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Quick Fixes for When You Can't Copy Songs From a CD

written by: Austin•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 7/12/2011

If you cannot copy iTunes folders from a CD to a hard drive, you may be in luck: The problem isn't too common, but it also usually isn't particularly serious. Here are some fixes you can try to help get that music from the CD into your hard drive.

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    Let's say you're sitting at home, casually trying to get some music from computer "A" to computer "B" because you can't listen to it on computer "A" because the sound card is fried. Why you don't just swap sound cards is unexplainable, but the point is that you copied your iTunes folders onto a CD using your burn software and you've brought it over to computer "B". You're very excited to finally be able to hear Alanis Morrisette's latest single on the big speakers of computer "B", but when you try and drag the folders into your computer, you can't because iTunes won't allow it.

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    Possible Issue #1: Bad Drive

    The most common reason why you won't be able to bring files from one CD to a computer is because during the burn process, something went wrong. Often times if a CD tries to write itself too quickly (or sometimes for no reason at all), the laser will "slip", burn something improperly, ruin the infrastructure of the CD, and then be unable to read on any other computer. So how do you fix this?

    Often times all you need to do is reburn with another blank disc because you may have had a dud. You may also be wise to pop your CD burner out of its slot and clean off the laser with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol. If reburning/cleaning doesn't help, chances are you just have a faulty disc writer and you'll need to go buy a new one. It's unfortunate, I know, but sometimes it just has to be done; computers aren't perfect after all.

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    Possible Issue #2: Wrong File System

    Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 1.50.23 PM 

    Another problem you may be having if you cannot copy iTunes folders from a CD to a hard drive (or if the disk doesn't read at all) is if you chose to burn the disk as an audio CD as opposed to a file CD and then attempted to import using iTunes' built in music importer. A remarkable amount of CD players these days, either internal or external, have a sort of copyright protection that makes it so you can't play burned discs in them. While this makes sense from a business standpoint, it's incredibly obnoxious for people who buy music and then can't transfer it because they lost the original disk. So what's the fix?

    Just reburn your files as a file CD and not an audio CD. It should do the trick.

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    Possible Issue #3: iTunes Copyright

    Once again we have to deal with copyright issues when trying to use the music we rightfully purchased. If you managed to burn songs that you purchased from the iTunes store onto a disc, you may run into problems when trying to get those onto another computer. Due to the file structure, pieces of music you get directly from Apple's online service have a little bit of data in them that prevents them from being used in pretty much any way except on Apple products. You can't put em on another computer, you can't put em on an MP3 player that isn't an iPod, and you certainly can't give them to friends -- at least, not easily.

    The easiest way to avoid this is to authorize a secondary computer for use with your iTunes files. That way you can just re-download all of the songs to a secondary computer free of charge. The only issue with this is that you can only authorize five computers, though you can deauthorize with a little hard work. It's not the most efficient way of doing things, but it'll certainly get the job done.

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    Nothing Worked! What Should I Do?

    If you attempted all of the fixes listed above, I don't want to say you're totally out of luck, but chances are when you cannot copy iTunes folders from a CD to a hard drive and nothing helps, you're just going to need to buy a new CD burner or find another way to get the songs onto your computer. Before you go out and buy a new CD drive, I suggest using a flash drive to transfer the files instead of a CD.

    It's a quick and easy way to enjoy all of the things you rightfully should own, and if you feel the need to actually pay for something again, you might as well go out and pick up another copy of the CD. Not to mention that a flash drive can be used over and over, and it can hold a lot more than a standard compact disc.

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