How to transfer iTunes songs from one computer to another

Move iTunes songs from one computer to another

So you have iTunes music on two computers and want to consolidate? It's happened to me, too. Bought a new computer, and also downloaded music on my work computer. Thought I could transfer them to my main computer at home with my iPhone. No such luck. But you can move songs legally and not run into problems with Apple or iTunes (in fact, an Apple rep is the one who told me how to do it). Here's how you do it.

Transfer iTunes music from one computer to next

If you are moving your music from, let's say, your home computer, to your work computer (so you can listen to music at work), then first, go to your home computer and move your iTunes library to recordable media, meaning a CD (if you have a CD burner), DVD (if you have a DVD burner), or flash drive (if you have one of those).

  1. Go to your iTunes Music folder on your computer.
    Windows: (Documents & Settings > [your username] > )My Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Music
    Mac: [your home folder] > Music > iTunes > iTunes Music
  2. Copy this entire folder to a CD, DVD or flash drive. You could try zipping it and emailing it if you only have a song or two, but anything beyond that, and it will be too large.
  3. At your second (recipient) computer, insert the CD, DVD or flash drive.
  4. Open iTunes
  5. Choose File > Add to Library...
  6. Select the iTunes Music folder in your recordable media in the dialog box
  7. Give it a few minutes to import all the files
  8. Done!

Still having trouble? Try this.

Before you begin adding files/folders to your library from another PC or a portable device or a network location, check the Copy Files setting in your iTunes. By default, adding items to your iTunes library places a pointer (a link only) to each file in the iTunes folder; it does not actually copy the song. According to iTunes Help, the original file remains in the current location (which would be your flash drive or whatever).

So, before starting the import, do this: From the Edit menu in iTunes, select Preferences and then click Advanced. Put a check in the the "Copy files" check box. From this point on, when you Add files or folders, iTunes will actually copy your music files to your new PC and not just a link back to the original location.

If this procedure does not work, then follow steps 1-3 above but these following steps afterwards:

4. Copy the entire folder of music files to your computer's hard drive. This could take a few minutes, depending on how many files you have.
5. Open iTunes.
6. Choose File > Add to Library...
7. Select the iTunes Music folder on your computer's hard drive in the dialog box.
8. Wait a few minutes for iTunes to complete importing all the files.
9. Voila!

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Comments 253 comments

jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 8 years ago from Scotland

cool, a lot easier than i thought, thanks for sharing this livelonger.....jimmy

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks Jimmy! It is pretty easy. Not sure why Apple doesn't allow you to use your iPhone or iPod to do the same thing!

Veronica Bright profile image

Veronica Bright 8 years ago from Nebraska

Good job! Thanks

monitor profile image

monitor 8 years ago from The world.

Now that is quite easy. Thanks.

Your fan.


gredmondson 8 years ago

Thanks, Livelonger.

somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 8 years ago from Las Vegas

OMG - you are my hero! Recent computer crash and I'm all kinds of confused about getting my life back on the box that holds my computer. Bless you!

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great advice. I also found out that when I got a new computer that files I had purchased from ITunes were reloaded once I plugged in my Ipod.

davidbelden profile image

davidbelden 8 years ago from San Francisco

Thanks! I have about 36G of music on an external hard-drive that is linked up with my itunes on my home PC. Sounds like I can just plug it into my work Mac (if the external drive works with the Mac, which I'm not sure it will) and voila. I'll have to try it soon.

PlayaNorte profile image

PlayaNorte 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

thanks for the tips, i was always wondering how to do that. For some reason some of my older itunes music comes up as "not found" so maybe i can just export it to my new laptop to see if it works.

olivia  8 years ago

i did this but when i take the flash drive out and try to play the songs i added it says it cannot find the folder and therefore will not work. what do i need to change? could it be a prob that one comp is mac and my laptop is not?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

olivia: Not sure what's going on. Maybe after you do the Add to Library step, play each song just once, before you disconnect the flash drive. Let me know if that works.

Linc2010 profile image

Linc2010 8 years ago from Whiting, IN USA

Very Cool! I asked this question just today! Talk about the universe aligning! Thank You!

kiera 8 years ago

whatre we supposed to do if you have like thousands of songs? i tried to put it on a cd but it couldn't hold all of my music

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Hi Kiera - Then you'll have to do it via an external hard drive. You can buy one with 100 MB for less than $50 nowadays.

Tobis 8 years ago

Olivia. you need to drag and drop from your flash drive to a folder on your computer, then copy the songs from there into your itunes.

By only copying from your flash drive to your itunes library, only the song title data is transferred and itunes is accessing the music files directly off the flash drive. once can no longer access it.

hope that helps

Nicole Winter profile image

Nicole Winter 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

Hey, guys... would you happen to know any way to move the songs on your IPOD into your ITUNES library?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Nicole - I heard about a piece of software called iDump that can take things off your iPod and add them to your computer. Not sure if there's another step after that to pull it into iTunes but I'd google iDump and see where it leads you...

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Thanks for the info. It's just what I needed today.

Hub-Ninja profile image

Hub-Ninja 8 years ago from in the midwest somewhere

there is also a program called tune tools for ipod that can help get stuf off your ipod and put it on a computer. it works as a great back-up system.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

The problem comes between XP and Vista. I have had a terrible time doing this. All my iTunes downloads are on CDs which will not upload to vista iTunes. and it's not the CDs as they were burned, tested once, and never touched again.

Andy 8 years ago

Thanks!!!i can finally steal my stepdads music... Mwahahahahaha

meteoboy profile image

meteoboy 8 years ago from GREECE


mbod 8 years ago

THANKS A MILLION... FINALLY I can transfer my music to my laptop!

