Transfer iTunes Library and KEEP RATINGS!?!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Blazer5913, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. Blazer5913 macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    Hey guys, quick question. I am getting ready to perform a clean install on my MBP, as I feel its just getting really really cluttered with things slowing it down a bit, so I almost want to start over. Yet, I need to keep my music, photos, documents, ect. I obviously know how to put my songs from one computer to another, but I can't seem to find a good way to keep the ratings? I NEED to keep these, as they've accumulated over the years and are the basis for alot of my playlists. I also have Time Capsule (using Time Machine) if this helps. Any ideas guys? Thanks
  2. nadyne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2004
    Mountain View, CA USA
  3. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    I would backup to DVDs, or to a portable HDD.

    To back up to a portable HDD, go into your "Music" folder, and copy the "iTunes" folder. Paste it on the other HDD and it should copy all contents of your iTunes library

    Otherwise, you'll need to backup to DVD, and preserve the library. What I did was:

    -Create Playlists in iTunes, and dragged a range of artists into it (ex: Artists A-D) If the total size of all that music was around or just over 3GB, I wrote that down in a text file for reference. Disc 1 - A - D.

    -Once I determined the correct amounts of music to put on each DVD, I created burn folders for each one naming them accordingly. "Music A-D" "Music E-G" etc...

    I navigate to Music/iTunes/iTunes Music and select all artist folders from A-D, and drag it to the correct burn folder. I continue until all my music is ready to be backed up. Be careful when selecting artist folders in "P" or "M", because iTunes holds all podcasts in a folder named "Podcasts" which lies within the "iTunes Music" folder. The same goes for "Movies"

    If you have movies or podcasts, I suggest you back those up separately.

    Now. I insert my 4.5GB DVDs and begin burning each burn folder to disc. You may wonder why if I have 4.5GB DVDs, then why don't I use the full space so it doesn't take 6 DVDs for music alone. The answer is simple. I keep that text file for reference when I back up music, and if I were to add more music to a certain range, it would throw the discs off. I keep extra space on the DVDs so that more music can be added to it in the future, and I won't have to do all the size determining next time.

    Now the most important part. You have backed up the music, now you need to step back and burn the folder named "iTunes".


    -Remember not to select the "iTunes Music" folder when you burn the contents of this folder. This has already been done in chunks.

    Burn the library files and you're all set.

    Copy everything back the way it was prior to burning it after you format. Open iTunes, and it will read the library file that you placed in it's default directory. All playlists, songs, artwork, everything -- it will all be intact.

    This means to go into your "iTunes" folder, and replace everything there with the burned copies. Then select the "iTunes Music" folder and copy the artist folders back in there.
  4. Blazer5913 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    thank you very much for the responses. I know how to transfer my music from one library to another (ipod, hdd, dvd's) but this doesn't keep the song ratings... any help?
  5. kajitox macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    If you can do this, I highly recommend it as it is the easiest way to do it. I did this a couple of days ago and to my surprise every setting was still there, as if I had touched nothing. It even left my play counts, which I approve of. Haha...
  6. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    it's all stored in the library files located in


    Inside that directory lies the iTunes library file, Artwork folder, library XML file, other database files, and the "iTunes Music" folder.

    I burn the contents of the music folder bit by bit to DVD, to preserve their structure that iTunes has sorted them in, and then I burn the library files.

    All the ratings, all the art work, all the gapless playback information -- everything you had done in iTunes should be the way you had it before you re-formatted.

    I back up to DVDs, and to portable HDD as to not lose my music. I do it manually, and preserve the library so I don't have to wait 3 hours to have it all re-sorted, and to find all the artwork again.
  7. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Honestly the easiest way is to use the Setup/Migration Assistant when OS X is reinstalled. Because you have a Time Machine Backup you should have 0 problems getting all your media and apps back just like you had them.

    I did this when my PB wouldn't boot and I reinstalled OS X. It brought back everything just like I had it.

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