How to Transfer your iTunes Library to Another Computer
Question: I have a bunch of music in iTunes on my old computer. How do I transfer my iTunes library to my new computer?
Answer: There are two ways to do this: 1) by manually copying your iTunes music files to an external hard drive and then manually copy them to your new computer, and 2) using a program like iPod 2 iTunes or MediaPilot that let you copy music from your iPod directly to another computer.
I'll cover the manual route first, which is a little harder and requires that you have an external hard drive, and then I'll show you the easy way using just your existing iPod and an inexpensive copy of iPod 2 iTunes.
Manually copy your iTunes library to another computer using a external hard drive
Plug in your external hard drive to your computer. Open Windows Explorer and go to your iTunes music folder. On Vista it's C:\Users\your.username\Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music. On Windows XP it's under Documents and Settings.
Copy the iTunes Music folder to your external hard drive, and then plug the hard drive into the other computer.
Make sure iTunes is installed on the other computer, and just copy the contents of the iTunes Music folder from your external hard drive to the new computer (in the same location as the old computer). iTunes will recognize the files the next time you run it, and you'll be good to go.
Automatically copy your iTunes library to another computer with third-party software
A much easier option if you have all the music on your iPod is to use a third-party program that will copy music from your iPod to your computer (basically using your iPod as an external hard drive).
There are a couple of programs that you can use to upload music from your iPod to any computer running iTunes.
MediaPilot software allows you to backup, edit and transfer music & video between your iPod and PC, and also works between your cell phone and PC.
You can also use it to backup your ipod in case you damage it or lose it. Let's hope that never happens, but if it does then you'd be able to recover your music from the backup that you made.
Here's how it works:
- Plug your ipod into your computer and make sure it's set to manually sync music files (iTunes will run when you plug in your ipod, and you'll see your ipod show up on the left window in iTunes. Click your ipod in itunes and select the option to "Manually update music files")
- Run MediaPilot which will show you an ipod explorer screen, showing the music, playlists, and videos on your ipod.
- Highlight the files you want to transfer to your computer and click the Transfer button to copy them over to your computer in the iTunes folder.
Being able to use this program to transfer music files to your cell phone is a nice plus, and it also lets you create ringtones from your existing songs in iTunes.
Here's a coupon code for MediaPilot. Enter promo code M0707CJ at checkout to get 20% off MediaPilot, which brings the price tag down to about $15.
Another program that will let you copy directly from your iPod to your computer is iPod 2 iTunes.
Here's how it works:
Go into iTunes on your computer and make sure you've copied all of your music to your iPod. Then plug your iPod into the other computer and turn off iTunes when it starts.
Install and run iPod 2 iTunes, which will show you a list of all the music on your iPod. Just highlight all of the music files that you'd like to copy to the new computer, and click the Transfer button.
iPod 2 iTunes will automatically copy your iTunes library to your other computer.