Need help getting music off my iPod

I have been for years cursed with a series of slow and cranky computers at home, so I have maintained my mp3 collection on the machine at my office which is rigged with heavy-duty storage. I finally got a new PC at home (thanks bro!) that has enough storage capacity for my collection, so I would like to migrate it over. I have more than 8 gigs of mp3s which is too much to put on even a DVD. (and besides which the new computer doesn’t have a DVD player. 2 DVDs I could work with; 14 CDs would be a pain.) So I said to myself “self, all the songs are on the iPod already, why not just copy them from there?”

So I dutifully plug my iPod into my new computer, which helpfully recognizes it as an external USB hard drive. But whereas my original collection is all indexed in folders by artist and sub-folders by album, with each track carrying the song name, on the iPod it’s a jumble of four-letter file names sorted in a series of sub-folders based on a logic I cannot understand.

iTunes, of course, can read the new format just fine, but I’m anal and my iPod is scheduled to be replaced in the not too distant future. Is there any software that will allow me to put my music on the new computer back in its original structure? Freeware would be nice. Thanks.

I’m not aware of any legal means to do that - Apple made it nearly impossible to copy music files out of an iPod on purpose.

About all you could do, I suppose, is set up iTunes on the PC, then burn a stack of CDs. While it is possibly tedious (only 8 GB?), it is permitted by Apple.

See my previous post on this topic.

It is simply untrue that apple made it nearly impossible to get the music off. The mp3 files are in a “hidden directory” with pseudo random file names. It is trivially easy to get the music off the Ipod. You connect it up to your computer and move the files like you would with any other external drive. The only problems come with the music purchased from Itunes. You can copy the files but you will not be able to play them.

I guess my post title was unclear. Physically moving files off an iPod is trivial as was suggested above. Windows XP sees the iPod as a USB hard drive and supports darg and drop copying. The problem is that all of the files on the iPod are renamed and re-sorted from their original order. A mouse-over of the file name in windows explorer shows the id3 tag data, so thats all still there.

What I’d like to do is re-name and re-sort all of those files (the mp3s) based on data in the id3 tag. Perhaps there is some software for modifying id3 tags that supports batch processing and can move files?

I recomend tag and rename for just that purpose. It is an excellent peice of software for managing music and getting the tags just how you want them. It has a quick option to rename a group of files using the meta data.

This might be really easy (I say, having not tried it).

Put the files with the funky directory somewhere, point an (empty) iTunes at the containing folder for them, and tell it to import. I suspect that iTunes will use the ID3 tags and recreate it’s local directory structure properly. You’ll probably lose the playlists, but that’s no big deal for most folks.

Certainly quick to try, in any case.

A couple of ideas. I don’t own an iPod, so the first may or may not work.

  1. Can the iPod be used as a external hard drive? I know that my Zen can be, but I have manually configure it to set aside a certain amount of space that the player will partition off for data storage, rather than music storage. It sounds as if you are importing the files from the work computer to the iPod as music files that the iPod can play, rather than as data files.

  2. Use a 1 GB thumb drive and transfer the files over 1 GB at a time. Easier than burning a bunch of CDs, but it will take almost 2 work weeks to do this.

The easiest method is to enable the iPod as a disk, connect it to old PC, and copy the MP3 files to the iPod. Move the iPod to the new PC, connect it, and copy the files off it. If you bought anything from iTunes, make sure to deauthorize the old computer and authorize the new computer.

There’s a program called Senuti you can buy online for around $20 that will allow you to do this very thing. They have a free version, too, but you can only transfer a few songs at a time with it.

Nothing compares to trying to get your library off an old iPod and onto a new iPod. I finally resorted to building a whole new iTunes playlist, but with 6000 selections and room on the new Pod for only about half that, choosing got boring real fast. So the new Pod sits unused.

Apple might have thought of that. Many will buy a second iPod, but how many will buy a third?

I don’t understand. Moving the iTunes library from one iPod to another consists of just plugging in the new iPod. You can even sync both of them at the same time from the same iTunes.

If either iPod can’t hold your whole library, check the box that tells it to fill the iPod randomly from either your whole library or a playlist. You don’t have to choose at all. You certainly can’t hold Apple responsible for not being able to fit 8 gig into a 4 gig iPod, or whatever.

If the issue is just moving your music from an old computer to a new one, I would just get an external hard drive that connects with USB. They’re pretty cheap now, and would act as backup of your music.

Or if you have a space hard drive around, you can just buy an enclosure for $20-30.

I have a customer that I was tearing my hair out with trying to just this. I understand USB drives fine, I just don’t speak ipod. It is not all that clear within itunes to a novice user how to do this.

Interesting. It may have changed in iTunes 7 (which is when I added my second iPod). At this point there’s practically no way NOT to do it; when you plug in an iPod it hasn’t seen before, it says “Do you want to sync: yes/no” and that’s pretty much it. Even if you say no, you can just select the iPod and check the “Sync” box at any time.

Why get an external hard drive when there’s already a perfectly good one available - the iPod itself. [See post #9]

You’re right. But he has to have the iPod half full. He didn’t specify what model he has and how much space left.

Although I would think having a backup would be advisable anyway.

This is not so difficult. If you don’t want to mess with the file name problem using the ipod as a USB drive, there are several programs that will make the copies or backups for you.

Apple made the process far from intuitive, but not impossible or even that difficult. Such incorrect assertions don’t belong in GQ.