Bruce Elkin profile image

Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

Thanks, livelonger. I transfer music from my iMac to my iBook via an ethernet connection, but I have friend who has an ipod that's registered to his ex, and would like to transfer the tunes to his MacBook. Maybe this technique will help him. I hope so!

tony 8 years ago

but if i have 5,000 songs. How man ycd;'s would be neede?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Songs are typically 3-5 MB and a CD holds just shy of 700 MB. I strongly suggest borrowing an external hard drive 50+ GB. You can buy them for relatively cheap, too. (I got a 250 GB hard drive for $60)

mikebell 8 years ago

hey i just got an iphone, but have never owned an ipod, so i have never had itunes. my wife has 5000ish songs on her itunes. can i use this method to copy her songs and put them on my computer for when i register my own copy of itunes? what does anyone suggest?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Mikebell: I think with your iPod & iTunes you can authorize up to 5 computers. In your copy of iTunes, read the documentation on authorizing your computer with her account, so you can transfer songs without a hitch.

Mikebell 8 years ago

will that mess her up if she gets an iphone as well?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Mikebell: Not sure. I believe the authorization has to do with an iTunes account. I don't know if you're allowed up to 5 "devices" (including iPods, iPhones and computers) or if that's limited to computers only.

Mikebell 8 years ago

livelonger: thank you for all of the timely responses and patience. i guess my last question would be this: if i regester my own copy of itunes under my name on my computer, is there some kind of backdoor method to snagging her music? this way i can generate my own profile for my iphone and she can keep hers for when she gets an iphone as well?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

I think this would answer your question:

paws123 8 years ago

so I got all of my music transferred over onto my computer but now on some songs it but now is asks me to find each song. Is there an easier way to do this or did i do something wrong?

thanks for your help!

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

paws123: try the "Add to Library" link in the File menu. You should be able to designate the folder where you have all your imported songs in as an iTunes library, so that it will import everything in that folder into your main iTunes library.

Emily 8 years ago

I've tried that exact thing, but nothing happens when I click open. Could it have something to do with the fact that I'm switching from a Mac to a laptop with Windows? Any tips for me?

jim 8 years ago

all my songs i transferred said it could be not played because the orignial file could not be found and would like to know if i want to locate it. I have already authorized the computer. now what

misskerry 8 years ago

Thank you so much . . . you are my hero. The directions on the itunes support site were impossible. I was able to use my external hard drive and move 5GB of music!

Jessica Knox 8 years ago

THANK YOU!! Thought I was going crazy trying to figure it out through ITunes support. Clicking, dragging or copying straight out of itunes does not work. Going through the start menu, to my documents, to itunes folder worked marvelously!

tyler 8 years ago

thank you, the people at buest buy are stupid they told me to email it to me. it works but you half to import every song by clicking on them.i have over 500 songs so it would of taken along time. thanks again

Kahlan 8 years ago

Hey i have an Acer Laptop with around 51 songs i Purchased off the Itunes store. Just in case i need to explain - They are the songs you buy for $1.69 on itunes store. Anyway. I have about 51 songs from there and i am getting an Alienware Area-51 desktop. I am 90% sure the Aleinware Desktop comes with Vista.

So if i want them on my desktop itunes what do i do. I have a couple of diferent ideas. Please tell me if they will work.

1. Is they any chance that when I log into my itunes acount on my desktop it will allow me to download straight away?

2. Do i need to find all those songs again (On itunes store) and instead of paying $1.69 they will allow me to download for free?

Please if anyone with the knowlage i am searching for could help me out i would be very very greatfull!!

JR Sanchez 8 years ago

You saved my life with this Hub Page. Why are you so awesome??

jubcity94 8 years ago

thnx, this way worked best for me!

Annac425 8 years ago

Thank you soo much for this!I have a question though...once i finish transfering all of my music onto my laptop...can i just plug in my ipod? like everything will be okay??

ashie 8 years ago

hello there.

i have an ipod nano which i registered onto itunes on my old computer, which has now died. i have itunes on my new computer and i signed into my itunes account and downloaded some more things. i can't get the new downloaded stuff on my ipod cause my ipods registered on the old computer!! somebody please help :( i hope i haven't wasted my money..

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Ashie: You should be allowed to designate 5 computers max to each iTunes account - to activate more, you have to deactivate some of the others so that only 5 are activated at any one time. If you can't deactivate your dead computer, then contact Apple and ask them what you should do.

TOaD 8 years ago

Starting to get worried. the Best Buy Gizmoids or whatever thay are called did a "data transfer" from an older Windows XP computer to a new Windows VISTA computer. I am now trying to find 1000+ itune songs (Documents and Settings, My Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Music) with no luck...After reading Tylers comments i am wondering if i have to go back to square 1; i.e. burn tunes to DVD off old computer - which semi-crashed; then add files to library on new computer?

RS 7 years ago

My hard drive crashed but I had all my music backed up on external. I reinstalled itunes and imported no problem...but when I go to transfer the songs to my new iphone I get the "no-go" icon / circle with slash. What gives? Any ideas why this happens and how I can just transfer the music that I bought and own? Thanks.

Sam Scott 7 years ago

life saver thanks sooooo much!!

hasaquery 7 years ago

will it have all the album artwork, the playcounts, and stuff like that?

Lauren 7 years ago

Thanks for the tip! Just wondering: I have videos and apps that I want to transfer too. Would those also go onto my flash drive if I did what you said?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco Author

Lauren: I don't see why not! Give it a try and let us know if, for whatever reason, it doesn't work.

