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Zune Tip: Restore your favorited songs after a library reset

I’ve been in love with my black Zune 30 ever since I bought it about two years ago. I’m starting to hit the wall with storage on it and my dreaming of a nice, big 120 someday. I also love the continued support from Microsoft with new firmware and software updates.

One of the latest features added to the software was auto playlists. Setting as little or as many filter criteria you want, the Zune software will automatically take care of it and you end up with a customized, dynamic playlist that may change based on how you use it.

One auto playlist I have is “My Faves”. Basically it keeps track of all my favorited songs – that way, I just need to tag them, and the list updates. Pretty cool hu? After amassing 200+ songs, I thought it be a good idea to backup those playlists in case of a system failure or library reset. By the way, I use Mozy to backup most of my critical files – it’s 2gb free online storage.

So recently I installed Windows 7(RC) and discovered that the Zune software had to do a library reset. That’s a bummer since I have 30gb+ of music – so it took a while for it to re-catalog my music. Ooops… resetting the catalog also blows away any favorited tags (any any other meta data of the like). No big deal, right, I’ll just launch Mozy and restore my favorite play list from before the reset and we’ll be all good. I restore the playlist file and then look at my Zune software… it’s only showing about 18 songs. What?! I try it again… same thing. I try copying the XML from the original playlist into the playlist directly, still same thing. Figure it out yet?

Since it was an auto playlist and my library was reset (canceling all my songs marked favorite), the auto playlist was only displaying the songs I’ve favorited since the reset. Grrrr!

No biggie. I’m a computer professional, I can get around this. Here’s what I did:

  1. With my original, backed up playlist, I opened it in Notepad++ (because I like it, notepad.exe or any text editor would do), copied all the lines between the <seq></seq> tags. Your playlists can typically be found where you store you music under Zune/Playlists
  2. I then went into the Zune software, and created a new standard playlist; “Backup Faves”. This new playlist appears in the Zune/Playlists folder with a .ZPL extension. It’s just a fancy XML document.
  3. Again, I open the new “backup faves.zpl” file in Notepad++, and paste the lines from my original file between the <seq></seq> tags.
  4. Save it.
  5. Verify that the Zune software now sees the change. Success!
  6. Now… with the standard playlist updated and showing all the songs, I need to re-favorite them all. This is where the magic happens; I select all the songs in the “Backup Faves” list (CTRL+A) and then hit the Favorite button (the little heart icon) and *BANG!*, *POW!*, all the songs that I liked but were un-favorited were again favorited! Oh happy day!
  7. Now, since all those songs were re-classified as my faves, my auto playlist recognized them and is back in business. Slick!

Now, for this to work for anyone, you need to have a backup of your auto playlist. If you reset your library without one, you’ll probably be S.O.L. So make sure you avoid disaster and having to re-categorize everything by making a backup of your playlists on a regular basis.

Backups are your friend!

Hope that helps someone out!

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