OK so maybe that title is a bit exaggerated. Of course I could live without these things, just like I could also technically live...
So your first question is probably: Why on earth would you want to move your iTunes library FROM a cool Mac TO a boring old PC? Well it’s a good question and I do feel rather like I’m going the wrong way on a one-way street. But my trusty iMac just turned 9 years old and has only a 55 GB hard drive (my ipod has 64!) and less than a GB of RAM. So it’s not much fun to use anymore and I just don’t have $1200 to shell out on a new one right now. My PC laptop that I use for work is not sexy but it’s bulked up like an East German athlete in 1984.
That’s why I made the move, and my hat’s off to Apple because it was simple and straightforward. The only real danger here is that you may think too much and over-complicate it. If you want to know the logic behind why you’re doing all these things you can read a very informative article here… I’m basically just showing you the Cliff’s Notes version of how to do it.
Also, unless you know how to network a PC and Mac together, you will need a Portable Hard Drive to make this happen. I used an 80GB Iomega drive that I’ve had forever… you can get these very cheaply now.
Here’s how to move your iTunes library from your Mac to your PC
STEP ONE: Open iTunes on your Mac. Go to iTunes > Preferences. When the pop-up window appears click the Advanced option in the top menu. Then you should see this screen:
Now if your “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” box is already checked, then you need to UNCHECK it and select OK. Then go back to the same screen and check that same box and click OK. There will be a short progress bar and then you can continue.
STEP TWO: Still on your Mac, go to File > Library > Organize Library
Now select “Consolidate Files” and click OK as seen below.
It will let you know that it cannot be undone which is fine, so just click Continue.
STEP THREE: Now it’s time to move those songs. Plug your portable hard drive into your Mac. Go to your Mac Hard Drive menu and confirm that it’s there. Now click on your Mac hard drive and you should see a foldeer called “Music” under that will be a folder called “iTunes”. Double click the iTunes folder and you will find two things we need to move: a folder called “iTunes Music” and a file called “iTunes Library”. Drag both the file and the folder to your portable hard drive.
Depending on the speed of your USB connection and size of your library you may now have time to take in a movie. Or in my case with my 9-year-old Mac, the entire Wagner Ring Cycle.
STEP FOUR: Now we move over to the PC. If you don’t already have the latest version of iTunes on your PC you’ll need to download that now. Eject your portable drive from the Mac, then disconnect it and plug it into your PC. Go to “Computer” in the Start menu and confirm the drive is there. Now open your “Music” folder on your PC and you should see an “iTunes” folder. Drag both the iTunes Library file and the iTunes Music folder from the portable drive to this folder. Again, this may take a while to transfer.
STEP FIVE: This is where I got stuck but the solution is very simple. I was able to see the music files in the folder and play them directly, but iTunes wasn’t seeing them and listing them out for me. That’s because the file that we moved called “iTunes Library” needs a different extension for the PC to recognize it. So right click on that file on your PC and add “.itl” to the end of it. Now close iTunes if you have it open, and re-open it while holding down the SHIFT key on your PC. You’ll get a window that says Choose iTunes Library. Click “choose library” and then double click on the iTunes Library file (which should now have the little iTunes logo next to it instead of a blank page).
iTunes will now index all your songs and display them along with all your playlists. I hope this worked as well for you as it did for me, but if not I refer you to the much more complex and detailed article here: http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/moving-your-itunes-library-to-a-new-hard-drive/.