iTunes for Windows Review

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written by owen on 2003-Oct-20.

related pictureFinally windows users like myself get a taste of iTunes for windows. The apple iTunes media player (although slow loading) is better than winamp 3. The interface is simple and intuitive. It takes a short period in order to figure out where the actual playlist is situated in the media played. At which point the user begin to realise that iTunes is not a windows program at all, not like any other piece of software on windows.

The software

iTunes plays mp3s which is what most people really care about. It doesn't play video and doesn't have skin support. But these are features that will not be missed once you start using it. Each user profile on W2k and WXP has their own playlist , library and media directory. It is also Restricted user safe. (if you don't know what that means don't worry about it). Delete a file it goes to the recycle bin.

The Interface

After you install it and get it running you instantly notice that there isn't a stop nor pause button. Which may seem illogical at first but eventually you'll figure out why you don't need them. The interface has the metalic look as the Quick time media player and you won't be able to change. It looks basically like the apple OSX version and like Quicktime except with blue scroll bars and pretty buttons.

The Library

The media library is set up pretty much like the Winamp media library with the expection of the Keep iTunes Music Folder organized option (default). Which when selected; automatically re-organises your mp3s into folders based on the ID3 meta tags in the files. Note: Donot change you "iTunes music folder Location" to where you presently have your mp3s! It will move then around and create folders for each artist! This might seem to be a bad thing now but eventually you see how well it works. Also it is smart enough to only organize files that are within the iTunes music folder Location.
At the onset it's best to create a new folder on your root directory and point athe folder location to that directory. Remember also to login in as all the other users of the machine and edit there settings as well because by default iTunes will keep separate media folders for each user! Also because of this you'll have to update each user's library.

The ID3 tag editor

Though simple is very power when combined with the Keep iTunes Music Folder organized option. Which automatically re-names and re-arranges your files by artist and album. You might notice that this becomes a problem when you have compilations with various artists on a single CD. To solve this problem select all the tracks, right click and select "Get Info", check the "part of a compilation". This will put the album into a compilations folder instead of creating tons of folders for each are artist whom may only have one song (it is important that you remember this step). Luckly if you didn't do this step and the tons of folders were created all you have to do is find the files in the library, edit the all again and iTunes will magically move then to where they are supposte to be and delete the empty folders. Note also that if there are other files it the mp3 directories - it won't delete the folder. So having files other than mp3s in you folders could create a rather messy situation.

The bad

I haven't found anything overly bad yet. Though it does not have voice record and the visualizer sucks. Well if you disable frame rate capping (T) it is not as bad to look at. Also there seems to be no way to mass remove dead file references from the library(well you can clear the library and add the files again). No dynamic ID3 tag support and no long text field.

Overall Rating

I give it a 8. iTunes rocks, download it now. iTunes for windows

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  1. I guess I am not the only one having problems with this God sent program. My MP3 playback is awful, sound really low and the tempo seems too a bit fast sounding like the chipmunks.

    Anyway hope a reinstall helps.

    by Khurt 2003-Oct-21 

  2. when I install winamp, I don't have to worry about the installation directory, or having other files in with my mp3s. Winamp is skinnable, plays video too, and I don't have to create a root folder for it. I'd say compared to its competitor, iTunes should get a much lower score than 8...

    by mike 2003-Oct-22 

  3. yes mike you have a point there. However does winamp rip CDs and organise you files for you? Winamp is still the best overall though. but who really needs skins anyway?

    by owen 2003-Oct-22 

  4. better than both winamp and iTunes (although a direct comparison shouldn't really be made - they are intended for slightly different purposes) is foobar2000, which can do everything winamp does, and everything iTunes does, and the executable is only about 120kb.

    by jasp 2003-Oct-25 

  5. by owen 2003-Nov-13 

  6. I am having a terrible time with slow download speeds with iTunes (using a Pentium 4 PC with Windows XP) - sometimes lower than 1x. Has anyone else encountered such a problem and, if so, how did you resolve it? Thanks.

    by Kathleen 2004-Jan-04 

  7. Kathleen - most likely you have internet problems or windows problems. I suggest you get some body to check it out.

    by owen 2004-Jan-06 

  8. kathleen - I noticed that when I download music from my DVD drive, speed was 0.3x; but from my CD drive, speed was 4x.

    by bill 2004-Jan-08 

  9. Not only is my ripping speed a miserable .2x, but playing CDs only plays a short second or two, pauses, then plays more, etc.

