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Question: How Do I Transfer a Backed Up iTunes Library Using SyncToy?

Hi, hope someone can help. I've seen several posts from TuringTest2 on this issue, but I can't seem to achieve the desired objective.

I have used SyncToy several times previously to back up my iTunes library from my Desktop PC [Windows Vista] to an external hard drive. I think this has worked OK, however I have never tried restoring the backed up library.

What I want to do now is transfer this library to a new laptop [Windows 10]. The laptop already has the latest iTunes and a library [that I want to replace]

I set up SyncToy on the laptop with the external drive library folder as the left folder. The right folder I entered C:\Users\geof.ashton\music\iTunes. I then set SyncToy to run "echo."

This seemed to complete OK but, when I turned on iTunes on the laptop, nothing had changed - It was still showing the old/existing library.

Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Thanks,

Geof Ashton

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tt2, you're a star... That worked perfectly! Excellent and thank you very much; much appreciated

Cheers,

Geof

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Nov 11, 2017 11:13 AM in response to geof from burley woodhead In response to geof from burley woodhead

From what you explained, it would appear that whatever is on the left is the same as what is on the right and thus no changes are required. You could try deleting the folders (Music, Movies etc) from the laptop's iTunes media folder and try again. That way, everything on the left would be considered new or changed and should copy over.


Note that I am assuming you backed up the iTunes Media folder and your backup consists of its sub-folders.

Nov 11, 2017 11:13 AM

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Nov 12, 2017 2:42 AM in response to cjahn50 In response to cjahn50

Hi cjahn50. Thanks for your help.

The left hand folder is the backed up library from my desktop PC. The right hand folder [should be] the library on my new laptop. They are different libraries.

But nothing happens. I can't see the transferred folder anywhere on my laptop, after using SyncToy.

I suspect I've got the destination folder address wrong?

Any more suggestions?

Nov 12, 2017 2:42 AM

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Nov 12, 2017 9:14 AM in response to geof from burley woodhead In response to geof from burley woodhead

What you see will be determined by how you backed it up. For example. I backup (on the left) c:\users\<username>\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media to an external drive in a location called iTunes Media. In that Folder I have all the iTunes Media sub-folders - Music, Movies, Tones etc. I have this pair set to echo. So any changes made to the "real" media (the library) is reflected in my backup location. In essence, if I delete a movie from my active library, it will get deleted in my backup. If I were to rebuild my PC, and iTunes media was empty after a clean install of iTunes, I could reverse the pair and all of data on the remote drive would be added under iTunes\iTunes Media.


So all that said, you should see that data that was either added, deleted are changed in the same location that is was copied from provided the source and destinations are the same (but actually reversed in the SyncToy pair). Look at what is contained in your backup. You may need to adjust where you're sending the data based on the structure of your backup.


And keep in mind that from what you said, there is data on the laptop. Albeit the libraries are different, the actual data may be the same (same songs, tones, movies etc).

Nov 12, 2017 9:14 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 12:18 AM in response to cjahn50 In response to cjahn50

Thanks again, cjahn50. I really appreciate your help, but let's keep trying if that's OK with you?

Firstly, and forgive me if you already understood this, but I am trying to copy an existing library from one machine [desktop PC running Windows Vista] to a completely different machine [laptop running Windows 10], using SyncToy and an external hard drive. The laptop already has the latest iTunes installed and a music library, but I want to replace that library completely with the library from the desktop machine.

I have backed up [left hand folder] c:Users\admin\Music\iTunes. I notice this is different to what you backup, because you go one more level down to "iTunes Media." Could this be the root of my problem?

I have then used the equivalent folder on my laptop as my target folder [right hand folder] when trying to copy the backed-up library from the external drive to my laptop. Again, I seem to be doing this at the "iTunes" folder level, not at the "iTunes Media" level.

Just to give you the full story, when I try to copy the backed-up library from the external drive to the laptop, I used the description "d:\iTunes SyncToy Backup" as the left hand folder.

Does this give you any more ideas?

Cheers

Nov 15, 2017 12:18 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 8:19 AM in response to geof from burley woodhead In response to geof from burley woodhead

Hi Goef,


If your external drive houses the entire backup, while the internal drive contains the new empty default iTunes library created by installing iTunes, then you first want to throw away the empty library so as not it mix it into the original one. In my user tip Move your iTunes library to a new computer I recommend restoring the library before installing iTunes for this very reason.


For the restore it may be easier to manually copy in the backed up copy of the library from the external drive, renaming the folder if necessary. You can then set up SyncToy again so that it can carry on backing up changes to your library in future.


FWIW I would normally use X:\iTunes as the name of the backup folder (right side in SyncToy) on the external drive, where X: is whatever drive letter is currently assigned. As long as the library is portable both iTunes and SyncToy should be able to adjust to changes of drive letter when required, and you eliminate any need to rename folders when restoring.


tt2

Nov 15, 2017 8:19 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 8:21 AM in response to cjahn50 In response to cjahn50

cjahn50 wrote:


What you see will be determined by how you backed it up. For example. I backup (on the left) c:\users\<username>\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media to an external drive in a location called iTunes Media.


Say what? 😮 You should be mirroring the main iTunes folder to capture the iTunes Library.itl database and its supporting files as well.


tt2

Nov 15, 2017 8:21 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 8:43 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

I do. I have a complete backup of the entire iTunes folder and all its associated components. And, I have a separate copy of all the media folders. It's like wearing a belt and suspenders. 😝


There's no particular reason except that in a brand new install, I can move just the media in bulk and create a brand new library.


And as in your reply, I manually copy the old library to the new computer/install and use SyncToy to only backup.


