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Undelete iPod Mini Files

Tagged with: — ondrej at 8:26 am on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A friend of mine asked me to help him to undelete music files from his iPod mini.

The iPod mini had the FAT32 file system.

I downloaded the TestDisk application. The package contains the PhotoRec application too.

Firstly I tried to use the TestDisk application (reads data from the filesystem), but it was able to undelete only a few files (~10 from 200).

I was more successful with the second application included in the package – PhotoRec. It reads content of the drive, so it was, obviously, a better try.
Of course, if the fragmentation is high, it may produce corrupted files. Fortunately, it was not that case of this iPod mini.

  1. Start PhotoRec (e.g. directly from the archive).
  2. Select the drive:
    Select a media (use Arrow keys, then press Enter):
    Disk /dev/disk2 - 4095 MB / 3906 MiB (RO)
    Disk /dev/rdisk2 - 4095 MB / 3906 MiB (RO)

    I selected:

    Disk /dev/disk2 - 4095 MB / 3906 MiB (RO)
  3. Select the partition table type:
    Please select the partition table type, press Enter when done.
    [Intel  ]  Intel/PC partition
    [EFI GPT]  EFI GPT partition map (Mac i386, some x86_64...)
    [Mac    ]  Apple partition map
    [None   ]  Non partitioned media

    I selected Intel, because it was a FAT32 formatted iPod.

  4. Choose the partition where were the files located:

         Partition                  Start        End    Size in sectors
       D No partition                   0    7999487    7999488 [Whole disk]
     2 P FAT32                      80325    7999486    7919162 [MYIPOD]

    I selected the FAT32 partition:

    2 P FAT32                      80325    7999486    7919162

    Continue with the Search option.

  5. Choose the filesystem:
    To recover lost files, PhotoRec need to know the filesystem type where the
    file were stored:
    [ ext2/ext3 ]  ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem
    [ Other     ]  FAT/NTFS/HFS+/ReiserFS/...

    I selected Other because the FAT32 filesystem.

  6. From the options:
    Please choose if all space need to be analysed:
    [   Free    ]  Scan for file from FAT32 unallocated space only
    [   Whole   ]  Extract files from whole partition

    I selected the Whole option.

  7. Select a directory, where to store the files from iPod. To continue press Y.
  8. Then you should just see something like this:

    Pass 1 - Reading sector     202448/7919162, 25 files found
    Elapsed time 0h00m40s - Estimated time for achievement 0h25m24
    jpg: 10 recovered
    mp3: 9 recovered
    txt: 3 recovered
    mov: 2 recovered
    doc: 1 recovered
  9. After some minutes, all files are safely stored in the specified directory.

Unfortunately, the file names are generated, e.g.


so it is necessary to use your favourite ID3 tag editor to rename them – I used the EasyTAG editor.

Enjoy :)

It is necessary to change extension of all .mp4 files to .m4a so iTunes can upload them to an iPod.

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