    I'm using a Plextor 320 which is an ide DVD/CD-R 20/10/40 drive. Musicmatch didn't have any problem with it and was MUCH faster.

    I like iTunes features but, it's nearing useless for me. If I don't find an answer I'll have to go back to MusicMatch.

    Any input?

    by Kazz 2004-Jan-22 

  10. Itunes works well for people with newer machines tough it doesn't do everything well and does not support every piece of software/hardware on windows.
    I for one still have winamp installed and musicmatch 4 because as any long time windows user knows no one piece of software will be able to solve all your problems.
    Solution:use musicmatch to rip cds you own, then use itunes to organise/play them.

    by owen 2004-Jan-22 

  11. ... turned off error correction and rip speeds build to over 5x, etc.

    This is broken - I'm reading that DVD/CD-R drives are having the same problem as I experienced and DVD drives may be as well.

    I'm working now, but as soon as I get my entire library ripped and I start listening, if I have errors... *growl*

    by kazz 2004-Jan-30 

  12. WHen i play my existing mp3s in i tunes they skip like crazy, if i play with ewindows media played they are fine

    by peter 2004-Feb-24 

  13. a solution to the skipping mp3 problem is to right click on the file in itunes and select copy selection as mp3 this will make a duplicate of the selected files hopefully without the skips. best to try it on one or two files.

    by owen 2004-Mar-22 

  14. Don't have an iPOD Mini yet - sold out everywhere. Still using my MP3 player and just found iTunes will convert AAC files to MP3, AND let me burn a CD of all the MP3 files. This lets me load them on my MP3 player. This will keep me hapopy until I can get an iPOD Mini

    by POD Envy 2004-Apr-16 

  15. iTunes for Windows is a fantastic application for organizing your music! For playback of music I recommend Winamp 5 with Monkey or Milkdrop visualizers. iTunes is not good for listening to music. Just build your library in iTunes, sync with iPod, and use Winamp for listening on the computer. Encoding MP3's: use LAME/EAC for best encoding/rip or iTunes if you are feeling lazy.

    by DPOD 2004-Apr-23 

  16. iTunes is not bad, but it can only handle mp3 tags version 2.2. i have all tagged with version 2.3 and therefore i cannot change them in tunes, because it messes up my (real) tags (additional info etc...). a follow-up problem is that there is no button to tell itunes to check for added/updated files - you have to do it manually

    by int_i 2004-Jun-16 

  17. I have a muvo2 which doesnt seem to recognise music downloaded with itunes, can anyone assist?

    by jeremy 2004-Jun-22 

  18. Firstly the only reason I’m using this meddling crapware (meddling because it wants full control of your HD) is because I have been wowed over to the Apple camp by the superb Airtunes wireless device which works great when combined with a Windows Centrino laptop.

    by Aaron 2004-Jul-19 

  19. However back to my angry point, this Itunes 4.6 suffers from a serious lack of ‘quality assurance’. It may be slick looking and clever but underneath all that metallic interface and hype lies the brain of a Commodore 64. The user intuition and functionality that Windows (and even Linux) users take for granted simply aren’t available. For instance why bother with the mammoth task of trying to sort out a user music folder (which will hold GIGs of data) without offering some sort of ‘undo’ feature? Come on, that’s just plain dumb! After all no sensible Windows program would dare to ‘rearrange’ an entire hard drive of data without offering plenty of warning and a few ‘undo’ buttons, this is not the case with Itunes so if you let rearrange your mp3 folders you had better have made a backup. And before some dummy comes out and says “durr you would need twice the space to use the undo command!”…. hello dummy no you wouldn’t need twice the space because all Itunes has to do is keep a simple file index of the HD content not the physical files…

