Like everyone else I’ve run into trouble with it from time to time. I even had to replace the headphone jack and the logic board — through a third party, not Apple, since it was past the warrantee at that point. A couple weeks ago, I had some issues with the drive and I thought maybe it was click-of-death time. I ran a thorough chkdsk and it found and fixed a few things. Great. Except iTunes no longer recognized the ipod. It showed up in Windows fine and the ipod diagnostics even came back with all green lights. The most frustrating part was that all of Apple’s advice involved doing a restore from within iTunes, except iTunes wasn’t recognizing it. Argh.
My research was pretty extensive into the inner workings of firmware and partitions because I as considering drastic measures. My plan involved resetting the firmware myself using one of the linux based tools that were created for the linux on ipod projects.
I don’t need to get into all the details to be able to share my eventual fix with you. At some point I realized that the actual drive partition doesn’t really hold any of the ipod logic on it. I simply did “format i: /x /fs:fat32” (where I: is the drive letter for the ipod!!) from within Windows. The ipod restarted, iTunes detected it and offered to give it a name and set me up fresh all over again.
Granted this method must be taken as a measure of last resort and this was a 4G ipod, I don’t know if other generations work the same way. I can confirm this worked on Emily’s mini though as well.