Tip & How-To about Apple iPod Audio Players & Recorders

Transfer Ripped iTunes music from iPod to PC with blank itunes files (Hard drive replacement)

This works for moving "ripped" music files.

After having a second Hard drive failure in less than a year I thought it was impossible to copy my music from my iPod back onto my PC with a new Hard drive. I called Apple for assistance and was told songs on the Cloud could be transferred, but not tracks I had copied (Ripped) off my own personal CD's, then synced those to my iPod, and now wish to copy back to my PC. Apple told me I would have to re-rip them from the CD's. They stated it is not possible to copy or sync the iPod files back to the newly loaded iTunes on my PC. The PC was my master source for syncing my music to my iPod, iPad, and iPhone.

With over 4000 songs you can only image how long that might take. I would have to also go digging in the garage for all the CDs stashed away over the years in numerous boxes. What a secretive way to file the audio files, and a more frustrating answer to give to a customer with a problem. I now seemed to have stranded music on my iPod, iPad, and iPhone. It made me want to throw them all in the trash and start over with some other type of MP3 music storage.
These are only audio files and I knew there had to be a way, whether Apple would be kind enough to help was another story. I called Apple couple of times to different techs just to verify the answer was the same. They consistently claimed it was impossible.

So for those of you to have a drive failure on your PC that wipes out your master "ripped" music files...the PC you sync your other digital devices to upload your newly added iTunes files, there is a way. I have used this method successfully. It took hours of attempts and taking notes...back tracking if something didn't work. Here it is for you to save you the same headache.

COPY and TRANSFER iTunes Music Files from iPod into a blank iTunes just installed on your computer.
For use in case of a hard drive failure or uninstall/reinstall of iTunes, and you need to copy your ripped music from one of your portable devices, rather than reloading one CD at a time. This method copies your music files directly from the iPod, as a storage device, to the PC drive. I only tried it from an iPod. iPad works similar, but I have not attempted to see if the iPhone files are similarly formatted and accessible. Also this is detailed for a Windows 7 PC. I struggled to get it on my wife's Apple/Mac when she bought a new one. I am a PC hack, not Apple. The Mac was done on the fly and I didn't document the steps or take any notes.

***C A U T I O N Before starting or plugging anything in READ FIRST****

After a PC Hard drive replacement, or in the process of uninstalling, and newly installing iTunes to your PC, your music files will not exist there. If you plug an iPod, iPad, iPhone etc into that computer without disabling "sync" first, the PC most likely will overwrite your other device that might have contained all your music (your backup source) to this point. The PC which has just had iTunes loaded, is basically a shell with no music files, and it will sync that blank info over top of your portable device music files. In effect erasing that portable devices music files. You would then loose your music files there as well. Ask me how I know this! Make sure you turn off the sync in iTunes on your PC before plugging the portable device in for even an instant! Failure to follow this important step will result in a permanent loss of your backup data.

Find the Path that iTunes uses to store music files on the computer you wish to manually transfer files to (Target computer).
Open iTunes on this target computer
On PC
upper left corner click the little down triangle.
From popup select "Preferences"
Then select "Advanced"
Copy/write down the "iTunes Media folder location" (Path) *I Copy and paste it to Word or Note pad
On Apple iMac Computer
Upper Left iTunes tool bar click "iTunes"
Select "Preferences"
Then select "Advanced"
Copy/write down the "iTunes Media folder location" (Path)
This Path info will be needed in a later step. If you pasted it to Word or Note Pad it is useful later and avoids errors.

