14 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2005 9:32 PM by Lita Kaufman
Ryoji Level 1 (55 points)
Can anyone provide me the steps to backup all the songs in the itunes' library as well as the songs' files? I don't wish to lose all my songs since itunes 5 is giving everybody unforseen troubles. Your information to my problem mentioned above is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  • Mark Jones Level 4 (3,070 points)
    If you just have your tunes located in one place, ie the default of the Music folder in your home folder, then just burn the files inside the Music folder to a CD or DVD, depending how big your library is that is.

    If the worst happens then all you have to do is replace the items in the Music folder with what you have backed up.
  • Ryoji Level 1 (55 points)
    So does it mean i have to create a new playlist for all my songs before i burn them into the cd?
  • Mark Jones Level 4 (3,070 points)
    No just manually moving across the files to a CD or a DVD or another Hard Drive for Backup purposes in the finder, means you don't have to make a playlist, you don't even have to have iTunes open.

    I personally use Apple Backup 2.0.2 for backup up my music, it stores all the setting I make in iTunes also, equaliser, playlists etc.
  • Edward A. Oates Level 5 (4,880 points)
    I purchased a secondary external Firewire drive (a OWC Mercury 250GB FW800/USB2, by the way) to use for daily backups. That way, I theoretically won't lose more than one day's activities on the computer (iTunes and other stuff). In addition, the external firewire drive can be easily disconnected and transported in case of an emergency. If I were rigorous, I would have two such drives and swap them to an offsite storage location at least monthly (lose no more than one month's work).

    I use SuperDuper! to create backups of my system drive, and a separate backup of my music (iTunes, Garage Band, Soundtrack) which are stored on a second internal drive. I use sparse images on the external firewire so that restoration of all or part of the backup is simple.

    A complete backup of iTunes consists of the iTunes directory in your home folder music directory, and any additional folders in which you store the actual music files. By default, those are in the same place as the iTunes database, etc., files, but there are preferences which allow you to store music elsewhere (I store music media files on my second internal drive, for example).

    There are other backup programs, of course, such as .Mac Backup, Retrospect, and likely others. I switched to SuperDuper! because it is cheap, simple, fast, and it work.


    PS: I have NO financial or other interest in SuperDuper!
  • Ryoji Level 1 (55 points)
    Ok, sounds simple to me especially when i'm a geek to all these stuff. Heh Heh. Thanks alot man! If i do encounter any problems while backing up, i'll post a message again. Hope you can reply me. Thanks once again!
  • Guy Raymond Level 1 (45 points)
    I want to upgrade to iTunes5 too. I am a little leery of the upgrade, given all of the broo-ha-ha associated with problems encountered with said upgrade.
    I do back up my iTunes library, using the method mentioned (copying the iTunes library folder to DVD and burning). Now I've got an iPod mini and I have a ton of playlists. How do I or can I x-fer the playlists to a DVD to back them up?

  • Guy Raymond Level 1 (45 points)
    ahem......never mind.I think the answer I am looking for is in a previous post.
  • Nancy H Level 1 (55 points)
    I am also trying to back up my itunes library as well as the song files. i guess I don't understand the replies and how this works. If i try to burn a playlist to cd, it holds very few songs. Does that mean I should just back up the song files? I use Toast to burn to cd (my G4 doesn't have a cd burner). What files do I drag over?
  • Jase the C Level 2 (375 points)
    As Ed said, but in different words, a complete backup of iTunes means putting in a safe place a copy of your iTunes Library file and a copy of the folder (or folders) that holds the actual song files. By default, these both are in your home iTunes folder, but the folder with the song files could actually reside anywhere.

    Back up your song files by dragging a copy of the folder with your song files to a backup volume (or use backup software). Obviously, a single CD-ROM is not going to hold more than a small music collection. A DVD-ROM will hold more, but many people use another hard drive.

    The iTunes Library file is a directory, or database, that holds all the information about all the songs that you see in the iTunes application -- names, artists, album names, ratings, genres, etc., and very importantly, the exact location of each song expressed as a path of folders. Each song is assigned an index number.

    This file also holds your playlists. In reality, a playlist is just an entry in this file consisting of the playlist name and a list of index numbers of the songs the playlist contains.

    You back up your Library file by dragging a copy of it to another location. An alternative is to use iTunes' Export Library command to save an .xml version of the library file, which can be read in a spreadsheet program or text editor.

    So, you see, the music folder with your song files is the raw material, the collection of files from which iTunes draws music to play. The iTunes Library file contains all of the specifications (but no actual music) for the iTunes music collection of an individual user.

