Mindy writes, My hard drive crashed and I lost all the music I ripped from my CD collection. Is there any way to get the songs from my iPod back to my PC? I don’t want to spend hours re-ripping all my songs.
For all the elegance of the iPod user interface, Apple could make it easier to transfer songs back to your hard drive. Fortunately other companies have made it easy. if you want to copy songs from your iPod back to Windows, download iPod Access. Besides crisis averting situations like hard disk failure, replacing your computer becomes easier if you don’t need to transfer the entire contents of your music library from the old machine to a new one. Putting specific tracks from your iTunes store purchases on any of the authorized machines becomes easier with iPod Access. Playing your favorite songs on a computer at work doesn’t need to be a colossal task if they simplified the process of transferring songs from iPod to PC or Mac. Since Apple isn’t interested in providing this necessary feature, finding a workaround becomes necessary.
The quick and dirty way to solve your problem is to browse through the hidden folders on your iPod after mounting it as a hard drive on your system. However, browsing through the folders on the hard drive increases the potential for corrupting the iPod database, which may result in losing all your songs from the iPod before you transfer them to your PC. Use this method at your own risk.
Rather than putting your entire song library in jeopardy, I highly suggest investing in an affordable software app for handling the audio file transfer. A quick search of any major download site will turn up literally dozens of apps designed for this purpose. The one I’m recommending is iPod Access, which works for both Windows and Mac OS X users. iPod Access is $19.99 for Windows or OS X.
One of the main reasons I recommend iPod Access over any of the other software solutions is because it seems to have the most complete set of features. Using iPod Access to backup the library on your iPod to a computer provides a ton of features you might expect from a more traditional full hard disk backup solution. The software tracks changes, incrementally backing up tracks as you add them to the iPod. It interfaces directly with the iPod song database, providing all the Album and Artist information. It clones the playlists you created on the iPod, so you won’t even need to start from scratch on playlisting. iPod Access will even recover songs from iPods with a damaged database in most cases.
Assuming you connect the iPod to either a new computer or a new install of Windows, you’ll want to proceed with caution depending on where you are in the recovery process. If you haven’t installed iTunes, the iPod automatically shows up as a hard drive. With iTunes already installed your system will ask you to associate the iPod with your computer. You MUST click NO or all songs on your iPod will be deleted. This is likely the most important step in the entire process.
After connecting your iPod and installing iPod Access, just browse the files on your iPod and transfer them from the iPod to your PC either individually or in bulk. The one caveat to this is iPod Access can’t transfer songs from a Mac formatted iPod to a Windows machine directly. Fortunately, the iPod Access helpfile includes a link to the 15-day free trial of Dantz’s MacOpener, which handles mounting a Mac formatted iPod like a champ.