While in iTunes on the target computer turn off Auto Sync to avoid having the iPod open when plugged in. Failure to complete this important step will result in data loss on your other device that is to become your backup source.
On PC
upper left corner click the little down triangle.
From popup select "Preferences"
Then select "Devices"
Check the box for "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically
On Apple iMac Computer
Upper Left iTunes tool bar click "iTunes"
From popup select "Preferences"
Then select "Devices"
Check the box for "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically
Be sure to go into iTunes and shut off syncing on (multiple iTunes users if applicable)
Then exit out of iTunes on computer. Make sure iTunes is completely closed

On PC (to copy the music files to transfer)
Plug in iPod into USB port of computer (you will need to find it as a storage device)
Go to "my Computer" or WINDOWS KEY+E
Click on iPad device icon that should be showing up as a Device/Storage (May have to reboot to detect?)
Folders appear but not your music. There is a "hidden" folder that contains your music
Alt+T to make your Windows Toolbar menu appear (if it isn't already)
Select Tools
Folder Options
View
On the list find Hidden Files and folders
Click "show hidden files and folders"
A new folder should appear "ipod_control" (folder is faded to indicate a hidden folder)
Click on the "ipod_control" folder to open it
Find the "music folder" and click on it
You will see a list of iTune files of your music (i.e. F00, F01, F02~) These F00, F01, F02~ files are the normally hidden files. They are not MP3 and F00 will contain multiple song files, F01 will contain mor multiple song files, and so on.

On PC to move the music files
Shrink your screen so you can see your current screen, and your desktop at the same time
Right click on your desktop and create a "NEW" "FOLDER" and name it "music"
Open your new "music" folder
Minimize it (shrink it) so the iTunes music folder and your newly created "music" folder are both visible
Move your cursor to the open iTunes music files click once and then CTRL+A (Copy ALL shortcut)
All the iTunes music files should be highlighted at this point
Drag the iTunes highlighted files into the other open "music" folder you created
Wait for all the files to transfer. Depending on how many files you have this can take some time
Close the window you have open with the iTune Music Files (iPod)
Minimize your "music" folder
You should now be looking at your open desktop and see the little music folder icon
Open iTunes (the actual program)
On iTunes go to EDIT, then Preferences, then Advanced,
Make sure your "iTunes Music folder location is set to
C:\Users\Your User Name Desktop\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media (or whatever your default: What you should have found in the initial steps above and copied to word)
Click the box for:Keep iTunes Music Folder organized
Click OK
Minimize iTunes
Open up the Default iTunes path you used above (C:\Users\Your user name Desktop\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media ) If there is a "music" folder existing it may be a residue file picked up when you loaded iTunes. Rename this possibly existing folder musicOLD or something similar and drag it off onto your desktop just in case you need it.
Drag your "music" folder (you created from iPod files) on your desktop into the open iTune window C:\Users\Your user name Desktop\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media folder in this example case. This creates path C:\Users\Your user name Desktop\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\music
Right click on the "music" folder you just added
Select Properties and uncheck the Hidden File box. Click apply
Open iTunes Program and click FILE (to find FILE you might have to click the down triangle upper left and select "Show menu bar"
Click ADD FOLDER TO LIBRARY. Select Music. Or "AUTOMATICALLY ADD" or get to the actual MP3 song level and copy each iTunes folder of music over.
itunes will start converting the files and they will show in your PC iTune song lists. Once all copied files have been added unplug your iPod.

Note: The hidden music files can also be copied from a computer iTunes files to a flash drive or portable external hard drive. Then transferred to another target computer iTunes folder using similar techniques. If when attempting to view the files on the portable storage they don't show, remember to un-hide again. They may show as folders like F00 F01 F02, etc.
To add these songs to an iPhone or iPad first get them into iTunes on a computer and working there.
Be sure to sign into the proper Apple ID user account before beginning to change setting or sync options
Be sure to be signed into the Apple ID account that matches the device you will sync
Open up the Computer with iTunes and go back in and turn the sync feature back on by removing the check in the box
On PC
upper left corner click the little down triangle.
From popup select "Preferences"
Then select "Devices"
UN-Check the box for "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically
On Apple iMac Computer
Upper Left iTunes tool bar click "iTunes"
From popup select "Preferences"
Then select "Devices"
UN-Check the box for "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically
Plug your iPad, iPod, iPhone into the target computer with the loaded files in iTunes . iTunes and the device should sync
Do not shut down or disconnect the device until the sync process is complete
Once complete, disconnect the device from the computer.

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Thanks and please take a moment to give this answer a rating of fixya. Thanks :c)

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