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How to Backup or Transfer Your iTunes Library
Most of us have quite large iTunes libraries. Between songs, TV episodes, apps, and movies, your library can potentially take up several gigabytes of space. Whether you just want a backup of your media files to guard against potential disaster or want to transfer your library to a new computer, here are some methods and tools that will allow you to do so with relative ease.
iTunes Backup Utility:
Your iTunes desktop application has a built-in function that allows you to copy your library to CD/DVD.
To find the backup utility, from the menu, select “File > Library > Disk Backup”. Of course, if your library is considerably large, this may require several blank DVDs or CDs, some time, and of course a CD/DVD burner. This method can create a backup of your entire library (excluding audiobooks from Audible) or incremental backups.
External or secondary hard drive:
If you have a large capacity external or internal hard drive, you can simply copy your Library folder directly to it. Before doing this, however, first launch iTunes and choose “Edit > Preferences” from the menu. Select the “Advanced” tab and select the options “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library”. Then choose “File > Organize Library” from the menu. Select the “Consolidate Files” option. You can now close iTunes and navigate to your iTunes library folder. You can find the iTunes folder in its default location (/Users/username/Music on Mac OSX, Documents and SettingsusernameMy DocumentsMy Music on Windows XP or UsersusernameMy Music on Windows Vista or 7) unless you specified a custom location.
Copy the entire folder to your external USB hard drive or internal secondary drive. This may take some time depending on the size of your library. Once done, you have successfully backed up your iTunes library.
If your intention is to transfer your library to another computer instead, simply connect your external drive containing your iTunes library and copy it to the new computer in the default location (/Users/username/Music on Mac OSX, Documents and Settingsusername My DocumentsMy Music in Windows XP or UsersusernameMy Music in Windows Vista or 7) or a preferred location if desired. When this is complete, launch iTunes while holding down the Option key (on Mac) or Shift key (on Windows) and select “Choose Library…” from the dialog box. Select the iTunes folder you just transferred.
There are a few good third-party apps, both free and paid versions, that will allow you to easily and quickly copy files from PC to iPod (and vice versa). Here are two recommendations:
Sharepod is a free app that lets you quickly and easily manage files on your Apple device (iPod, iTouch, iPhone) or create backups. Doesn’t require installation and can be run from your computer, a USB drive, or even your iPod itself. Simple drag-and-drop interface. Get it here: Sharepod.
CopyTrans 4 ($19.99):
CopyTrans is a very good application. Compatible with all devices and iTunes 10, it allows you to backup or transfer ALL files. Get it here: CopyTrans.
If you liked this article, you might also like: 3 Alternatives to iTunes
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