Bill has been an information systems professional for more than 20 years. He enjoys writing about cooking, local history, and technology. I bought a new laptop that had Windows 10 installed and spent a day and a half transferring programs, photos, etc. The last task was to transfer my iTunes music, something I expected to be rather straight forward, This turned out to be a daunting task, not because the process is difficult, but because most of the online how-to articles grossly over-complicate the issue.
This method will preserve all of your play counts, ratings, and playlists. An external storage device is the easiest and fastest way to transfer the files between two PC's.
It made transferring many gigabytes of photos from the old PC to the new one really easy, plus it serves as a back-up for all of my media files photos, music, movies, etc. Alternatively you can use an inexpensive USB drive for this. You may have copy your files in batches if they don't all fit in one move.
Your iTunes files may not all be stored in the same place if you imported music from CD's, other iTunes libraries, and the iTunes store. To make the transfer easier, we will use iTunes to consolidate all of the files into a single place. This will not move the files from their original locations, but will make new copies as necessary.
If your old PC is running low on disk space, you may be prompted that there is not enough room to continue the operation. In that case you'll need to free-up some space and try again. Note: If you are managing multiple iTunes libraries on one PC, then perform these steps for each library. If you don't know if you have multiple iTunes libraries then you only have one and don't need to be concerned. Managing multiple libraries in iTunes is something an advanced user might do, as there is no direct way to do it within the iTunes software.
Newer versions of iTunes no longer automatically create the XML file. If you look at the above screenshot you'll see a file called " iTunes Music Library. If it doesn't exist in your iTunes Media folder, you'll need to create it. In the iTunes menu select " Edit ", then Preferences ", then click on the " Advanced " tab. The XML file will be created in the folder shown at the top of the screen. Once you have consolidated the iTunes files, close the iTunes program and start Windows File Explorer.
Right-click the Start button and select "File Explorer". Navigate to the iTunes media folder. This is the folder that holds all of the music and album artwork, not the folder that holds the iTunes program. If you have a standard iTunes installation, the media folder will depend on which version of WIndows you have.
The next steps assume that your new PC is properly set-up and connected to the Internet. We need to find out where iTunes expects to find its files on the new PC. Later we will edit a file and use the information we learned during this step. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. If you leave it in the iTunes folder when you copy the music to the new PC, iTunes will delete it when it starts. You can put it anywhere else and will use it during the "Finishing The Move" part above. Thank you iTunes for continually changing things. If it's the XML file created by iTunes on the new PC, should it be deleted once the new file location has been copied?
I'm glad you got it working and thanks for the feedback. You could change the filenames to make them shorter, but that would be pretty tedious in your case, unless you built a script to do them all programatically.
Right-click the file and select Properties, and then the Details tab to view or edit them. You probably know that but I'm putting it here for reference. Thanks for your great tips. I have just completed the same process you went through transfering my large music collection to a new laptop. I had problems years before when I lost a disk and lost all my metadata in spite of trying everything I could think of, including editing the xml.
I have a good working knowledge of databases and structures and I thought I would be able to master it, but itunes is a law unto itself! Anyway, importing the whole library in one go didn't work. I had two problems. One was my new media destination path was slightly longer than the old one and it made some of the paths of some tracks too long for windows. My collection is almost all classical music and you sometimes get track names like Beethoven: Symphony 9 In D Minor, Op.
Allegro Ma Non Troppo. Violetta Urmana, Karita Mattila, Etc. Another issue was that I normally buy and rip CDs but sometimes buy from itunes. The new version of itunes on my laptop wanted to re-download all of these and lose my play counts etc. I got around this by creating a playlist on my old pc of all of these tracks. Signing out of itunes store on my laptop and then importing this library separately.
This mostly worked. So I had to start again and I decided to keep the media file at a higher level - i. It's not ideal but it prevents problems with pathnames. I moved all the music to the new folder and then built playlists of up to albums each on my old PC to import the library in parts. It took me most of today, but it's all there now. One extra problem was that itunes lost a lot of my album artwork for some reason so I have had to find and re-attach that.
Bill, when I do this and then open iTunes, it just replaces my edited xml path with the original path, ie the one from the old computer. How do I stop it from doing that? Hi Graves You can get them almost anywhere and they are very cheap.
I've seen 8 gb USB drives for five or ten dollars. Hi Bill, Is there any way to do the transfer without using an external hard drive? And yes, I am a true novice :. Regarding what you mentioned on Easy Transfer which is no longer available on Windows 10 - I've found another tutorial here that shows how to do an automatic transfer using some sort of Easy transfer replacement:.
It's free if all you're doing is looking for problems. Thank you so much!!! I really appreciated this post and the detailed step by step instructions. Just what I needed :. Hi Bill - This process has saved me much heartache and aggravation! Thanks for posting.
However - I was still left with duplicates sometimes triplicates in my iTunes library. I guess I thought the consolidation step would get rid of duplicates? Anyway - it's not the end of the world and I've started the process of manually deleting the duplicates from my library.
But if there's an easier method or anything else I should know - please share. I just bought a new PC with windows 7. My old system had windows XP. Your instructions are well laid out and very clear. Thank you for that. I will be using your method soon.
Question though Bill, you are a star. I've just moved 3 user libraries from XP to Windows 8. All of my ratings on 3, tracks were still were there, which makes my playlists work Now I just have to work out why iTunes has included some MP3 tracks that I created for a phone, giving me duplicates, albeit that one is. Thanks again.
I had recently moved everything from a PC to a Mac. Apple has not made it easy to propagate an iTunes library from one computer to another, let alone among differing operating systems. Your instructions are very useful for anyone who wants to preserve the entire iTunes configuration.
Even taking into account the issues with Windows 7's different folder hierarchy. Bill, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your helpful article. I was moving from my laptop win 7 to a desktop win 7. I had a second drive in my laptop that had my itunes library on it and I put that drive into the desktop. I only used windows easy transfer for my c drive.
After installing windows and iTunes on my new system, I used the WET program to put the stuff from my laptop onto the new system.