Mellow 7 years ago

Thanks this helped a lot :D

Thankful 7 years ago

Thanks so much! So logical! So helpful! Thanks a lot!!

Logan 7 years ago


Lauren 7 years ago

Okay so I just plugged my touch into my new computer. It transferred all my perchased music/videos/apps:]

Lex 7 years ago

I did this transfer thing from my dell pc to my new macbook pro.. it did transfer about 900 out of 1000 of them in the Music file on itunes. but below that, where it says Lex's Music under the shared drop box, all of the songs appear and play. is there a way i can get all of the songs to go onto my itouch?

Lex 7 years ago

wait,, do how i get rid of the shared part on my my itunes, i have the songs i want in my library

Brittany 7 years ago

What if the music is from limewire.. will it still transfer? or do they have to be purchased songs through itunes? my friend is trying to transfer her music to a new laptop, and we cant figure out how to get them on there.

thanks for all the help!

Alec 7 years ago

If you put all of the songs onto a flash drive, would you still have them on the first computer?

Alec (Again) 7 years ago

If you do have an answer for me, please send me an e-mail...


Another 7 years ago

Another way is to do it by msn

Evan 7 years ago

HELP! I moved all my songs from my work computer to a flash drive and then tried to add all of those songs to my itunes and they all added just fine but now every single one of them that I play are static all the way through the song...Why is it doing this??? What is going on???

multiple dimension 7 years ago

my simple way is to using thrid party software=Aniosoft iBackup, it enables you to transfer iPod's music and other content to any storage device and iTunes as well. And both the backup in the storage device can be recovered and restored with no any change and no any risk.And the data in the iTunes is quite in accord with the iPod's data including its playlists,rating and etc.

Meghan  7 years ago

my old laptop is a Compaq but my new one is a mac. Ive tried this method and my new itunes wont recognize anything on my flash drive. it refuses to download. how can i fix this?

Makiki 7 years ago

Thanks SOO MUCH! u just like saved my life!!! GOod stuff!

Lucy 7 years ago

You forgot to mention that this does not work with an external hardrive if you are moving music from a windows to a mac exceeding 4GB

Jennifer 7 years ago

I had a large number of songs as well as tv series on my laptop that I wanted to be able to access on my desktop as well. The only way I could figure out to do it is by transfering purchases from my iPod to my desktop, I had to do this multiple times because my iPod wouldn't hold everything all at once. My new desktop was one of my authorized computers, I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not.

Laura 7 years ago

That's very useful. Would this still work if I was moving a selection of songs from iTunes 7 to another computer with iTunes 8? Because I can't upgrade the computer with iTunes 7 because viruses got everything and crashed the computer. And you see, I got an iPod nano, and this one requires iTunes 8, so would this still work?

Sue B 7 years ago

Thank you so very much. I just bought a new computer and you were a life saver. While it took quite a while to copy my music over to the flash drive on my old computer, it was much less time and effort than reloading a CD at a time.

I am happily listening to my music as I write this.

Many thanks,


Hamster 7 years ago

I have tried this many of times with my flash drive but as soon as i remove the flash drive, it doesn't let me play the songs. Any Help?

fangbanger 7 years ago

it works but once you remove your flash drive the files wont play on your itunes from the flash drive

Brian 7 years ago

I just bought my daughter a macbook pro to replace a dell laptop and we are trying to transfer her itunes music from the dell to the mac. She has a 250 gig HD and I opened her music file and copied the music folder and the artwork folder to the HD. It shows that all 2600 songs went into the file but when I tranferes it to itunes only 1489 show up on her mac. Any idea what the problem may be or how to rectify it?

Annic 7 years ago

Thanks for the trick, if I may add, how about connecting the two computer with firewire (Mac) restart the old computer with the letter "t" down as it restarts, so the new mac see the old mac as a hard drive. Then just copy the folder as you sugested. I did it today.

On an other note if you what to bypass the 5 computer limit with purchaced itunes music, burn a music CD (if you have lots of music from itunes this may take some time) then put the CD in your new mac open itunes go to menu/ file/ add a library (on older version of itunes it's called import) this will import the music, the new mac should see this music it just like a regular CD so no 5 mac limit! voila

Achim 7 years ago

Thank you very much, great.

Achim from Germany

Thomas 7 years ago

Wow, thanks. I was stressing about if I have to re-buy them. o-o

Joe 7 years ago

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I was having the same problem as some of the others with the transferred music it would not play asking me if I wished to locate the original file. But doing it your way resolved it and your directions are easy to follow for someone like me who is not computer savvy. May God bless you Livelonger.

Mary 7 years ago

So, if I want to take all of the songs in my Itunes Library and place them on a Flash Drive so I can free up that huge amount of memory the songs are taking up on my harddrive, if I ever need to restore them on my Ipod, I'd just need to copy them from the Flash Drive to a folder in Itunes on my Ibook? No need for them to actually remain on my harddrive in my Itunes?

nan 7 years ago

This was very helpful and clear...thanks!


Craig 7 years ago

I've tried copying the files as you suggested but i just get a message saying "Windows encountered a problem when trying to copy this folder. What do you want Windows to do?" Retry, Skip or Cancel.

I know what i would like Windows to do....

tOo Kwl 4U 7 years ago

Bless u sir!

woookie 7 years ago

on my old computer i have an extremely large itunes library. most of the songs on my list are not even on my computer but are only on my ipod, and they have that gray " ! " in iTunes so it's sort of there, but doesn't take it off of my ipod. If i delete them from my list where it has the " ! " will it take it off my ipod? and how do i transfer if it has that? and if some music isn't on my new computer then will it delete it off of my ipod? how do you remove music from an ipod??

