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2  Installation

Installing Rockbox is generally a quick and easy procedure. However before beginning there are a few important things to know.

2.1 Before Starting
2.2 Installing Rockbox
2.2.1 Automated Installation
2.2.2 Manual Installation
2.2.3 Finishing the install
2.2.4 Enabling Speech Support (optional)
2.3 Running Rockbox
2.4 Updating Rockbox
2.5 Uninstalling Rockbox
2.5.1 Automatic Uninstallation
2.5.2 Manual Uninstallation
2.6 Troubleshooting

2.1  Before Starting

Supported hardware versions.
The Video is the 5th/5.5th generation Ipod only. Rockbox does not run on the newer, 6th/Classic generation Ipod. For information on identifying which Ipod you own, see this page on Apple’s website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n61688.
USB connection.
To transfer Rockbox to your player you need to connect it to your computer. For manual installation/uninstallation, or should autodetection fail during automatic installation, you need to know where to access the player. On Windows this means you need to know the drive letter associated with the player. On Linux you need to know the mount point of your player. On Mac OS X you need to know the volume name of your player.

If you have Itunes installed and it is configured to open automatically when your player is attached (the default behaviour), then wait for it to open and then quit it. You also need to ensure the “Enable use as disk” option is enabled for your player in Itunes. Your player should then enter disk mode automatically when connected to a computer via USB. If your computer does not recognise your player, you may need to enter disk mode manually. Disconnect your player from the computer. Hard reset the player by pressing and holding the Menu and Select buttons simultaneously. As soon as the player resets, press and hold the Select and Play buttons simultaneously. Your player should enter disk mode and you can try reconnecting to the computer.

Administrator/Root rights.
Installing the bootloader portion of Rockbox requires you to have administrative (Windows) or root (Linux) rights. Consequently when doing either the automatic or manual bootloader install, please ensure that you are logged in with an administrator account or have root rights.
File system format.
Rockbox only works on Ipods formatted with the FAT32 filesystem (i.e. Ipods initialised by Itunes for Windows). It does not work with the HFS+ filesystem (i.e. Ipods initialised by Itunes for the Mac). More information and instructions for converting an Ipod to FAT32 can be found on the IpodConversionToFAT32 wiki page on the Rockbox website. Note that after conversion, you can still use a FAT32 Ipod with a Mac.

2.2  Installing Rockbox

There are two ways to install Rockbox: automated and manual. The automated way is the preferred method of installing Rockbox for the majority of people. Rockbox Utility is a graphical application that does almost everything for you. However, should you encounter a problem, then the manual way is still available to you.

There are three separate components, two of which need to be installed in order to run Rockbox:

The Ipod bootloader.
The Ipod bootloader is the program that tells your player how to load and start the original firmware. It is also responsible for any emergency, recovery, or disk modes on your player. This bootloader is stored in special flash memory in your Ipod and comes factory-installed. It is not necessary to modify this in order to install Rockbox.
The Rockbox bootloader.
The Rockbox bootloader is loaded from disk by the Ipod bootloader. It is responsible for loading the Rockbox firmware and for providing the dual boot function. It directly replaces the Ipod firmware in the player’s boot sequence.
The Rockbox firmware.
Similar to the Ipod firmware, most of the Rockbox code is contained in a “build” that resides on your player’s drive. This makes it easy to update Rockbox. The build consists of a directory called .rockbox which contains all of the Rockbox files, and is located in the root of your player’s drive.

Apart from the required parts there are some addons you might be interested in installing.

Rockbox can load custom fonts. The fonts are distributed as a separate package and thus need to be installed separately. They are not required to run Rockbox itself but a lot of themes require the fonts package to be installed.
The appearance of Rockbox can be customised by themes. Depending on your taste you might want to install additional themes to change the look of Rockbox.

2.2.1  Automated Installation

To automatically install Rockbox, download the official installer and housekeeping tool Rockbox Utility. It allows you to:

Prebuilt binaries for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X are available at the RockboxUtility wiki page.