Actually, when I built my new PC, I installed iTunes, shared my backup, and did add folders/files to get it setup the way I wanted.

Nov 15, 2017 8:43 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 11:26 AM in response to cjahn50 In response to cjahn50

cjahn50 wrote:


There's no particular reason except that in a brand new install, I can move just the media in bulk and create a brand new library.


Ah, usually the aim is to keep the library with ratings, playlists, play counts, etc. rather than start over, but whatever way works for you is fine. 🙂


tt2

Nov 15, 2017 11:26 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 12:35 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Indeed. But as an old fart, I'm far from an iTunes Power User. 😁 For me, as an owner of iDevices, iTunes is a necessary evil. And it does provide hours of administrative entertainment 😝.


And as you say, if I were to clone my PC, I would indeed move everything as is from one to another to maintain status quo.

Nov 15, 2017 12:35 PM

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Nov 16, 2017 11:28 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Gosh, I seem to have initiated an interesting exchange - I feel fulfilled...

Thanks, turingtest2 - You have helped me previously, too.

However, in this case, I suspect that my initial objective has not been fully communicated/understood. I am trying to transfer an iTunes music library from a desktop computer to a [different] laptop computer using SyncToy and an external hard drive. I am not trying to 'restore' the library back to its original machine. The target laptop has iTunes already installed and an existing music library which I am happy to replace entirely.

I have previously backed up my music library from the old desktop computer to the external drive using SyncToy, and I have no reason to think this has not worked [although I have never actually had reason to check this out...]. This time, I want to take that backed-up library from the external drive and transfer it to a new machine, the laptop.

The original back up folder I used from the desktop [left hand folder in SyncToy] was C:\Users\admin\Music\iTunes and the right hand folder was F:\iTunes SyncToy Backup. I then tried to transfer this backed-up library from the external drive to the target laptop using D:\iTunes SyncToy Backup as the left hand folder this time [the external drive showed as the D drive when I connected to the laptop] and using C:\Users\geof.ashton\music\iTunes as the target address on the laptop [right hand folder]. I have the feeling there is a simple error in these folder addresses I have used in SyncToy. What do you think?

Or should I erase iTunes and the existing library from the laptop altogether before transferring the required library from the external drive to the laptop [seems a bit drastic]?

Really appreciate the help

Cheers, Geof

Nov 16, 2017 11:28 PM

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Nov 17, 2017 12:24 AM in response to geof from burley woodhead In response to geof from burley woodhead

Take a look at the image in Make a split library portable. Does your backup set include the iTunes Library.itl file, album artwork folder and other supporting files from the main iTunes folder? If so then using either SyncToy or Windows Explorer to copy the entire backup folder into User's Music (normally C:\Users\<User>\Music), and renaming as iTunes if needed, should complete the transfer. If you've only captured the media folder you can use your external drive to pick up the pieces that you've left behind, copy those over too, and arrange the components in the correct shape. Then when you start iTunes it should pick up your library as if nothing had changed.


In the unlikely event that content is missing even though everything has been copied over properly see Empty/corrupt iTunes library after upgrade/crash.


See Move your iTunes library to a new computer for more details.


tt2

Nov 17, 2017 12:24 AM

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Nov 19, 2017 5:09 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Hi Turingtest2.

I have checked and, yes, my backup folder on my external hard drive does include the iTunes Library.itl file, album artwork folder and other supporting files from the main iTunes folder.

I simply cannot see what I have done wrong... Could you look again at the folders I have inserted in the SyncToy left/right boxes for transfer to my laptop?

Yes, I have not renamed the file "iTunes." But surely this is not critical?

I note again that, when trying to transfer the backed-up library from the external drive to the laptop, in the SyncToy right hand [target] folder, I have entered C:\Users\geof.ashton\music\iTunes. Is this one level too far? Should the right hand folder just be "C:Users\geof.ashton\music" [i.e. one menu level back]?

I have tried to search the laptop hard drive for the transferred backed-up library [iTunes SyncToy Backup] and I can't find it.

I'm mystified

Thanks again,

Geof

Nov 19, 2017 5:09 AM

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Nov 19, 2017 6:04 AM in response to geof from burley woodhead In response to geof from burley woodhead

Hi Geof,


What are the sizes of these two files, which ought to exist if I've understood what you've done?:

  • C:\Users\geof.ashton\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
  • D:\iTunes SyncToy Backup\iTunes Library.itl


tt2

Nov 19, 2017 6:04 AM

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Nov 22, 2017 2:51 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Hi again, tt2

The iTunes folder on the C:drive of my laptop computer [the 'target' computer] does indeed have various files called something like "iTunes Library" with various additions [Genius, Extras, Music Library, etc] but nothing called precisely "iTunes Library.itl" or indeed anything with a file extension of any sort

[iTunes on this laptop is still showing and playing the existing music library which I want to replace]

The other file you asked about, on the D: drive, is on the external hard drive. Unfortunately, I am away from home [and away from the external drive] for a couple of days - I will check this on Friday and get back to you. I realise that, in a previous reply, I said this file ["iTunes Library.itl"] was on the external drive, but the truth is that I got my wife to check this and she, in fact, was looking on the C:drive of the desktop computer, not the external drive... Sorry about that.

But can you conclude anything by the absence of "iTunes Library.itl" on the laptop C: drive? I do know that the original iTunes library on my desktop computer, that I backed up onto the external drive with SyncToy, does have a file called "iTunes Library.itl"

Thanks again,

Geof

Nov 22, 2017 2:51 AM

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Question: How Do I Transfer a Backed Up iTunes Library Using SyncToy?