Rebuilding an iTunes library
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I need your kind assistance in helping me as where I have gone wrong. I had a laptop (Windows XP) with my music files stored to an external hard drive. The laptop crashed and we were not able to save any files on the machine. Luckily, the music was all on the external hard drive. I purchased a new laptop (Windows Vista) and have tried to set up iTunes using the hard drive to work identical as the previous laptop. On the new laptop I changed the location (via Edit/Preferences/Advanced) to show the external hard drive. I also authorized my new computer (via Store/Authorize Computer) however, the music does not appear in iTunes. What step am I missing so as to have the music saved on the hard drive appear in iTunes and also show the items I have purchased via iTunes appear in the iTunes Library screen? I have been approximately four weeks without iTunes and need you help getting back to one of my favorite hobbies! Any assistance you can provide is greatly
A: The step you’re missing here is that you will likely need to actually reimport all of your tracks into a new, fresh iTunes library database by using the Add to Library function found on the iTunes File menu.
Unless you have taken specific steps to relocate it, the iTunes database is stored on your internal hard drive, which you have now lost. This database would have contained the listings for all of the tracks you had imported into iTunes, any playlists you had created and metadata such as rating, play count, last played date, and so forth. With this gone, you’re basically starting over with an entirely new iTunes library, so you will need to reimport all of your tracks again from scratch.
The good news is that most of your actual track information like track name, artist, album and genre should be contained within the media files themselves, so when you reimport your library into iTunes, your tracks should be organized more or less as you would expect. The only thing you will really have lost are your playlists and statistical data such as your ratings and play counts.
Note that since this is a new library, your first iPod sync will likely take a while as well, since all of these tracks will need to be re-copied to your iPod. In fact, you will likely be prompted to “Erase and Sync” your iPod the first time you connect it, indicating that you essentially need to wipe your iPod clean and then re-transfer all of the tracks back onto it.
You can find more information about how the iTunes library is organized in our articles on Transferring your iTunes Library and Backing up your iTunes Library. These article also provide information on moving and/or backing up your iTunes database to the external hard drive.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives [Update: Spotify responds]
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app