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(Surprised I didn't already find an answer here to this!)

I've got a computer on which I'd like to back up the iTunes library – music, movies, apps, everything. We're talking multiple gigabytes.

Unfortunately, it seems that iTunes' own built-in "Back Up to Disc" feature (the only backup feature I can find in iTunes) only functions with a CD or DVD writer/burner. The computer in question does not have a DVD burner. While it has a CD burner, attempting to back up to CDs would require dozens of discs plus more time than I'm willing to spend swapping them. So:

What is the recommended way to back up an entire iTunes library on a Windows computer, to a non-CD/DVD location such as an external hard drive or a network shared folder?

Then, once such a backup has been performed, what is the process for restoring the library – e.g. after the computer has been repaved with a new version of Windows – so that iTunes is resurrected whole and recognizes devices it syncs with?

Thank you!

share|improve this question
have you tried exporting your iTunes library? (and "import" for restoration.) i expect that's the option you're looking for. i don't use itunes so someone else will have to supply details. – quack quixote Jun 6 '10 at 17:20
Thanks - yes, I did try Library...Export Library and that yielded a single Library.xml file of 3.46 MB. Looks like it is just an XML index that gets exported. – Chris W. Rea Jun 6 '10 at 18:24
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here's a guide on how to do so from apple.

share|improve this answer
Excellent link. Thank you. I had originally only seen the other one about "Back Up to Disc". – Chris W. Rea Jun 6 '10 at 18:25
@Chris W. Rea: So, are you accepting the answer from Daisetsu? – Xavierjazz Jun 6 '10 at 18:56
I will, once I can confirm it worked for me. – Chris W. Rea Jun 6 '10 at 19:47
Confirmed it works. One tip: Notice you need to press SHIFT when loading iTunes to have it prompt for a library location to load. – Chris W. Rea Jun 14 '10 at 15:44

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