Help File: Moving iTunes music to a new computer; AVG's free upgrade

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, November 8, 2009

How do I move my iTunes music to a new computer?

People can make this out to be an ordeal -- I've seen readers ask whether they had to run specialized tools, as if iTunes files were alien from other data.

But if you haven't changed where iTunes stores your music, all you need to do is copy a folder named "iTunes" from one computer to the other. On a Mac, it should be in your Music folder; on a PC, it should be in your Music or My Music folder, depending on your version of Windows. Copy this folder to a removable drive. (Don't have one? Buy an external hard drive and use it to backup your data afterward.)

On the new computer, delete any iTunes folder in those locations. Plug in the removable drive, copy the iTunes folder to Music or My Music, as appropriate, and start up iTunes. It should see your music -- and such related data as playlists, song ratings and play counts -- and have it ready in a few minutes. This worked to move an iTunes collection from a Mac to a Windows 7 PC and vice versa.

There are three catches. If you used another program before iTunes, make sure all your music is in this iTunes folder: Go to iTunes' File menu, select "Library" and then its "Organize Library" sub-menu, then click the box next to "Consolidate files." If you bought music from the iTunes Store and haven't upgraded it to the unlocked, higher-quality iTunes Plus format, you'll have to authorize the new computer. And you'll have to redo any changes to iTunes' preferences.

AVG's free anti-virus program is nagging me to upgrade a paid version. Do I have to pay?

This isn't the first time that AVG has touted its paid version much more prominently than its free release. Its upgrade-now prompt only mentions AVG 9's free edition ( at the bottom of the page in rather small type.

Tired of this runaround? Consider the free, nag-free Microsoft Security Essentials (

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or Visit for his Faster Forward blog.

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