    by Aaron 2004-Jul-19 

  20. Another ridiculously annoying feature is the lack of a dynamic library update, let say you play a few mp3s off your desktop then delete them because they are crap, Itunes erroneously believes that you want to add these crap files into your music library so without asking automatically does this for you. Okay yeah I can delete the crap mp3s one by one from the library but to be honest I don’t see why I should have to sort through the library cleaning up after Mr Commodore 64, I’m too lazy and that’s just crap functionality, I would have expected Apple to pick up on basic things like this, Itunes should ‘automatically’ run in the background and match the library content to the stuff on my disk….. This level of crapness is making me think twice about blowing two grand on an iPowerbook! (well everything else has an i on it!)

    I urge all Windows users to download this software and see the lack of functionality for yourself. Both Windows Media Player & Winamp are 10 times better than this steaming pile. Airtunes and that over hyped gayish Ipod is Itunes only savior!!!

    (P.S Someone please make Windows media player/Winamp work with the Airport Express!)

    by Aaron 2004-Jul-19 

  21. yeah it's definately not a normal windows application, it works the way it works and it is the only application on windows that works that way. Plus everybody hates those apps that run in the background.

    by owen 2004-Jul-19 

  22. I ripped my first bunch of mp3 cd's using iTunes.....only to find that each song is not playing from the beginning, on my newly ripped discs. And the further along in the disc you go, the greater the overlap from the previous song! I ruled out the player as the culprit. It seems that there is a problem with the way that iTunes burned the CD. Help!

    by ralph 2004-Jul-29 

  23. just bought airport express 2 days ago... man, the device works like a charm. the player though! itunes honestly is wack! the program wants to recreate your music librairy. it doesn't think that you have them well organised! and it wants 2 convert 1000+ wma files into ACC! i wouldn't mind mp3, but ACC... naw, thank u. somebody please make winamp stream directly 2 airport. i've been searcing the web for some solution, but so far, nothing. of course u can create a shoutcast server and have itunes stream from there, but that's too much of a hassle. in short, no itunes on my pc, please! don't get me wrong, apple rocks, but this propriatery approach they're taking with airtunes is gonna lose them. i'm already contemplating creative's equivalent.
    airport = 9
    itunes = 1

    by west 2004-Oct-19 

  24. iTunes is the best software out there, i don't know what peecee's you are using it on but my sister has it on her p4 laptop, my bro on his AMD 2400, my dad on his AMD 2400 and me on my dual G5 mac and we all share music using its fantastic sharing capabilities, it does take time to get used to and only works if you tag ALL of your songs which is a pain! but we can all rip music at at least 13x and takes literally 2 mins to rip a cd in Apple Lossless quality.

    by gary 2004-Dec-18 

  25. Whatever problems you have with iTunes spells SBS (shit behind the screen) :). I have a 100 GB + music archive, 2 airport express, and additionally two mini stereos hooked up via audio cables directly from a couple of of iTunes computers (one peecee, one Mac). I have a mixed PC and Windows environment, and everything works like a charm. The key to success is being consistent and diligent in your file structure and id3 editing routine, and overall that you actuall edit your mp3 tags. Yes, it has taken me months (a little here, a little there), but the result is fantastic. Obviously this is an investment so you should perform regular backups. Whenever I receive files that are unedited, I load them to one of my laptops, and edit them separately before mixing them into the main library to keep the neatness intact. Of course, iTunes for Mac have powerful automated Applescripts that can do much of the ardous id3 editing for you, so that is a serious advantage Windows users don't have.

    Also, now that my library is in nice order, I have rediscovered Winamp, and let it look at my iTunes generated library via a network share via a smart playlist, to keep it updated. Hopefully someone will right an app that can hijack audio and play it via Airtunes Express, just as the Airfoil does for the Mac. Good luck now. Over and out.

    by be_free 2005-Apr-21 

  26. For those of you that thought of switching from Winamp to iTunes simply for the AirTunes (streaming audio to an AirPort Express), think no longer. Stick with Winamp and stream to remote speakers with this plug-in:

    by emilles 2006-Mar-28