Apple makes extracting your music from your iPod unnecessarily difficult, which is where SharePod comes in. This fast freeware tool efficiently transfers your music collection to your hard drive, making it easy to back up or restore your music, videos, and photos. It also transfers playlists, album art, and ratings, both to your hard drive and directly into iTunes.
SharePod comes with features that many competitors lack. Not only can you transfer your files, you can also perform some basic editing. You can use it to delete art, playlists, music, and videos from your iPod, edit tags, and you can also transfer from your computer to your iPod without having to use iTunes. When you copy, you can set the folder architecture to one of three defaults, or customize your own. One key feature of SharePod is that it comes with a database backup, so if something goes awry during the transfer process, it's a simple procedure to restore it.
The program comes in an archive, not a self-extracting EXE file. The EXE file is tiny, however, weighing in at just 5.4MB, so it's small enough to carry around on your iPod. SharePod is surprisingly effective. In transferring more than 7,000 songs and their accompanying artwork, playlists, and ratings, SharePod only freaked out on two dozen tracks. Notably, it doesn't stop copying, instead logging which files copy successfully and which don't. Given how hassle-free it is and how good it is at what it does, it's hard not to consider SharePod a must-have.
I had all my media on an external drive which died after a 4" fall onto carpet. I knew that if I connected either the nano or the touch to itunes, it wouldn't find the media & would wipe the devices clean. I used Sharepod, and transferred everything from both devices to replacement external drive #2. No problems, easy to use! I can even edit minor but irritating things like spelling, genre, and delete. Sharepod allows you to retrieve media as well as add media to your Apple devices.
More of an Itunes problem, in that when I put the podcasts back into the proper folders iTunes refused to recognize them as podcasts. Instead it would show the exclamation mark next to the podcast listing. Even when I steered iTunes to the proper podcast location (in the same folder), and it acknowledged them, it would now load these podcasts as music.
Sharepod worked so well, repeatedly, that even though it's free I happily paid some money. We spend for things which seem promising, and later feel as if we bought a box of rocks. Not so with Sharepod. Years later, people keep having problems and I've recommended Sharepod, with happy results.