest version of Recover4AllPro ...same result. I'm able to recover the files to my hard drive but they wont open, media players say they are an invalid file format even though they are .mp3. I think they are lost forever, 20gigs, I'm not too happy, itunes sucks!
 

iTony-B

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I am a computer forensic examiner and have a lot of experience in data analysis and recovery. As the iPod is a hard drive and operates as such, it has the same structures as anything else. My advice for doing any data recovery from it is to first make a complete forensic image of the iPod (sector by sector copy including all allocated and unallocated clusters). Reason is a lot of the files may no longer have an entry in the FAT or directory and need to carve out of unallocated clusters. There are several tools out there to make such a copy, like Norton's Ghost or even a Linux DD command. Once that is done, a tool like Data Lifter can go through all the sectors and carve out all the files.

I imaged and looked at my iPod using EnCase, probably the best forensic tool out there. I saw many deleted and overwritten files from my use of the iPod. I also found some iPod configuration files.

Give me a day or two and I'll export out some MP3 and AAC files and see if they open. I don't see why they wouldn't. You may want to use a disk editing program to examine the file header of the files these other programs are exporting and see if they are actually MP3 files. Also look at the file size, if it is considerably smaller than an average MP3, it may not be a complete file. This may occur if the file was fragmented across the iPod.
 
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