Q: I have a fourth generation 40GB iPod, and I am interested in deleting all the songs and starting afresh… Is there a clean, systematic way I can do this?
A: Yes, and Apple provides it for free in the iPod Software Updater. You’ll want to open this application, then connect your iPod to your computer.
A copy of the iPod Software Updater is included on the CD that came with your iPod. But if you don’t have the latest version, dated 2005-01-11, you can go here to download it: http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ipodupdater20050111.html
The Software Updater will open with a window that displays your iPod’s name, serial number, size, and the version of the software installed. There are two buttons in the window: Update and Restore. Update copies the latest software to the iPod, and Restore deletes everything and restores your iPod to factory settings.
Before you do this, however, make sure you have copies of everything on your iPod. Your music is of course key, but also back up any notes, contacts, calendars or files that you store on your iPod.