One day, iTunes unexpectedly decided to stop recognizing my iPhone. Strange thing was that Windows still recognized the device as a camera and I could access and extract my photos. What to do but go to Apple’s product help pages.
After going through the basic troubleshooting steps (“is your phone actually plugged into your computer”, “reinstall iTunes”), I was able to determine that indeed, it was indeed a software problem. I was then directed to this page where they recommended messing with MSCONFIG to discover the offending, interacting program by activating/rebooting one program at a time. Fortunately, I failed early. Disabling all non-Microsoft services at start up accomplished nothing. Failing that, they suggested examining your security software – in my case Zone Alarm. Normally, I would try updating software first, but Zone Alarm had been giving me trouble for a while now. So it should have come as no surprise that when I uninstalled Zone Alarm, iTunes rediscovered my iPhone. Huzzah! Time for mass updates!