Sunday, November 05, 2006

iPod 100% CPU utilization - problem solved

I finally gave in an got an iPod. I was a relatively early adopter of digital music playback, as I've had an Iriver IHP-120 (also known as the H120) for a couple of years. It died on a flight back from Boston a couple of weeks ago, and I had a whole day before my next flight, so I bit the bullet and picked up an iPod.

Things went okay for the first week or so, but then I started to have a problem where I could not eject it -- iTunes would lock up hard when I tried to eject the iPod. Then I developed a new problem, where connecting the iPod would cause ipodservice.exe to activate, and my machine would go to 100% CPU and stay there.

I tried a lot of things to fix the problem, none of which worked (until the last one, of course). Over the space of two days...

- I uninstalled iTunes and reinstalled it, which did nothing
- I uninstalled iTunes and Quicktime, and then could not reinstall Quicktime until I (finally) found the quicktime files in /WINDOWS/System32/
- I deleted dozens of quicktime and itunes references from my registry
- I uninstalled and reinstalled again

And of course, I rebooted dozens of times.

The problem, as it turned out, is all about drive letters. It seems that iPods do not like to share their drive letter with other devices, even if said devices are not connected.

If you're having this problem, try what worked for me:

With the iPod connected (and CPU at 100%, of course)

Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management

Select the iPod and choose a different letter. I picked "I" since it's high enough I should not get another drive up there. You'll get a warning that changing drive letters may make software not work. This is only true if you are running applications from your iPod, so I felt safe ignoring it.

This fixed the problem immediately.