I wanted an instant music collection at work, without installing iTunes or anything else, and without individually ripping the CDs. Fortunately all my CDs had been ripped to MP3 on my iPod, so I just took it into work and plugged it in.
Of course you don’t want to use iTunes, as that will mess it up completely, but as long as you can browse around the iPod’s files (eg you’ve switched-on Enable Disk Use), look into the \iPod_Control\Music directory (it’s hidden, so switch Explorer to view hidden files) and you’ll see iTunes has helpfully given random meaningless names to the MP3 files, such as F00\AJUR.mp3
No matter. Copy them to the new PC, and then drag them to Windows Media Player’s media library. It looks at the MP3 tags, which do match the actual artists and track names, and displays those in its library.
I knew there was a reason I encoded all my songs as MP3 instead of AAC. While there are hacks to get WMP to play AACs, officially it can’t — making it awkward to do on a corporate PC. I figured when I ripped them that MP3s are more widely supported, and perhaps more futureproof.
Saw a guy on the train with an old-style portable CD player. ‘Cos, you know, digital music from real CDs have a warmth that MP3/AAC on iPods just can’t match…