Category Archives: Music

MP3 Odyssey: moving my music library to a new PC

I have been using Windows Media Player (WMP) for a few years. It did the job and I was able to create a cool playlist based on my song ratings and how recently I had heard the songs. My playlist had a few important features:

  • All unrated songs were included until I rated them
  • I hear all 5 star songs at least once every 6 months
  • I hear most 4 star songs at least once a year and definitely every 2 years
  • I was able to pull up a random selection of music according to my rules with little effort

The below summaries my rules:

Star Rating Include after Last Played Include this many songs
1 > 5 Years 1
2 > 2 Years 2
3 > 1 Years 14
4 > 30 Days 17
5 > 30 Days 21
Unrated Now All
4 > 1 Year 20
5 > 6 Months All
4 > 2 Years All

So, takeaway message from this is that I have put significant effort into my music library.

Just bought a new laptop that I wanted to make my main machine and here is what the WMP help suggested I do with my library:

Windows Media Player library FAQ

How do I move my library from one computer to another computer?
The library is a database that includes links to the digital media files on your computer. Among other reasons, you can’t move the library from one computer to another because the links in the database would no longer be correct. If you want to replicate your current library on another computer, you need to copy your digital media files to that computer and then add those files to the new library. For more information about adding content to your library, see Add items to the library.

Not acceptable.

Google quickly revealed Dale Preston’s Windows Media Player Metadata Backup. After following the instructions I had a relatively quick transfer of the library…unfortunately it did not transfer Date Last Played. Obviously required for the playlist that I like.

Searching further it seems that the Date Last Played corresponds to a field called UserLastPlayedTime that cannot be updated.

Time for a different approach.

I had occasional looks at MediaMonkey over the years, but there was no compelling reason to swap from WMP. Loading it up on the old machine and performing a rescan updated everything from the WMP database. Now all I had to do was move it to a new machine.

It took a little heartache but I ended up with the entire database on my new laptop. What I did was:

  1. On the old Windows XP PC relocate (via MediaMonkey auto-organise) all mp3 folders/files to c:\music
  2. Copy all mp3/folders files to c:\music on new Vista PC.
  3. Install mediamonkey on new vista PC.
  4. Copy mediamonkey ini and DB files from old PC to new PC as per locations in this information
  5. Open mediamonkey on new PC and notice that all entries are grey and the Path for songs is for example “[Appletree]\Music\AC-DC\Who Made Who\01 – AC-DC – Who Made Who.mp3” Changed the C: properties to have a matching “Appletree” label.
  6. Attempt to run “Locate moved/missing tracks” as per these instructions
  7. Kill mediamonkey via Windows task manager because the “Locate moved/missing tracks” did nothing other than hang the program (note that a new version was released while I was doing this, perhaps the new version does not behave like this)
  8. Also noted that “Add/Rescan Tracks to the library” has a similar effect as the “Locate moved/missing tracks” menu option – ie hangs the program and has to be killed via task manager.
  9. Attempted to update the drive ID as per these instructions (Which pointed to the script here)
  10. This script did not initially work, however it did after commenting out the lines as specified in a message on this page
  11. Now my collection became active. The MediaMonkey errors which required killing via the Windows Task Manager also stopped occurring.

Take a breath!

Now it should be a simple matter of recreating the playlist in MediaMonkey, right? It was not so obvious how to create a playlist that would do the same function as my original WMP playlist. Until I found that auto playlists can be combined just by using the Advanced Autoplaylist feature in MediaMonkey.

What I did was create an Autoplaylist for each of the criteria that are listed above and then create a ‘master’ Autoplaylist that combined the lot of them by adding a search criteria with: Property=”Playlist”, Condition=”Is”, and then selecting the Autoplaylists to include in the Values area.

Hooray, the new laptop is now setup with my music database.

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