Backing up iTunes Library, reformatting drive, and then restoring library

Posted on 2006-04-22
Last Modified: 2009-07-29
I have a friend's laptop that requires reinstallation of Windows. It has a fairly substantial iTunes library that I want to back up before reformating and restore afterwards. I don't have his iPod however.

These are the steps I am planning on taking. Am I doing this right, or am I missing anything? And what, if anything, will my friend need to do when I return his laptop so that his library will work again and all will be back in sync.

Step 1: Consolidate the library on the laptop.
Step 2: Run File/Backup library to create an XML file with his ratings and other custom settings.
Step 3: Copy the entire Itunes folder and library.xml to an external hard drive to store temporarily.
Step 4: De-authorize the computer. (QUESTION: is this step necessary, since the library will wind up back on the same system?)
Step 5: Reformat the hard drive, reinstall Windows, reinstall other apps including iTunes.
Step 6: Copy the Itunes folder back to the same folder location as before.
Step 7: Import the library.xml file (to re-establish custom settings).
Step 8: Authorize the computer for this library. (QUESTION: Is this something that is done using the iPod? Does each song get re-authorized, or is this a one-time process?)

That is my plan. Please let me know if I am missing any crucial steps, and if de-authorizing/re-authorizing is necessary in this circumstance. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Question by:geistman
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

      First no the authorization is done on the computer, so you shouldn't need to do anything with the ipod, second i`m not sure where exactly itunes stores the authorization info, to be on the safe side i would just deauthorize the computer and reauthorize it afterwards (you are only allowed to have five computers at a time authorized, though you can (once a year) deauthorize all computers from your account so you won`t actually loose the authorization), also the authorization only has to do with content purchased from itunes.
    LVL 21

    Assisted Solution

    Maybe this can help:
    Music library:

    iTunes stores metadata about the audio files in two files.

    The first is a binary file called iTunes Library (iTunes x Music Library in previous versions) that uses its own music library format. This both caches information such as artist and genre from the audio format's tag capabilities (for example the ID3 tag), and stores iTunes specific information such as playcount and rating.

    The second file, called iTunes Music Library.xml, is refreshed whenever information in iTunes is changed. It uses XML format, allowing developers to easily write applications that can access the information (such as Apple's own iDVD, iMovie, and iPhoto or Freshly Squeezed Software's Rock Star).

    So perhaps, you are missing the first file in your process?

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