Friday, May 26, 2006

iPod/iTunes Questions

Okay, surely someone out there in my vast readership (Hi, Karl) uses iTunes on a Windows machine (XP), and has encountered these issues and has some words of wisdom for me.

The hard drive on my PC got filled up with music. So I bought an external 250GB hard drive and moved what I thought were all my music files to the new external hard drive.

But ... a lot of the music files disappeared. Stupidly, I deleted the files on the c: (PC) drive before I checked to make sure they were all there on the new external drive. They're gone from my PC. Many of them are gone from the external hard drive. But ... they're on my iPod. So here's my first question.

1) How do I create a new iTunes library based on what is currently on my iPod? Usually the transfer goes from iTunes --> iPod, and plugging in the cables from PC to iPod automatically starts this process. But I want it go the other way: iPod --> iTunes so I can re-create the music library that was lost/corrupted. How do I make that happen?

And a related question:

2) It appears that iTunes automatically looks for music folders on the c: drive -- specifically in the directory structure c://My Documents/My Music/iTunes/Library. But I want iTunes to reside on my new external hard drive (drive f: in this case). I can find no way within the iTunes application to change the location of where the music library resides. How do I do this? Somebody please tell me that I can do this. Otherwise, moving the files to an external drive is pointless.



teddy dellesky said...

i think you're screwed. i don't think there is any way to reverse the transfer. i could be wrong and there may be a hack method of doing this. you may just need to start ripping things all over again. sorry, man.

on another note. when considering back-up space, its usually good to let your hard drives grow together and back up all data on your computer; i.e. 250M Ext HD backs up a 250M Int. HD (or something similarlyd size.) its a bit more pricy, but hey, anything with Microsoft platform is generally untrustworthy, IMO.

l said...

Hmmm. I think there may be a way to do this. I know you can turn off the automatic update feature so that you can hook up your iPod to someone else's iTunes and select the songs that you want, then move those files permanently into your iTunes. If it's possible to do that, then you ought to be able to do what you're describing. Have you checked the iPod manual available on the apple website? I recall reading about this there, but my copy of the manual is not with me now so I can't check...

I recently also bought an external hard drive. I transferred my music files over to the external drive, but they didn't show up in my iTunes. I didn't have any trouble getting iTunes to add music from that folder by using the drop down menus to select files on the external drive to be added. I did have to completely clear and re-load my iPod, though, and when I import new music it goes to my internal hard drive, which is not a problem now, but means that eventually I'll have to move that to the external drive and then do a complete clear and re-load of the iPod again (which takes many, many hours once you get a lot of music on there).

So in my experience, having the external drive has worked fine once I got past the early setbacks. I didn't lose any files in the transfer, I just had to manually make iTunes add music from a folder on my external drive and then completely re-load the iPod. Now there are no problems as long as I have that drive plugged in when I update my iPod; it only updates the songs recently added.

As for the first part of your question, about transferring from the iPod to iTunes, I do think it's possible, although I can't back it up right now. Check the manual and see if it doesn't provide a clue.

On an unrelated note, I'm something of a long-time-reader-first-time-commenter here. I don't know why it took a post like this to get me to comment. Probably because your posts are so complete and so well-written that I've never before felt that I had anything to add. I'm a 27-year-old guy that shares much of your existential angst and anxiety, and I've greatly benefitted from reading your thoughts and struggles for some time now. Apologies for lurking so long, and good luck with the iTunes issues.

Brett in North Carolina

Anonymous said...

i've lost a few live bootlegs the same way. frustrating!!!!!

but, i've no answers for you, just an e-shoulder to cry on.

KarlandBethany said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KarlandBethany said...

I would agree with Teddy that you should invest in another drive and backup your files to that periodically. XP Home does not have Microsoft Backup on it so you may just want to buy a backup package. That way you can automate it so you don't have to worry about anything uless you get errors in the logs. I'm going to be looking into this for my mother-in-law so I'll get you what I find out.

Question 1.
Well I don't have an iPod so the reverse transfer is not something I'm going to be able to help you with. I'll ask my buddy Dave he might have an answer.

Question 2.
I did the same thing so that my music wasn't on company property. To connnect iTunes to the new drive... from the controls Menu select "Preferences". Then select the "Advanced" tab. This tab has 3 sub tabs. The "General" tab will have the location of your iTunes Music folder. Just switch this setting over to the new location.

One Gotcha to look out for. I'm in the process of importing all my CD's into iTunes. One afternoon my laptop came off its docking station and disconnected my external drive. During that time iTunes was impatiant and defaulted back to my C:/ drive. I dind't know this and proceeded to fill up my C: drive with lots of music. I was able to copy them to my E: drive fairly easily but it did screw my system up for a while.


Anonymous said...

OK, Andy, I'll take a shot, even though I use iTunes on a Mac.

Karl is right about setting the location of the external drive so iTunes can find it.

As far as iPod to computer transfers, there are utilities out there that can do that. Officially you can't, but other bright young people have figured it out. Try a Google search.

You may not need to do this, though. If you successfully transferred your music to the hard drive and can see it when you look at my computer or whatever, then you should be okay.

In iTunes, click File>Add to Library and navigate to where your music is. You should be able to select your music this way, although it's time consuming. For example, you may see iTunes Library>Sufjan Stevens> and several album titles. With luck you can choose Sufjan and get everything. With less luck, you'll have to select each album individually. When you do this, iTunes adds the music into the program. And no, it doesn't make another copy of the music, taking up additional drive space. It's just making the link so it's recognized.

Hope this helps. By the way, the post about your friend the other day was excellent. My students were probably wondering about the tears in my eyes, but so be it. Keep up the great writing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy, I know I'm not the Karl you were referring to in your post, but I thought I'd point you to a couple software apps that will let you transfer files from your iPod to your Windows PC. I know there is at least one free one out there somewhere, but I can't seem to find it tonight. Anyway, these two are budget priced, so they might be worth a look: PodUtil and Anapod Explorer. I've had to rescue music from my own iPod a few times, so I can imagine the anxiety you must be feeling. I hope you're able to save those songs!

Jon said...

Use System Restore if you can. Should work like a charm.

Otherwise, PodUtil is an easy-to-use program that'll fix you right up.

e said...

the last two comments were right on the mark, but PodUtil has gone wonky on me before and erased the contents on both the ipod and the computer.

try anapod explorer, but follow the directions exactly or you will quickly lose everything.

Andy T said...

Your iPod should be configured to show up as a usb hard drive. You should be able to browse to your music through windows explorer.

If it doesn't show up as a drive by default, the iPod support pages have a pretty good list of things to try.

Your music might still be on your hard drive. If you ripped a bunch of it before using iTunes/iPod, iTunes may have left your music in its original folder. I'd simply do a search for "*.mp3" or "*.aac" to see if anything shows up.

Also, there is a way to get iTunes to point to a new place. I'm more than happy to come out and help once I get back from the Great Plains.


Anonymous said...

Hello I have a question concerning how Itunes stores files. I brought an external hard drive for my music. I changed the location on where Itunes is suppose to look for my music and it was working fine no problems. However Itunes keeps reverting back to the C drive to find my music. which is causing problems because none of my files can be located. I went back and change the location back to my external drive but Itunes still could not located my files. I had to import my music all over again. Then go in and delete the entire music library of the files that Itunes couldn't located the first time. I have over 6000 songs. I thought the I had fixed the program but I tunes has once again reverted back to the c drive to find my music. This just started is there a way to fix this problem? Before I do another import is there a way to fix this problem.