If you’ve upgraded iTunes to version 10.4 and up, you may notice that the “Backup to Disk” option is now missing from the “File” > “Export” menu. I loved this feature, and it was one of the reasons I stayed with iTunes for a long time. The method was efficient and allowed me to backup all of my music to several DVD discs. Apple has left iTunes users with the option of backing up manually.
Use these steps if you wish to backup your music locally to a drive, DVD, or CD.
Backup to External Drive
- Connect the external drive to your computer.
- Ensure there is enough space on the external drive to store your music. You can see how much space is taken by your music in iTunes by enabling the Status bar under “View” > “Show Status Bar” (menu bar must be on to see this option).
- Open a file explorer window and have your external drive in view.
- Drag and drop any music files you wish to backup over to the external drive. You can select multiple music files by holding “CTRL” and clicking individual files, or hold Shift and select entire sections. You can also go to “Edit” > “Select All” to highlight all files in the list, then drag them to the external drive.
Backup to DVD or CD
Uninstall iTunes, and reinstall version 10.3. Version 10.3 is the last version with the “Backup to Disk” option. If you then prefer to upgrade iTunes at a later time, the newer versions support restoring from backup discs created with older versions.
Manually burn the media folders located on your hard drive. This option won’t include all data such as album art work, but it’s better than nothing. For best results, you may want to use burning software that supports “spanning”. Such software allows you to queue a large amount of data to be burned to disc and will split it all up across several discs automatically just like iTunes used to.
Windows users can use CDBurnerXP with these instructions.
- In iTunes, select “File” > “Library” > “Organize Library” (menu bar must be on to see this option) and check the “Consolidate files” and Reorganize files in the folder “iTunes Music”, then click “OK“. This will put all of your music in once spot.
- Find where you music is located. You may have to check under “Preferences” > “Advanced” > “iTunes Media” folder location.
- Open CDBurnerXP and select “Data disc“.
- Navigate to the location where your iTunes files are located, then drag and drop the folders to the CDBurnerXP window.
- Once the files are copied, select the “Burn” button.
- Select “Finalise disc” if prompted.
- Place a writable DVD or CD in the drive, then select “Disc spanning“.
- Choose the proper Disc size on the drop-down menu, then select “Split“.
- The software will then decide how many discs you will need to complete the backup. Select “Burn“.
- Select “Burn disc” and your music will be backed up to disc. Once each disc is complete, CDBurnerXP will prompt you to insert a new disc. Your music will be automatically spanned across multiple discs.
I have an option to “Export Library” under the “File” menu in iTunes. Won’t this backup my music?
Nope. Though you aren’t the first iTunes user to think it does. The “Export Library” option only exports a list of your files. It doesn’t export the actual music files.