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Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library

Talk about anything audio here. From video narration to podcasting, MP3s to MP4s - whatever your flavor, this is the place.

Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library

Postby George Tyndall » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:19 am

Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library, including Playlists, to an External HDD

If one types “backup iTunes” into the Help>Search box of iTunes version 9.0.2.25, one is informed of a cumbersome method that involves use of blank CDs and/or DVDs and that may be completely impractical if one has a large library. I describe here a far more efficient, and therefore useful, method.

This method assumes that, like most users, your iTunes Media folder, including the library files and all the media, are in the default location on your C drive. If, like me in the past, you have the library files on your C drive but the actual media on external drives or elsewhere, then first follow the below instruction for consolidating (thanks again for finding that, Bobby). But see the note below before proceeding

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1364

Note: Before proceeding, understand that consolidation will result in copies of all your media, wherever they may be, being placed in the iTunes Media folder. The originals will be left wherever they were, but if you wish, once you’ve ascertained that the copies are complete, you may delete the originals to save HDD space. Before proceeding, be sure you have adequate space on your C drive for all the copies.

In addition to consolidating, you may also wish to “Upgrade to iTunes Media organization,” as discussed in the following link.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1751

Once you’ve finished consolidating, go to step 2 in the above link to copy your iTunes Media folder (library and media) to an external HDD.

Step 3 of the link describes the procedure for restoring your iTunes library and media to the usual location on your C drive — on either the same computer OR a different one. If, like me, you have more than one computer that is “authorized” to play media downloaded from iTunes (Apple allows up to 5 machines per user), then this is THE method to ascertain that your playlists and media are exactly the same on all the machines that you use. :-D

And if, like me, you are TERRIFIED of losing your data, including not only the actual downloaded media for which you’ve spent lots of MONEY but also the playlists and sub-playlists that you’ve spent many HOURS creating, at this point you can easily make additional backup copies of the iTunes Media folder. Personally, I make two, and I keep each of the two external HDDs in a separate location. To make the copies, simply drag the iTunes Media folder on the C drive onto as many additional external HDDs as you desire.

Note that it is not imperative to restore the backup from the external HDD to the usual location on the C drive. Instead, one has the option of running iTunes directly from the external HDD. Here is how: While opening iTunes with a Windows PC, hold down the Shift key (Option key for Macs), then click Choose Library, then browse to the iTunes Media folder on the external HDD and click on Choose Library. This feature is FABULOUS in that, just as I have multiple copies of my PSE7 catalog and the media it keeps track of, this feature allows me to also have multiple copies of both my iTunes library (the equivalent of the PSE catalog) plus all the media that it keeps track of.

Personally, I use SmartSyncPro to make an incremental backup of my iTunes Media folder each and every time I either download new media or make a change to my playlists in iTunes, When using external HDDs rather than CD/DVDs, these backups take only seconds to minutes.*
____
*I also use SSPro each and every time I add new media to my PSE7 catalog. The result is that my catalog and media, plus multiple copies thereof, are always up to date in the event of a crash of any HDD.

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Re: Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library

Postby Ron » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:06 pm

Good info, George. Moved here to the Audio forum and stickied :m:
Regards,
-Ron

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Re: Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library

Postby George Tyndall » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:41 pm

Ron wrote:Good info, George. Moved here to the Audio forum and stickied :m:


I thought there was an Audio forum, but I did not see it.

Oh, there it is!

Thank you.

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Re: Efficiently Backing Up Your iTunes Library

Postby Bobby » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:34 am

As far as I know (and I am NOT an Apple expert), there are just two folders that need to be backed up. The folder that holds all the music files themselves (usually iTunes on the C: drive) and the folder that holds your playlists and other customization information (usually in My Documents under \My Music\iTunes). In my case, both of these are on my normal backup/mirroring lists.

But George makes a good point about consolidation and having all your music files in one place.
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