How To Back Up ITunes
If you’re like most people, you probably won’t worry about how to back up iTunes until disaster strikes–-which, of course, will be too late. Apple actually makes it really easy to back up your iTunes library, offering two simple methods that each only take a matter of minutes. You can back up your music, movies, playlists and more to CDs or DVDs or to an external hard drive. Either choice works equally well and can be restored easily when disaster does strike. Choose your method and back up your iTunes library today so you won’t have to worry about it tomorrow.
To back up iTunes, you’ll need:
- The computer that contains your iTunes library
- A CD or DVD burner (for disc backup)
- Blanks CDs or DVDs (for disc backup)
- An external hard drive (for hard drive backup)
- To back up iTunes to CDs or DVDs, insert a disc into your computer’s burner, open iTunes, go to the File menu and select Library, then select Back up to Disc. When the option box pops up, choose between “Back up entire iTunes library and playlists” and “Back up only iTunes Store purchases”and click Back Up. iTunes will scan your disc, and if it doesn’t have enough space to back up your iTunes library, you’ll be asked if you want to backup to multiple discs. Click Data Discs to continue, and iTunes will prompt you to insert additional discs as necessary. As your iTunes library is backed up, remove each disc and label it, then put it in a safe place.
- After you back up iTunes to discs, you can restore your library at any point. Open iTunes and then insert the first back up disc into your computer’s disc drive. iTunes will ask whether you want to restore from this disc. Click Restore, and insert the additional discs, if necessary, as prompted. You should note that these discs can be used to restore your iTunes library, but they won’t work in a CD or DVD player.
- If you prefer to back up iTunes to an external hard drive, you’ll need to consolidate your library first. Access Preferences (on a Mac, Preferences is under the iTunes menu and on a PC, it’s under the Edit menu), click the Advanced tab and make sure there’s a check by “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library,” and click OK. iTunes will copy all music files on your computer into the iTunes Music folder, leaving the original files in their original locations. When iTunes has finished, click the File menu and select Library, then Organize Library, and choose Consolidate files.
- Once you’ve consolidated your library, backing up iTunes to an external hard drive is easy. Close iTunes and find your external hard drive on your computer (on the desktop on a Mac or in My Computer on a PC). Then, find the iTunes folder on your computer by navigating to one of these default locations: on a Mac, go to Users/username/Music; in Windows XP, got to Documents and Setting/username/My Documents/My Music; and in Windows Vista or Windows 7, go to Users/username/My Music. When you find the folder, drag it to your external hard drive to back up iTunes.
- You can restore your iTunes Library from your external hard drive at any time. Close iTunes and find the iTunes folder on your external hard drive. Drag that folder to your computer, placing it in one of the following default locations: On a Mac, place it in Users/username/Music; in Windows XP, place it in Documents and Settings/username/My Documents/My Music; and in Windows Vista or Windows 7, place it in Users/username/My Music. When the folder has been copied, hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Shift key in Windows and open iTunes. When the dialog pops up, click Choose Library and select the iTunes folder you just copied to your computer, then click Choose. iTunes will open and your iTunes Library will be restored.