Jyaneko 7 years ago

Does this work for Mac OS X Snow Leopard ?

Jyaneko 7 years ago

WHoops, please let me elaborate, does iDump work on Mac OSX Snow Leopard? Or is that software only for Windows?


Jessica 7 years ago

Great advice, thank you!

But I am transferring it all right now, and my iTunes has had a busy mouse pointer for over an hour or two... does that mean it's just taking a while or is there something wrong?

kat 7 years ago

omggggggggg thanks so much! i got a new laptop and have been trying to transfer all my itunes songs onto it and had no luck... until now! whaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddddddup!

Ellie 7 years ago

TOOOO EASY!!! thank you this was brilliant. and i went from PC to Mac no issue.

love it.,

lola 7 years ago

livelonger, thank you sooooo much. i was stressing over this for awhile. your instructions were a miracle! by far the best and easiest i've found. again, thank you so much.

Confused♥ 7 years ago

but i have over 2,000 songs how is that gonna work

Helpme99 7 years ago

What happens if your computer crashed? How can i transfer music from my ipod to itunes?


enternallygrateful 7 years ago

I think I may love you just a little bit. Thank you so much for this! You have no idea how stressed I've been about getting my music safely transferred (or I'm guessing you actually do).

This was so easy! Thanks a bunch! You saved my sanity!

Naz 7 years ago

Thanks mate!

;alsdkfjl;sdkf 7 years ago

Thanks, that really helped!!!!

jake 7 years ago

I just got a new notebook and transferred all of my data from the old to the new (mac to mac) via a firewire. For some reason the music did not transfer, is there a way to do this using a firewire?

Kella 7 years ago

thank you so much!

i was worrying about all of this!

i was thinking someone would make a joke about all of this when really, people like me need help with this.

again thank you!

hanahiva 7 years ago

lifesaver, thankyou!

lina 7 years ago

omg thank you so much!!!

you're the only person who knows how to do it correctly!!! the people at the genius bar in apple told me how to do this, but i forgot some steps


Lea-Ann 7 years ago

thank you so much, this is the only way to transfer this, it didn't take anytime at all.....yippee!!!

Jenn 7 years ago

Thank you!! This was too easy to follow....all the other websites were confusing.

Leah 7 years ago

hi! thank you for making this easier, but I'm still having a hard time moving the music. I moved the music by an external hard-drive and it is now on my new PC, but instead of uploading all the music like the instructions said it would, it makes me open each folder to get the music and when I try uploading the music to iTunes, it doesn't appear. Any ideas why? Thanks!!

Sanjayk 7 years ago

thanks for the tip. I copied the music across which was great but did not succeed with the playlists. Just looking at how to do that now

mary 7 years ago

Thanks so much for this. I'm wondering, would I also be able to transfer those files between my two itunes accounts?

jenn 7 years ago

I have my songs on a flashdrive i put it in my new computer turn on itunes and click on the file and there is no add to library option! What am i doing wrong? help

Aaron 7 years ago

Thanks for using your dipstick Jimmy!! lol. thanks, i tried putting it all on cds, but i didn't know that i can do this. i have an 8 gb flashdrive and its really easy.Thanks!!

ronald mcdonzees 7 years ago

how do u save it on to a flash drive

plez help

jo 7 years ago

will i still have my music on my original computer?

asdfjkl; 7 years ago

Jo- just copy and paste to your media, it doesn't change anything on the original computer

Ronald-as above just copy and paste worked for me

One important part, which may be with the new itunes is to copy the file to itunes, do this by choosing the edit>preferences>Advanced Tab and make sure to check "Copy files to iTunes when adding to library". This ensures once your remove your media, itunes has a copy to play.

Jennifer 7 years ago

My new computer is Windows 7 and my old one is not. It isn't working for me, it keeps saying the folder cannot be found. Any sugestions for windows 7?!?! Thanks!!!

Tomkat 7 years ago

Thanks A ton I am not very good with this computer crap your post was a life saver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a little difficult for me but with all the other posts I got through it...Thanks Again!

kayleigh 7 years ago

my problem is my home pc bluescreened so its dead now. i thought i would use my grandmas pc with itunes intead hoping to keep all my old music and use the new i downloaded. it is a nightmare

Jessica 6 years ago

worked for me from windows XP to windows 7./ No problems had.

Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kristin  6 years ago

After spending many hours on this.. the solution to my problem was cutting off the firewalls. So simple, but didn't think about. ( Home sharing was recognizing one but not the other)

Chloe 6 years ago

just read the beginning of all these comments, and found myself with the same problem as 'olivia'. reading your replies has saved me A lot of hassle. THANKYOU:)

also, this tip is helpful for sharing music with friends & family, so you don't have to buy it :D

Mia 6 years ago

When i tried what you said, my songs didn't actually go into iTunes, but i don't know why??..................

Paul 6 years ago

iTunes allows one to create folders to help keep their songs organized. For instance, I have all of my Gangster Rap in a folder titled "Gangster", and all of my "Soft Rock" in a folder of that name. At the same time, I also have folders for each year of release, so a Gangster Rap song released in 1998 will appear in both my "Gangster" folder and my "1998" folder. So, my question is this... if I follow the above instructions, do you know if my folders be preserved, or will I have to reorganize everything from scratch?

karuna 6 years ago

thank you SOOO much! i had gone thru a few pages and articles for this and nothing was working, i was kinda starting to tear up a bit, very frustrating. I had the same problem as 'olivia' and 'chloe' but i figured out that if u copy it from ur thumb drive to ur desktop, and then import it from ur desktop it works fine.

