CopyTrans ($20, free feature-limited demo), a utility for backing up an iPod or iPhone to a folder or directly to iTunes, has recently released a new version. In our review of the previous version, our main criticisms of CopyTrans were the creation of duplicate files when backing up, and the inability to do anything about it
This complaint is supposedly fixed now in CopyTrans 4, and the vendor's claim of "100% duplicate proof" is certainly is a bold one. I ran a "smart backup" with an iPhone full of tracks that I knew were already in iTunes on my PC. Unfortunately, there's no way to modify the specific iTunes directory that CopyTrans uses. Like many users, I have all my music in artist folders in the Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Music directory. Instead of checking these artist folders for duplicates, CopyTrans instead created a Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Music -> Music folder, and imported everything from my iPhone into there - definitely not 100% duplicate proof. If I were able to tell CopyTrans where my music actually was, then perhaps there would be fewer duplicates.
For those new to CopyTrans, its existence owes itself to the fact that iTunes is draconian about importing and exporting music. Often, you'll end up with songs on your iPod that aren't on your PC; in that case, it's nearly impossible to get that song off the iPod without re-syncing (which erases it) and re-downloading the song from iTunes. There's where CopyTrans comes in; it easily imports an entire song library from the iPod to iTunes, so there's less hassle.
CopyTrans 4 is also touted as being much faster than previous versions, and I did notice that it backed up tracks from my iPhone very quickly. Other new features include support for iTunes' Smart Playlist, a playlist that is created automatically based on specific criteria. CopyTrans will import these from your device.
The creation of many duplicate files is still a problem in CopyTrans, requiring another app, such as MediaMonkey, to fix it. Once default directory support is added, which seems like it'd be a trivial fix, then CopyTrans will perform far better.
Note: The demo version allows for backing up 100 tracks at a time only. The full version costs $20.