6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 24, 2009 9:22 AM by YesEtc
YesEtc Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Hi guys, my laptop, which holds/held all my files and music, has probably crashed. My brother who is working on the problem told me he might be able to extract all my files off it, but not by accessing it with the operative system, so I guess not by "using it" like mortals.
Is there a way I can take the MyMusic folder, which holds all my music and the itunes library file as well, put it temporarily in an ext hard disc, and later replant all that in the newly formatted laptop and all of it still work (i.e. itunes library still be full, usable, and all files in the music folder linked to it)?

Thanks guys, please help me

(more info: always kept all music that is in the itunes library, in the itunes music folder in My Music, so there are no stray files. Using Windows XP.
My main worry is that seeing as the itunes library file will say that all the songs are in C: etcetc, by taking it all out by not using itunes and consolidating the library and moving it to the ext hard disc, and thus itunes library file not changed to reflect that all files are now on, let's say, M:, I will lose links to the songs? Or if I replant all the files in the same drive and folders later everything will still work like before?)

Compaq Pentium 3, Windows XP
  • polydorus Level 6 Level 6 (11,950 points)
    If the disk in the crashed computer and you can access it, maybe by putting it in a drive enclosure and using it as an external drive on another PC, there should be no problem recovering iTunes.

    Assuming a default installation with all your music files in the iTunes Music folder, you need to copy your iTunes folder from the Music folder.

    When you get your PC going again, install iTunes and then with itunes closed, replace the itunes folder with the one you saved.

    If you are using Vista you will need to adjust the permissions on the iTunes folder so your account has full control.
  • YesEtc Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi polydorus,

    I am not sure I understand all of your message, so can you confirm if I got it right:

    A) "If the disk in the crashed computer and you can access it, maybe by putting it in a drive enclosure and using it as an external drive on another PC, there should be no problem recovering iTunes."

    B) "Assuming a default installation with all your music files in the iTunes Music folder, you need to copy your iTunes folder from the Music folder."

    Is B a continuation of A? Are these a bit of what I hinted in my message I might be able to do (once I am sure how to go about it thanks to your tips) if I will be able to access the drive as if it was an ext hd?

    C) "When you get your PC going again, install iTunes and then with itunes closed, replace the itunes folder with the one you saved."

    And because I will hopefully be able to put the itunes folder in the same default place in the "new" laptop, the paths to to songs won't be broken. Right?

    Using Windows XP.

    Can you clarify if I got it right? I'm not sure if all I said in my original post was kinda right or you are telling me something else.
    Thanks again for your time
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (56,530 points)
    If your laptop won't start because of a non-disk related hardware problem or a problem with the operating system startup files then recovering your data should be easy. Place the drive in a suitable drive enclosure, connect to another computer, read the data at will.

    If your iTunes folders are as described in your first post, i.e. all media content inside the iTunes Music/iTunes Media folder which in turn is inside an iTunes folder holding your library files, then there should be no problems with copying this iTunes folder to another drive, any path you choose, and opening the iTunes Library.itl file therein. iTunes will detect media files that are on the same relative path with respect to the .itl file and the links won't be broken.

    Using the default path (My Music/iTunes) simply means you don't have to take the extra step of learning how to use SHIFT when launching iTunes to open libraries in different locations.

    tt2

    PS If your library was version 8 (or 9 but you'd not updated to "iTunes Media" organisation) then links to iPod Click Wheel Games/Mobile Applications may get broken, but these should be relatively easy to repair.
  • YesEtc Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Thanks tt2, you make it sound like it will be ok. I can't wait to see if it works when I hear back about how much the laptop is recoverable.

    It sounds a bit too easy that if all the files are in the default folder, the only thing I don't have to do, is select the library when I start itunes, or maybe all my past problems were just somewhat related and make this seem weirdly too simply to be right.

    Just one question now, I doubt he will be able to get the drive out of the laptop (if he had it his way, he'd reformat the whole thing losing all my stuff...), but do you think it's possible to link the laptop ('s drive) to another pc and use the laptop's drive as an ext hd (or you physically have to get it out of the laptop and attach it internally instead of simply using an usb cable)? In that case, let's say it works, but if the library file says the files are in C: ....., and the pc will have its own C: drive, won't there be confusion, or does it just matter what the pc will call the laptop's drive?
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (56,530 points)
    I use SyncToy 2.1 to keep a number of copies of my library in sync. At home my library is on a network share at H:\iTunes - I clone this library to a small portable at E:\iTunes, take this to work where it appears as K:\itunes and sync this to the local hard drive there as D:\iTunes. I can open any of these libraries and access all my content. Not long ago the path was X:\Music\iTunes but I decided the "Music" part of the path was really no longer relevant given the number of video files now in my libray so I just moved everything up a level. "It's all relative."

    Getting a hard drive out of a laptop can take as little as undoing one screw. I've done it a number of times for data recovery and it's really not too hard. A 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter is very cheap, an enclosure is a little more but a neater solution as you don't have to mess around with the inside of the PC you use for recovery.

    If you're lucky the drive itself is still in good nick & will connect at the first attempt. Sometimes however the drive can fail to start up properly. Be persistent. One time I had to restart a friend's drive well over a hundred times before it fired up and connected to the computer. Once connected it stayed alive long enough for me to recover all the important data from it...

    tt2
  • YesEtc Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    It seems I won't have the chance to retrieve the music files, the laptop and the harddisc are too damaged. I was able to extract the itunes library files which are pretty useless without the music files. At least a quarter of the disk is damaged and when I am able to start the pc I can move out pictures that are not damaged, one by one. I do this by using Microsoft Picture Manager: I open the first picture and then use the next button, if the image doesn't open but the file name in the bottom changes, then I know the picture file is damaged. I write down the picture name that is damaged, and once I am done with that folder, I select all the content and exclude the damaged files, then cut or copy to the ext hd. This way I can retrieve the usable pictures.
    How I can do this retrieval with music files I don't know, I guess I can try and copy out album folders one by one, and if I can't, it means at least one song is damaged and at that point I might as well re-upload the whole album using the original cd, once the new pc is up and running. Or is there a better way to check which files are damaged?

    THE QUESTION I have is really for music I bought off itunes store, it's not a lot but I would like to know how to get it again. Are music files downloadable again without having to pay for them a second time?
    I know that some other download sites offer three downloads for each file, or something similar, but I never read anything about itunes store.
    Thanks again

    Message was edited by: YesEtc

    Message was edited by: YesEtc