dude, if you are typing this out, your device manager is not empty.
DM: startmenu-(rightclick My Computer)-properties-hardware tab-device manager
have a look next to your computer name in DM, there is a little + sign. try clicking it. Ipods i think are under removeable media at the bottom somewhere, but only when they are plugged in are they visible in this window.
Back up all your music (ipod stuff is in my music, itunes somewhere. copy the whole lot to another folder elsewhere on your computer, out of the my music folder)
reinstall Itunes/get the latest version from the websie.