    Hope that helps!

  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Excuse my cutting in.

    1. I note a concern about iTunes 5. I am running v. 5 with absolutely no problems. Usually when an update or an upgrade seems to cause a problem there is usually something else that is going on. Before updating or upgrading be sure you Repair Permissions. In addition to this if you do regular maintnenace you don't have to be running scared all the time.

    2. Part of your own Security System should include regular backups. Mention has been made in this thread of external FW HDD. That is the fastest, most convenient, most efficient way to backup your data. FW drives are relatively inexpensive and if you value your Data a FW drive is a must. DVDs are fine, but not as convenient or efficient.

    3. While your music library is important you can back up all your data at the same time. Carbon Copy Cloner is a wonderful piece of backup software, and easy to use.

    4. If you don't want to back up or Clone your entire HDD, Backup your Users folder and all your data will be backed up.
  • Lita Kaufman Level 5 (5,315 points)

    You've touched on one of my favorite topics - backing up to DVD-R media.

    You can back data to a DVD several ways, but I recommend using iTunes to do so. The manual way requires you to load a DVD into the drive, drag and drop your music library onto the drive in 4.7 gb segments, go to Disk Utility and burn the disk.

    iTunes has a nifty feature for backing up. In Preferences, under the Burning tab, you can select Data CD/DVD, which is a great tool if your iTunes Library is larger than a single DVD, since it will automatically size the data to be burned to the size of the media, and you can seamlessly backup across multiple disks.

    First, you will need to create a new playlist and put all of the files you want to back up (this should be your entire iTunes library - at least for the first time) into that playlist. Ideally, you should name the playlist with the date of the back up (more on this later). After making certain that you changed the burning format to Data CD/DVD, select this Playlist and click on the Burn button. After inserting the DVD media, you will get a warning screen that you are about to burn a DVD in data format, which will not may not be readable by DVD player (i.e., the type connected to your TV). Click on OK, since you want this for backup, and not playing purposes. In fact, you will get this annoying warning each time you insert a new disk to burn. Also, you may see an initial screen saying that it can take up to an hour to burn the DVD. Don't worry - at 4x, it takes about 15 minutes per DVD. Also, don't worry if you see a message at the end of a disk burn about finalizing taking up to an hour - this is also pretty meaningless. It takes about 3 mins or less.

    Keep inserting media until done. Keep these disks safe, if possible, in a secure location separate from your computer (like all good backups).

    Now, as for the reason why you should name the playlist with the date. You do want to keep backing up, but you don't really want to keep backing up the same files (a waste of time and media). After you've completed the backup, create a new SMART playlist. It should have a few conditions:

    Date Added IS AFTER (Date of Last Backup in MM/DD/YYYY format, i.e., 03/27/2005)

    And if you listen to Internet radio or sample streams:

    Kind IS NOT Stream

    LIVE UPDATING should be checked.

    If you do a lot of work with the ID3 tags, you may want to consider setting up a second Smart Playlist:

    Date Modified IS AFTER (Date of Last Backup in MM/DD/YYYY format, i.e., 03/27/2005)

    Kind IS NOT Stream

    LIVE UPDATING should be checked.

    Which will capture tracks you have modified.

    Unfortunatly, you can't use both conditions in the same smart playlist, but you can create a third Smart Playlist that references both the New and Modified ones, so you only have to burn one playlist to maintain your incremental backup. Once a month, you can burn these playlist (as a Data CD or DVD, depending on the size) and after the burn is finished, you will need to change the dates to the date that you burned the backup.

    Even if you chose to go the Finder route for the initial backup, you should use Smart Playlists and iTunes' Data Disc option to back up the incremental changes.

    Also, you need to back up the metadata stored in the iTunes Library file, which is found in the ~/Music/iTunes folder. This can be done by duplicating the file and moving the copy to your documents folder, or if space is an issue, you can make an archive of it. I like to make an archive, then email a copy to my Gmail address - this way I know I have a copy of the file in offsite storage.

  • Liz Level 1 (125 points)
    you could also set up your smart playlists with the condition:
    Playlist is NOT(name of original backup playlist)
    and whatever other qualities you wish to add such as streams...
  • fcgiles Level 1 (25 points)
    Lita -

    This is wonderful information. Hopefully you or someone else will be able to help me. I want to back up my iTunes Library and your step by step instructions are great. When I get ready to burn the DVD, this is the alert message I get:

    "The attempt to burn a disc failed. The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media."

    I am using Phillips DVD-R 8X. Any suggestions?
  • Lita Kaufman Level 5 (5,315 points)
    Try media rated for 4x burning.