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mappletree Nov 11, 2006 10:59 PM

Back-Up iPod & iTunes Music
We are experiencing an iPod generation as we can enjoy our beloved DVD movies; listen to the dulcet music with the Apple iPod player directly wherever we take it. However, the more often we use it, the more knowledge we are in need to get a better and more convenient usage. I have communicated with many friends who share the difficulties and solutions as well as every experience together. Today, I just want to talk about two frequently met problems: how to back up the music and how to convert files for your iPod player
How to Back-Up iPod & iTunes Music?

Before everything starts, we need to know that there is an iTunes folder located in your My Documents -> My Music folders if you are running Windows and you haven’t specified otherwise, or a Music folder inside your home folder if you use Mac OS X. The iTunes folder contains three items: two files, iTunes 4 Music Library and iTunes Music Library.xml, and another folder called iTunes Music.

As the old saying tells ‘every road leads to Rome’. There are several ways to back up your iTunes music files. But I think the simplest one is to make a copy of the entire iTunes folder (the one in Windows’ My Music or in your Mac’s Music folder). And I recommend you use an external hard disk which is not that expensive as before. So far as I know it is no more than $100 nowadays that is an affordable price to most people. If you have one, simply drag your iTunes folder to the hard disk to copy all the contents within the folder. If your music is stored in another location, drag the folder containing your music files to your external hard disk as well.

If you don’t have such an external hard disk and you don’t want to use it either, you can burn CDs or DVDs with your music files wand it is easy to finish. It can be done directly from the Windows Explorer or the Mac OS X Finder. If you like you can use iTunes to do it for you. And here’s the instruction on how to do so with iTunes.

First of all, go to iTunes’ Preferences menu (on Windows: Edit -> Preferences, on Mac OS X : iTunes -> Preferences) , then click the Burning tab. Check the Data CD in the Disc Format area to burn a data disk containing copies of your files . Data CD burns exact copies of your music files; it doesn’t create audio CDs, nor converts the files in any way. (Note: If you want to burn audio CDs later, make sure to change this setting after your backup.)

You should start by making a note of the date for the first backup and I will tell you why later. Then click the Library icon in the iTunes Source list and select all the music (use Control + A on Windows while Command + A on Mac). Then File-> New Playlist from Selection. It will create a full playlist for all the music. Then select this playlist and start burning your music by clicking the Burn Disc button.

You will be asked to insert a disc, either a blank CD or DVD is ok for a DVD Burner while you can just insert a blank CD if you use a CD Burner. (I recommend you use a DVD as it is much quicker and holds equivalent of 6 CDs). You need not to worry about the burning process as iTunes eject the disc and ask for another one when it filled up the CD or DVD already. And it won’t stop unless the whole playlist has been burned.

Next you need to create a new smart playlist under File-> New Smart Playlist and select Date Added Is Affter (fill with the date you recorded at first). Next time you add new music to the iTunes library which is enough to fill up a new CD or DVD, you can select this smart playlist to burn a new disc. And it will contain all the left files and new files since your last backup. After this backup, select the playlist and edit it by clicking File-> Edit Smart Playlist. You need to change the date to the new date on which you just do the new backup. And remember to use this smart playlist and update its date everytime you want to do new backup for more files. Then you will always have a playlist containing files you’ve added to your iTunes library since the last backup.

Then make the same backup for the other two iTunes Library files.

After all of the above, you will not fear of any crash or lost of your computer as you are able to restore your iTunes library easily. And here is the way: install iTunes, drop the two files into iTunes folder and then use your CDs or DVDs to copy all of your music back into the iTunes Music Folder.

For myself, I tried only Cucusoft and ImTOO products. Both of them are fine but I prefer ImTOO better. I like the screen and its profile. And I was great satisfied with its service to me (maybe I’m lucky..haa). After you select the provider, be careful to choose the suitable product for you as there maybe several tools you can choose. If you just want to rip and convert DVD and watch it with your iPod player, try ImTOO DVD to iPod Converter. If you want to convert video files to the iPod player, then use ImTOO iPod Movie Converter as it can convert 3GP, AVI, MPEG, WMV etc to iPod MP4 directly. NOTE: If you need both of them, DO NOT purchase them separately as there is a discount suite named ImTOO DVD to iPod Suite that contains both of the two tools and saves around $14 for you. I recommend you choose the suite for we may use anyone of the two conversion tools anytime for the iPod player and the suite is at discount price. Here is the downloadable trial link and I advice anyone to try it before purchase:[URL="***********"]click[/URL]

If you decide to buy the product, BUY it from the ImTOO site directly as the version there is the latest.

No matter what tools you choose, you need to know how to transfer converted files to your iPod player with iTunes. Here is the way:

Open the files after the conversion is finished and drag the converted files directly into iTunes. Drag the file onto the iPod logo in the iTunes and then release the mouse when "+" appears around the cursor. The file will be transferred to iPod automatically.

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