Amanda 6 years ago

Absolutely Amazing!!!! Thanks so much

subthree 6 years ago

Brilliant. Just bought a new laptop and was getting frustrated - no longer. Worked perfectly first time!!!

Glen 6 years ago

That was easy!

Dana 6 years ago

Will this work if I'm moving the music from a PC to a Mac?

dwdwdwdw 6 years ago

Thx only took me 4 hours!

Christy 6 years ago

I followed the directions to a T, using an external drive, but only about 300 of 1500 songs came over. And, it was totally random, some full albums, some singles, and one album that was actually purchased on iTunes. Anyone have this happen where only a partial library comes over?

Christy 6 years ago

I figured out my own issue... For some reason all of my music files were going to a different folder on my computer that was hard to find. I did the same thing with the newly found folder, and all 18GB came over! The first time I did as Olivia did before and put it onto a new folder and then added that folder into itunes, this time, with the large size, I just copied it straight from the external drive and it worked great. Thanks again!

Grace 6 years ago

How do I copy iTunes onto a CD??

JoYz 6 years ago

will it work on a dvd-r?

needs to change computers 6 years ago

will this copy the names, artists, etc. to my itunes?

DB 6 years ago

How come when I copy onto a CD it doesn't copy the song names?

Addan Husted 6 years ago

I have a problem though, I downloaded song and I cant fined any of them and I have a bill to prove it and I cant fined my music anywere can someone help me if so contact me at and let me know what to do

mickey 6 years ago

does this remove music from computer number one??

tamsyn 6 years ago


are podcasts and movies included in that iTunes library file?

ljcottrell 6 years ago

thanks would be so much easier if itunes remembered the songs on your account and you can sign in on different computers, but this works too

jeepone 6 years ago

What if this doesn't work. I followed the directions exactly and the songs never transfer off the flash drive to my new pc iTunes. I have tried copying them to a desktop file first and then importing, but that doesn't work either.

still confused 6 years ago

can i then put the songs on my ipod from the second computer?

cici 6 years ago

my music was lost i need help i dont want to download all those songs again

danny g 6 years ago

very helpful thanks man

Jake 6 years ago

This doesn't work because once you remove your recordable media eg USB Disk, Cd the songs don't work when you add them to itunes

PhilK 6 years ago

This is why Apple sucks. They INTENTIONALLY make things harder than they need to be. And this only works now if you use the discs as the new Itues will not allow you to export to a hard drive.

needhelp 6 years ago

Okay, I did all of this, and all of the steps and such. But after when I copy and paste the music, it says the original file could not be found, and they want me to locate it. But when I play the song while the USB is still in the computer, it goes on smoothly. Can anyone help me?

Krystyn 6 years ago

If you're having trouble after you take out the flash drive it's because once you have the f;ash drive in, you need to copy everything on the flash drive into a new folder in your music folder. Then once you add the iTunes folder to your library, you exit out of iTunes, eject your flash drive, and try to play the songs you just added. If it asks to "locate", that's when you locate all your music in that folder that you previously copied eerything to. I had this problem and it took me forever to figure out how to fix it..

jimmy 6 years ago

thsnks a lot just got a new mac and wanted to sync my ipod to the mac and not the pc this helped a lot


Patty S 6 years ago

I do not have a File -- Add to Library option in my iTunes (version 9.1). I can choose "Add Folder to Library" or "Add File to Library". My problem is the same as Paul's: I have some of my music organized in folders by artist, and then just a whole bunch of individual music files. How to I do this and preserve my folders? For me, these instructions are not very clear.

Joe  6 years ago

Thank you very helpful

Someone 6 years ago

This helped me so much!!!! :D THANK YOU!!

doddo 6 years ago

Awesome. Thanks for the info, it helped heaps.

Laura 6 years ago

Thank you so much for the help! I've been freaking out because my cd burner is broken and I didn't know how to transfer my iTunes music to my current laptop! You're the best!

who8mahbacon 6 years ago

i kind of figured it would be this easy, the only problem is what if your itunes library takes up half of your computers drive, then it takes forever to tansfer, but i guess its worth the wait then losing all of my music =)

Mike Ryan 6 years ago

I got a new iMac and started fresh, created a new iTunes, added a ton of songs, but now I realize I want a lot of my old songs from my old iMac. If I use the method above, will it simply add the old songs or does it wipe out my current iTunes library and replace it with the old iTunes library?

G-Tal 6 years ago

Don't forget people that you can always use your iPod as an external hard drive and put tracks on there manually from within the folders (rather than via iTunes). You can then plug the iPod into your 2nd computer and load the tracks directly into your iTunes library ;-)

paul 6 years ago

This saved me hours of GRIEFFFFF!!! Thanks for the tip. You can also sync the Library so that it copies all the files into the default music folder and you wont have to have the flash drive plugged in all the time.

jon 6 years ago

what if you did not buy any of your songs off of itunes personally i did all my downloading from limewire would this process work if i copy my limewire library onto a flashdrive or something and do what you said for itunes but with limewire?

Chakravarthy 6 years ago

What if you have formated the home computer and trying to connect the device again to the same machine with out backup?

I'm facing this message that to erase my current songs and re-connect with the current itunes library..

Patrick Holt 6 years ago

Thank You sooo much. i have been trying to do this for months and i have wasted so much time but i finnaly got it now!!thank you!

me 6 years ago

thank you sooo much!!!!

