iPod cannot be synced – Duplicate file name was specified

After about 5 years, I’m in the process of replacing my 3rd generation iPod with a 30GB hard disk with a brand new 4th generation iPod Touch with 32GB of SD. While I’m still holding on to the old iPod, I’m switching back and forth on syncing the iPod and the iPod Touch. Until I got an error on the old iPod that it cannot be synced, because there was a duplicate file name.

The solution is actually very simple. Somehow the file system on the iPod is corrupt, and you’ll have to rebuild it. On Windows, this can be done in two ways:

  1. If you plug the iPod in, a screen comes up automatically suggesting you scan and fix this device. Check both boxes to make sure a complete scan is complete.
  2. If that screen doesn’t pop up, click on Start, My Computer. Windows then shows you all the storage devices connected to your computer. Right-click on the iPod, and select Properties. In the screen that pop ups, select the Tools tab. On that tab, select the Check Now button in Error Checking.

It may take a long time to scan, but it should finish. When it finishes, unplug the iPod, wait 1 minute, then plug it back in. It should work now. If it doesn’t, open up iTunes, select the iPod in the Devices section, and select Restore. After the restore finishes, do the Error Check on the iPod one more time.


  1. Mac says

    Will running the scan on my ipod erase all the content? I don’t have all of my songs backed up, so I want to know if I need to do that before doing this to fix the problem?


  2. says

    When I did the scan, my iPod was in such a state that none of the files were accessible. I think it did a complete restore after the scan, so it is possible that the content you haven’t backed up will be destroyed.

    I guess you can try and set the iPod to be used as an external disk, but even that didn’t work for me…

    I hope you get the files off!

  3. Jope says

    Ok, so i can’t even scanfix, as it says do you want to dismount this volume first? Note: All open handles to this volume will become invalid. Please can someone tell me what this actually means?

  4. brittney says

    my computer is running on windows7 and my ipod doesnt have properties like tools. i need help im only 15 and i love music and its been doing this for months. i have restored and backed up ipod many times. PLEASE HELP!

  5. says

    Hi brittney,

    That is odd – the article is describing how I did this in Windows 7.

    What version of Windows 7 do you have? (click on the Windows icon to open the Start menu, right-click on Computer, select Properties, and your Windows version should be the first item on the right hand side of the new window)

  6. Seattle West says

    I think I owe ya one…..synching….. 36 of 2886. I Don’t know if it helped much but, it gave me a new idea and we’re at 46 of 2886 atm. Thanks for the tip though. I’m sure this old ipod is going to need a lot of maintenance.

  7. says

    I think it depends on your USB connection and the size of your iPod. You may want to reboot your computer and try again… I’ve noticed that my USB connection sometimes is dreadfully slow, or that iTunes says that this device will perform faster if connected to a USB 2.0 port. Which is what all my ports are…:)

    Since it’s already trying to fix it, I don’t think it will harm your iPod if you stop and restart halfway through the process.

  8. IpodDummy says

    So, i cancel the itunes sync inquiry, then select the scan disk option then get the errror message from iTunes about duplicate file and then my iPod disappears from My Computer and the scan then cant find it,
    Anyone know why that is happening? If I have to get a new iPod I will be very unhappy. I cant even get to Restore option with iTunes.

  9. says

    Hmm, try the following:
    * Reset the iPod while it is not connected.
    * Reboot your computer and start iTunes.
    * Then connect the iPod. Cancel the sync (and for now, I would turn off automatic syncing in iTunes for this iPod).
    * Now see if you can do the scan on the iPod. It should show up in My Computer.

    Good luck!

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