1 Reply Latest reply: Nov 9, 2005 10:18 PM by Buegie
Max Lindsay Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
I am having major problems with a laptop and I am about to reinstall Windows XP. As a result, I am going to lose all of my iTunes files (as well as everything else). I have been copying all of my other files on the iPod to back them up. Is there a way of copying the all of the iTunes data (files and songs) for when the XP is installed so I don't have to reload all of the CDs I have currently in iTunes? The same goes for all of my playlists and other stuff.
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Well, you can Use iTunes for Backing up your Music.

    It works fine for music files
    b but,
    I prefer more control over my backup process, and it is also important to note that a
    i large limitation
    of using iTunes to manage the backup is that the iTunes method does not maintain the two meta-data files (iTunes Library.itl & iTunes Music Library.xml) where your Playlists, Ratings, Playcounts, etc. are stored. See: What are the iTunes Library files?

    If you are heavily invested in your Library data (playlists, playcounts, ratings, last played, date added, etc.), then
    b it is critical that you also make multiple backups of your ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file.

    If your music is located under one common Folder (e.g.-‘iTunes’), then it is easiest to physically copy that folder and all its sub-folders in one simple process. It can be done quickly, and incrementally – several times a day, when necessary.

    In the case of any data loss, just re-copy your entire (or partial) music library back to wherever it was, placing it in the main Folder that the previous iTunes expected. Along with the .ITL meta-data file, this completes a full ‘restore’ of your music to the time of your last backup.

    Use of a backup software program will greatly help. It will allow you to easily perform
    i incremental backups
    of only the files that have changed. WinXP has such a facility built-in. I use a free program (FileSync: http://www.fileware.com ). There are many out there. Some use Zipped files or proprietary formats, others use standard file formats. I like FileSync as it uses normal file formats that can be viewed/managed via any Windows program or utility.

    b Here's a list of possible ways to copy your music files from your main iTunes computer to another storage medium for backup purposes.

    1) Use an External Hard Drive to store the complete iTunes meta-data files and underlying Music Folder structure and songs from your main computer. They are quite cheap now, for their storage volume.

    2a) If you have two computers, connect them through a router -- or – use a Direct (w/Mac) or Crossover (PC/PC) Ethernet cable (See: http://www.ifelix.co.uk/tech/3001.html). Copy files from one computer to the other.
    2b) Or - Connect the two computers via a USB-to-USB Network Bridge. See: http://www.usbgear.com/link/index.html as an example.
    Use the second PC as your backup repository.

    3) Burn several DVDs (at 4.7+ GBs each) with the music data files and store them safely. Re-writable ones are good for backup purposes (if your DVD drive can manage these).

    4) Burn 6x more on CDs (at 700MB each) than in #3 above and store them safely in more space Re-writable ones are good for backup purposes (if your CD drive can manage these).

    5) Use a larger USB Flash drive (1GB - 4GB) to store the files only if you have a small amount ripped music or have multiple and/or jumbo USB drives at your disposal that will fit your music library.

    6) Use the second internal hard drive (if available) of your PC -- not optimum, as you really want to physically separate the storage of backups from the originals, but good as a tertiary storage device.

    By keeping only one copy of your music (other than on the iPod), you are not truly 'backed-up' and are running a high risk of losing your music.

    It is a good policy to backup all your important data. It is a
    i very smart
    policy to back it up on more than one medium.