Back when I was using my MBP as a desktop pc I had moved my music archive to an external disk and changed the "iTunes Media Location" within iTunes Preferences. Now that worked without any complications for a long while. A couple of months back I got an iMac to replace my old and worn-out laptop, and I figured it wouldnt be more complicated than to change the media location on the iMac to point to where the media is. Oh, how terribly mistaken I was...

After a long wait of importing I realized that all my playlists and an overwhelming majority of my ID tag information has been lost during the importing. I have been reading about the subject, and I understand that iTunes makes use of an XML file as well as a "library" file that is located under ~/Music/iTunes.

My question is as follows; am I royally screwed or can I save my library by using the xml and library files from my laptop? I would hate to go over tens of thousands of songs, which I have collected and nurtured like small audio babies through out my college years...

Any idea would be appreciated! CHeers,

  • restore the ~/Music/iTunes directory or just the db in that directory - it contains all the metadata
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 15, 2011 at 18:49
  • so just c/p the xml file, the library file and the itdb files (genius and extras) into the iTunes folder in the iMac?
    – posdef
    Commented May 15, 2011 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


Restore he ~/Music/iTunes directory or just the files in that directory - it contains all the metadata.

Then change the iTunes Media Location and all should be OK.

Note for others - when starting with a new machine it is easier to use Migration Assistant to copy from the old machine connected as a firewire target disk then all preferences etc are copied over.

  • thank you for your reply Mark. As I have also mentioned in the question, I have already setup the Media Location, and have been using iTunes with the "messed-up" library for a while. Would this trick work nevertheless? (I'm sorry if I sound like a moron, I really want to make sure it has a chance of working so that I don't risk losing my files)
    – posdef
    Commented May 15, 2011 at 22:19
  • It would go back to the playlists, counts and tags when you migrated so those would be lost but the music data should not be lost
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 8:42

What you should have done immediately after you bought the new iMac was to connect the external hard drive containing the iTunes library and before you launch iTunes hold down the ALT/OPTION key on keyboard. iTunes will then ask you to point it to your iTunes library.

So go ahead and try this to see if you iTunes library opens like you had it on your old computer.

Also, in the future when transferring an iTunes library from 1 computer to another or onto an external drive, navigate to ur iTunes library in finder, copy/move it to your desired location and hold point iTunes to it by holding down ALT/OPTION before clicking to launch the App.

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