How to Reinstall ITunes & Save the Music

Getting a fresh, better-performing version of iTunes doesn’t disturb your iTunes music.
... Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Reinstalling iTunes requires that you un-install the existing program and related Apple components before replacing it with a fresh copy. This operation doesn’t erase the music or other content in your iTunes media library, so backing it up is really unnecessary. However, making a backup remains a prudent precaution to take in case the computer malfunctions during re-installation. So, copy your iTunes library on an external hard drive for safekeeping before reinstalling iTunes.

1 Back Up ITunes Library

2 Launch iTunes

Launch iTunes, if operable; otherwise, skip to Step 3. Click “Edit,” “Preferences” and then “Advanced.” Check the “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" option. For later reference, jot down the iTunes Media folder location that’s indicated. Click “Ok.”

3 Click File

Click “File,” “Library” and “Organize Library.” Check the "Consolidate files" option. Click “OK” and then quit iTunes.

4 Connect an external hard drive

Connect an external hard drive to your computer and then open File Explorer. Choose the drive, under Computer, on the left pane. Its contents display on the right.

5 Computer Users User Name Music iTunes

Click “Computer | Users | User Name | Music | iTunes” to navigate to your iTunes Media library in the left pane. If it’s not in that default location, use the file path you jotted down in Step 1 to find it.

6 Right click on the iTunes folder

Right-click on the iTunes folder and drag it to the external hard drive on the right. Your iTunes library copies to the external media.

7 Uninstall Existing ITunes

8 Quit iTunes

Quit iTunes and the Apple Software Update window, if running. Next, press the “Windows” and “E” keys simultaneously to activate File Explorer. Click “Uninstall or change a program” to view your computer’s installed programs.

9 Choose iTunes

Choose “iTunes,” followed by “Uninstall” and “Yes” to confirm. Don’t restart your computer afterward.

10 Repeat Step 2

Repeat Step 2 to uninstall other Apple components in turn. Per Apple’s instructions, remove them in this exact sequence -- Apple Software Update, Apple Mobile Device Support, Bonjour and Apple Application Support. Restart your computer when prompted.

11 Open File Explorer

Open File Explorer. Navigate to the location where your programs are installed, typically on the local disk or C: drive. Click “Program Files” and delete any existing folders named Bonjour, iTunes or iPod -- or Apple within the Common Files folder. Delete similarly named folders within the Program Files (x86) folder if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows.

12 Right-click on Recycle Bin

Right-click on “Recycle Bin,” followed by “Empty Recycle Bin.” Then, restart your computer.

13 Install New ITunes Software

14 Navigate to www.apple.com/itunes/download

Navigate to www.apple.com/itunes/download. Click the “Download Now” button.

15 Click Run

Click “Run,” followed by “Next” to download the installer and start installation. Check or uncheck options to add an iTunes shortcut to the desktop, make iTunes your default audio player, set a default language and specify a destination folder different from the default.

16 Click Install

Click “Install.” Answer any security questions asked in the subsequent windows. Click “Finish” on the Congratulations screen when done.

  • Information in this article applies to PCs running Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 and iTunes 11. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • To disassociate iTunes from your existing libraries, also uninstall iCloud prior to reinstalling iTunes.

Since 1988, Diana Faustmann has been writing on technology, business and culture. Her articles have appeared in various print publications, corporate websites and authoritative online sites. Faustmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of the Philippines.

×