When first starting Rockbox Utility run “Autodetect”, found in the configuration dialog (File Configure). Autodetection can detect most player types. If autodetection fails or is unable to detect the mountpoint, make sure to enter the correct values. The mountpoint indicates the location of the player in your filesystem. On Windows, this is the drive letter the player gets assigned, on other systems this is a path in the filesystem.

Choosing a Rockbox version

There are three different versions of Rockbox available from the Rockbox website: Release version, current build and archived daily build. You need to decide which one you want to install and get the appropriate version for your player. If you select either “Minimal Installation” or “Complete Installation” from the “Quick Start” tab, then Rockbox Utility will automatically install the release version of Rockbox. Using the “Installation” tab will allow you to select which version you wish to install.

The release version is the latest stable release, free of known critical bugs. For a manual install, the current stable release of Rockbox is available at http://www.rockbox.org/download/.
Development Build.
The development build is built at each change to the Rockbox source code repository and represents the current state of Rockbox development. This means that the build could contain bugs but most of the time is safe to use. For a manual install, you can download the current build from http://build.rockbox.org/.
Archived Build.
In addition to the release version and the current build, there is also an archive of daily builds available for download. These are built once a day from the latest source code in the repository. For a manual install, you can download archived builds from http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml.

Note: Because current and archived builds are development versions that change frequently, they may behave differently than described in this manual, or they may introduce new (and potentially annoying) bugs. Unless you wish to try the latest and greatest features at the price of possibly greater instability, or you wish to help with development, you should stick with the release.

Please now go to section 2.2.3 to complete the installation procedure.

2.2.2  Manual Installation

The manual installation method is still available to you, should you need or desire it by following the instructions below. If you have used Rockbox Utility to install Rockbox, then you do not need to follow the next section and can skip straight to section 2.2.3

Installing the firmware

Download your chosen version of Rockbox from the links in the previous section.

Note: There are separate versions of Rockbox for the 30 GB and 60/80 GB Ipod Video models. You must ensure you download the correct version for your player.

Connect your player to the computer via USB as described in the manual that came with your player.
Take the .zip file that you downloaded and use the “Extract all” command of your unzip program to extract the files onto your player.

Note: The entire contents of the .zip file should be extracted directly to the root of your player’s drive. Do not try to create a separate directory on your player for the Rockbox files! The .zip file already contains the internal structure that Rockbox needs.

If the contents of the .zip file are extracted correctly, you will have a directory called .rockbox, which contains all the files needed by Rockbox, in the main directory of your player’s drive.

Installing the bootloader

Bootloader installation from Windows

Download ipodpatcher.exe from http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/ipodpatcher/win32/ipodpatcher.exe and run it whilst logged in with an administrator account.
If all has gone well, you should see some information displayed about your player and a message asking you if you wish to install the Rockbox bootloader. Press i followed by ENTER, and ipodpatcher will now install the bootloader. After a short time you should see the message “[INFO] Bootloader installed successfully.” Press ENTER again to exit ipodpatcher.

Note: If ipodpatcher fails to install the bootloader for you, please be certain that you do indeed have a supported iPod model and are logged in as an administrator. If you do, run ipodpatcher once more and try again. If you don’t, then do not attempt to install again.

Bootloader installation from Mac OS X

Attach your player to your Mac and wait for its icon to appear in Finder.
Download and open ipodpatcher.dmg from http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/ipodpatcher/macosx/ipodpatcher.dmg and then double-click on the ipodpatcher icon inside. You can also drag the ipodpatcher icon to a location on your hard drive and launch it from the Terminal.
If all has gone well, you should see some information displayed about your player and a message asking you if you wish to install the Rockbox bootloader. Press i followed by ENTER, and ipodpatcher will now install the bootloader. After a short time you should see the message “[INFO] Bootloader installed successfully.” Press ENTER again to exit ipodpatcher and then quit the Terminal application.

Note: If ipodpatcher fails to install the bootloader for you, please be certain that you do indeed have a supported iPod model. If you do, run ipodpatcher once more and try again. If you don’t, then do not attempt to install again.

