We all know we should backup all our data right? Well, there may be times when either the backups have also been lost, we have not kept backups up to date, or simply they were never made in the first place. For me, one of the most invaluable things I could lose is my digital music collection, at minimum I would be spending the next few days uploading CDs and hoping I still had them all.\n\nThis guide is intended to give detailed instructions on restoring your complete iTunes library from an iPod device, either in the event of data loss or simply an easy way of transferring tracks to a new PC.\n\nThis is the method I personally use whenever I reformat my PC, or upgrade to a new computer. However, there are several limitations to this method, and there is no opportunity for circumventing DRM protected tracks. In this tutorial, I will rely on the reader having a standard iTunes account for any tracks purchased via the iTunes store.\n\nAs stated, there are limitations to this method. This method will not restore Playlists or Song Ratings. If you are unable to live with losing this information, there is 3rd party software available that may be more suited to your needs. This tutorial has also been written based on Windows 7. Whilst the steps for other versions of Windows will be similar, there may be slight variation.\n\nThe advantages\n\n\nFast and Easy\nNo need for 3rd party software\nProvides a complete restoration of all tracks on the iPod\n\n\nLimitations\n\n\nPlaylists, and Song Ratings will be lost\nOnly provides a COMPLETE restoration, all tracks on the device will be added to the library\nRelies on Metadata Tags\nAny tracks already added to your library will be duplicated\nPlaylists, and Song Ratings will be lost\nSome tracks may have to be manually renamed\n\n\n\n----------------------------------------------------------------------\n\nFirst, we need to unhide system files.\n\nGo to Computer > Organize > Folder and search options > View Tab.\n\n\n\nUnder Hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Click Apply and then press OK.\n\nNow let’s open iTunes (Start > All Programs > iTunes).\n\nIn the Menu bar, click Edit > Preferences > Devices Tab.\n\n\n\nTick the box labelled “Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically”, and click OK.\n\nReturning to the menu bar, click Store > Authorise This Computer.\n\n\n\nEnter your Apple ID and Password and click Authorise.\n\nNote: This will need to be the same iTunes account you used to purchase any tracks from iTunes, or else you will not be able to play them.\n\nMinimize iTunes for now, now’s the time to plug in your iPod using a USB cable. Click Start > Computer.\n\n\n\nYou should now see an IPOD device under Devices with Removable Storage. Double click this to enter the iPod Folder Directory.\n\n\n\nYou should now see a list of Folders as above; iPod_Control is the folder we are looking for. These instructions are written for a standard iPod Classic, and all models before iPod Touch. For later models, including the iPod Touch, the directory layout is similar, but not exact. The Music Folder will always be located in the hidden Control folder.\n\nDouble Click iPod_Control to continue.\n\n\n\nIn the next directory, you should see a folder titled Music. Right Click on this, and select Copy.\n\nMinimize all open Windows, and Right Click on an empty part of your desktop, and in the menu that appears select Paste.\n\nYour computer will now copy the contents of the Music Folder to a transparent Folder located on your desktop, named Music. This may take a while depending on how many tracks you have.\n\nAfter Windows has finished copying the folder, Right Click on the newly created Music Folder, and select Properties.\n\n\n\nUnder Attributes: in the General Tab, Uncheck Hidden and click Apply. Click OK to close the Window.\n\nAfter you have Unchecked the Hidden Attribute, now is the time to hide system folders again.\n\nGo to Computer > Organize > Folder and search options > View Tab. Under Hidden files and folders, select "Don’t show hidden files, folders, and drives". Click Apply and then press OK.\n\nAfter going through these steps, you are now ready to restore your music to iTunes.\n\nOpen iTunes. In the menu bar, click File > Add Folder to Library. Locate the Music Folder on your desktop, click on it once to highlight it, and click Select Folder.\n\niTunes will now add all tracks that were on your iPod to your library. If any tracks were already in the iTunes library, which are also on your iPod, these will be duplicated.\n\nNow for the final stage. Please make sure you are viewing your complete iTunes library in List view (As in the image below) for this stage.\n\n\n\nWhilst still in iTunes, highlight all tracks. (Click on the Top track in the library list, highlight it, scroll down to the bottom and whilst holding SHIFT, select the bottom track in the library.)\n\nWith all tracks still highlighted, Right Click on any track, and select Consolidate Files... A Dialogue box will now open, please click Consolidate.\n\nIf any tracks on your iPod were missing Metadata tags, these will appear as randomly named files in your iTunes library and will have to be manually renamed.\n\nThat’s it, you’re done! Your complete iTunes library has now been restored, and all your tracks have been renamed and organised in the iTunes Media folder located at:\n\nC:\\Users\\%User%\\Music\\iTunes\\iTunes Media\\Music\n(%User% represents the name of your User Profile)\n\nI hope this article has been of some use to you, and despite it's limitations I find this to be a quick and easy method of restoring music.