How To: Sync an iPod that won’t sync

I had to wipe and rebuild my computer hard drive, recently. Prior to that, I never had a problem syncing my iPod with whatever version of iTunes Apple happened to send my way, but after I re-loaded my DVD burning software, iTunes version 7-dot-whatever stopped syncing. I had little doubt that the DVD ‘ware stepped on something iTunes needed.

The message(s) I got were variations of this: “The iPod could not be updated. An unknown error occured (1417).” The error number varied, depending on what I had tried. Apparently this happens in version 7, and they still haven’t gotten a handle on fixing it.

Google lead me down several paths. None of these solutions worked for me, but they may work for you so try them. I’ll put the solution that finally did work for me last.

1. Follow the instructions available at Apple. I will admit I refused to try the solution that told me to uninstall any skins I might have. I never had the problem with having skins, and Apple should fix iTunes, not make me do without applications I like. I had hope for the one that showed me how to create a batch file that would repair the dll files, but even that one did not work for me.

2. Backup your library. Uninstall iTunes. All of it. Including QuickTime and Bonjour. Reinstall iTunes from the latest version.

3. A workaround that worked, but it’s a pain in the rear: Disconnect your iPod then close iTunes. Remove the iPod from its sync cable. Open “My Computer”. Reconnect the iPod. A new removable drive should appear. Next, open iTunes.

Change something and attempt to sync — note that the error message will appear. Close the error window, and, leaving iTunes running, go back to the “My Computer” window. You’ll note that the removable drive is no longer present — iTunes reconfigures it so it no longer appears as a drive. Go to “Start” -> “Control Panel” -> “Add New Hardware”. Click “Next”. The iPod drive will reappear in the “My Computer” window. Now return to iTunes, pull down the “File” menu, select “Sync iPod” and there you go.

You’ll need to repeat this each time you want to sync.

4. Finally, what worked for me: Uninstall iTunes, QuickTime and Bonjour using the Add/Remove Program dialog in Control Panel. Get a copy of iTunes version 6. FileHippo keeps old versions. Backup your library. Install the old version of iTunes. It will create a different version of the library database, but will leave the song files alone. Sync your iPod. I’m not entirely sure that step is necessary, but I did it anyway, mostly to test to see if I could sync with the old version. Don’t worry about the loss of your playlists. They’re still in the version 7 library database. Then get the latest version of iTunes and install it over the old version. Go forth and sync some more, you are finished.