9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 18, 2006 6:53 PM by Buegie
TheInspired Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have a backup file of all my iTunes songs in the form of iTunes 3 Library.itl. It was created because my hard drive had to be rebooted. How do I open it and re-add all the songs on that file onto the new iTunes. Thank you.

  Windows XP  
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Unless you have additional files in the form of .mp3, .m4a or .m4p, all you have is the Library database file from that time-period.

    The ITL file contains some data about the music you had at that time (Ratings, Play Counts, Last Played, Playlists), not the actual music files that can be played.

    Do you have any other files around?
  • TheInspired Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I also have the .xml file, if that changes anything...
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Unfortunately not. It is very similar to the ITL file.
    See: What are the iTunes Library files?

    Do you have any music files on the PC or on backups?
  • TheInspired Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I don't have the songs in the previous library... unfortunately.... This means my songs are gone, right?
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    If not on the PC (did you do a search?), or on a backup medium, then your songs are gone.

    Perhaps you have them on an iPod? They can be recovered from there....
  • jastram Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    on this same subject...if I'm getting a new computer without access to my library of songs on my old computer will i be able to reinstate my library of songs onto my new computer with only the use of my ipod?? i don't want to lose my songs....thanks!
  • TheInspired Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Yes I do have them on my iPod (*mutters, "yes... I'm saved!!"). Is there a way to transfer them from my iPod to iTunes?
  • TheInspired Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you. I have just found out how to do it. I appreciate all your help. Thank you.
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    And for all those who are wondering.....

    These links will give you several methods of recovering whatever songs remain on your iPod; some free, some third-party software, some more comprehensive for restoring Playlists, Ratings, Play Counts, etc. Read them and their associated links before deciding on a strategy that works for you. There are many various third-party software programs that will offer a more robust process, or an easier GUI. Do a Google search for them if the links below leave you wanting…
    Don King Resurrected: Deleted files from hard drive (free user steps – music recovery only)
    MacMuse: Computer Crashed (free user steps – music recovery only)
    Copying music from iPod to computer (a primer on various methods and software)
    Copying Songs from Your iPod to a Mac or PC (resource for 3rd party software)
    iPodRip Software
    PodUtil Software
    Senuti (Mac OS X v10.3 or higher Recovery Utility)
    XPlay (Windows software For Music Recovery &/or Cross-Platform Functionality)
    XPlay Photo Browser (For recovering Photos)

    Extremely Simple Method: (just to recover the song files – may not work on a Mac)
    1 - Open iTunes
    2 - Edit=>Preferences=>’Advanced/General’ tab
    2a --- Select ‘Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library’: checked
    2b --- Select ‘Keep iTunes Music folder organized’: checked
    2c --- Click OK to store changes
    3 - Attach your iPod to the PC and hold down the ‘Shift+Ctrl’ keys until the iPod is fully recognized (this will defeat the auto-sync process)
    4 - If you get a dialog box to link the Library, decline this option
    5 – Within iTunes: File=>Add Folder
    6 - Browse to and open ‘My Computer’ (click on the ‘+’) and select the iPod
    7 - Click OK
    8 - The music files should start to transfer back into iTunes
    8a –- this will take some time depending on your PC and the amount of songs on the iPod
    No Playlists, or Ratings, Last Played, & Play Count attributes will be transferred from the iPod to iTunes using this method

    After recovering your song files, strongly consider developing a thorough backup strategy for just this type of situation (and many other potential disasters).
    You need at least two full sets of your music, not including what is on the iPod:
    -- One full set on the PC within iTunes (on internal HD or ExHD)
    -- One full set on an separate external backup medium (CD/DVD/ExHD/other)
    -- One (full or partial) set on the iPod
    Music files on just the iPod and only one other medium is not considered having any backup.

    If you cannot store your complete music files on the computer’s internal HD, then create and maintain at least two external sets (any multiple combinations of ExHDs, DVDs, CDs).

    Backup both the music files and the Library database file (iTunes Library.itl). What are the iTunes Library files?

    Here is a post on developing a thorough backup strategy: