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Topic: Moving Music To External Hard Drive

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Old 12-27-2010, 03:32 PM
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Moving Music To External Hard Drive

I've searched Google, and this website, so before you guys get on me about a repeat topic, please try and help.

So I recently purchased an external hard drive to place all my music on. Partly because I was running out of room on my internal hard drive on my PC, and also partly to make my transition to my lap top I'm purchasing next year more seamless. Anyways, I successfully installed the XHD, and copied all my music from my iTunes Music folder onto it. I now want to delete the original songs on my internal hard drive, but I don't want to have to re-add all the songs onto my iTunes, because I have well over 5,000 songs.

I know how to relocate a library, and I originally tried that, but then it just copies all the files onto my external hard drive, and I don't want that because I already have the songs on there.

Basically, I just want to know the easiest way to get rid of the songs on my internal hard drive, and keep them on my external hard drive.

Any help would be appreciated.



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Old 12-27-2010, 07:06 PM
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You might as well start over and do it right; you'll be much happier with the results. IF you still have your music files on the boot drive, and IF you haven't moved your "iTunes Library.itl" file from the boot drive, this will do you nicely:

0) Just to repeat the warning -- if your music files are no longer on the boot drive, don't do any of this. If your "iTunes Library.itl" file is no longer in the "iTunes" folder in your user account's Music or My Music folder, don't do this. To be sure you're OK to go, quit iTunes and then safely disconnect the external drive. Now fire up iTunes and see if your music can be played. If so, you're p'bly alright to go. If you have any doubts, post again.

1) Quit iTunes. Delete the music files from the external drive; empty the Recycle Bin. Now create a folder at the root level of the external drive and name it "iTunes". Inside this new "iTunes" folder create a folder named "iTunes Media". If you are fequently plugging and unplugging USB devices from your computer -- other hard drives, camera card readers, anything that receives a drive letter -- take the time to disconnect them, and then go into Computer Management and permanently assign a drive letter to the external. To avoid conflicts with other software, give it a fairly high-up letter, like M: (If your external doesn't always get the same drive letter every time you turn it on, iTunes won't always be able to find your files. Assigning a drive letter might feel like a PITA, but it's easier than having to fix a drive letter problem down the road.)

2) Fire up iTunes. iTunes Edit menu->Preferences->Advanced and click on the Change button up in the "iTunes Media folder location" area. Navigate the folder dialog and select the "iTunes Media" folder inside the "iTunes" folder on the external. Also in that prefs pane, put checkmarks in the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" and "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" boxes (if they aren't already checked). Click the OK button to save and close prefs.

3) iTunes File menu->Library->Organize Library and put a checkmark in the "Consolidate Library" box, then click OK. iTunes will now "Consolidate" your music files -- it will copy all the music files it knows about into the "iTunes Media" folder on the external, and it will update the library file with all the new filepaths for your music files. Kick back while the files are being copied.....

4) When Consolidating is done, test it -- Get Info on a file or three; check the Summary pane of the Info box and make sure the paths are from the external drive. Play a track or three...if everything looks good, you can trash the "iTunes Media" folder that's in the "iTunes" folder in your user account's Music or My Music folder. DO NOT trash the entire the "iTunes" folder; DO NOT trash anything else in the "iTunes" folder. That's it; you're done.

Because of the folder structure you created on the external, it will be easy to also relocate your actual "library" files to the external when the need arises (such as for when you need to move iTunes to a new computer, or for when you need to use your iTunes on someone else's computer, or other situations.) Because you used the Consolidate command, your iTunes library is properly updated to the new locations of your music files -- you're good to go.

Any questions, post again.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:37 PM
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I have quite a few albums that I've downloaded since I installed the XHD, and placed strictly on there. So in short, they aren't on my boot drive. What should I change to accommodate this problem?

Thanks for the help.



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Old 12-28-2010, 09:22 PM
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Set Prefs->Advanced->"iTunes Media folder location" to point to the music-containing folder on your boot drive (p'bly at /Users/<name>/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/ if you're using Win7; check to make sure with Get Info on a track or two) and also put a checkmark in the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" box; click OK to save and close Prefs.

Now just drag those newer albums onto the iTunes window to add them to your library; the files will be copied into the music-containing folder on the boot drive. When you've got them all added, proceed with the instructions in my earlier post.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:30 PM
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Thanks so much!

EDIT: So I'm assuming I now can delete the files off my boot drive after this process is done?



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Last edited by slpnsld23; 12-28-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:12 PM
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Well, you can delete files off the boot drive after you've spent some time verifying that your files successfully moved to the external ;-) Once your consolidating is done, quit iTunes and then relaunch it; now Get Info on a track and check the filepath in Summary pane -- is the file where it's supposed to be? Check a few files, just to be sure.... If you have the patience for it, just leave things alone for a week -- allow time for any weird errors to show themselves.

(What to do with that week-of-waiting? One great idea is to go out and get an external drive that you can use as a backup drive ;-)
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