Using the iPod as a USB Mass Storage Device

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jough

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Hi,

I am Windows XP user currently looking for a 40Gb mp3 player that also functions as a USB Mass Storage Device in Windows (i.e. plug it into the USB2 port and it shows up as a drive letter) for transferring both music and files.

I've been looking at Windows-centric devices like the Creative Zen Touch or especially the iRiver iHP140, but then someone mentioned on another forum that the iPod can be used as an external hard drive in Windows, so I thought I'd check out the iPod again after finding the first generation model to be lacking.

Mostly I will be using my mp3 hard drive device to transfer files from one computer to another (among about nine different PCs of my own and friends and family) and it would be nice to be able to copy songs to and from my work PC without having to install iTunes on it.

Is there a way to copy MUSIC files to the iPod without using iTunes and still be able to play them and search them as you would any other file transferred with iTunes? Could I use the ubiquitous Windows Media Player to copy files to my iPod?

Please also note that I have no interest in AAC files, so that's not an issue - all of my music is in open mp3 format with no DRM, ripped from CDs using a shareware ripper.

Thanks for any help or advice you could offer. This forum looks like a great resource for iPod users! I hope the iPod can serve my needs, as I *really* like the UI and form factor.

-- Jough
 

BrockStrongo

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I would also like to know this, as i am interested in using my new 4G 20gb iPod for transfering my college work to and fro.

is iTunes needed to add non music files to the ipod?
 

jough

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I'll answer my own questions after doing some more research and getting to play with a friend's 3G device.

No, you don't need anything installed to access files other than music that you store on your iPod. It shows up as a USB mass storage device in Windows 2000/XP. You can install a driver for 98 or ME.

However, you can't copy your music files that the device will play using the USB Mass Storage connection. Grr...

You CAN transfer MP3 files using the iPod as an external hard drive, but the player won't read them unless loaded into its database using iTunes or another application like the Winamp plug-in (which works well), Anapod (which I haven't tried yet) or other things. However, Windows Media Player, Real Player, or Musicmatch won't work to load it (not natively at least - there may be plug-ins or hacks).

Anyway, the best thing to do it seems if you want to transfer AND play music using your iPod is to use SharePod, an application that doesn't require installation that you can put in your iPod and travel with. That way you can play music loaded with iTunes or Winamp, and then run SharePod on another PC without having to install ANYTHING to transfer your files over.

There's another application that will allow you to play music from your iPod in Windows without having to copy the files over to the HD first, but it's not free. I'm still looking for a freeware player that I can put on the iPod and run on a host PC sans installation.

The best thing about iPod that I can see is that there is a HUGE user base, which means LOTS of after-market items, software, a huge development community, etc.

I'm very much impressed with the quality of this thing so far. Can't wait to get one of my own!
 

crumbeast

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actually the latest version of real player can manage your ipod's music library
 

jough

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Ah, good to know.

It looks like MusicMatch can also upload tunes to the iPod now. I had an older version but once I upgraded no problem.

So there are many ways to get music TO the iPod, and a few share/free-ware options for getting music back FROM the iPod.

Also, if you turn on "Show Hidden/System Files" in Windows Explorer's "Tools > Folder Options" menu, you can actually just browse the music files in the iPod and copy files FROM it (but not to it this way because they won't get databased by the iPod) to your hard drive just by using Windows Explorer.

So that's a big relief. I had some reservations about using an Apple product in Windows as a big hard drive because I'd heard that it was hard to move files back FROM the iPod to my hard drive again (I have a laptop with only a 40Gb hard drive, so I'll probably keep things on the iPod that I don't have on my HD) but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I was even able to connect the iPod to a machine and transfer songs to it using RealPlayer (thanks for that tip!) without having to install anything on the other machine. Awesome.
 

BrockStrongo

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When putting files onto the iPod does it matter where abouts they go?, as in, is there a specific directory or something or can i just create a folder and bung em in there?
 

S1L3N7B0B

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Does all this stated above work for firewire as well on a XP machine? I would assume they that it does, but I want to be sure. This is a big decision factor for me.
 
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Yes, it works the same under FireWire as it does with USB. I use FireWire on my home PC, and USB most other places that I visit.

I've had no problems transferring files in either direction using either connection type.
 

S1L3N7B0B

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Yes, it works the same under FireWire as it does with USB. I use FireWire on my home PC, and USB most other places that I visit.
Thanks for the quick reply. That is my exact situation. I guess I'll be making a purchase here in the near future. :D
 
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