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So a friend's PC has a virus that we can't get rid of, so I'm planning to re-format the hard drive and re-build it from scratch.

Its running Windows XP SP3, and they have iTunes with a whole load of music that they bought from the iTunes store. Some of it, I think, was bought in the days when iTunes still applied DRM to the music files.

Once I have re-built the PC and copied the music back on, I want to make sure the music still plays.

Presumably just copying the iTunes library to an external drive is not enough

What do I have to do to make sure DRM music will still play after re-building the machine? Is there some sort of official iTunes backup method to handle this?

edit: Also, how can I tell whether music in the iTunes library is DRM'd or not?

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DRM'd iTunes songs have the file extension .m4p which is an abbreviation for MPEG 4 AAC audio Protected (DRM). Non-DRM'd iTunes music and music from elsewhere in the MPEG 4 AAC format uses the extension .m4a or .mp4 or .aac – therobyouknow Dec 20 '09 at 17:13
up vote 3 down vote accepted

First simply backup the iTunes Music folder. Deactivate the current PC in iTunes before you format. Format. Install iTunes. Run iTunes and then activate iTunes. Exit iTunes and copy over your old iTunes Music folder. All of your music should index, play, and be able to sync to his iPod/iPhone.

Also, if this is someone who very rarely formats, you can call Apple and authorize a 1 time re-download of all music that they've purchased.

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That sounds encouraging that you can call Apple and get a re-download: I lost many of my iTunes songs from a hard-drive crash and am pleased to learn that such a service exists. – therobyouknow Dec 20 '09 at 17:11
Just remember it is one time only. – Juice Dec 20 '09 at 17:54
Yup, 1 time only, and make sure your sob story is convincing. – phoebus Dec 20 '09 at 18:29

If you are not in a country that has a DMCA or equivalent legislation, download "Requiem" for your current version of iTunes and strip the DRM from the files. If you are in a country with DMCA-like legislation that prevents the removal of DRM from files, then you are best to follow the advice of Luminose.

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