How to find lost iTunes files

Fix your missing iTunes playlists

Question: When I got my PC back after being repaired, everything that was on it before was still there, except iTunes. I'm worried I'll lose the playlists on my 30GB Apple iPod classic if I plug it into my PC after reinstalling iTunes.

Answer: It sounds as though your hard drive was backed up and wiped in the course of the repair. Since your email and the rest of your files are intact, it's likely anything else that was previously on your PC will also be present - we simply need to find where the playlists are stored and tell the new version of iTunes where to find them.

Techworld: How to get free iTunes music

First, locate your 'Music' or 'My Music' folder in the Start menu. If there's a folder called 'iTunes' within it, back it up to an external drive or USB memory stick.

Next, download the latest version of iTunes and reinstall it (select No if it asks whether existing files can be overwritten). The new software should pick up your music and settings. Unfortunately, unless you previously backed them up, you may find you're no longer able to play any DRM-protected audio files in your library.

If there's no iTunes folder to be found in the 'Music' or 'My Music' folder, use Windows Search to locate the items that should be in there. It's also worth trying a file-recovery program such as Recuva (recuva.com) if this search yields no results.

In future, back up iTunes regularly. Go to File, Library, Back Up to Disc and insert a blank CD or DVD.

See also: How to install Apple iTunes on Windows 7

See also: How to fix everything: the ultimate guide to fixing technology

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Chris Byers

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