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MP3 Players: Sync your iPod with two computers

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MP3 Players: Sync your iPod with two computers

4:47 /

No longer must you and your iPod or iPhone be tied to only one computer! Here's how to sync at work AND at home. Amazing, right?

>> Dear Apple, I use more than one computer. In fact, a lot of people do and this thing where you won't let me sync my iPod or my iPhone with more than one machine is seriously driving me crazy. And I have seriously had it and I'm putting a stop to it right now. ^M00:00:14 [ Music ] ^M00:00:21 >> Hi, I'm Molly Wood and in this edition of Insider Secrets I'm gonna show you how to sync your iPod or iPhone with more than one computer. Let's do this. Now one weird and frustrating feature about the iPod products is this error message right here. When you try to either sync or even just manually move music or podcast on a computer that isn't the computer you normally use with your iPod, you get this message saying that the phone or iPod is already synced to another iTunes library and you can't proceed unless you want to erase the device and start all over. It usually happens with iPhones, iPod Touches or iPod Shuffles, but with all iPod models Apple makes it very hard to move songs off your iPod on to a second computer. Now, this is supposedly a feature that prevents piracy, but all it really does is drive you freaking crazy. Now, there are several software apps that let you copy and manage music across more than one computer. If you use Windows, Xplay does the trick. It cost about $30. On the Mac, you can use iPod.iTunes which also cost $30. Both of those programs are fine, but free is better and there's a simple hack that can free your iPod or iPhone for good. A huge thank you to Andrew Grant at andrewgrant.org for writing this tip up in such a helpful way. Okay, now there are a couple of ways to do this. First let's say you have a computer at home and you just installed the iTunes on the second machine. Maybe it's one at your home or work or a brand new computer, then this will be easy. See, iTunes stores your library information in two places, an XML file and a binary file. On the Mac those files are called iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes music library. On the PC the binary file is called iTunes Music Library.itl. Now, if you just wanna copy your library settings and purchase history from one computer to another and then sync with both, just copy the XML file and the library file from the old computer to the new one. You'll still have to reimport all your music, but iTunes won't give you any trouble when you try the sync. It's no big deal, but it's only helpful if you're moving to a new computer or you don't mind having the same library on both machines. But let say you've got some music on the machine at home and some at work and you just wanna manage music on two computers, but you don't wanna overwrite the work computer with the home computer. In that case we need to edit the XML and the library files on the second computer, so that they match the first. This will make your iPod or your iPhone think that it's always syncing with the same machine, which is what we want. Now, this is going to involve editing a Hex file, so you'll need to download a Hex editor. On the PC Andrew recommends Ultra Edit, which you can get at Download.com. On the Mac you can use Hex Edit. You also need a text editor like Text Edit or even Notepad on Windows. Okay, now on computer 2, this is the one you wanna starts syncing with, find the iTunes music library.xml file and the iTunes music library or iTunes music library.itl file and back them up. You're gonna be messing with them and you wanna be able to restore them if necessary. Okay now on the machine you currently sync with, which I'm gonna call computer 1, open iTunes music library.xml in your Text Editor. Now, find the entry after Library persistent ID. You'll find it between the string tags. It should be a 16-character string of numbers and letters. Now, copy this ID to another file or a piece of paper, IM it to your self or something like that and close the file. Okay, now head over to computer 2. Open the XML file and find the Library persistent ID again. Use control C or the copy command to copy this ID to your clip board and then paste it into some sort of text editor 'cause you're gonna need that in a minute. Okay now go get the ID you copied from computer 1 and replace the ID on computer 2 with that one from computer 1. Okay, so now you're still on computer 2. Open your Hex editor and navigate to the iTunes music library or the iTunes music library.itl file and open that. Okay, now choose Find and Replace, find all of the old computer two IDs and replace them with the ones from computer 1. Make sure you have Hex matching selected, not as key and actually you should find only one match. Now, just save this file and close it and you should be good to go. Plug in your iPod or your iPhone to computer 2, select manually manage music and videos and you should be all set. Now, remember that if you're trying to maintain separate libraries on the two computers you should only auto-sync to one of them or ideally manually manage music on both. Good luck. For CNET TV, I'm Molly Wood and you're welcome. ^M00:04:44 [ Music ]

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