iTunes Connectivity Problem – Solved

A few weeks back I was helping somebody sort out an iTunes problem. It kept conking out whenever they tried to import any mp3s, and was understandably annoying. We found a workaround (change the music folder location, don’t click OK, then change it back) but that only worked per session – once iTunes was restarted the problem came back. Anyway, next time I saw him he’d sorted it out by unplugging his compactflash card reader. We weren’t really sure why this would fix it, something to do with iTunes looking for music in all connected drives maybe, but it did. So, great.

Back to me. I’ve been getting more and more annoyed with the iPod recently. Not the gadget itself, but the synchronizing with iTunes. Sometimes I’d plug it in and nothing would happen – restarting iTunes / the whole computer / the iPod sometimes kicked it into gear, but not always. Sometimes iTunes recognised it and started copying songs, but conked out halfway through. Copying photos was a waste of time, as it’d never make it to the end. I’d get error -36, the iPod would be stuck in ‘do not disconnect’ mode, and I’d get pissed off. Often Windows would give me a ‘delayed write failed’ message. I synchronize for the latest podcasts just before walking the dog, and it’s incredibly frustrating to have to try connecting three of four times before I managed to get everything I want. I’d tried wiping and reinstalling iTunes as well as re-formatting the iPod, but nothing seemed to work. I’m coming up on a full Windows reinstall, so figured if that didn’t do the trick then it must be a hardware problem.

Last night I wanted to show my parents my Live 8 photos, and thought it’d be cool to do a slideshow on the TV via the iPod’s tv-out. Except I knew that copying the photos would be a huge pain in the ass. Nevertheless, it was one of the reasons I’d bought the iPod Photo in the first place, so I gave it a go anyway. Sitting at the computer I looked around for the USB cable (I’m too cheap to buy a dock) and my eyes suddenly rested on my multi-format USB card reader. Why not, I figured. I unplugged it, and…

Everything. Works. Perfectly.

Every time I’ve synchronized since, it’s all gone totally smoothly on the first attempt. Why the hell I didn’t think of this before I have no idea. It’s like the two things just never linked up in my head. I transferred 14gb of photos last night without any problems at all. Woohoo!

So, for anyone googling with this particular problem, here are a load of keywords to help you find me. itunes error -36 delayed write failed ipod usb synchronzing stop not recognised do not disconnect.

Solution: first try unplugging any usb devices that show up as hard drives in My Computer. I don’t know about firewire or ‘proper’ external hard drives, but they may need to go too. I’d guess that virtual cd-drives may also be worth checking out. As a matter of interest I’m running Gmail Drive with no problems.

Only thing I have to worry about now is the 1.4gb remaining on a 30gb iPod…May have to cull my photo collection at some point!