If I Delete My iTunes and Then Download It Again, Will It Still Have My Music?
By James Wright
ITunes is a multifunctional media player for Windows and Mac OS that eases the transfer of media between computers and mobile devices. This is convenient, but it can cause problems if iTunes starts to misbehave. However, if you find yourself needing to uninstall and reinstall iTunes for any reason, your music will remain safe on your computer.
Occasionally, iTunes may display errors, freeze, crash or otherwise work incorrectly. If standard troubleshooting doesn't work, reinstalling it is a relatively quick way to fix many problems without having to replace your entire library. Your iTunes library is not tied directly to the program itself, so you can attempt a reinstall of iTunes to try fixing crashes, update the program or even use an older version.
Keeping Your Music
All your music is stored in a folder called "iTunes" which by default is located in "My Music." This is also where iTunes creates your library files that it uses to remember your playlists and other settings. Because iTunes looks in this folder by default, you can reinstall iTunes without any issue or even move your library to a brand new computer with your playlists intact. In most cases, you won't have to do anything when reinstalling; iTunes will automatically detect your library.
If you reinstall and your music isn't in iTunes or if you can see your songs but they are broken, you can try a few troubleshooting steps to find all your music at once. Open iTunes' preferences to see where it has set the default library location. If it is different from the current location, change iTunes' preferences to match where your current library is stored. Click "Store" and then click "Check for Available Downloads" to have iTunes see if there are any songs that need to be redownloaded. Finally, check your Recycle Bin to make sure your iTunes folder wasn't deleted for some reason during the reinstall.
Always Back Up
While in most cases your iTunes folder will not be affected when installing or uninstalling iTunes, you should still make frequent backups of your music library, especially if you make frequent changes or have plenty of media. The easiest way to create a backup is by copying the entire "iTunes" folder to an external hard drive or another location. This way, if something goes wrong, you can simply move the entire folder back to "My Music" and iTunes will usually read it and create all your songs and playlists automatically the next time you open the software.
Information in this article applies to Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, as well as iTunes up to version 11. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.