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iPod not recognized in My Computer and in iTunes for Windows

Symptoms

Follow steps in this article if your iPod doesn't appear in iTunes and also doesn't appear as a disk drive in My Computer (Windows XP) or Computer (Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8).

 

Resolution

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Important

1. Start with the iPod Troubleshooting Assistant

If you haven't already done so, use the iPod Troubleshooting Assistant that applies to your iPod. This will often solve your issue.

If you're still experiencing the issue after going through each of the steps in the assistant, continue with the steps below in this article. The most likely solutions are listed below (for both USB and FireWire (IEEE 1394) iPod connections). Check each section starting from the top of the list to see if that is what's keeping your iPod from appearing.

Note: To determine if your iPod syncs via USB or FireWire, check the table in the Additional Information section below.

2. If your iPod displays an exclamation point folder or sad iPod icon

If your iPod displays a folder with an exclamation point icon or a frowning iPod icon on its screen, follow these instructions to resolve the issue.

3. Charge the iPod and make sure it is getting power

Your iPod must have enough of a charge for your computer to recognize it. Connect your iPod to its power adapter or to a high-power port on your computer to charge your iPod if the battery is depleted. If your iPod is connected through FireWire but isn't getting power from the FireWire bus, your computer may not recognize it.

4. Secure the iPod's connections

Make sure that there's nothing physically blocking your computer's USB (or FireWire) port inside and that the cable connections to your iPod and computer are secure.

Notes:

5. Disconnect other USB Devices

  • Try connecting your iPod to another USB port directly on the computer. Verify that you're connecting your iPod to a high-powered USB 2.0 port on your computer to be sure the iPod is getting power.
  • If you're connecting the iPod to a Windows laptop computer through USB, connect the laptop to a power outlet before connecting your iPod. Also, see iPod not recognized when connected to Windows laptop over USB to be sure that your USB ports are supplying enough power.
  • Avoid connecting the iPod to an external USB hub. If a hub must be used, make sure the hub is USB 2.0, and that it has its own power supply. Also, make sure the hub is connected to a high-power USB 2.0 port on your computer.
  • If the issue persists, try disconnecting other USB devices from the computer such as printers, cameras, scanners, external hard drives, and USB hubs to determine if there is a conflict in the USB chain.

6. Determine whether your iPod's cable functions properly

  1. Make sure that you're using the cable that came with your iPod. Some cables not manufactured by Apple may not work properly with iPod.
  2. Check the connections to make sure that the cable is completely plugged in.
  3. Try another known-good FireWire or USB to Dock Connector cable if available. If using another cable resolves the issue, replace your cable.

7. Place the iPod into Disk Mode

Try placing the iPod into disk mode to see if it's recognized by iTunes or Windows Explorer. If your iPod appears in iTunes when in disk mode, restore the iPod. if the iPod still isn't recognized, continue with the remaining steps.

8. Determine which format the iPod is in

iTunes for Windows only recognizes Windows-formatted iPods. You can't use a Macintosh-formatted iPod with a Windows PC until the iPod is reformatted for Windows. To learn if your iPod is formatted for Windows, see these instructions.

9. Verify that USB drivers are installed

Note: These steps apply to all iPod models except for iPod touch, and they do not apply to iPhone or iPad models.

For Windows XP

  1. Connect iPod to the computer.
  2. Quit iTunes if it opens.
  3. In the Start menu, right-click My Computer and choose Properties.
  4. Click the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button. The Device Manager window should open.
  5. Click the plus (+) icon next to "Universal Serial Bus controllers" to expand the selection.

