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iPod and iTunes Hacks by Hadley Stern

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Hack #98. Back Up Your Digital Music Collection

Hard drives don't last forever, so it's best to start thinking now how you can safely back up your digital tunes.

So, you've got your 1,000-CD collection ripped to your computer, as well as the 100 or so songs you've purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Your CDs have now all been given away or sold for a buck a piece (if you're lucky) to a secondhand CD store. You are all digital, all the time! Good for you—until your hard drive decides to bite the dust. All that work converting your CDs and all those songs purchased are as good as gone. This hack will help you prepare for the inevitable. Hard drives do crash, and when they do, you want to make sure you have your music backed up somewhere safe.

The first decision you need to make is what media to use. Backing up to CD-Rs, DVDs, and a hard drive each has its advantages and disadvantages. Blank CDs are great because they are very cheap; however, they hold only approximately 650 MB of data. DVDs hold more data (up to 4.5 GB) but are more expensive and burn at a much slower rate than CDs. A typical CD burner can burn at 10–50X, whereas a DVD burner maxes out at 2X. An external hard drive is super-fast but is more costly. The best way to make your decision is to look at the size of the music collection you are backing up. Only have 20 GB on your computer? Then either blank CDs or DVDs are ...

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