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MP3 Players

iTunes Store without the iPod: A how-to guide

Now iTunes is DRM-free, you can buy lovely high-quality music from the store without restrictions. Here's our guide to buying from iTunes for your various MP3 players

iTunes now sells DRM-free AAC files, and that means it's compatible with loads of devices. We've published a round-up of devices that support this format, and advice about the format itself as well.

So now it's time to download music from iTunes, and load it on to your non-Apple, non-iPod device. This article explains how, step-by-step, with screenshots for illustrations. Hit 'Continue' to read on.

Step one
First, rather obviously, download the iTunes application. Once installed, register an account and hit up the iTunes Store section.

Step two
At the moment, 80 per cent of the store is DRM-free, so the occasional album will still contain DRM. To make sure you're buying in the iTunes Plus format, ensure there's a little plus symbol next to each song or album, or, on an individual album page, look for the words 'iTunes Plus' above the 'Buy Album' button.

Step three
With your iTunes Plus album downloaded, you need to find the files on your computer. There are two ways. One way is to right-click on one of the songs or albums in your iTunes library and select the 'Show in Windows Explorer' option.

Step four
Another way is to simply click Edit from the iTunes menu, then select Preferences. In the options box choose the Advanced tab, and look at the 'iTunes Music folder location' box. This is the folder on your hard drive that iTunes saves your downloads inside. Navigate to it through My Computer, and remember it for future use. Or change it to a folder somewhere else on your computer.

Step five
Once you've found the folder iTunes saves its downloads to, it's simply a case of copying the files (or the entire folder) into your device's memory. Either drag and drop the files through Windows Explorer or, if your player's software supports AAC, copy them into that and manage the files as you would an MP3.

And that's it! iTunes Plus downloads on your device.

Further info
Still up shizzle creek without a pazzle? Head over to our forum for advice from our editors and the CNET UK community.