    Important:
    If you have recently installed a Service Pack for Windows and nothing appears at all in the Device Manager, follow the steps in iPod not recognized and Windows Device Manager is empty.
  6. Locate the iPod in this list.
    If you see "USB Mass Storage Device" listed:
    • This driver could represent the iPod or other devices. To find out if it represents the iPod or not, right-click on the entry and choose Properties. Click the Details tab, and in the drop-down menu, select Hardware Ids. If the entries here begin with "USB\VID_05AC," then you know that this entry represents iPod. If more than one USB Mass Storage Device entry is listed, perform the same check on each of these until you find the one whose hardware id begins with "USB\VID_05AC."
    • Click the General tab. If the Device Status box says "This device is working properly," then the drivers for the iPod are likely not the cause of the issue. If this is the case, continue to the next troubleshooting section in this article titled "Determine if Windows confuses iPod with a network drive."
    • If the Device Status box has an alert message, or if the USB Mass Storage Device entry that represents the iPod has an exclamation mark or question mark on it, continue with the steps below under "Reinstall USB driver."
    If you do not see a USB Mass Storage Device entry representing the iPod:
    • Expand the other sections of the Device Manager by clicking their "+" signs, such as Other Devices and Portable Devices. You may find an entry called "iPod" with an exclamation mark or question mark over it.

      If this is the case, continue with the steps below under "Reinstall USB driver."
    If only "Unknown Device" appears: Skip to the section below titled "If only 'Unknown Device' appears."

Note: A red "X" appearing next to the iPod's entry in Device Manager indicates that this device is disabled. To enable this device, right-click its entry in Device Manager and choose Enable from the shortcut menu.

Reinstall USB Mass Storage Device driver

  1. Right-click the iPod's entry in Device Manager and choose Uninstall from the shortcut menu.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, click OK.
  3. In the Device Manager window, right-click "Universal Serial Bus controllers" and choose "Scan for hardware changes" from the shortcut menu.

Windows automatically reinstalls the necessary USB drivers and attempts to remount the iPod. If the iPod's entry still has an exclamation mark or question mark on it, continue with the next steps to manually update the USB driver.

Update the USB Mass Storage Device Driver

  1. Right-click the iPod's entry in Device Manager and choose Update Driver from the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Hardware Update Wizard that appears, select "Yes, this time only" to allow Windows to connect to the Windows Update Website. Click Next. Search automatically for updated driver software.
  3. Select "Install the software automatically (Recommended)" and click Next. Windows searches for updated drivers and installs any it finds. If Windows is unable to find updated drivers on its own, continue with step 4.
  4. Click Back.
  5. Select "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)" and click Next.
  6. Select "Search for the best driver in these locations." Deselect "Search removable media (floppy, CD-ROM…)" and select "this location in the search."
  7. Type the following in the field below your selection: C:\Windows\System32.

    Note: If Windows is installed on a drive letter other than C:\, enter the appropriate drive letter in the path.

  8. Click Next. Windows searches this location for drivers and installs any it finds.

Note: During installation, if a message appears stating that the software you are installing "has not passed Windows Logo testing" click Continue Anyway to continue installing the drivers.

For Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8

  1. Connect the iPod to your computer.
  2. Quit iTunes if it opens.
  3. For Windows Vista and Windows 7:
    • Click the Start menu, right-click on Computer, and choose Properties.
    • In the upper-left corner, click Device Manager. The Device Manager window should open.
    For Windows 8:
    • Move the cursor to the upper right corner, click the magnifying glass, type devmgmt.msc, and press the Return key. The Device Manager window should open.
  4. Click the plus (+) icon (or disclosure triangle () for Windows 7 or Windows 8) next to "Universal Serial Bus controllers" to expand the section.
  5. Locate the iPod in this list.
    If you see "USB Mass Storage Device" listed:
    • This driver could represent the iPod, or other devices. To find out if it represents the iPod or not, right-click on this entry and choose Properties. Click the Details tab, and in the drop-down menu, choose Hardware Ids. If the entries here begin with "USB\VID_05AC," then you know that this entry represents iPod. If more than one USB Mass Storage Device entry is listed, perform the same check on each of these until you find the one whose hardware id begins with "USB\VID_05AC."
    • Click the General tab. If the Device Status box says "This device is working properly," then the drivers for the iPod are likely not the issue. If this is the case, continue to the section below titled "Determine if Windows confuses iPod with a network drive."
    • If the Device Status box has an alert message or if the USB Mass Storage Device entry that represents the iPod has an exclamation mark or question mark on it, continue to the steps below to reinstall the USB Mass Storage Device driver.
    If you do not see a USB Mass Storage Device entry representing the iPod:
    • Expand the other sections of the Device Manager with their "+" signs, such as Other Devices and Portable Devices. You may find an entry called "iPod" with an exclamation mark or question mark over it.

