Synchronizing Digital Media with Portable Devices

Do you own a portable music player? A phone that runs on the Windows Mobile operating system? How about a USB flash drive or a flash memory card? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you might be able to synchronize the contents of that device with all or part of the digital music collection on your PC. We say "might" because the tools and techniques we describe in this section don't work at all with some of the most popular devices out there. With an iPod or an iPhone, you'll need to use Apple's iTunes software (itunes.com) to keep your device in sync with your PC's collection. Likewise, Microsoft's Zune players require that you install the Zune software (zune.net) to manage and sync your portable player.

For most other devices designed for use with Windows, including phones based on the Windows Mobile operating system, you can use Windows Media Player to establish a working relationship between your device and your music collection (videos, too, if your portable device supports video playback). You can also use these techniques with generic removable drives based on flash memory. After you complete the initial configuration, you can connect the device to your PC (typically via a USB port) and synchronize the contents of the device automatically or manually.

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