Restoring Music From Your iPod to iTunes August 18th, 2011
I guess it was only a matter of time before I did something stupid.
I’m always advocating the need to take regular backups and ensure that you keep a copy of all of your important data; in fairness, I usually do and I did it’s just that I forgot to include my iTunes library in my backup routine. My only saving grace is that I still have all my music on my iPod.
Apple in all of their wisdom has made it surprising difficult to copy data from your iPod into your iTunes library from within iTunes itself, or rather they have made it impossible. You’d have thought that this would make perfect sense in terms of a feature but alas, no.
All is not lost however, there is of course a way to simply restore your music back into your library from iTunes, just follow this simple guide.
Caveat: I have used a machine that currently does not have iTunes installed to produce this guide; the recovered data was then placed onto an external hard drive before restoring to my main machine with iTunes installed. I did it this way to ensure that iTunes did not auto sync with my iPod when it was connected and wipe any data, I was just being cautious. You can of course follow the steps in this guide on the same machine as you currently have your iTunes on, but, you must ensure that iTunes does not automatically sync initially or you face the possibility of overwriting all of your music with nothing.
Notes: I have used a Windows 7 based machine to initially connect my iPod and backup the data (my iPod was originally formatted and used with a Windows machine). Then, my new main machine which contains my iTunes is a MacBook Pro; if your iTunes is on a Windows based machine some of the following steps will be slightly different i.e. you will not be able to use the OS X specific keyboard shortcuts and will need to find the options using the menus within iTunes itself, other than that the process is identical.
Firstly, on my windows machine:
- Connect your iPod to your computer using the sync cable.
- Navigate to My Computer; you should see your iPod connected as an external drive, double click on the icon.
- Next you need to un-hide hidden folders; Click on Organize followed by Folder and search items. Click the View tab and check the option to Show hidden files, folder, and drives.
- Click OK to return to the explorer window.
- You should now see a folder called iPod_Control, double click this.
- Copy the entire folder called Music to a backup location of your choice; in my case I copied this to an external drive.
- You can now disconnect your iPod.
Secondly, on my Mac:
- Load iTunes from the dock and navigate to iTunes preferences by pressing ⌘, and clicking on the Advanced tab.
- Check both options to Keep iTunes Media folder organized and Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library.
- Finally you need to import the music in the backup folder into your library, to do this press ⌘o and navigate to the folder containing the backup up data and click Choose.
Once you have done that, iTunes should automatically sort out the files for you and copy them back into your iTunes library.
Configuring BT Mobile Broadband on Ubuntu 9.10 November 9th, 2009
The need to be able to conduct business whilst on the move is becoming more and more integrated into the way we go about our daily work; gone are the days when you can ignore email between point A and point B simply because you do not have access to your inbox. For me working in the IT sector this is ever more important, I need to be able to stop the car almost anywhere and be able to remotely connect to a clients network when they need help – having to wait until I ‘get in front of my machine‘ simply is no longer an option if you want to succeed in today’s marketplace.
As you will know if you are a regular visitor to my blog, I am a huge fan of the majority of Microsoft’s products. Perhaps it stems from the fact I chose the Microsoft career path and studied towards my MCSE and MCSA; perhaps it’s because 80% of the clients I deal with and the computers I maintain utilise Windows as their primary OS. Either way, Microsoft – and Windows more specifically – are an integral part of my daily life. Back on topic and moving back to my original point, the need to remain connected whilst out of the office is easily overcome when using a Windows OS, there are plenty of mobile data cards and USB data sticks now on the market, most if not all the big telecommunications providers supply them at competitive rates. All of these products come supplied with connection software to get you connected – Windows connection software.
Now I am not saying some of them do not come with alternative software for Linux or Mac for example, if I did I’m sure I would be proved wrong but certainly the ones I have experience with (Vodafone, o2 and BT) do not. So that leaves a problem for people who are wanting to make the switch to Linux, including the ever popular Ubuntu distribution – it may work well in the office or at home but if it doesn’t allow use whilst mobile too, why not simply use Windows? Hardware support in Ubuntu has come on a very long way in the last few years, I remember only a year ago when I last gave Ubuntu a proper test that I was stuck when it came to using my data card. With the Linux knowledge I had at the time, I simply could not get it to work; I’m pleased to see that Ubuntu and Linux generally have come on a long way since and now work almost as well as Windows, if not equally.