      Continue to the steps below to reinstall the USB Mass Storage Device driver.
    If only "Unknown Device" appears: Skip to the section below titled "If only "Unknown Device" appears."

Note: A downward arrow appearing next to the iPod's entry in Device Manager indicates this device is disabled. To enable this device, right-click its entry in Device Manager and choose Enable from the shortcut menu.

Reinstall USB Mass Storage Device driver

  1. Right-click the iPod's entry in Device Manager and choose Uninstall from the shortcut menu.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, select "Delete the driver software for this device" and click OK.
  3. In the Device Manager window, right-click "Universal Serial Bus controllers" and choose "Scan for hardware changes" from the shortcut menu.

Windows automatically reinstalls the necessary USB drivers and attempts to remount the iPod. If the iPod's entry still has an exclamation mark or question mark on it, continue with the steps to manually update the USB driver.

Update the USB Mass Storage Device driver

  1. Right-click the iPod's entry in Device Manager and choose Update Driver Software from the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Hardware Update Wizard that appears, click "Search automatically for updated driver software."
  3. Windows searches for updated drivers and installs any it finds. If Windows is unable to find updated drivers on its own, continue with step 4.
  4. Click Back.
  5. Select "Browse my computer for driver software."
  6. Type C:\Windows\System32 in the "Search for driver software in this location" field.
    Note: If Windows is installed on a drive letter other than C:\, enter the appropriate drive letter in the path.
  7. Select "Include subfolders."

  8. Click Next. Windows searches this location for drivers and installs any it finds. If Windows is unable to find updated drivers on its own, you must reinstall the USB drivers as shown below.

Note: During installation, if a message appears stating that the software you are installing "has not passed Windows Logo testing" click Continue Anyway to continue installing the drivers.

If only "Unknown Device" appears

  1. Right-click on the "Unknown Device" entry and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
  2. Click the Details tab, and in the drop-down menu, select Hardware IDs.
  3. Check if the hardware ID displayed starts with this: USB\VID_0000&PID_0000.
    • If it does, this means that Windows can't read the hardware IDs of the device, and so has replaced them with all zeros. This is typically caused by a faulty USB connection, or an incompatibility with your USB chipset drivers. Continue with the remaining steps.
    • If it doesn't, read the note at the end of this section and then proceed with the steps for section "10. Determine if Windows confuses iPod with a network drive."
  4. Disconnect the device, and unplug all USB devices from your computer. Shut your computer down and then power it back on.
  5. Reconnect your device, testing each USB port for approximately 30 seconds to see if your device is recognized.
  6. Test with an alternate, known-good 30-pin to USB cable if available.
  7. Temporarily disable any USB Enhanced Host Controller or USB 2.0 Host Controller entries in the Device Manager, under the USB Controllers section. Do this by right-clicking on them, and choosing Disable.
    Note: This may temporarily disable your USB keyboard or mouse. If this happens, disconnect your USB keyboard and mouse. If you are using a portable PC, connect an external keyboard and mouse, if necessary.
  8. After disabling USB Enhanced Host Controller or USB 2.0 Host Controller entries, reconnect your device.
  9. If your device shows up in iTunes, try re-enabling your USB 2.0 entries by right-clicking them in the Device Manager, and choosing Enable. If the issue returns, you may disable the USB 2.0 hubs as a temporary work-around, keeping in mind that sync will occur slowly, at USB 1.1 speeds. For a permanent resolution, consult your computer manufacturer for any updates for your USB 2.0 chipset.
Note: If "Unknown Device" appears when connecting your device to more than one known-good computer, with more than one known-good USB cable, your device may require service. You can find your device's service options at the Online Service Assistant. You may have questions about servicing your device, and you can find answers to frequent questions in this FAQ. To find Apple's contact information in your country, refer to Contacting Apple for Support and Service. If there is an Apple Retail Store nearby, find the closest store and then make a reservation through the online Apple Store Concierge. Reservations are strongly recommended.

