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iTunes - installing to a new computer - how to properly move the music files

jbobst asked
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Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I am setting up a new computer for a friend who has an ipod (and of course itunes installed on the old computer).  She has multiple itunes folder locations (somehow) on her old computer and it doesn't make much sense to me as to where itunes stores the actual music files (I assume they aren't mp3's but some sort of propietary file type).  In order to make things as easy as possible, I am hoping that if I just install itunes on the new computer, can I then simply plug in the ipod device to the new computer and have it "sync" up with itunes?  Meaning, will the new copy of itunes on the new computer download everything on the ipod and create the "libraries" and albums just like what is on the actual ipod device?  My friend said that because she has one of the older original ipods, they were not able to download to a computer (originally) but she thinks maybe that the new itunes software will download it to the computer, without deleting the content of the ipod.

I know this question seems trivial, but I have helped her in the past, and she has no understanding of how files are located on hard disk(s)...she simply opens up the itunes software, and sees all her songs there.  The problem is, awhile back, she ran out of hard drive space and she bought an external hard drive.  I moved all her itunes files to the new hard drive, and I thought that all I needed to do was change the location of the library in itunes, but somehow everything got messed up and itunes didn't know where the music files were...or didn't display them they way it had been.  I have never used itunes before or an ipod...other than the time I moved her files to an external drive and somehow messed things up for her.

At this point, I am just trying to find out if I can simply install itunes on the new computer and have it import all the music from her ipod (and not delete anything off the ipod).

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The easiest way to do this is with a commercial iPod to PC transfer program. Tansee iPod Transfer is only $16 and will save you a lot of headaches trying to do this manually.

Otherwise just Google "iPod to PC transfer" and you will find a bunch of software that will do the same thing. I couldn't find a free version, though.


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Sounds like you're just a couple of steps ahead of  your friend in terms of getting to grips with iTunes.
There is an option in iTunes to CONSOLIDATE the Library .. and a setting in Preferences that keeps the iTunes Library organised in the iTunes folder.  If you do not activate this setting, then iTunes will leave the music scattered all over your HDs and just store the path to the music in its XML library file.  This is the way that many people like to use iTunes as it does not restrict them to keeping all their music in one set of folders.

Provided there is a good bit of space on the 2nd hard drive on your friends PC .. you could run this CONSOLIDATE MUSIC option and it would copy all the music visible in the iTunes listing into folders inside the iTunes Music folder .. making it easy to copy then onto another PC.

Otherwise if ALL the music is on the iPod .. and you want to go with your chosen path .. then get your hands on Yamipod .. it is FREE and will allow you to copy all the music from the iPod and restore it into a new copy of iTunes.


Thanks for responses.  I went ahead and downloaded yamipod.  I was able to copy all the music from the ipod down to the itunes music directroy.  However, when I open itunes, it doesn't have anything listed in the library...and I checked to make sure that in the preferences, the correct library path was in place.  Other than making sure the library path is correct, is there something else I have to do to get itunes to see all the music?

Also, when I plug in the ipod, it says that the ipod is synced (or something like that) to another computer...and that it can only be synced to one computer.  It wants to erase the ipod!  Is there no way to transfer it's pairing to the new computer?  I guess that since I have downloaded everything off the ipod, it would be ok to have it erase the ipod, and then I would have to re-upload all the music...it just scares me a little that I might loose music, album information, or something during this process...

Hi jbobst,

I am curious to see how well Yamipod works, as well, since I seem to be doing this for friends and family all of the time (i.e. new iPods, new PC's). I have a test PC that I can install YamiPod on and I'll try to upload my iPod songs to it and see if i have the same issue as you....or if I can give you a fix.

Another option,
computer to computer
On the old computer open iTunes, consolidate library, copy the folder
C:\%user%\My music\iTunes
to the new computer on EXACTLY the same path, including the user name, that way you'll have the music & playlists on the new computer
Eoin OSullivanConsultant

jbobst -

1. To get the new iTunes to see the music .. just open iTunes, go to the File menu .. select Add to Library .. and point iTunes at the Music Folder where you copied all the music files.  iTunes will rebuild the Library file and add all the music you've copied back into its index.

2. Sorry but you cannot link the iPod to the new iTunes without ERASING it .. but if you're happy that all the music has been copied to the new PC .. you can then safely erase and pair the iPod with the new iTunes.  It will stupidly erase the iPod and then you rename it and copy all the music back onto the iPod .. silly but it is the way that Apple try and control iPods, iTunes and copy protected music.

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