Apple uses the iTunes software to manage music, videos and other media for its iPod digital media player. Using iTunes on your computer, you can periodically "sync" your iTunes software with your iPod, a process that transfers content from the iTunes library to the iPod library. When switching to a new computer, syncing can prove tricky, because if you sync to an empty iTunes library, you will end up with an empty iPod, and even if you do transfer your music from one computer to another, iTunes will require an authorisation before you can access iTunes Store downloads from a different device. You can still make the switch from one computer to another, as long as you follow some important procedures.
Download an iPod-to-PC transfer program onto your new computer. Many programs offer this capability, such as Senuti, PC iPod Basic and iCopy Bot (see Resources). When your download completes, install the software by double-clicking the icon or clicking the "Install" button on the dialogue box that appears on your screen.
Connect your iPod to your new computer. Your iPod sync cable (provided with all iPods) contains two connectors, a long and a short. Insert the long connector into the dock at the bottom of your iPod, and insert the short connector into a USB port on your computer.
Open your iPod-to-PC transfer program. Your entire iPod library will appear in the left column, similar to the appearance of iTunes. If your just connected your iPod, the library may take a few seconds to load in your program.
Export your iPod library onto your new computer. On your software window, you will find a button that reads "Transfer," "Copy," "Export," or something similar, usually appearing in the lower right or upper right corner of your screen. Highlight your entire library with your mouse and click the "Transfer" (or related) button to save the content to a folder on your computer. Depending on the size of your library, this process make take several minutes or even hours.
Open iTunes and authorise your computer for use with your Apple account. If opening iTunes for the first time, a window should automatically prompt you to set up your iTunes account, in which case you can just enter your Apple ID and password. If no such dialogue appears, click "Store" in the menu bar at the top of your screen and select "Authorize Computer" from the drop down menu. Enter your Apple ID and password.
Transfer your saved library to iTunes. Simply drag the folder containing your saved files directly onto the centre of the iTunes window. Alternately, you can keep your music sorted in their playlists by dragging them into your "iTunes Music" folder. For Mac users, click "Macintosh HD" on your desktop, then open "Music," "iTunes" and finally "iTunes Music." For Windows users, open "My Computer," "My Documents," "My Music," "iTunes" and "iTunes Music."
Add new music to iTunes and sync your iPod whenever necessary, by clicking the "iPod" icon in the left column and clicking the "Sync" button (if iTunes does not sync automatically).