Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iPod Service

Here’s an iTunes tip for Windows users whose iPods no longer work in iTunes. If iTunes no longer launches automatically when you plug your iPod in, and when you do launch it manually you get an error message telling you to reinstall the iPod software, don’t reinstall the iPod software. I had this problem this evening and the iPod software actually wasn’t at fault.

The fault in my case was the iPod Service, which runs as a service in the background to allow programs like iTunes and the iPod Updater to communicate with your iPod, had somehow become unregistered and was no longer running on system startup. Perhaps somewhat confusingly the iPod Service is actually part of iTunes, not the iPod drivers, and so if the iPod Service is not working then it is iTunes you need to reinstall and not the iPod software.

To do this, open up Control Panel and select Add/Remove Programs, then highlight iTunes and click Change/Remove. When it asks you whether you want to remove or repair, select Repair and let the installer reinstall the iTunes files for you. This will reregister the iPod Service and should get you going again.

Finally, a bonus tip for users of iTunes without iPods: You can save the 4MB of memory that the iPod Service uses by disabling it. Click on the Start menu, choose run, and type in services.msc, then click OK. Right-click iPod Service, click Stop if the service is running, then under ‘Startup type’ select Disabled. Remember that if you do later buy an iPod and want to be able to synchronise it with iTunes or update the firmware you will need to re-enable this service, though you’ll still be able to use it with other programs like Winamp.


  1. I don’t use iTunes with my iPod, as I believe it’s not really got much that I need.
    Instead, I use a program called EphPod when I use Windows. It’s a nice program that can do everything you need to do with your iPod. (The site says it runs on Linux too in the title, but I can’t find any Linux versions on the site.)
    When I use Linux, I use a program called gtkpod. Same sort of thing; not much to say about it because it basically does the same thing.
    Just thought you might like to know of alternatives if you don’t want to use iTunes, or if anybody reading this doesn’t. 😀

  2. Ahh nice tip, I’ve been wondering how to fix that for awhile but it went away when I installed a new version of iTunes.
    Anyway, there is another thing that’s bothering me – sometimes I just can’t seem to disconnect my iPod from my Windows PC. I’m not playing any music in iTunes, no Windows Explorer windows are open (much less any that are “exploring” the iPod drive). But, well, really, I think this is probably just a Windows thing as this happens with other removable drives as well… Bah, forget I just typed that 😉

  3. At least I can’t have this problem

  4. I have had problems with iTunes launching or seeing the iPod once I connect it. However, my problem was with the USB connection. When I plug in my iPod, I typically hear a sound that says that Windows detected a device being plugged into the USB buss. When things start failing, I don’t hear that sound. Typically, if I reboot, the problem goes away.
    I’ve noticed this after some long sessions of playing World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I’m guessing that my system is just messed up due to the games. I have never had to re-install either the iPod software or iTunes. (Knock on wood)

  5. Thanks for the tip to stop the IpodService from launching at Startup. That’s much appreciated.

  6. The iPod was bought in America and does not have the wheel in middle.
    When trying to activate, the apple logo comes on imediately followed by a icon which resembles a connector” which plugs into the ipod. This icon disappears after a few second.
    Any Help please.

  7. Stewart: it sounds like you have a hardware fault take a look at our site we can repair any problem it has if its out of warranty or Apple wont cover it

  8. hi people,im just curious,im buying an ipod this week,and im just wondering beforehand,can you use anything OTHER than itunes to download songs for your ipod,ie-winmx,kazaa …
    im just curious,and the paying for songs thing just annoys me a little.

  9. Sometimes when I select an album/artist and press play on my iPod it will just scroll through the list of song titles (eg 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10 etc) , and then returns back to the start menu with out playing any songs. Anyone else had this problem and overcome it.

  10. Hi I stupidly left my ipod connected to my PC while defragmenting my computer. Now, the ipod shows DO NOT DISCONNECT even when it is disconnected. Can’t get any response, even when I tried to restore it. Any ideas anyone

  11. HI im ras im haing problems with my i pod and really pissing me off osrry for the bad languauge. I instaled i tunes cud not commincate with my i pod. An error message said reinstall the software. I did that many times. I ve got xp sp2 and everytime i plug in the i pod it says hi spped usb connected to a non hi speed usb when my usb is 2.0. I even juoced the battery out and tryed to install with the battery still the same prob. PLZZ someone help me.

  12. my ipod click wheel recently broke does anyone no where i can get it fixed cheaply within the uk

  13. Hope someone can help? I purchase my i pod in the US. All the songs that I have purchased from I tunes regulary disappear from the ipod?? The name will show up but when I press play it just jumps onto the next tune?? Songs burnt from cd are fine. This has happened about 4 times!! I keep having to put the songs back on from my library. Can anyone help with this please

  14. With version 6 of itunes, simply setting the ipod service to disabled doesn’t work. The next time you launch itunes, it sets the service back to manual and starts it. The only way I have found to stop the ipod service from launching with itunes (I don’t have an ipod hooked up to every machine I use itunes on) is to rename the actual file located in c:\program files\ipod\bin\ipodservice.exe to something else (such as .NORUN). Itunes loads up with no complaints. Again, as someone mentioned above, I wouldn’t completely remove the service as you might need it one day.

  15. How does someone remove the ipod service completely? I don’t want it on my computer at all!

  16. Chuck’s solution works. Thanks Chuck! It irks me that software makers asume you want something hogging your resources, just because it’s something they want running on your system, and they don’t give you an option in preferences to switch it off.
    Along the same vein, the troublesome Real Player, tries to load something called realsched.exe and keeps it memory resident even when you close Real Player. Renaming the file from E:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe to realsched.exe.disabled (or whatever) works in the same way as the ipodservice solution.