14810 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2009 4:23 PM by Buegie
Back up the iTunes Library.itl & .XML file. What are they for? So I need both those files with the actual MP3's and they all come together to complete what I currently have now presently? The additional info like play count, ratings are not party of the ID3 tag? Meta? Do you also rate your songs? Or work the others I've mentioned?
How to Copy and Move (Clone) your iTunes Library from One Computer to Another – or Archive Prior to a PC Re-Image or Reformat
This well-written iLounge Article is a must-read for anyone considering moving their Library to a new computer or a new location. Or, just wants a better understanding of how iTunes manages your music.
Below is the conceptual framework with related and important links. Apply and adapt it to your specific situation and equipment resources.
The safest, quickest, and most optimal method to move your Library to a new computer is to actually clone the entire ‘iTunes’ folder (directory) structure, rather than just copying just the song files. By copying the entire ‘iTunes’ folder and all sub-folders, you capture not only the music files, but the all-important ‘iTunes Library.itl’ database file (usually located in the ‘iTunes’ folder), which contains all the data about your songs (Playlists, Ratings, Play Counts, Last Played, Date Added, etc). See: What are the iTunes Library files?
Install iTunes on the new computer. Then go back to your old computer and move (copy) the "iTunes" folder which usually resides inside your "…\My Documents\My Music" folder from the old computer to the exact same place (both Drive Letter and complete Path) on the new computer. When you open iTunes on the new computer it will look and behave exactly the same way it did on the old, Play Counts, Ratings, Comments and all!
NOTE: It is usually safer moving files between computers with the same version of iTunes!!
iTunes Files to Copy and Move to your New PC (for iPod, iTouch &/or iPhone – use as needed)
1) All Music Files in their current folder structure (usually located in and under the ‘iTunes Music’ folder)
2) All Application Files in their current folder structure (usually located in the ‘Mobile Applications’ folder)
3) All Album Artwork Files in their current folder structure (usually located in and under the ‘Album Artwork’ folder)
4) The Library database file: ‘iTunes Library.itl’ located in the ‘iTunes’ folder
5) The Library XML file: ‘iTunes Music Library.xml’ located in the ‘iTunes’ folder
6) The iTunes Library Extras.itdb and iTunes Library Genius.itdb files, also in the ‘iTunes’ folder
Some additional files to consider also include in a backup:
7) Any XML playlist files created for Playlist retention
8) The two iTunes.pref files (optional)
i) C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes.pref
ii) C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer Inc\iTunes.pref
9) The XML file of Ratings, Play Counts and Last Played attributes saved from the main Library and created by Otto’s SaveRatings script (also optional, but recommended):
“Download this: http://ottodestruct.com/itunes/SaveRatings.zip . It's a program, just run it like any other program. Run it on the machine where you're copying the info from BEFORE you move the files to the new machine. Click the "Save Ratings" button and it'll create a ratings.xml file. Now when you move the files, move the program and this file as well. Then after you make your new iTunes library, run it again and click the "Restore Ratings" button. Voila, all your information is back in the Library. Well, most of it anyway, it's not perfect. It'll tell you what songs it couldn't figure out though, and there's usually not very many.”
10) The folder(s) used to store and sync photos to your iPhone (if applicable)
11) The iTunes created Backup of your iPhone usually located at:
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Here's a list of methods to copy and move your music files from one computer to another:
1) Use an External Hard Drive (ExHD) to move the complete files and Folder structures from one computer to another (my preferred option). You can clone’ the entire ‘iTunes’ folder structure in one very easy step. Also great to have available for complete backups of your Library. External hard drives now run less than $100 for 500GBs-1TB of storage. See This Link
2) Directly connect the two computers:
2a) Connect them through a Router &/or Network
2b) Directly connect using an Ethernet cable: Straight for using at least one Mac; or Crossover for PC/PC Instructions here.
2c) Connect them via a USB-to-USB Network Bridge. Example here. There are various types out there (use Google).
--Then copy the files from one computer to the other.
3) Use the iPod as a transfer device, as this extensive Apple link explains. It will be a bit easier if your iPod has a larger capacity than your music collection, otherwise you will need to perform multiple copy/move transfers. This well written process also works fine while using any other data transfer medium (ExHD, Flash Drive, DVD, CD, Zipp, Jazz, etc.).
4) Burn several DVDs (at 4.7GBs each) with your music data files and folder structure, and load them onto the new computer. Re-writable DVDs are more cost effective (if your DVD drive can manage these types).
5) Burn 6x more on CDs (at 700MB each) than in #4 above and load the files and folders on the new computer. Re-writable CDs are more cost effective (if your CD drive can manage these types).
6) Use a larger USB Flash drive (1GB - 4GB) to move the files and folders. Best if the flash drive is larger than your Library, otherwise you will need multiple copy/move transfers.
These are links to various additional instructions on performing the transfer (read them all, but some listed steps may not be required depending on your specific situation):
Switch from PC to Mac Using the iPod
hudgie: Migrating iTunes for Windows to a new PC
How to copy music between authorized computers
Also, remember to Deauthorize your PC before you reformat it, dispose of it, or retire it from iTMS use.
Best of Luck