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How to Sync an Old iPod with New iTunes Library

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/13/2010

We've all been there. You get a new computer or just a new iTunes library, and then you have to figure out how to get the music from your old iPod to your new iTunes. Here's a quick way to sync an old iPod with new iTunes library.

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    Should You Purchase iTunes Syncing Software?

    Apple iPods are awesome devices. You can store all of your music in one place. No more having to worry about switching out endless number of CDs or having to make your own compilations of your favorite songs. You simply download them, make a playlist, and then let the music play on.

    But, if you switch computers or if something happens to your library, then you need to create a new iTunes library. This means that everything that you had stored on your iPod could be lost when you go to sync it with the new library. So, how do you sync an old iPod with new iTunes library?

    Well, you could purchase software that allows you to back up your iPod library and transfer it to your new library. But, these programs cost money, and some are not very reliable. There is, however, a free way to keep all the files from your new library plus add the files from your original iPod.

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    Copying Music from Your Old iPod

    The first thing that you want to do is plug in your iPod, and open up your iTunes. But, you don’t want it to sync just yet. So, hit the Shift + Ctrl keys on your keyboard (Windows) or the CMD + Option keys (Mac). Hold it down until you are sure that your iPod is not syncing with iTunes. Then, let the buttons go.

    Now, go into My Computer, and find your iPod USB Drive. Double-click on it. You should see a bunch of files in this drive. They may be hidden so you’ll have to unhide them, which you can do within the Control Panel. Just go into Panel Options, and select the Show hidden files and folders. This allows you to go into and change anything in these files.

    Once you can see your files, find the Music folder on your iPod. This contains all of your music files. The names may not sound like music file names, but that’s just how your iPod stores them. This is also a hidden file, but you don’t need to worry about changing it from unseen just yet.

    Right-click on the folder, and select copy. Then, paste the folder to either your desktop or within another folder. Just be sure that you know where it’s at.

    Then, right-click on the folder, and go into Properties. Here, uncheck the hidden option, and click Apply. You’ll have to hit OK two more times. But, once you are done, the folder will be unhidden.

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    Add Music to New iTunes Library

    Now, go back into your iTunes. Go to File, and then Add Folder to Library. Navigate to the Music folder that you just copied, and select it. Hit OK. iTunes will then add all the files from your old iPod to your new iTunes library. Finally, you can sync your iPod as you normally would.