Abasicuna (Cuna) 6 years ago

Works like charm. Thanks for sharing. I had my iTune Music backup on an external HD. Upon replacement of my HD, downloaded iTunes on the new hard drive, then transferred my old iTunes Music folder form the external HD to the iTunes folder of the new drive, thereby combining the two iTunes Music folders. However the music files did not automatic transfer to the iTunes Lib, I had to play a song to get it in, it could have been days to weeks to get all the songs in the Lib by this method, no time for such '99 method. But then, I open iTunes, choose file -> Add Folder to Library -> iTunes Music, and hit OK. Done, it works like magic.

missrarakitten 6 years ago

You saved my life... You are a legend.

cheergirl 6 years ago

wow! this is outstanding i never thought it would be so easy!! ow i can finally listen to my old music on my new compiter!

Rachel 6 years ago

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bro 6 years ago

thanks so much bro

SummerDays77 6 years ago

HELP!!! okay i had over 900 songs on my itunes a year a go and had no ipod or cd to put them on... my computer crashed and now i have a new itouch.. how do i load all of those songs onto the itouch?? someone please email me with help111 itd be much appreciated. Email:

whitewolf 6 years ago

i am moving music from my vista to my ibook g4 its not working plz help

thanks 6 years ago


... They have Home Sharing now. It works with up to 5 computers. 6 years ago

... Lol

Marcello  6 years ago

itunes library in the folder says its only 372 kb but i have 4 gb of music. is it supposed to be more than 372 kb?

Tom C 6 years ago

I just tried to move music from laptop to desktop following your instructions. It didn't work, I'm afraid. I think bossy Mr Jobs has found a way to stop it.

TrajicK profile image

TrajicK 6 years ago from GA, NYC

Great Article!! Thanks!!

BoneDadd 6 years ago

Worked like a charm. Thanx for the directions.

joe shmoe 6 years ago

I wanna upload songs from my aunts computer to my computer using a thumb drive. If i try your method, will the songs be saved on my hardrive or will i not be able to listen to them once i remove my thumb drive??

Ahnaf Ahmad 6 years ago

Hi! I just wanted to alert you people that the only items that will be transferred are those which have been bought on the recent iTunes that you have downloaded.

Carolina 6 years ago

But what if you bought a new computer and you bought the songs from the itunes store.. isn't there a way to get them from your account or something? I have a macbook pro..

Mike 6 years ago

I've got about 4,000 songs on my PC and want to transfer them to an external hard drive (Pro drive) capable of use on both PC and Mac so I can access them on my MacBook Pro. As an experiment I copied and pasted a few (Artist Folder, Album Folder, Song) from the PC to the Pro Drive. When I import them from this drive into my iTunes Library on the MacBook I get the Song but neither the Artist or the Album appears in the iTunes on the Mac. Any suggestions?

Don 6 years ago

Now for the absolute answer....

I did this importing on a windows 7 pc using itunes 10 and a flash drive.

On old computer, I inserted a large capacity usb flash drive. I created a folder on it named "music", though this is not necessary. I opened iTunes as well as "my computer" in adjacent windows. The My Computer window was pointing to the "music" folder of the flash drive.

I highlighted my entire list of songs, then dragged them into the "music" folder on the usb drive.

Once copied, I plugged usb drive into new computer. I then used the windows file manager to drag all of these files from the usb drive into the folder:

My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Automatically Add to iTunes\

The files are copied from the usb drive to your new computer so you do not get the "file not found" error you would otherwise get if following this article's "add file to library" suggestion.

T~Roc 6 years ago

I have a Mac. Reformatted my WD 500G Passport hard drive from NTFS to FAT32 (supported by both PC and Mac). After plugging into my PC to transfer, my Windows XP PC can not "find" the FAT32 formatted HD. I've transferred files from PC to Mac before. Can I not transfer Mac to PC?

Tiffany Szulikowski 6 years ago

It told me that the orignal file could not be located. Sorry didn't work

nakiah 6 years ago

i hhad 5 computer on sharing 2 of them broke i got ride of them and now i need to deleat them but they dont work so the dont disscotine so i cant do anithing with my new one

no name 6 years ago

its not working for me... it will only put a few songs on the flash drive stick... please rexplain your instructions. HELP

HELP! 6 years ago

Hey not sure if this is still a valid site but... i tranferd my music from my pc to laptop via usb stick and now when i try to play songs it says they cannot be located. I have already deleated the songs from my usb stick! I dont know what to do :( i cant play any music.

randy 6 years ago

Why can't Apple just devise a system that allows someone who buys a new computer to download their old library of songs on their new computer.

Since they have or should have a record of all of our purchases, this would make life much easier for everyone and seems like a good idea in light of how often people purchase new computers every year.

Steve, are you listening?

911 6 years ago

I am buying a new laptop today...moved all my music, ipod apps, and everything else in the itunes folder onto an external hardrive. I couldn't see folders for Iphone contacts, photos, notes, calander etc. When I sync to itunes on new computer with itunes folder copied across, will this have all my iphone data?

Scott 6 years ago

I was so frustrated. I had 15 gigs of music lol.

This saved my a**

Thank you!

Rick O'Shay 6 years ago

WTF! RU F'ing kidding me? We buy music online, then have to manually copy physical files to listen it on other computer? Don't they GET the benefit of having a central account where the SERVER maintains your content in ONE place? Clearly, Apple's days are numbered if they are THAT fuk'in arrogant.

Aleks 6 years ago

Have used Don's 'Now for the absolute answer....' approach and works really well. Can do in chunks too which is useful if you don't have a big drive with you.

Note: If you have iTunes open when making the transfer into the 'My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Automatically Add to iTunes\' folder, those files will disappear into iTunes app immediately once transfer is complete.

Asian 6 years ago

Would I have to re-download iTunes on the new laptop if I were to transfer it?

