How to Reinstall ITunes Without Losing Music

By Nick Peers

If your iTunes 11 installation has become corrupted or started to create conflicts, consider reinstalling the program to fix the problems. Reinstalling iTunes does not affect your audio files in most cases, but you can back them up just to be safe. By default, the music that appears in your iTunes library is stored in the My Documents/My Music/iTunes folder in Windows 8. If your media files are scattered all around your hard drive, you can consolidate them from the Organize Library window. When you consolidate the library, iTunes places copies of all your media files in the iTunes folder.

Back Up the ITunes Library

Step 1

Launch iTunes, click "File," select "Library" from the menu and click "Organize Library" to display the Organize Library window.

Step 2

Check the "Consolidate files" box and then click "OK" to put copies of all your media files into the iTunes Media folder. The original files are not altered or removed. The process may take ten minutes or more, depending on the number of media files.

Step 3

Click "File," select "Preferences" from the menu and click the "Advanced" tab to view the advanced settings. Select the path in the "ITunes Media folder location" and press "Ctrl-C" to copy it to the clipboard. ITunes stores the copies of your media files in this folder.

Step 4

Press "Windows-X" to display the Power User menu and select "File Explorer" to launch the utility. Click inside the address bar near the top of the file browser and press "Ctrl-V" to paste the path from the clipboard. Press "Enter" to open the iTunes Media folder.

Step 5

Select the "Music" folder and press "Ctrl-C" to copy it to the clipboard. If you want to save all media files, including podcasts, movies and TV shows, press "Ctrl-A" to select everything in the iTunes Media folder and then press "Ctrl-C."

Step 6

Open the folder where you want to store the library and press "Ctrl-V" to paste the content from the clipboard into the folder. The process may take a few minutes, depending on the number of files and their size.

Uninstall ITunes Entirely

Step 1

Close the iTunes and Apple Software Update programs, if they are running, then press "Windows-X" to display the Power User menu and click "Control Panel" to launch the utility.

Step 2

Click the "Uninstall a program" link in the Programs section of the Control Panel and wait until the list of installed programs loads.

Step 3

Select the "iTunes" program and click the "Uninstall" button. Click "Yes" to confirm your action and uninstall iTunes from your Windows 8 computer. Do not restart the computer after the wizard uninstalls the program, even if the wizard prompts you to do so.

Step 4

Uninstall the "iPod Updater," "Apple Software Update," "Apple Mobile Device Support," "Bonjour" and "Apple Application Support" programs using the same procedures. Restart your computer.

Step 5

Open the File Explorer utility and navigate to the "System_Drive:\Program Files" folder. If you are running the x64 version of Windows 8, open the "Program Files (x86)" folder. (Replace "System_Drive" with the drive letter on which your program files are located, most commonly "C".)

Step 6

Select the "Bonjour," "iTunes" and "iPod" folders, hold "Shift" and press "Delete." Click "Yes" to confirm and permanently remove the folders. To select several folders, hold "Ctrl" and click each item.

Step 7

Open the "System_Drive:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple" folder and then permanently delete the "Mobile Device Support," "Apple Application Support" and "CoreFP" folders.

Reinstall ITunes

Step 1

Open the "Download iTunes" Web page (link in Resources) and then click the "Download Now" button. Optionally, uncheck the "Send me updates..." and "Keep me up to date" if you don't want to receive promotional emails from Apple. Save the iTunes installer on your hard drive.

Step 2

Double-click the installer and follow the steps in the wizard to install iTunes on your computer. The process takes around 10 minutes. Your media files should appear in iTunes automatically. If your music has been deleted when you uninstalled iTunes, add the music folders to the library.

Step 3

Click "File" and select "Add Folder to Library" from the menu. Select the folder where you backed up your iTunes media and then click "Select Folder" to add the music and other media files to the iTunes library.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have access to the iTunes user interface, open the "System_Drive:\Users\Your_User_Name\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media" folder and back up the folders inside. If your library is not consolidated in the iTunes Media folder, back up the individual folders that contain your music. To back them up, copy them to the clipboard using "Ctrl-C" and paste them into the same folder using "Ctrl-V."
  • To automatically place copies of your media files into the iTunes Media folder when you add them to the iTunes library, check the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" box in the Advanced section of the Preferences window.
  • To make sure nothing ever happens to your music, back up the folders on an external hard drive.
  • Empty the Recycle Bin after you uninstall iTunes and delete all leftover folders. In most cases, the Recycle Bin is empty and there are no leftover folders to delete.
  • If you uninstall the programs from the Control Panel in a different order, you may receive various errors. Uninstall the programs in the following order: iTunes, Apple Software Update, Apple Mobile Device Support, Bonjour and Apple Application Support.