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iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual, Third Edition by J.D. Biersdorfer

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Chapter 12. The iPod as Hard Drive

There may come a time when the size of your files grows to exceed the size of a blank CD or Zip disk. For many people, that time is now. Thanks to the boom in digital audio, photography, and video, our supersized files don’t fit on such meager disks anymore, which makes it harder to cart them around from computer to computer.

That’s where the iPod’s most magnificent hidden feature comes into play. Remember that the iPod is essentially, at heart, a hard drive (which is why it can hold so many thousands of songs). With a single click in Preferences, in fact, the iPod can turn itself into an external hard drive—a real live icon-on-your-screen hard drive. Depending on the capacity of your iPod—and how much music you have on it— you could easily have a spare 2, 10, or 25 gigabytes of space available for backing up your Documents folder, transporting that 800 MB movie of your baby’s first steps, or even storing a bootable System folder that you can use if your Mac crashes and can’t get up.

The iPod’s Hard Disk Format

The iPod’s drive is formatted in such a way that it can communicate with a computer much like any other hard drive—depending on which model iPod and computer you’re using.

The first iPods, released in 2001, functioned only as Macintosh hard disks. The 2002 iPods came in separate Macintosh or Windows versions. And 2003-and-later iPods are compatible with both Mac and Windows (you don’t have to pick a format at purchase time; see page xx). ...

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