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rohPod - the badass iPod Firmware Tool

This tool serves several purposes:

  • List (some) disks connected to your computer
  • Detect connected iPods, showing their firmware partition contents
  • View and edit disk sectors, with undo functionality
  • Do the above over a network connection, meaning that someone can view and edit disk sectors on a different computer.

It runs on Mac OS X, Windows 2000 and up, and Linux x86 systems.

Table of contents


Version 1.0.8 released on June 25, 2006:

  • Verified to work on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X with MacPods and WinPods
  • Partition and Firmware FS views improved (loader version and sub-imgs are shown)
  • Backup of used blocks: Saves all used blocks (works with WinPods without iPL install only yet) for later restore
  • Bug fixes (of course)

Known issues

  • Some longer taking operations (such as Backup + Restore) do not show a progress nor any other indication that the operation is taking place. All you'll notice is that the user interface does not respond. Be patient then.
  • Journal cannot be viewed by the remote user.
  • Write function is rather slow (to backup the entire iPod other apps may be faster)
  • Volume names in the Disks window are only shown on Windows, not on OSX and Linux yet.


Note: When using Linux, you need to launch this tool as root in order to get access to disks on block level.

When you launch rohPod, you will see one Window titled Disks. It lists the disks you may access with this tool.

From there, select an item from the list. Then use either the "View" button or items from the menu.

  • View Blocks (from the menu) opens a new window showing the first block of the selected disk. It uses both a hex byte and a character view. While the focus is on the top edit field, you can enter a block number or press the + and - keys to move the block number. Note that a block is usually a set of 512 bytes (if you view a CD-ROM, you might get a different block size - other parts of the program would misbehave in that case for now then, though). You can also modify the data. To do that, you first need to enable writing: Choose "Make Writable" from the menu. Now you can alter the currently viewed block. Before you can view a different block, you need to Save it (or use Revert to undo your changes). You may open another window from the Disk menu to see more blocks on the same disk concurrently. You can use Copy & Paste (clipboard) as well. If you use Copy while no selection is made, the entire block is copied.

Usage Examples

Erase the iPod disk

This troubleshooting section describes how to erase the MBR so that you can then reformat or restore the iPod under Windows again in case a bad MBR prevents it from becoming accessible under Windows.

Repair the MBR sector

Note: this example is a bit old and since this has been written, the commands have changed a little

Scenario: Unintentional overwriting of boot record

Suppose you were stupid enough to overwrite the first sector of your (Win-iPod's) FAT32 partition with all the data and music on it. Luckily, a backup of the MBR exists a few blocks further on - we just have to find and copy it! First things first: we need to determine the blocknumber of the FAT32 partition. In order to find out we have to start rohPod and select our iPod from the Disks-Window (in this example, it's device 7 and is called Winpod). See here ( for an example screenshot of rohPod with the iPod selected.

To make sure nothing goes wrong it's best to make a complete image of the iPod - to do so select the iPod in the Disks list, then choose "Write to File.." from the "Disk" menu and choose a filename. After making sure the image is complete we hit "View..." to take a look at the iPod data in raw.

This screenshot ( shows block 0 with highlighted address of MBR of FAT32 partition which reads "C5 39 01 00" in decimal that is: 80325. So 80325 is the first block of the FAT32 partition! At least for an iPod Photo with 30GB capacity - these numbers may be different on other iPod-versions.

This is ( a screenshot of block 80325 how it should look like. Somewhere in the mess we can read "FAT32" and "S T O P | This is Apple iPod not a bootable disk.Please try again". If by accident you have overwritten or corrupted this block, all is not lost: Try advancing a few blocks with the "+" Key or by hitting the arrow-up-button. You'll come across the backup a few blocks ahead - in my case, it's #80331. Copy the whole block, select "File / Make Writable", go back to the first block (#80325) and paste. Don't forget to hit "Save". The only thing left to do is pray that all went well and the data is accessible again.

Should you have overwritten block 0 the procedure becomes more complicated since there is no simple backup-sector to copy.



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