How to dedupe your song library now that iTunes won't

iTunes 11, which arrived last week, brought some big changes with it. And for the last few days I've been helping you work around some of those changes, like restoring the iTunes sidebar and even returning to iTunes 10.

Today let's talk about another iTunes 11 curiosity: the software no longer includes the option to find duplicates in your song library.

That's a bummer, because it definitely came in handy when working with large libraries accumulated over the course of many years.

Thankfully, there are other ways to de-dupe an iTunes library. For example, you could install a utility like TuneUp, which can not only find and eliminate duplicate tracks, but also fix mislabeled songs, find missing cover art, show song lyrics, and much more.

The trial version will remove up to 25 duplicates. (Make sure you de-select the ZenDeals and Sendori junkware options that appear during installation.) If you need more, you'll have to pony up $49.95 for the full version. That's a pretty steep price to pay for something as basic as de-duping, so if that's all you really need, check out Dupe Away, a more straightforward utility that costs all of $12.

There's a free de-duper in the form of CopyTrans TuneTastic, but it doesn't yet support iTunes 11. (When I tried running it, it produced an error message along the lines of "iTunes too new.")

It's worth noting that as of this morning, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg reports that Apple may restore the duplicate-finder option in an upcoming iTunes 11 update. Let's hope so, because I'd rather not monkey with third-party software unless absolutely necessary.

That said, if you absolutely positively need to de-dupe your iTunes library now, you've got options.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community ForumsSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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