August 20th, 2008 by Adam
I recently had some fairly serious problems with my iPod Touch when the latest 2.0.2 firmware was released. I don’t normally blog about these problems to complain, but it seems to me that there could be a serious issue affecting all iPod Touch and iPhone users – the Apple support website offered little or no help and at one point, I thought I might have bricked my iPod. In the hope of helping anyone out who may suffer the same problems, here’s my story…
Firstly, I should make it clear that my iPod is 100% above-board. It’s not Jailbroken and I bought and paid for both the original software update (the January Software Update which added mail functionality along with weather and stocks gadgets), and the iPhone 2.0 update for iPod Touch. I absolutely love my iPod and use it intensively for checking my email, general web surfing and all things music and video.
I first noticed a problem when I tried to update my iPod to the 2.0.2 software – I was able to update to 2.0.0 and 2.0.1 without any problems whatsoever just weeks earlier. I launched iTunes, plugged my iPod in and a “New Hardware Detected” bubble came up in Windows XP (Pro) stating that new hardware was found and it was a “Digital Stills Camera”. I thought that this was a bit strange, and within a few second, Windows went into memory dump mode and I got the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD). Annoyed, I re-booted and plugged my iPod back in – this time it worked, connected no problem and so I started downloading the new firmware. The firmware downloaded (although at almost 250Mb, it seemed like a huge download for such a small device… I guess that’s just the way it is though) and began to install on my iPod. The “Digital Stills Camera” bubble popped up again in Windows and within seconds, my computer blue-screened and the software install didn’t finish correctly. I tried switching the iPod on – it worked, remembered my password etc, but when I tried to open anything (the Settings dialog for example), it just froze up.
“Oh dear” I thought…
So I tried immediately rebootimg my PC, thinking that all I had to do was “Restore” the firmware using iTunes. There was a problem though: Every time I tried to plug in my iPod, the computer instantly blue-screened. So there I was with a broken iPod and a computer that wouldn’t recognise it, wondering what to do. I had already worked out who to blame though: Apple.
No matter how hard I searched on the support forums and articles, I could find nothing relevant to my problem on the Apple support website. I eventually found some stuff on a number of other sites that mentioned similar problems which may have been caused by a conflict with an existing digital camera installed on the PC. I have a built-in Logitech Quick-Cam on my Dell XPS notebook so this might have been the case. The other sites recommended uninstalling the camera software – I didn’t want to do this for 2 reasons: Firstly, because I didn’t know if I still had the reinstallation disks for the camera; and secondly, because it’s built-in – if I uninstalled the drivers, it would automatically try to install them again when the computer switched back on. I needed another solution.
My first thought was the Device Manager – I could disable the camera from there. I tried it by selecting the “Logitech Quick Cam” in the “Imaging Devices” section and disabling the driver. No dice – the computer blue-screened again when I plugged in my iPod. Never the quitter, I checked for more entries within the device manager and eventually found another entry under “Universal Serial Bus Controllers”. I disabled the Logitech device from here, rebooted and plugged in my iPod Touch. Success! It was recognised, and the screen didn’t turn that horrible shade of Blue and White!
After that was done, I opened iTunes, selected my iPod Touch from the list on the left and hit the big “Restore” button. I had to ok some warnings saying I understood it would be wiped and that there were some un-transferred purchases on my iPod – despite trying, I was unable to recover the purchases, but they were only a couple of the free “Single of the Week” tracks so I wasn’t too concerned. This time, the firmware loaded correctly – I did have a bit of a scare at one point because “Preparing iPod Software” seemed to show for absolutely ages, but after a quick Google, I found this seems to be the norm. It was all done within half an hour.
Irritatingly though, I wasn’t able to restore my iPod backup – it was corrupt. I therefore lost all my apps, all my settings, all my music, videos, TV Shows etc and had to spend ages re-loading them and re-configuring the device to the way I wanted it. That was really annoying.
So it was annoying that it happened, but I did manage to fix it. I blame Apple in reality because it offers no support whatsoever on this issue. Its drivers also tell Windows that it’s a digital stills camera, which the iPod Touch absolutely can’t be (since the important Camera part is missing), and no iPhone user would ever actually use the functionality of on their PC. Yes, Microsoft is at fault for causing the blue-screen, but it seems that after a search on the web, I’m not alone with this problem. I’m quite tech-savvy and know how to deal with these things, but novice computer users would have no hope, and would most likely parcel up their device, send it back to Apple for repair and may even have to pay for the privilege.
So here’s my advice:
1: Before you update your firmware
Back-up your iPod / iPhone in iTunes. Just open iTunes and plug in your device. When it appears in the list on the left, right-click on it and select “Backup”
Make sure you have copies of all your music, videos, photos and apps on your PC before you hit that “update” button.
2: If you have problems with the update
If your PC blue-screens with the add hardware wizard showing “Digital Stills Camera”, there is an issue with an installed camera on your PC. Simply disconnect the iPod/iPhone from the computer and restart it. Find My Computer (usually on the desktop or in your Start Menu), right-click on it and select Properties. Select the Hardware tab and click Device Manager. Check in here for reference to your camera or webcam – in my case, I found it under Imaging Devices and Universal Serial Bus Controllers. When you find the reference to it in device manager, Right-Click the item and select Disable.
To be safe, restart your computer. Once rebooted fully, open iTunes then connect your iPod or iPhone to your USB port. When the device appears in iTunes, left-click on it once, then click Restore in the right hand panel. You will need to click OK on at least one warning box saying that you understand it will be completely wiped. They’re not lying. It will be blank!
This should initiate the restore of the software – don’t panic and be patient. It is normal for the installer to take upwards of 10 minutes to update your device.
If you are having problems with your device, I highly recommend that you restore the existing firmware before you update it. It also won’t hurt if you run the Apple Software Update to ensure you’re running the latest version of iTunes.
If you’re having similar problems or need help, please feel free to post in the comments section below, or alternatively email me and I’ll be happy to offer you any help where I can.