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Recently I was asked by a client if I could restore their iTunes library (which had been deleted) on a PC. All that remained was on this person’s iPod. Thought I’d give it a shot, why not? My efforts were successful; the steps are detailed below.

1. Close iTunes. Delete ‘iTunes Library.itl’ and ‘iTunes Music Library.xml’ from your My Documents/My Music/iTunes directory. These are the database files that let iTunes know what’s up.

2. Do a hard reset on the iPod, such that when it’s ‘booting’ you go into disk mode. These key combinations are available at Command Tab.

3. Copy the ‘iPod_control’ directory from your iPod to your computer’s Desktop for simplicity’s sake. Sure, all the files and directories make no sense, but do it anyway.

4. When finished copying, right-click this directory, hit properties and uncheck the ‘hidden’ attribute box, then apply (include subdirectories).

5. Unplug the iPod, open iTunes, and configure the advanced tab:

copy music from ipod to itunes library

Only the first two checks are important. You’re telling iTunes to copy music to the default location (above) and keep it under control.

6. On the file menu in iTunes, choose Add Folder to Library, browse to the iPod_control directory on your Desktop and gun it. Miraculously, iTunes should start scanning this location and add your tracks one-by-one, tags and all.

7. Now plug in your iPod (after you’ve taken it out of disk mode) and if you’re lucky, you should be presented with the option to ‘Erase and Sync’ your iPod with your new iTunes library. Seems like an extra step to me, but that’s what it takes.

Did it work for you?