Restoring playlists on a new computer

Q: Hello. I have gotten a new computer with Windows 7. I have in the past used CopyTrans to copy content back from my husband’s, mine, and even my daughter’s iPod. It seems to work great.

However I also use an online backup service (Carbonite) and when I restored/installed my backups onto my new computer, naturally all my music was there, but I don’t see any playlists. I have NOT installed iTunes yet because I really need playlists as much as the library which was the reason CopyTrans was so appealing. Should I delete both my and my husband’s library from the usual place (My Music) and just start fresh with CopyTrans? I’m afraid if I use CopyTrans the music will all be there twice.


A: If you’ve done a complete backup of your old computer with Carbonite, you should be able to restore your actual iTunes library database file, which would contain the index to your actual media files, your playlists, and other metadata such as rating, play count and last played date.

The library database also contains information on your synced iPods, basically allowing you to pick up exactly where you left off.

Unless you’ve taken specific steps to move your library database, you should normally find it as a file named “iTunes Library.ITL” in you “iTunes” folder within “My Music.” Ideally you should be able to just restore the entire “iTunes” folder to the corresponding location on your new Windows 7 computer and iTunes should pick it up the next time you start it up. Note that if you’re already run iTunes on the new computer, it may have created a new library database in that location, but feel free to overwrite it with the one from your backup as that’s likely the one you really want to be using.

You can find more information on how this all works in our tutorials on Backing up your iTunes Library and Transferring your iTunes Library to a new computer.