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My Windows 7 Laptop HDD crashed. I bought a new HDD and installed Windows on it. I also installed iTunes.

I'm patting myself on the back for setting up full backups of my laptop to an external HDD. I have a backup taken from 2 weeks ago!

All my songs are on an external drive, but I do not have an XML copy of my library.

What do I have to do to restore my iTunes content from the backup?

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Reimport the content to your library from the external hard drive. Go to File - Add folder to library and select the folder where your iTunes content is. I would recommend having it copy files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to Library from Edit->Preferences->Advanced. Your playlists and podcast subscriptions probably won't be restored but at least you'll have your content back.

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I moved the entire iTunes folder (among other folders) from my old HDD to the new HDD - everything automagically appeared in the iTunes application.

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