By default, Apple's iPod portable media player doesn't let you transfer the music and video files stored on the device back to your computer. However, you can accomplish this task with free software or by enabling hidden files in Windows and then copying the files to your hard drive. Copy files from your iPod to restore your media library in the event of a computer crash or after reinstalling your operating system.
Since Apple released the iPod, several software developers have released programs that let you retrieve videos and music from your iPod and save them to your computer. These programs offer functionality otherwise lacking in iTunes, which doesn't support iPod-to-computer transfers. One program that offers this feature is ephPod. This free program treats your iPod like an external hard drive, allowing you to browse its contents and copy all or just a few files to your computer. EphPod is compatible with video and music files. Use this program to retrieve your multimedia files from your iPod in the event of a computer crash. Connect your iPod to your computer with a USB or FireWire cable, start the ephPod program, highlight the files you want to copy to your computer and click the "Copy to Directory" button. EphPod will copy your songs and videos to the location of your choice. You can now add these files back into iTunes to synchronize them with your iPod or other media devices.
Another way to transfer music and videos to your computer involves accessing the hidden files and folders stored on your iPod. Your media is there somewhere; all you have to do is find it. Click the Windows "Start" button and then "Control Panel." Use the "Search" text box in the top-right corner of "Control Panel" to search for "hidden files." Click the first item that appears in the search pane. Check the "Show Hidden Files and Folders" option in the window that appears. Click "Computer" on the "Start" menu. Double-click on the iPod drive icon and open the "iPod_Control" folder. Inside, you should see a "Video" directory and several folders containing your music files. Copy the entire "iPod_Control" folder to your computer. Open iTunes and click "Preferences." Click the "Advanced" tab and check "Copy Files to iTunes Music Folder." You can now drag the "iPod_Control" folder, which you copied to your computer, over to iTunes. ITunes will sort through the videos and display them in your iTunes media playlist.