I run my ThinkPad in a dual-boot configuration, using mainly Windows 7 but also using Ubuntu as often as I can. Today I thought I would have another go at configuring my mobile data card, sure enough I have been surprised by the ease at which the latest evolution of Ubuntu – v9.10 – handles hardware which a year ago, would have caused major headaches.
Note: For the purpose of this guide, I am using a BT mobile data stick, a rebranded Huawei E180 HSPDA USB data stick on a BT Tariff. The contract is a 12 month plan as supplied with either BT Total Broadband or BT Business Broadband as an optional extra.
Prerequisites: I am assuming that you already have Ubuntu 9.10 installed and running and that your data card has previously been activated either by using it with the BT Connection Manager software in a Windows environment, or by activating the SIM in a Vodafone handset (BT curiously use the Vodafone network); also that the security PIN lock on the device has been disabled.
Configuring the data card for use is actually a relatively simple and pain free process:
- Plug the data stick into a spare USB slot on your machine, after a few seconds the device will be mounted automatically and on your screen you’ll see 2 icons appear for the BT software embedded into the data stick (shown as a mounted CD) and the USB storage facility of the data stick [screenshot]
- Right click on the network notification in the system tray and choose Edit Connections
- Click the Mobile Broadband tab and the Add a new connection
- You’ll be asked to choose a connection, you should only have one option HUAWEI Technology HUAWEI Mobile then click Forward
- Next choose Britain (UK) followed again by Forward [screenshot]
- On the next screen – strangely – you need to choose Vodafone as the provider and not BT Mobile, BT Mobile now use Vodafone to provide their connectivity so we choose this as a base configuration. Click Forward
- You now need to confirm the type of contract you have followed by Forward
- Next you’ll be asked to confirm your settings [screenshot], click Apply
- Click Edit to edit your setting for the new connection you have just made and make the following changes under the Mobile Broadband tab [screenshot]:
- Move onto the PPP Settings tab and click Configure Methods. Uncheck all of the options apart from CHAP [screenshot]. Click OK
- Make sure that Allow BSD, Allow Defalte Data, User TCP Header Compression are all checked, next click on IPv4 Settings
- Ensure the drop down list is set to Automatic (PPP) [screenshot]
- Finally, change the connection name to something more suitable, I have used BT HSDPA [screenshot] but choose whatever you wish here, click Apply to confirm the settings
You have now configured you data card!
To connect simply click on the connection icon and then choose the new connection – you should now see the pop up to tell you that you are connected [screenshot].
I have not noticed any difference in connection speeds when using my data card with either Ubuntu or Windows 7; in both environments the connection seems very stable and I’m pleased with the overall connectivity.
Note: Whilst the default settings are working absolutely fine for me, I have had previous issues with BT generally in so much as there DNS servers can often take a long time to resolve addresses; this applies both to their mobile data and Broadband services. The actual data connection themselves are however always reliable and pretty quick. If you find this a problem change the default DNS servers to an alternate provider, I recommend the servers provided by OpenDNS; 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 respectively. Of course this also applies to any ISP if you find resolution is taking longer than you expected, including home broadband connections.
I hope you find this useful. Enjoy.
iPhone Sync To Windows 7 Issue November 2nd, 2009
There have been a lot of reports recently by numerous people around the internet, that there seems to be ongoing problems with people syncing their iPhone to iTunes in a Windows 7 environment. The official Apple forums [Link] have got a number of threads related to the issue so it does appear that this is definitely a problem and this is not just a bunch of die hard Apple fans trying to add a negative taste to what has been otherwise, a successful launch for Microsoft’s latest operating system.
Now, looking at the problems people are facing, there does seem to be some common similarities; most people who are reporting the problem are using a motherboard with an Intel P55 chipset and the problem seems to be affecting more people using Windows 7 x64. Both of these are not conclusive though, as it is also affecting people using other chipsets and Windows 7 x86, although certainly, less so.