Your player will now automatically reconnect itself to your Mac. Wait for it to connect, and then eject and unplug it in the normal way.

Note: You should unplug your ipod immediately after ejecting it to prevent Rockbox immediately rebooting your player into disk mode when it detects that your player is attached to a computer.

Bootloader installation from Linux

Download ipodpatcher from http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/ipodpatcher/linux32x86/ipodpatcher (32-bit x86 binary) or http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/ipodpatcher/linux64amd64/ipodpatcher (64-bit amd64 binary). You can save this anywhere you wish, but the next steps will assume you have saved it in your home directory.
Attach your player to your computer.
Open up a terminal window and type the following commands:

  cd $HOME
  chmod +x ipodpatcher

Note: You need to be the root user in order for ipodpatcher to have sufficient permission to perform raw disk access to your player.

If all has gone well, you should see some information displayed about your player and a message asking you if you wish to install the Rockbox bootloader. Press i followed by ENTER, and ipodpatcher will now install the bootloader. After a short time you should see the message “[INFO] Bootloader installed successfully.” Press ENTER again to exit ipodpatcher.

2.2.3  Finishing the install

Safely eject / unmount the USB drive, unplug the cable and restart.

2.2.4  Enabling Speech Support (optional)

If you wish to use speech support you will also need a voice file. Voice files allow Rockbox to speak the user interface to you. Rockbox Utility can install an English voice file, or you can download it from http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml and unzip it to the root of your player. Rockbox Utility can also aid you in the creation of voice files with different voices or in other languages if you have a suitable speech engine installed on your computer. Voice menus are enabled by default and will come into effect after a reboot. See section 8.10 for details on voice settings. Rockbox Utility can also aid in the production of talk files, which allow Rockbox to speak file and folder names.

2.3  Running Rockbox

Hard reset the Ipod by holding Menu and Select simultaneously for a couple of seconds until the player resets. Now Rockbox should load.

Note: If you have loaded music onto your player using Itunes, you will not be able to see your music properly in the File Browser. This is because Itunes changes your files’ names and hides them in directories in the Ipod_Control directory. Files placed on your player using Itunes can be viewed by initialising and using Rockbox’s database. See section 4.2 for more information.

2.4  Updating Rockbox

Rockbox can be easily updated with Rockbox Utility. You can also update Rockbox manually – download a Rockbox build as detailed above, and unzip the build to the root directory of your player as in the manual installation stage. If your unzip program asks you whether to overwrite files, choose the “Yes to all” option. The new build will be installed over your current build.

The bootloader only changes rarely, and should not normally need to be updated.

Note: If you use Rockbox Utility be aware that it cannot detect manually installed components.

2.5  Uninstalling Rockbox

Note: The Rockbox bootloader allows you to choose between Rockbox and the original firmware. (See section 3.1.3 for more information.)

2.5.1  Automatic Uninstallation

You can uninstall Rockbox automatically by using Rockbox Utility. If you installed Rockbox manually you can still use Rockbox Utility for uninstallation but will not be able to do this selectively.

2.5.2  Manual Uninstallation

To uninstall Rockbox and go back to using just the original Ipod software, connect the player to your computer and follow the instructions to install the bootloader but, when prompted by ipodpatcher, enter u for uninstall instead of i for install.

If you wish to clean up your disk, you may also wish to delete the .rockbox directory and its contents. Turn the Ipod off. Turn the player back on and the original Ipod software will load.

2.6  Troubleshooting

Bootloader install problems
If you have trouble installing the bootloader, please ensure that you are either logged in as an administrator (Windows), or you have root rights (Linux)
“File Not Found”
If you receive a “File Not Found” from the bootloader, then the bootloader cannot find the Rockbox firmware. This is usually a result of not extracting the contents of the .zip file to the proper location, and should not happen when Rockbox has been installed with Rockbox Utility.

To fix this, either install Rockbox with the Rockbox Utility which will take care of this for you, or recheck the Manual Install section to see where the files need to be located.