HelperOfLife 6 years ago

if you bought sumthing from itunes u can get it back , but other stuff u cant...

??Cary?? 6 years ago

Ok having same problem as Help did..cept it was while transferring from laptop to desktop so I can get music again..but right now Gigs of music are equal but on desktop says music can't be located??? Help me please??

Anne 6 years ago

My dad just ran into the same problem as fangbanger, HELP! and ??Cary??--he put his music on a flash drive, then used File>>Add to library. The songs loaded (suspiciously quickly) and played, but the next time he turned on the computer (without the flash drive in it) and tried to play some of the songs, he got the "files cannot be located" message--none of the files had actually been copied over onto his new computer; iTunes had been playing them from the flash drive.

I didn't think to come back here and look at the comments until just now, after we figured it out, but our solution was the same one Don posted above--once you've got the flash drive with all the music on it plugged into the new computer, highlight it all, open up the folder My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Automatically Add to iTunes\ and drag all your music into that folder.

Roy 6 years ago

Thanks man that was awesome i was super worried when i got a new computer.

rob dog 6 years ago

it works but everytime I unplug my flashdrive my music will not play anymore

pissed 6 years ago

i already knew how to do that anyway.

JoJof 6 years ago

Does Don's absolute answer 3 months ago work for Mac to Mac? I tried copying but it would only allow one piece at a time... rather slow!

LittleOneBecca 6 years ago

Person-You are my hero! I love you so much! I was freaking out because I didn't have my music that I paid so much for and now I have it!!! Thank you!!!!!!!

lw 6 years ago

Oh thank the Lord! now my husband can quit downloading crap on my computer and do it on his own!!! thank you!

Jeremy 6 years ago

okay but what if my disk drive is broken? >.

tina 6 years ago

not sure if someone has mentioned this yet, but when i open my music/itunes folder the only music that comes up are the ones i've purchased through itunes and not one's i've downloaded from cd's. does that sound right?

Teegan Hogan 6 years ago

Thanks mate works well. I now have all my music on one computer.those of you complaining that it didn't work get a bigger USB.

Q McD 6 years ago


itunesuser:)xxx 6 years ago

Umm hi it would work but i have 1 laptop with cd drive and the other without soo hw do i do that becuse everytime i switch computers it says erse and sync??? Help please it's urgent

Chand 6 years ago

Hello, it tells you clearly, tho let me explain..

This is like copying all your misic to one(1) computer.. start copying into flash dri9ve or cd from 1st computer and put them all together in the 2nd computer then sync your itunes with your device.

littlejosh 6 years ago

if you transfer the music to another computer will it still be on the other computer as well as the one you transferred too.

paul 6 years ago

Thanks for all the advise .... seems to work a treat

cupcakesyummm 6 years ago

then can you download music on that one computer without messing up the songs on your ipod?

Liz 6 years ago

How do you know if its working? i did all the steps and choose to add file but nothing popped up

kwilson 6 years ago

when i put the songs on my flashdrive, it came up on my other computer as a text doc.

Amanda 6 years ago

My problem is that I have a couple thousand songs and that would take a TON of CDs, not to mention time. I did this a long time ago when I had a lot less music and it still took many CDs

Down and out Bklyn 6 years ago

My Computer crashed and the hard-drive fried and I didn't have my files backed up. I lost a huge amount of purchased Itunes media; tv shows, movies and songs. How do I Re-Download the media on to my new Computer?


Lynn 6 years ago

After i transfer will I be able to Syn my iPod with the new computer?

Chad 6 years ago

Thank you so much

Dan 6 years ago

Outstanding and so easy to use - I had to transfer music to another harddrive and this made it easy.


hopper 6 years ago

Do you know what to do when your computer has crashed?

Cause i really want my music back...

Bob 6 years ago

So will my itunes still be on my old computer too?

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kilojm 5 years ago

Hi, I found your original reply excellent. However i also have an ipone which linked to my itunes.

You mention about moving music.

I would like to transfer the whole thing so is this the same?

I also have a new laptop and a hard drive to be able to transfer it all onto.

I am just so scared of losing all my songs and iphone data

please advise

thank you


unicornPurpleDance18 5 years ago

OMJ (oh my jello) thank you so much!!! ily (no homo) AHHHHHHHHHHHH IT WORKED SO FUNKIN EASALY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawn 5 years ago

This was great advice, except that it doesn't tell you to also transfer the files to your hard drive. If you don't also save the files to your hard drive, your itunes Library won't recognize the songs (and will show an exclamation point !), and your ipod won't recognize the songs or import them.

KEB 5 years ago

I have the same issue as Dawn did 7 weeks ago. Itunes won't recognize the files. How can this be resolved? (I got a new computer and then had my Ipod stolen so I can not use that to transfer my music)

Andrew 5 years ago

THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!! I have been looking all over the internet for doing this exact thing!!! Great job! :-)


Mary 5 years ago

@dawn @KEB, that's exactly what happened to me. I ended up with hundreds of exclamation marks and the connection to my iPhone was lost. But, I kept on searching for new solutions and came across the following article explaining once again how to transfer iTunes songs (entire libraries) manually, by using DVDs or a software. The third solution did the trick:

Lindsey 5 years ago

Thank you so much! I was able to transfer all of our songs to another computer.

Rachel 5 years ago

you saved my life, bro! :)

Pix 5 years ago

This didn't work for me, but now iTunes has the home sharing. I was just wondering if anyone knew if I could use the home sharing and sync using my second computer? Or would i still have to import all the songs?

