How to Export an iTunes Library to a Windows Media Player
By Anthony Oster
Although iTunes and Windows Media Player are the products of two competing software companies, you can export your music library from iTunes to Windows Media Player if you understand how both programs catalog music. While both Windows Media Player and iTunes have the capability to play numerous types of audio formats, iTunes saves music downloaded from the iTunes Store, imported from CDs and otherwise added to iTunes as AAC files, which is a format that is incompatible with Windows Media Player. You can convert AAC files to the MP3 format in iTunes prior to exporting your library, although some music purchased through the iTunes stores is protected by FairPlay, Apple's Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, preventing these files from being opened by another player or converted into another format.
Launch iTunes and select the "Music" folder in the Library. Right-click the header bar on top of the library and select "Kind" to enable the ability to sort music by file-type.
Click "Edit" and select "Preferences" to open the Preferences menu. Select the "General" tab and click "Import Settings." Click the drop-down menu next to the "Import Using" field and select "MP3 Encoder." Select a recording quality and click "OK."
Click "Kind" in the header to sort music by file type. Music encoded in the MP3, WAV, and WMA are playable in Windows Media Player, while AAC files must be converted to the MP3 format before exporting your library. Files listed as "Protected AAC Audio File" cannot be exported to Windows Media Player.
Click the AAC audio files that you want to convert. You can select multiple files by holding the "Ctrl" button while clicking selections. Right-click anywhere on your highlighted selections and select "Create MP3 Version." The conversion process can take several minutes if you are converting a few files at once.
Click "Edit," then select "Preferences" to load the Preferences menu. Select the "Advanced" tab and highlight the folder or folders listed in the "iTunes Media Folder Location" field. Right-click the folder selection and click "Copy."
Launch Windows Media Player and right-click the "Music" folder. Select the "Manage Music Library" link to launch the Music Library Locations window, which displays the folders that Windows Media Player searches to create your library. Click "Add" to load a new folder. Right-click the "Folder" field and select the "Paste" option to paste your iTunes media folder location into the field. Click "Include Folder," then click "OK" to add the iTunes media folder to your Windows Media Player library.
- If you intend to uninstall iTunes, you can copy the music files from the iTunes Media folder to one of the "My Music" folder, which is the default folder checked by Windows Media Player.
- Protected audio files can be upgraded to iTunes Plus files on the "Upgrade to iTunes Plus" page for a small fee. Once upgraded, these files can be converted to the MP3 format for use on Windows Media Player.
- Selecting the high-quality MP3 encoding option will maintain high-quality audio, but at a larger file size than the original AAC file.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.