You can use iTunes to copy music to your iPod but not to copy songs back to your hard drive. I don't know if this has been intentional to please the Music Industry, but I doubt it was just an oversight on Apple's part considering that the company could have easily fixed it in newer versions of iTunes.
You have to look elsewhere if you want to copy songs from the iPod to a hard drive again, lucky for us tools that can do this exist and are free to download and use.
Before we look at those, I'd like to address why you would want to copy songs from your iPod to a storage device. While it does not make much sense on your core PC where your mp3 files are stored on, you may want to do so on secondary devices, at a friend's computer or simply because you accidentally deleted music on your PC but still have it available on your iPod.
A freeware that can copy songs from an iPod is iDump for example. It consists of only an executable file that can be run from your computer or from the iPod directly. Just copy it to the main directory of your iPod and run it from there. You probably have to enable disk mode in iTunes before you see the iPod as a drive in Windows. The freeware compiles a list of all the songs on your iPod and displays a list of them in its main window.
You may select all or only some files in the main window. All important information are displayed: Title, Artist and Album and iDump lets you sort the list anyway you want. You can also use the search if you have a particular large amount of songs on it and want to find a song in the list fast. To copy songs from your iPod you need to specify a directory where you want to copy the songs to and select a file output format or choose the default one.
Other options are mandatory like creating a playlist from all copied songs or using unattended transfer options which handle the case automatically if a file in the destination directory already exists.
The software is available for Microsoft Windows XP, ME and 2000 and works with all iPod generations including the latest iPod Video and iPod Nano. It may also work with later versions of Windows but that has not been tested by me.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.