Boss 5 years ago

This saved me thank u so much

Julie 5 years ago

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out in such easy to follow and clear directions! I truly appreciate it!

nic 5 years ago

to anyone who this post may apply to,

im almost positive that if you put the music on a thumb drive (flash drive) and play it on another computer, in order for the music to be able to play after you remove the drive, you need to copy the music from the flash drive to the music folder on your computer and import that folder into itunes

i recommend copying the flash drive music to a new folder inside the music folder on your computer, so that if you only want to import the files that were on the flash, you only have to select the folder you put the flash drives music in. then itunes will only import the files from that folder.

i hope this helps.

Alison 5 years ago

This is not working for me for some reason.. I have a MacBook Pro, i have the iTunes library imported onto my jump drive, but when I select "open with iTunes" as an option, nothing happens. Please help meeee

james 5 years ago

My old computer died, there is no way to access any files. Is there any way i can transfer all my music from my iphone to a new computer? Music that was ripped onto my old computer?

Ace Klez 5 years ago

I just got a new computer and was wondering if I hook up my itouch to the new computer after following these steps it should keep all the music right? Even if only some of the songs were bought directly off iTunes?

max 5 years ago

hey i have 100 gbs of stuff how to i transfer all my shit because doig that will take the rest of my life

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

I'd get an external drive.

Andrew 5 years ago

wow livelonger you sure do help people... this is from 3 years ago and you answered another question 63 minutes ago!

kate 5 years ago

Thanks a lot!

james 5 years ago

does this delete the album covers?

The one 5 years ago

All u have to do is take out ur C drive and put it in ur new computer and copy then past it. Easy to do and anyone can do so. Better then wasting all those disk and time transferring all those file to and from one device to another and then another.

cheri 5 years ago

I am still unable to get my playslists. can anyone address that problem? It's killing me!

Alexandra 5 years ago

Does it keep all the info like album art, date released, genre or other info that I added to the library? I spent a lot of time fixing up my itunes library and I don't want to lose all of the information I have in there...same with videos or apps...???? Please help?

Lauren 5 years ago

But what happens if your iTunes is too large to fit on a CD or flash drive?

Catwoman 5 years ago

I transferred my iTunes library from my old PC to my new Mac. Now how do I get them to play in my iTunes. When I open iTunes I still don't see any of my music even though it's all there in the music file. Help please.

Emma 5 years ago

This was really helpful! thanks so much for enlightening my musical world!

Amanda 5 years ago

when I put the songs onto my flashdrive, I'm not able to find them (I can find the folder but the songs aren't there) when i put it into my other computer, any suggestions?

JennieB 5 years ago

Ok, I a bit stressed out here, I feel like a complete noob. People say it is easy - and it must be. Yet I am getting lost, I cant figure out exactly how to transfer all the contents of my iTunes library (from my Windows XP computer currently running iTunes 7) to a brand new windows 7 PC with the latest version of iTunes. It just didn't work out. I know I am doing something wrong.

RissaLux 5 years ago

This method was incredibly easy, but I'm still having troubles. When I import my music from my old computer to my new computer/library, only 20 or so (out of 1271) items are imported. And those select few aren't even only purchases. They're a mix of uploaded from CDs and purchased. Any advice? Much appreciated.

TareBear 5 years ago

I downloaded Itunes on my new computer and all of my Itunes purchases are showing up in my library, but none of the CDs that I burned onto my old computer/itunes account are showing up. I don't have a burner on the new one, is there a way to get the rest of my music off my ipod onto my new computer? It's probably simple but I just can't seem to figure it out...

wahdadlee 5 years ago

Thanks your process works

zach 5 years ago

i have my songs on my new computer but i have to leave the flashdrive in for the songs to play. how can i solve this problem?

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

zach: Make sure you're transferring your songs from your flash drive to your desired folder before you import them via iTunes. The problem is iTunes is recognizing your songs as located on the flashdrive.

thats me 5 years ago

thank you thought it would be harder than it was tried it from my iphone its dumb it doesn't work

njoynjp 5 years ago

Unfortunately, the mac mini does not have a CD player. I thought this wouldn't be a problem, but I'm learning that it really is. Thanks for posting and i'll continue to look for a "cloud" or network answer to my problem of moving songs between my Windows computer and my CD-less Mac Mini.

Dimitra 5 years ago

Thanks A LOT!

coli 5 years ago

does it also transfer apps and stuff besides just music if not is there some way i can

Jen 5 years ago

Thank you sooo much! I've been fighting with transfering my iTunes library from my work computer, which I loaded to a thumb drive, to my laptop for months! I had it all done w/in 10 min. of reading your post. You are a rock star!!!!

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tongueking 5 years ago

i had to put my itunes library folder in the Library-music folder of my windows 7 laptop,

hope this helps

joelCgarcia 4 years ago

you're heaven sent! thanks!

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ChickPeeves 4 years ago

Before you begin adding files/folders to your library from another pc or a portable device or a network location, check the "Copy Files" setting in your iTunes. By default, adding items to your iTunes library places a pointer (a link only) to each file in the iTunes folder; it does NOT actually copy the song. According to iTunes Help, the original file remains in the current location (which would be your flash drive or whatever). So before starting the import, do this: From the Edit menu, select Preferences and then click Advanced. Put a check in the the "Copy files" check box. From this point on, when you Add files or folders, iTunes will actually copy your music files to your new PC and not just a link back to the original location.

Best of luck, music fans.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, ChickPeeves - added it above. :)

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Aisha Sherina 4 years ago from United Arab Emirates

Thank you so much such an informative article...

KP 4 years ago

It worked like a charm. I used a flash drive and it didn't take as long as I thought it would. Thanks !

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dixienms 4 years ago

Thank you so much worked like a charm!!!

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