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

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The iPod as Startup Disk (Macs Only)

For years, Mac-heads worldwide have taken comfort in a backup startup disk: a CD or external hard drive containing a working System Folder that can start up the computer when its own copy of the system software gets hosed. Many techies even put copies of their favorite disk utility programs (Tech Tool, Disk Warrior, Norton Utilities, or whatever) on there, too, to make fixing a crashed, cranky, question mark-flashing Mac as quick and efficient as possible.

Thanks to the iPod, that trick is more convenient than ever. The following instructions guide you through turning your Macintosh iPod into a bootPod. It assumes that you have enough space left on your iPod over and above all your music and other files. Use your FireWire cable for this procedure.

Be warned, though, that Apple doesn’t recommend doing a lot of booting from the iPod, as the stress and strain of cranking up a whole other system can really tax the iPod’s tiny hard drive and possibly shorten its life over the long run.

Note

Alas, a Windows iPod can’t start up a PC. And an iPod Mini can’t start up anything, not even a Mac.

Which OS?

Before you begin, consider which version of the Mac OS you want to use. Mac models that debuted after January 2003 can’t start up using Mac OS 9 at all. But if your older model can, note that Mac OS 9 is less complicated to get on the iPod, it’s easier to take off, and it takes up much less drive space than Mac OS X. (A lean Mac OS 9 can take up as little as ...

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