No doubt you've heard about the Apple iPod. For those of you who haven't, the iPod is a portable music player that allows you to carry around a large number of music files and listen to them anywhere. If you've seen someone walking around with white headphones in your ears, they are more than likely listening to one of these devices.
The iPod comes in several varieties, but they all share one thing in common. The only way to copy music onto them is through a program called iTunes. This program allows you to easily copy music from CDs, download music (for a fee) from the Internet and in general do pretty much anything you would ever want to do with your iPod. There is one important thing that iTunes does NOT do. It lets you copy music to the iPod, but it doesn't let you copy music from the iPod! I've always found this to be the most annoying thing lacking. I suspect they do this intentionally so that you have to use their software to manage it. However, I just found a way to do what they don't allow you to do!
I discovered an incredibly simple way to copy music from the iPod to your computer. Something that is supposedly not possible. How does this work? I'll tell you. All the iPods have the ability to connect directly to your computer via a Firewire or USB interface. Once you connect them to your computer, they show up as a separate hard drive in Windows. This allows you to use the extra hard drive space on the iPod as a temporary hard drive for moving files from one place to another. However, if you view the contents of the iPod when connected to your computer, the music files are conspicuously absent. You can do everything except access the music files. For this they want you to use iTunes. There are times, however when you want to copy music off the iPod and onto your PC, and this is something iTunes doesn't do. Here's how you get around this problem:
- Open Windows Explorer
- Go to the Tools | Folder Options menu item
- Click on the view tab.
- Select the option that says "Show hidden files and folders"
- Browse to your iPod in Windows Explorer
- You'll find a new, formerly hidden folder called 'iPod_Control'.
Inside this iPod_Control folder is another folder named 'Music'. This folder contains a series of folders named starting with an 'F' followed by a two digit number. (00, 01, etc.) The music files you are looking for are scattered throughout these 'F' folders. I'm not sure what the order of these folders means yet, so I would recommend against making any changes to these folders. You can easily copy the music files out of these folders back to your computer and they will play perfectly. If anyone knows the order in how these 'F' folders work, I would appreciate you letting me know.
This iPod_Control folder appears to be a system folder on the iPod that stores all the settings, music files etc. that are specific to the iPod. Because of this, you should not modify any files in this folder unless you really know what you are doing.
Let me know if you find anything else interesting about this folder.