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rePear.iPod liberation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does rePear move the music files away? I remember your previous tool for the iPod shuffle, which was much easier to use.

The reason is quite simple: iPods refuse to play any files that are outside a specific, hidden directory. This seems so be an artificial limitation in Apple's firmware.

Can I still use my iPod with iTunes after using rePear?

Older versions of iTunes had some problems with reading the iTunesDB files created by rePear, but in iTunes 7, this problem seems to be resolved. You should thus be able to use rePear and iTunes in tandem, however there's no guarantee for that.

Why do songs I purchased from the iTunes Music Store disappear when I use rePear?

rePear does not support FairPlay DRM protected songs – it simply ignores them, because there's no (legal) method to obtain the decryption key that needs to be stored on the iPod for playback. Note that this does only apply to songs from the »standard« iTunes Music Store (M4P files). iTunes Plus files are not encrypted and will work with rePear.

Why is rePear so slow?

This is perfectly normal for files that are modified or newly copied to the iPod: rePear has to scan through them carefully to obtain all the metadata it needs, which could take some time, especially on the first start. However, if it's slow for all files, and even when unfreezing, you most certainly deal with a deactivated write cache.
Since the iPod is a removable mass storage device (just like a USB flash drive), some operating systems (most importantly Window) tend to »play it safe« and deactivate the write cache for this device. This way, you will be able to disconnect the device shortly immediately a write operation without losing data, which is a good thing for quick »copy that Excel sheet to the UFD and go«-style operation, but it hurts tremendously when performing a large number of file operations like rePear does. When I say »it hurts«, I mean that literally: It doesn't only kill performance, it also contributes an awful lot to wearout of the flash cells on the nano models and imposes heavy stress on the mechanical parts of the harddisk-based iPods. Long story short, you need to activate the write cache. Unfortunately, this isn't an easy task. On Unixish systems, this usually depends on the distribution; if you know how to deal with fstab and udev stuff on Linux, you need to remove the sync option for the iPod's mount point, for example.
On Windows (XP), the following steps are necessary to activate the write cache:

  1. open My Computer
  2. right-click the iPod's volume icon and select »Properties«
  3. switch to the »Hardware« tab and select the »Apple iPod USB Device« item from the list, then click on the »Properties« button
  4. switch to the »Policies« tab and select »Optimize for performance«
  5. if possible, select »Enable write cache« (don't worry if this option is not visible or grayed out and unselected – it's more or less a duplicate of the previous one)
  6. click »OK« a few times
  7. Windows may ask you to reboot; if it does, the write cache will not be active until the next restart

After this procedure, rePear should be a whole lot faster – but be warned, it also means that you absolutely must unmount the iPod using the »Safe removal of hardware« icon in the task bar notification area before you can unplug it from your computer!

When freezing, a few songs fail at random intervals. What can I do against that?

This happens on the windows version sometimes, it has not yet been observed on other operating systems. The reason is also unclear as of yet. However, deactivating on-access virus scanners and enabling the write cache should improve the situation a bit.