Disk repairs and iPods

Q: When I run the Disk First Aid function of Apple’s Disk Utility on my iPod it frequently reports errors such as “Volume Header needs minor repair” or “Invalid leaf node count.” Are diagnoses like these reliable? If so, can Disk Utility be safely used to repair the reported directory damage?

I think have heard that the iPod has a limited self-repair capability, like a journalled OS X disk, but I have never myself seen evidence that this is so. If Disk Utility cannot be used to make directory repairs, is a full restore operation with the iPod Updater the only available course?

– Randy

A: Apple recommends that you do not use any disk repair software with the iPod. It is very possible that the “errors” you see are not real errors, but simply Disk Utility reporting anomalies that it believes that it is discovering, though the iPod’s formatting is slightly different from normal hard disk format.

If you think you have disk problems with the iPod, you should use the Restore function from the iPod Software Updater to erase and reformat the iPod. Make sure you have a backup of your music on your computer, of course. If the iPod discovers disk corruption or other problems, it will display a different icon when you turn it on, as shown in this Apple technical document.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

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