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November 1, 2005

iPod for Windows ME

If you have Windows Me and an iPod, well, let's just say you have issues. Serious issues. Like, maybe you should sell the iPod and buy a new PC. But, let's say you can't afford a new PC, don't have a pirated copy of Windows 2000 laying around, and someone gave you the iPod for a gift.

Although Apple doesn't offer support for any Windows environments except for XP and 2000, this web site will get your iPod up and running with Windows ME (assuming you have access to an XP computer). Plus, it supports USB (instead of FireWire), works with or without iTunes, and uses the WinAmp hack which allows you to copy files in and out of your iPod, like a USB drive.

My notes on configuring the iPod to work with Windows Me are in the extended entry.

Update: So, I hooked up the iPod to an XP machine. Windows Plug and Pray message said it recognized a 'USB Mass Storage Device'. iPod kept blinking some warning message: "iPod Mini" and "Do not disconnect." with a blinking circle with a slash through it. So, I was justifiably terrorized by this little piece of pink technology.

I right clicked on "My Computer" and selected "Manage - Storage - Disk Management" to see if the drive showed up. It appeared as my D drive, a "Healthy" 549 Meg CDFS file system, 100% full and 0% free. So, the CDFS File system is not something I'm familiar with.

Then, I tried to follow the directions, and I searched for the iPodUpdater file, but couldn't find it on my CD. I finally gave up looking for it, and just ran the iPodsetup.exe. It's saying it wants to refomat the iPod, but I'm thinking this isn't the right way to go, because if it formats it as NTFS instead of FAT32, then I don't think Me will recognize it. I finally gave in and just clicked on the Format button. It says "Your iPod has been formatted." Then, it wants the serial number. I found it on the back of the iPod mini in a font so small it made my eyes bleed. So, I hammered in the serial number and then gave it my name, rank, and social security number. Then, it wanted to install that software virus known as iTunes, which I canceled. Then, it wanted to reboot my computer, and I said "No".

This whole time, the iPod mini is blinking his little circle with a slash through it. Warning me not to disconnect it, less it self destruct in a pink fireball. The drive still appeared as a CDFS file system, so I decided to reboot the PC.

Now that I rebooted (and took the CD out of the CD drive), it shows up as a FAT32 file system, which is good. I'm not sure why it uses FAT32 instead of NTFS, as Apple only supports the iPod for Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and FAT32 is the old, obsolete file system of Windows 95, 98, and Me. But, so be it. FAT32 it is.

I also notice that I now have a file on my C:\ drive at C:\Program Files\iPod\iPod Updater 2005-03-23\iPod Updater 2005-03-23.exe. So, possibly I can go back and follow the directions now?

I ran the "iPod Updater 2005-03-23.exe", and it says "This application lets you update the software on your iPod. It also allows you to restore the software on your iPod to factory condition. Included updates: 1.1, 3.02, 1.3, 2.3, 1.5" So, it seems to indicate it will install a bewildering array of updates. Whatever. OK. Shoot. I click Next, and it gives me the one option of "Restore - Restore completely erases your iPod and applies factory settings. Your music and other data will be erased." OK. Shoot. I clicked Restore.

I got the message "Your iPod has been restored to factory settings, sit tight while the iPod clues in." The iPod mini displayed a little apple and a bar graph showing progress of some sort. Then, it seemed to be done. It says "Software Version: 1.3(up to date)". So, I guess this is a good thing.

So now, I'm starting to clue into the game plan here. iPods for Windows are always formatted as FAT32. They don't support NTFS. People that have formatted them as NTFS, invariably regret it, start cross dressing and hanging out at Greyhound bus depots. Then, they run the iPod Updater (if they can get their PC to even recognize the iPod at all), and restore it to factory defaults.

So, the reason I needed to be on an XP machine was that the updater won't run under 95/98/Me. So, you have to be on an XP machine to run the updater. Now that I'm feeling my oats, I'm going here to get the latest version of the iPod Updater for the iPod Mini, as this site indicates there is a version 1.4 available for the mini.

