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How to Back Up iTunes to External Hard Drive

How to Back Up iTunes to External Hard Drive

If you are clueless about backing up your iTunes data, to an external hard drive, this article will be a helpful read. Here, I discuss the procedure for the same.
Omkar Phatak
Be it an Apple ipad, iPhone, iPod, or iPod touch, all the media and device maintenance tasks, and even activation can be mediated through the iTunes application. It is the default program for media management on all devices, which are launched by Apple. For a music lover, the most sacred possession is his or her music collection, which is normally maintained in the form of the iTunes library. It's necessary that your songs, videos, and movies, stored in this library, be backed up elsewhere. The backup ensures that in case of a hard drive crash or virus attack on your computer, your precious music collection is safeguarded.

With digital data storage devices like external hard drives and USB flash drives, it's easy to store and back up data. An external hard drive is a more dependable backup device, compared to DVDs, as they have very limited lifespans.

On a Mac

First step of course is to connect the external hard drive with your Mac, using an appropriate connection cable for data transfer. Next step is ensuring that all your music is stored in a single folder and locating it.

To ensure that the entire iTunes library is stored in a single folder, open the application and go to 'iTunes > Preferences'. Of the several tabs you see in the preferences windows, click on the 'Advanced' tab. Ensure that the check box, with the caption - 'Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library' is checked. Also check out the media folder location provided in a box at the top. (This folder's location is '/Users/username/Music' on a Mac).

Click on 'Ok' to save the changes. Once this option is selected, your existing library collection will be copied to that folder. The last step is the easiest. Open the iTunes media folder location and copy or drag and drop the entire folder to your external hard drive volume. With that, you have finished backing up the data to your external hard drive.

On Windows

The procedure for Windows is similar to what I described above for Mac. Connect your external hard drive through a USB cable to your computer. Open iTunes and go to 'Edit > Preferences > Advanced' and ensure that the check box specifying the instruction - 'Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder' is checked.

Note the location of the media folder specified in the box above (The file location is usually - '\Users\username\My Music\' by default on Windows Vista and Windows 7). On closing the window, iTunes will transfer music to the specified folder. The last step is to simply locate the folder and copy-paste it to the external hard drive.

All you have to do is locate the right folder, which holds the entire media library and copy-paste it in your external hard drive. It is a good idea to back up all your music, to your external hard drive periodically, as you purchase new music via iTunes. That way, you don't have to worry about a hard drive crash, erasing all your stored music.