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How to transfer WMAs and iTunes library from Windows to Mac

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Old 09-25-2009

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How to transfer WMAs and iTunes library from Windows to Mac
"My laptop HDD recently failed, so I replaced it with an iMac. Fortunately, my iTunes library was on an external HDD, so I have copied it across to the iMac. However, the songs that I have purchased from iTunes do not seem to be available. They have copied across, but are 'greyed out'. I have authorised my new computer to play purchases. Is there anything else I am forgetting?"

It is relatively painless to switch over from Windows to Mac as Mac has support for a lot of commonly used files like Microsoft Word documents, Powerpoint slideshows and Adobe PDF files. So, compatibility is hardly an issue. What you do have to take note of however while switching over to Mac are your iTunes library and WMAs. Note: This tutorial was written under the assumption that you are running the latest version of iTunes ( iTunes 8 ) on both your Windows and Mac.

1. Add WMAs to iTunes on Windows

iTunes for Windows is built with Windows Media Audio (WMA) support - it is able to play and convert WMAs. However, because WMA is a proprietary codec, it isn't available in iTunes for Mac. If you're not careful, you'll be left with a lot of WMAs which will be unplayable on your Mac.

The easiest way to dodge this problem is to convert all the WMAs you have while you're still on your Windows machine. In your iTunes General preferences, under 'Import settings', make sure to have AAC or MP3 selected. Configure the bit rate if you like but because you will be converting from one lossy codec to another, there's bound to be a profound loss in quality.

However, if the WMAs are DRM protected, it will be a little bit difficult. One method of dealing with the DRM protected WMAs is to get an audio converter. Make a simple Google search and you will get a lot of converters that can convert WMA to MP3. However, those that can convert DRM protected WMA to MP3 are rather limited. The one that attracts my attention is TuneClone Audio Converter (for Windows only), which isn't free but very well worth a shot if you have lots of DRM protected WMAs ready to be switched to Mac. TuneClone Audio Converter is capable of removing DRM protection from WMA files and convert WMA to iTunes (both Windows and Mac) compatible MP3 format by installing a virtual CD burner. Here is the guide: How to convert DRM protected WMA to MP3 for Apple iPod

Apart from that, TuneClone Audio Converter can also be used to convert iTunes M4P (protected AAC) to MP3 for non-Apple MP3 devices. Here is the guide: How to Convert iTunes 8 M4P (protected AAC) to MP3?

After getting the protected WMAs converted to MP3, add to your iTunes library the MP3 files, which will be transferred to Mac along with all the music in iTunes library.

2. Backup iTunes library on Windows

In Windows, open iTunes. Consolidate your library from the 'File -> Library' menu.

This will move all the music files into the iTunes Music folder and sort them by artist and album.

Navigate to your My Music folder. It's typically found at C:\Documents and Settings\~username~\My Documents\My Music.

Copy the iTunes folder to the Desktop of your new Mac. Depending on the size of your library and the method of transfer, this could take a while.

3. Organize iTunes on Mac

If you are running iTunes on your Mac for the first time, you'll be prompted with the initial welcome setup procedure. When it asks to search your drive for music files, make sure to decline. At the end, you'll be presented with a fresh, empty iTunes library. Now, quit iTunes. By default, it would have already set up its own iTunes Music folder located in ~/Music. Go over to this location and delete the iTunes folder then copy and paste your iTunes Music folder from the desktop into it (the one which you have just brought over from your Windows computer). After all this is done, launch iTunes and you'll be rewarded with your old, personalized iTunes library.
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