If you’ve ever lost information on your iPod, from accidentally reformatting, or a crash, there are a couple of simple ways to possibly get that information back (depending on the severity or damage caused).
First thing to do, DO NOT start copying files onto your ipod. Unless a thorough format is done, your data is still on the iPod, just checked off to be overwritten. A quick format just checks off everything to be erased. If you start copying files back onto the iPod, the data will start to be overwritten. This is how your file system works on your computer as well.
All your data is organized by the FAT32 file system, so a recovery isn’t difficult, and can be done from a windows 98 computer if need be.
Now, to recover the data, you need a program that thoroughly searches all the clusters on your iPod’s HD for data. The program I’m currently using is Recover4All Pro v2.26. The free version allows you to scan your iPod’s drive for free (and see all the contents that have been deleted), but you need to register in order to recover the files it found.
Another program I would suggest is PC Inspector, http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm, but it’s also limited unless you purchase it.
And finally, Handy Recovery, which can be found at http://www.handyrecovery.com/index.shtml, but it’s also limited until you purchase it.
In either case, I’ve found recover4all to work best for me, it’s pretty simple, and you can recover files while it’s still searching. This is pretty useful, since it takes about 2-3 hours to scan the entire 20gb iPod HD.
Most of the time you lose your original file structure, but the files are intact unless they’ve been overwritten, or the Hard Drive itself is damaged.
Data Recovery for Mac Users
I’ve searched around for Mac compatible recovery software, and came up with 2 results. (There may be more, but this is all I can seem to find).
Stellar Information Systems has one that’s compatible with Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.x and above. There’s a demo you can try, but the full version is priced a bit steeply at $300 (this may not be so steep considering people lose data that is invaluable to them).
Another one I’ve found is called Virtual Lab that’s also compatible with OS X and OS 9.x. You can try it for free, letting you search the entire HD of the mounted iPod, but they have a novel approach to pricing; you pay by how much you wish to recover. I can see this working for people who do not need an entire software suite, and would just like to recover their data one time only.
The same process to recover data applies to Mac users