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If you do this through itunes, it should be okay. The trouble is everytime you want to update your ipod, you will need to connect it with itunes and itunes will need to have your existing library that you created for you ipod to perform a quick and troublefree update.
If you are going to get an external harddrive you will need to re-direct where itunes is saving your music and video files. Because itunes will be using your internal harddrive for the system files (that is where windows is), it will automatically save the music to your internal drive. I suggest reloding an updated version of itunes from http://www.apple.com/itunes/ here and when asked where to install it, redirect it from C:programfiles.......to your external harddrive. This way the itunes music folder will be on your external harddrive.
Turn it of by holding the up and center buttons for about 5 secs. Your ipod keeps freezing probably because heat has warped the harddrive. Open it up and get something like a business card that is thicker than normal paper, fold it in half and place it in between the foam and the harddrive. The added pressure should straigten out your harddrive, making it play normally.
Also had the Code 2 error. Had a look at the harddisk and noticed the ribboncable in the pcb side was not completely in the socket on one side. Reconnected and started up normal. Beware, the screws are very small, you need a very small (watchmaker) screwdrive or , as I did as my smallest screwdriver was still too big, a knive. As mentioned before, putting it back together can be fiddly but you should check this first before sending it for repairs. If you feel uncomfortable to take it part, find someone to do it for you. Don't loose the screws!
This means both systems contain a bug, or cookie. If the firmware you accessed isn't applying itself to the device, this means the system itself has been corrupted. Double check with your system configuration properties on each device, and tell me whats going on from there.