The trusty old iPod slowly needed more and more time in the charger, and fizzled sooner and sooner away from it. It had, tragically, become dependent on external power. I fixed it to see if that would be enough: it might not need counseling or psychiatry.
The process was gut-wrenching and horrid: it seemed that prying the metal casing aside to unlock the tabs required maiming my poor defenseless buddy. There are many tabs to releaseand all must be released at once, a seemingly impossible requirement. Hour after hour I played whack-a-mole against it over the course of many days.
If the thing had just died, it would have encouraged bold measures to repair. But it was still useful when plugged in, so there was a treacherous choice of maybe making it better or maybe breaking it for good.
A two inch, very thin putty knife was invaluable for holding the most of one side's tabs at bay. When one side was completely detached, it was less than five seconds to remove the case. It can be done. The stress applied to the metal cover does not seem to have left any noticeable signs, even though I have flexed it back and forth hundreds of times in hours of pre-putty knife attempts. Paradoxically, firmly prying is less destructive than gentle prying.