One of my friends asked me recently how to transfer her iTunes library to a new computer. I have done this a few times going from Mac to Mac. It is pretty easy as you have the option of hooking up a firewire to both computers and transferring everything – including your iTunes library. Though I know many are going from PC to Mac or from PC to PC.
One of the best ways to transfer a library is through your iPod. If you are going PC – PC, your iPod should be formatted correctly and it should be pretty smooth. Apple has created a great tutorial here. Another similar and just as simple way is to use an external hard drive. If you don’t have one for back-ups, I highly suggest one. There are quite a few small affordable options out there now. It works the same way – transfer your music folder over to the drive and put it on your new computer. A suggestion I gave my friend is to go on iTunes and click File > Library > Organize Library. This will organize all your music in 1 place with the correct folder structure and make the move less painful.
If you also want to transfer all the information that goes along with your library (which I’m sure you do), you also need to create a library file – called an XML file. Here is how you create the XML file:
1. Copy all your music files into the Music folder on your new machine.
2. Copy the iTunes Music Library.xml to the iTunes folder on your new computer (replace the existing one if it is already there).
4. Delete the iTunes Library from the new machine if there is one.
3. Open the .XML file in word (or similar – like notepad).
4. Go to properties (PC) and note the location and note the location next to ‘Where’, for any of the folders of music on your new machine.
5. Do a find and replace in Word to replace the links to each folder (replace all). If your music was stored in several locations (i.e. in Music and in iTunes Music) on you old computer, you will have to do a find and replace twice for both of these folders.
6. Once all the links look correct, save the file.
7. Start iTunes and wait for it to reload all your music.
When I did one of my transfers, I actually used an iPod and used a transfer software package that created that XML file for me and made the move easy. If you do a search, you can find some good programs for low cost & often with a free trial. Within the trial period, I was able to transfer my entire library without having to purchase the software. If your timid about transferring your library manually, this might be your best option.
Good luck on your new computers!