Moving iTunes library to a new computer?
August 31, 2006 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Can I simply copy the files from iTunes from my old computer to my new computer? Complications and

Long story short, I'm trading my laptop in for a new one in two days. (I give them the old one, then get the new one. I won't ever have both at the same time. I've got a big external drive, it just means that going back to the old one if I screw up isn't an option.)

Some complications, though:

- I've authorized other computers. I don't know if I hit my 5-computer limit or not. I own a lot of purchased music and videos.

- Windows now bluescreens within 5 minutes of booting it up. (Safe Mode, and Ubuntu, run fine, so there's no trouble getting the data, just with using it normally. I might be able to run iTunes under Safe Mode, but I've basically written off ever getting it running on this machine again.) I am not interested in fixing this computer (it's not a hardware issue, nor are any viruses detected), just mentioning that I don't have the leisure of running iTunes except in Safe Mode at an awful resolution.

- If it matters, I'm runnin a slightly old version of iTunes. (Don't remember the version, but I've skipped the past couple updates.)

- I do use the iTunes "Organize my music" feature that keeps everything in its folder, so there's no doubt of where things are stored.

So... Is moving the music as simple as copying the iTunes music directory to an external hard drive and then importing it on the new machine? Will I have authorization problems? And how does my iPod, synced to my existing iTunes library, play into this?
posted by fogster to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The MP3s you didn't purchase from ITMS will transfer over fine. External drive is a fine idea (I back my iTunes library onto a ext drive automatically).

The MP3s you purchased from ITMS will require you authorizing them on your new computer. Make sure you deauthorize these tracks from your old laptop before you get rid of it. The 5 computer limit is *any 5 computers at a time*.

Details here
posted by jamaro at 10:33 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yes. If you go over 5 computers, iTunes will allow you to reset the authorizations (deauthorizing all your computers to start afresh), I believe.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:38 AM on September 1, 2006

If you go over 5 computers, iTunes will allow you to reset the authorizations (deauthorizing all your computers to start afresh)

The mass deauthorization of your account's computers is limited by Apple to one time per year. Individual computer deauthorizations are unlimited. See this Knowledge Base article for more info.
posted by markmillard at 6:08 AM on September 1, 2006

If you've set up a lot of playlists or assigned star ratings (which are not stored in the ID3 tags of your MP3s), you might want to follow this help note:

Exporting playlists to archive or use on another computer
You can export a playlist and import it on a different computer so you can have the same playlist in iTunes in both places. You can also export the playlist to save a copy of it.

When you export a playlist, you get a list of the songs in that playlist; the actual songs in the playlist are not exported.

• To archive a single playlist or use it in iTunes on another computer, select the playlist in the Source list, then choose File > Export Song List. Choose XML from the Format pop-up menu.

• To save a copy of all your playlists, choose File > Export Library. (The exported information is saved in XML format.)

• To import an iTunes playlist, choose File > Import. The imported playlist will show only songs located on the computer's hard disk or external media.

posted by adamrice at 7:58 AM on September 1, 2006

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