The official advice – as always – seems to be a workaround, suggesting that you should use a USB hub or PCI USB card for connecting your iPhone, and disabling Power Management for each of the USB root hubs on your machine, but none of these seem to work universally for everyone which to me would suggest that neither Apple or Microsoft still really understand what the problem is and that there isn’t an imminent fix.
Fortunately, I don’t have an iPhone so am not affected by this, how about you? Have you had problems with iPhone/iTunes syncing with Windows 7? If so, have you been able to fix it or come up with a workaround? Share your thoughts!
Why Is It Called Windows 7 October 22nd, 2009
There seems to be a lot of confusion over the new naming convention for Windows 7. Microsoft in all their wisdom seem to change direction each time a new version of Windows is released and each time, the name doesn’t seem to follow the previous. So, I thought I’d explain the logic behind why the latest version is called Windows 7.
Microsoft has decided to start calling this and future releases of their Windows operating system based on their version numbers. Versions previously known by other numbers (95 and 98) or name (Me, XP and Vista) used internal version numbers. XP was version 5.1 and Vista was version 6.0 for example.
So the story in the evolution of Windows so far is:
Windows 1 was released in November 1985, 2.0 in October 1987, and 2.1 (which was also known as Windows /286 and Windows /386) in May 1998.
Windows 3, which first introduced 32-bit capabilities came to market in May 1990, and came into its own with versions 3.1 in April 1992.
Microsoft then split off a ‘new technology’ version of Windows to compete with UNIX. It was influenced by Microsoft’s then partnership with IBM who created OS/2. The development of this new version began as OS/2 version 3. It shipped as Windows NT 3.1 in July 1993 and was a fully 32-bit operating system. It was also the first version of Windows that did not run as a shell on top of DOS. Windows NT 3.5 shipped in 1994, and 4.0 in 1996.
Windows 4 came out as Windows 95 in August 1995 and was the first consumer version with 32-bit support and pre-emptive multitasking. Windows 98 arrived in July 1998, and a second edition (Windows 98 SE) replaced it in 1999. Windows Me shipped in September 2000 and was the final consumer version of Windows 4; it was also a complete flop.
Windows 5 arrived as Windows 2000 in February 2000 and was a replacement for NT 4.0. The consumer version, known as Windows XP (or Windows 5.1), was released to manufacturers in August 2001 although not available on the retail market until October. The latest version is SP3. Windows Server 2003 (Windows 5.2) replaced Windows 2000 in April 2003, and its latest version is SP2. Microsoft released separate 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Sever 2003 in April 2005.
Windows 6 was named Windows Vista, released to manufacturers in November 2006 and reached the retail market in January 2007. Vista is also available in 64-bit editions. Windows Server 2008 is also another version of Windows 6.
So there we have it the story so far and today, we see the official launch of the 7th incarnation of the Windows family – Windows 7.
Makes perfect sense really doesn’t it?
Windows 7 – Customising The Start Menu October 21st, 2009
One of the first things ‘missing’ when I installed Windows 7 recently was the ability to customise the start menu to my tastes. If like me you hate the way the standard windows components are laid out in a default installation you’ll know exactly what I mean.
One of the first things I usually do with a new installation is nest my menu items together into folders, normally scooping up all of the miscellaneous windows applications into a folder I cunningly call ‘Windows’ or in this case ‘Windows 7’. I hate clutter and I like everything neatly organised. This isn’t just a Windows problem of course, just install Adobe Creative Suite and you’ll have even more shortcuts in the wrong places, even though an Adobe folder is created by default, they choose to place some program shortcuts outside of this, annoying.
In previous incarnations of Windows it was easy, you simply right clicked the Start Menu and choose Open or Open All Users dependant on which sub area of the start menu you wanted to open in folder view. With Windows 7 the option to do this has been removed. It baffled me for an hour or 2 but I have now worked out how to do what I want, it’s simple really. The option is still there but they have moved it.
So, all you need to do to click on the Start Menu and right click All Programs and you’ll be greeted with the familiar options! Enjoy.
If you find this useful, feel free to leave a comment below.
Curiously, this doesn’t work for Windows 7 64 bit. So, to access the relevant folders (of course this also would work for 32 bit in place of the above steps) head to the Start Menu and Run and type the following commands:
shell:start menu or
shell:common start menu