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Please Don't Stop The Music

Q: How do I switch my iTunes account from my old computer to my new computer if my old computer is dead? I've downloaded iTunes onto my new computer, but it doesn't recognize my account. I have all my music on my iPod, but I can't put any new music on it, and I can't transfer any music off of it without wiping the iPod. This happened the last time I changed computers, and I had to start a new account on the new computer.

A: It sounds like you have a couple of problems. First of all, you should be able to log into your iTunes account regardless of the condition of your old computer. Go to to reset your iTunes password. Once you have done that, you should be able to log into iTunes on your new computer. You can redownload any music that you bought through iTunes, or if you have iTunes Match, you can redownload your entire iTunes library.

If you don't have iTunes Match, the other problem is that the only copies of your music are trapped on your dead computer and your iPod. There is a way to rescue your music from at least one of them. If you still have your old computer, open the My Music folder (Music on Mac), then open the iTunes folder. Save the files named iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml files to a flash drive or external drive. Copy your music files from your old computer and save them to the same external drive. Now, open the same folders on your new computer, and replace those files with your library files from the older computer. Make sure that you move everything into the exact same location on your new computer as it was on your old computer. Assuming you do it correctly, you will be able to open iTunes and everything will be back to the way it was. If not, you'll still have your music, but you'll have to import the music into your new iTunes library on your new computer.

If you have unfortunately already gotten rid of your old computer, you can still copy your music from your iPod. What ever you do, don't sync your iPod …   More


A Cheaper Alternative to Inkjet Printers?

Q: I have a printer problem but not with how it works: it's the cost of operation. We bought two inkjet printers for my kids to use in college. While the printers were very cheap to purchase, they have been very expensive to operate.  I am not sure which cost more - college tuition or the ink for the printers! Now that the kids have graduated, I would really like to find a printer that’s inexpensive to run and has decent print quality for occasional home use. Any ideas?

A: Inkjet printers are often cheap to buy, but they are notoriously expensive to maintain. When I was working for a certain office supply company years ago, I learned that the companies that make the printers actually make their money off selling the ink. But here's a question for you, how much do you really need to print? That question may sound crazy but, do you have a mobile device that could replace whatever you are using the printer for? In my house, we hardly print anything anymore because we have an iPad. You would be surprised at how much a tablet or good smartphone will replace printing stuff out.

Remember going to MapQuest and printing out directions before you went on a trip? A device with built-in GPS can take care of that. One of the main selling points for inkjets is that they are fantastic for printing out high resolution color pictures, but how often do you really need to do that? Again, that's something that a lot of folks who own tablets and smartphones don't need because the pictures look better on the mobile device, and if you want to show them off, most of them have a way you can show the pictures on your high def television screen. If you do need to print some pictures, your local print shop can probably do a much better job and do it cheaper, all things being equal.

My wife really only uses our printer for couponing and the occasional form that has to printed out and signed. You don't need a color printer for that. So, she did some research and discovered …   More