10. Determine if Windows confuses iPod with a network drive

If the drive letter after iPod ("E" in most cases) is mapped to a network drive or other external hard drive, both Windows Explorer and iTunes may exhibit strange behavior in relation to the iPod (including preventing iPod from appearing). See Windows confuses iPod with network drive and may keep iPod from mounting or songs may seem to disappear for more information.

11. Determine if third-party software may be causing conflicts

Some third-party software (such as security software) may prevent your computer from recognizing your iPod.

12. Reinstall iTunes

  1. Download and install the latest version of iTunes.
  2. Uninstall all components of iTunes and then reinstall iTunes:

13. Make sure FireWire card is a WHQL-certified IEEE 1394 card

Only certain iPod models sync via FireWire. Refer to the table in the Additional Information section below to make sure your iPod can sync via FireWire.

If you have a FireWire (IEEE 1394) card installed in your computer and are using it to connect your iPod, make sure that the card is Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certified. If it isn't, your iPod may not be recognized, or you may not be able to send music to the iPod.

If you're not sure about your card's WHQL certification, check the inbox material that came with your FireWire card or contact the card's manufacturer. You can view a list of WHQL-certified cards on the Windows Hardware Compatibility List website. To view this:

  1. Go to the Windows Hardware Compatibility List website.
  2. Click on the link that corresponds with your Windows Operating System to view the compatibility list.
  3. Select your Operating System build, and then from the Product Categories pop-up menu choose 1394 Controller.
  4. Click the Search Now button.

You can also check the list of recommended FireWire and USB cards that have been tested by Apple with iPod and Windows XP (Apple sells FireWire cards that are compatible with iPod at the Apple Store).

To rule out an issue with your FireWire card, try connecting a different FireWire device to the card to see if your computer recognizes it.

14. Check for a conflict in the FireWire chain

Only certain iPod models sync via FireWire. Refer to the table in the Additional Information section to make sure your iPod can sync via FireWire.

Your computer may not recognize your iPod if there's a device conflict in the FireWire chain. To see if this is the case:

  1. Disconnect all devices from your computer's FireWire ports.
  2. Connect your iPod to your computer's FireWire port.

If your computer recognizes your iPod, you should troubleshoot for FireWire device conflicts.

15. Determine if there may be an issue with your computer

If another computer is available, verify that the same issues happen with the other computer. If the other computer recognizes your iPod, you may want to troubleshoot for issues with your original computer. Contact the manufacturer of your computer for help troubleshooting.

16. Your iPod needs service

If after following these steps your computer still doesn't recognize your iPod, and other known-good computers also can't recognize the iPod, you can find your device's service options at the Online Service Assistant. You may have questions about servicing your device, and you can find answers to frequent questions in this FAQ. To find Apple's contact information in your country, refer to Contacting Apple for Support and Service. If there is an Apple Retail Store nearby, find the closest store and then make a reservation through the online Apple Store Concierge. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Additional Information

Does my iPod sync with FireWire or USB?

Use this table to determine if your iPod charges and syncs using USB or FireWire. To find out which iPod model you have, click here.

iPod (Scroll Wheel) - -
iPod (Touch Wheel) - -
iPod (Dock Connector)* -
iPod mini
iPod mini (2nd generation)
iPod (Click Wheel)
iPod photo
iPod Special Edition Harry Potter with color display 20 GB
iPod Special Edition U2 20 GB
iPod (5th generation) -
iPod (5th generation late 2006) -
iPod Special Edition U2 30 GB -
iPod Special Edition Harry Potter (5th generation) 30 GB -
iPod Special Edition Harry Potter (5th generation) 30 GB -
iPod classic -
iPod nano (1st through 3rd generation) -
iPod nano (4th generation and later) - -
iPod shuffle (all generations) - -
iPod touch -
iPod touch (2nd generation and later) - -

Note: Syncing iPod (dock connector) via USB requires iPod Dock Connector to FireWire and USB 2.0 Cable.

Important: Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites. Apple provides this only as a convenience to our users. Apple has not tested the information found on these sites and makes no representations regarding its accuracy or reliability. There are risks inherent in the use of any information or products found on the Internet, and Apple assumes no responsibility in this regard. Please understand that a third-party site is independent from Apple and that Apple has no control over the content on that website. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Jan 2, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jan 2, 2014
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