Last year I did a week long series called “The Podcast Junkie”. (The link is for the first day, but be sure to check out each day of the week for a list of casts.) I’m still a Podcast Junkie, and if anything listen or watch more now than I did last year. Having the ability to hook up my Zune to my TV (either through my XBOX 360 or in the Zune docking cradle) makes it very convenient. In the evenings I often drop my Zune into the dock and kick back with some podcasts.
Right now I’m in the process of reformatting my main laptop and reinstalling everything. I’ve spent a lot of time working with Beta then Release Candidate software over the last year and all the install / uninstalls have likely contributed to the instability of my machine. Not an unusual thing for developers to go through.
I keep all of my data, with two exceptions, on drives other than C so I have almost no data to back up, thus the process goes very quickly. One is my Microsoft Outlook files, easy enough to backup and restore later. The other is my Zune media.
My music, videos and audio books are all on external USB drives, so when I reinstall the the Zune software all I have to do is point it at the drives then kick back and wait for it to index all of it. My playlists are stored in C:\Users\[your username here]\My Music\Zune\Playlists, so I just copied those to a backup device and will restore after the Zune software is reinstalled.
The podcasts though are a bit more painful. Yes I could back them all up, but I’ve found just as with a reformat of the PC, so too does a reset of your podcast list benefit you. In the process of resubscribing to my podcasts I wind up weeding out a few I haven’t listened to in a while. More importantly I also wind up finding new ones to subscribe to, which is the fun part. It’s rare I have time to just sit and look through all the newly added podcasts, so this is a good opportunity to find new material to enjoy and learn from.
So then I get to the question of how best to backup my list. Last time I just went to the Zune Podcast folder and grabbed the list of directory names which match the podcasts I listen to. This time I decided to be a bit more creative, and did screen captures of the list and then merged them into one picture. The result turned out pretty cool, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. Just click on it to see the full size picture to see the podcasts I’m currently addicted to.
I don’t try and add all of them at once after I reinstall. Instead I start with the ones that are most important to me and add them first. I’ll let those download and sync with my Zune so I can be enjoying them while downloading the rest. To keep up with which ones I’ve gotten so far, I’ll make a copy of this picture to act as a check list. As I add each one to my collection, I’ll simply go to my picture editor (I like Paint.Net), use the selection tool to select the podcast and it’s name, then just hit delete. Eventually I should wind up with a blank picture.
One last piece of advice, after you have reset your library on your newly formatted computer, you need to also wipe your current content from your Zune. Your Zune anchors it’s data to the PC it came from, so it thinks your reformatted computer is a “new” PC and will lock away your old content to protect it. You wind up with a big portion of your Zune’s storage space being taken up by media you can’t get to.
To reset your Zune content, hook your Zune up to the computer, then in the software go to Settings (in the upper right). In Settings, click on Device. The top left menu item, Sync Options should be what you are on. At the very bottom you’ll see “Erase All Content”, you want to do this prior to syncing up any music or podcasts. Warning!!!! Make sure you have all the content on your Zune backed up that you need backed up. As I mentioned earlier, all my music and video on external drives, and my podcasts I’ve just redownloaded, so I don’t have anything on my Zune that I’ll lose, but your situation may be different.
Also note that when you do this, it will also delete the games, if you have the games installed. To reinstall the games, while still in the Settings, Device menu go down to Player Update. After making sure your player is up to date, you should see a button that reads “Install Games”. I’m sure by now you’ve deduced that just clicking it will reinstall the games. Not having the games gives you extra space for music, etc. If you have a bigger Zune like the 80 or 120 you probably won’t notice the missing space, if however you have a 4 gig model you might want to think about it.
Hope this helps the next time you have to reformat your computer, or just want to take a look at the podcasts someone else might be listening to. Personally I’m glad there’s no 12 step program for podcast addicts, would hate for someone to try and drag me to the meeting. (I’d probably be sitting in the back listening to my Zune instead of the meeting.)
“Hi, my name is Arcane Code, and I’m a podcast junkie!”