How do I transfer my iTunes library to a new computer? [ASK MR. NOOBIE]

iPod TouchQUESTION: Hi – do you know if there is a way to transfer an iTunes account from one computer to another to prevent deleting all the songs stored on an iPod? – Cathy from Greenwood, Indiana

ANSWER: Before I answer your question, let me get some of you up to speed who may not understand what Cathy is asking.

iPods are set to specifically synchronize with one computer. So if all of your music is stored on computer A and that is the one your iPod syncs with, when you hook your iPod up to computer B, iTunes will ask you if you want to switch your synchronzation to computer B. If you choose yes and computer B has an empty iTunes library, iTunes will proceed to delete all of the songs on your iPod. After all, iTunes thinks this is what it is supposed to do.

This scenario most commonly comes in to play when people purchase a new computer. Instead of copying their iTunes library over from the old computer to the new computer, they just hook their iPod up to the new computer and assume (incorrectly) that the music from their iPod will reverse transfer to the new computer, thus re-populating their iTunes library. But as I explained earlier, this is not what iTunes does.

The solution

The solution is to copy the entire iTunes library folder from your old computer to an external storage device such as an external USB hard drive. Then from the external USB hard drive, copy the iTunes library folder to the new computer.

I would give you step by step instructions on how to do this but this is one of those times when someone (Apple) has already done a great job documenting the entire process.

So use this link and follow all three steps (Consolidating Your iTunes library, Copy iTunes folder to your external drive and Restoring your iTunes Library backup).

And remember by using an external drive, you are technically creating a backup of your iTunes library. So if something goes wrong and you end up deleting all of your music off of your iPod, you should be able to sync it back to your iPod once you have your library set up again on your new computer.

Do you have a question for Mr. Noobie®? Submit your question here.