How iScrewed am I? (iTunes Library Recovery)
July 13, 2012 12:19 AM   Subscribe

Can I convince a fresh version of iTunes to recognize my old library?

My laptop crashed during the heat. I cannot load Windows at all and am preparing to do a clean install. Even though Windows itself won't launch, I *can* access the harddrive and move data files to a temporary buffer.

In short -- I can save my entire iTunes library (and it's big) -- but how do I go about restoring it to it's former glory?
posted by RavinDave to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
on the mac, i have always been able to launch iTunes, have it create a new iTunes folder, and then copy that over with my previously existing iTunes folder (the whole thing). i don't see why this wouldn't work for windows, but as always, ymmv. (it's been a while since i had to mess with windows.)
posted by koroshiya at 12:25 AM on July 13, 2012

Yeah, as long as you can access the iTunes Library file, which is stored under your users/ravindave folder somewhere (sorry on my Mac right now so I can't be more specific). It might be protected but I think your new Windows can force its way in if you log in as Administrator.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:35 AM on July 13, 2012

This is looking hopeful, but I'm fuzzy on the logistics. Would I install iTunes, let it create a folder and then simply replace it with my old one? Or will I need to go through some sort of marathon "import" session?
posted by RavinDave at 12:54 AM on July 13, 2012

The way I have done it in the past is, as you describe above to, install iTunes, copy over your old folder structure along with all your media, and then, before opening iTunes, replace the iTunes Library file with your old one.

This old AskMe of mine might be of further assistance.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:53 AM on July 13, 2012

"replace the iTunes Library file with your old one."

Ahh, so there *is* a config file I need to grab? Or would it already be somewhere within the library file tree?
posted by RavinDave at 2:08 AM on July 13, 2012

(Nice link btw!)
posted by RavinDave at 2:10 AM on July 13, 2012

I'm probably not the best person to give specific advice (I haven't used iTunes on Windows for several years), but one thing that might help you conceptually is to keep in mind that there is a difference between "all the media I have in iTunes" (which you seem to be calling your iTunes library) and the very specific "iTunes Library" files (iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml).
posted by Rock Steady at 4:04 AM on July 13, 2012

I am a Mac user so take this with a grain of salt, but I have replaced/updated/imported my iTunes library more than once over the years. On the Mac I have found that if the library db (the .itl file) is corrupt, the XML file can be used to preserve playlists. However, that's when you have to do the marathon import session and lose things like import dates and play dates (only important if you use them for smart playlists, which I do).
posted by immlass at 7:51 AM on July 13, 2012

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