Saving iTunes before an OS reinstall
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 to re-load the operating system on my son’s Windows XP PC. A friend told me that only the iTunes content he’s purchased will be there when he signs back into iTunes. Is there way to back up his entire library, shared and purchased music? Can I copy everything to a jump drive or to my laptop?
A: Actually, you won’t even have the content purchased from iTunes there unless you’ve actually backed it up. Apple does not allow you to re-download purchased content from the iTunes Store under normal circumstances; they expect you to make your own backups of that content. You can, however, easily transfer purchased content that is on your iPod back over to your computer.
The bottom line is that if you’re going to reformat your computer’s hard drive and want to retain your iTunes library, you should back up the entire iTunes folder from your son’s “My Music” folder. This will normally contain the iTunes library database which stores information about the content and the playlists, as well as a folder containing all of the media content itself. Keep in mind, however, that the media content may be stored elsewhere depending upon whether the iTunes Music folder location was changed or whether content was imported into the iTunes Music folder when it was imported into iTunes. You can check these options by going into the preferences in iTunes and choosing the Advanced tab and checking the options for the iTunes Media folder path and the Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library option. If the latter option is selected, this means that music added to iTunes will be copied into the iTunes folder, although it’s important to keep in mind that this only applies to music that was imported when this option was actually selected.
If you’re unsure if all of your iTunes media content is in the same folder, you can use the “Consolidate Library” option described in our article on Transferring your iTunes Library to copy all of your tracks that are listed in the iTunes library into the same folder so that you can back them up from one place. This article also provides tips on how to transfer your iTunes library to another computer, and combined with our Guide to Backing up your iTunes Library should provide all of the information you need to sort this out and ensure that your son’s iTunes content is properly backed up so you can restore it after you reinstall Windows.
Note as well that if you have any content purchased from the iTunes Store you should also be sure to DEauthorize the computer within iTunes before reformatting it. You can do this by selecting Deauthorize Computer from the Store menu in iTunes. Once you’ve reinstalled the computer, iTunes will see it as a new computer, and authorizing it for your iTunes Store account will needlessly use up another authorization slot against your limit of five authorized computers.
- 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?
- Report: Apple’s Jimmy Iovine still has ambitious video plans for Apple Music
- Apple executive talks using AI to boost human memory
- Apple rolling out ‘Today at Apple’ educational courses starting in May
- Smart home device maker iDevices acquired by Hubbell
- Apple delays ‘Carpool Karaoke’ release to ‘later this year’
- Dutch court rules Apple can’t replace broken iPads with refurbished models
- Chinese blog claims Apple is only releasing two iPhone 8 models, no iPhone 7s or 7s Plus
- Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1
- Images claim to show iPhone 8 prototype with glass back, vertical camera
- Apple works on alternative power sources, new uses for waste heat in Denmark data center
- Advanced Mezger aptX Bluetooth Receiver
- iDevices Wall Switch
- iDevices Wall Outlet
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartSocket for Apple HomeKit
- Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
- FiiO i1 Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- Blue Ella Headphones
- Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation)
- AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon Headphones
- ExoLens PRO with Optics by ZEISS Wide-Angle Lens Kit
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- 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