MONTHS AGO, IBM podcaster Ben Edwards was a little surprised when I told him I carry around an iPod with most of its 20 GB space occupied with data. After our conversation, I started looking into how I have more content on my iPod than in any other device that I carry with me. I discovered that the iPod is not deleting content that I erase through Windows. I think this happened because I started synching the iPod with different programs and with different operating systems. After three years of use, I could not add anything else to my faithful iPod. I explored ways to reformat the iPod because I couldn't survive without renewing my portable music collection. I reformatted it using my Windows XP laptop by plugging it into my USB port and--without opening iTunes--scrolled down the drives shown in Windows Explorer. I found my iPod displayed, right-clicked on it, clicked Format, and that did the job. I also reformatted my iPod using a command available in XPlay, an add-on Explorer-like program from Media Four. That worked too. I've talked with others who have used the iPod updater "Restore" option. That also scrubs all data from the iPod and reformats its hard drive.
Get the iPod update from www.apple.com/ipod/download/.
Now I use Anapod Explorer to control stuff on my iPod. Recommended.