So, from this site, I downloaded the latest verion of the iPod Updater (iPodSetup.exe) and executed it. It created the following file C:\Program Files\iPod\iPod Updater 2005-10-12\iPod Updater 2005-10-12.exe, which I ran. OK. Now I see what they're doing. It's showing what release the ipod Updater has for each of their products (i.e., the nano, mini, shuffle, photo, video, etc.). So, this updater has release 1.4 for the mini. OK. Great. Go. This time it says that it needs to do an update, so I click the Update button.

It says "Your iPod has been updated. Please leave the iPod connected while it completes the udpate process." The iPod has the little apple logo on it again, with the bar graph progressing. All this only takes a minute or two.

Now, it says it's at "Software Version 1.4(up to date)". The iPod is warning me not to disconnect it, but I've grown weary of the little pink gizmo's 'the sky is falling' mentality, and I rip the little cord out. It doesn't appear to have a power button. Go figure. OK. Manual says to turn it off, you "press and hold the play/pause button". Brilliant.

The web site now talks about plugging it into the wall with the AC adapter and the firewire cable and doing a firmware flash. I have no clue what this is about. My theory is that I'm formatted for Windows (FAT32) and current at release 1.4, so I'm ready to hook it to the Windows Me computer now.

Update 2: OK. So, tonight, I managed to get the iPod working with the Windows Me computer. I just followed the directions on this web site.
Only problem I had was that when I connected the iPod to the Me laptop and turned it on, it didn't show up in Windows Explorer. Windows didn't recognize it as a USB drive. So, I looked in Device Manager and saw the iPod as a device with a question mark, meaning it wasn't configured correctly. So, I removed it, at which point Windows Plug and Pray took over. It installed some software, and then paused, wanting a USB driver, "usbntmap.sys;base2.cab". So, I put in my Me installation CD, and pointed it to the drive, and it found the base2.cab, installed the drivers, and then I was off to the races. I just followed the directions and it worked fine. Once I launched the WinAmp and configured it to see the iPod on my E drive, I told it to format the iPod. This is kind of tricky, because it doesn't give you any indication that it did anything at all. So, I panicked, formatted it a few times, yanked the iPod out, and managed to get it sort of confused. Rebooting everything solved it though. I'm not sure how you can tell when the WinAmp format is finished, but it did work, in the end, because I clicked the "Autodetect" in WinAmp and it found the iPod on my E drive, and earlier it couldn't find the iPod. So, I assume the format worked. Then, when I clicked on the iPod under Devices in WinAmp, it told me there was a newer version of the iPod plugin for WinAmp, which I downloaded and installed. And, Voila! It works!

Of course, then you have to turn around and explain how it works to a woman. Conversation:

So, just launch WinAmp...
No. WinAmp. Launch WinAmp to rip your music...
What's rip mean?
You rip the tracks of the CD...Copy them...rip means copy...
What are tracks?
Songs. Tracks are songs...on the CD...
What about iTunes?
iTunes sucks. Look, this is a hack. An iPod isn't even supposed to work with Windows Me. I made it work for you. It's a good thing.
How do you turn up the volume? How do you turn it off?
Look. Here's the manual. Read it twice from cover to cover and then call me if you can't figure it out.

Previous Posts:
Winamp Hacks the iPod

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 6:40 PM


iPodLounge.com is a good source of iPod info.

But this is confusing: It appeared as my D drive, a "Healthy" 549 Meg CDFS file system, 100% full and 0% free.

The only 1/2 GB iPod is the Shuffle, not the Mini. The (now discontinued) Mini came in 4GB and 6GB configurations.

Also, be aware that iPods configured on a Windows machine can be read by both Windows and Macs. But iPods configured on a Mac cannot be read by a Windows PC.

Posted by: Robert on November 3, 2005 at 9:46 AM

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