The error message "iPod cannot be synced. The required folder cannot be found" is not an uncommon one, and many people have discussed it on the Apple support site. The issue can originate with your computer's hardware, with the iPod's firmware, or with the data that you're trying to sync.
Apple doesn't have an official support page for this problem, despite the question being asked on the official support discussion page several times since 2008. Troubleshooting and fixes for this issue have been worked out by iPod owners on the user-supported support discussion pages. While they do no harm to your iPod and do not void your warranty, they are not endorsed by Apple.
ITunes may have trouble accessing your iPod if there's an issue with your USB port or cord; check your cord for any external signs of damage. If you have a second cable on hand, swap out the cables to see if the error still occurs. Additionally, the issue may occur if your USB port isn't putting out enough power. USB ports on the front of a computer sometimes have less output; try another USB port to see if the issue continues. Be aware that iPods of fifth generation or later, and all generations of iPod Nano, do not support the use of firewire cables.
If the error occurs while the iPod is syncing, one or more of the files that you're trying to sync may be corrupted, missing or in a format that the iPod doesn't recognize. If any of the files have an exclamation point in front of them, this indicates a problem with the data. You can try selecting smaller chunks of files to test sync function and pinpoint what data, if any, are causing the problem.
Make sure that you are using a version of iTunes that is compatible with your computer and that your computer meets the minimum system requirements. If the error reads "The iTunes application could not be opened. The required folder cannot be found," your issue is with iTunes rather than your iPod. When iTunes loads on a Windows machine, it pulls music from My Music from My Documents. This error occurs when your folder is missing, or when your user account has become corrupted; reinstalling iTunes will sometimes solve the problem, though you may need to create a new user account on your computer to work around the issue.
If folders are genuinely missing on your iPod, the last solution is to completely format and restore your iPod; this will erase all the data on the iPod and install the most recent firmware. You can do this in iTunes by selecting the iPod from the source panel and clicking "Restore."
- Apple Support: iTunes for Windows XP: "Disk is locked" or "iTunes folder cannot be found" when installing or opening iTunes
- Apple Support: Discussions: iPod cannot be synced. Required folder cannot be found
- Apple Support: Discussions: "The required folder cannot be found." error
- Apple Support: iPod: FireWire and USB Cards
- Apple Support: Restoring iPod to Factory Settings
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
How to Sync All Songs on an iPod
You can sync all songs on an iPod to a particular computer using iTunes and an iPod USB cable. You can get...
How to Find Missing Files in iTunes
Whether you've purchased media from the iTunes Store, downloaded material from elsewhere or ripped songs directly from a CD, it is possible...
How to Fix "The Original File Could Not Be Found" in iTunes
If you attempt to play a music or video file in Apple's iTunes software and receive a "The original file could not...
My iPhone Cannot Be Synced and the Device Times Out
If your iPhone doesn't sync properly or reliably, your device doesn't contain all the information -- music, contacts and photos -- you...