How to Relocate your iTunes Library

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Pamelaj

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accidentally fixed?

OK, I'm having a similar problem. I'm happy to come across a newer version of a fix, and have followed the advice above. My library is on an external drive, and I moved it recently to a new computer. Installed newest version of iTunes, and changed the preference for the library location. Did the library consolidation thing. Still no library in itunes.

On my HD I have a folder named iTunes Songs, and inside this folder are other folders that seem to contain each "album." When I'm changing the library location preference, I've selected the itunes Songs folder. Shouldn't that handle the problem????

Well, I can't believe it but I think I've accidentally fixed this problem. I went looking through iTunes File menu and found "add folder to library." So I selected the folder from the external hard drive and itunes went to work. It has also found all of my album art. It has been processing for about 20 minutes, so I hope this all goes well.

I'd still appreciate any comments about this, because I'm not sure I've done the right thing!
Pamelaj
 

Jesse Hollington

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What you're basically doing is importing all of your music into a new iTunes library. This will work, but you won't get your additional information like playlists, ratings, and play counts transferred over.

If you still have the old computer, what you need to do is to find the "iTunes" folder on there (should be in "My Music" by default on Windows, or "Music" on a Mac), and then copy that to the corresponding location on the new computer. If you've already wiped the old computer and didn't have a backup, then creating a new library and reimporting your tracks is about the only option unless you want to copy all of your content back from your iPod.

The problem is that the iTunes Music Folder path only tells iTunes where your content is stored -- by default the database will still live on your internal hard drive unless you take different steps to move it to another location.

See our article on Transferring your iTunes Library for more information.
 

Wwalsh1

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So, looking at Shmolle's method, I would have to manually change the path in the XML file for 1000 songs ???? Isn't there a simpler way to get Itunes to see the correct location of the files ? Someone mentioned global search and replace, yet I don't know what that means or how to do it ? Any ideas on an easier way to do this ?

Thanks
Bill
 

Jesse Hollington

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Well, one alternative is to put the files back in their original locations (where iTunes expects to see them). While not always a solution, this is doable if you had moved the entire folder structure as-is to a new location, or if you're only having problems because a drive letter has been changed (in which case you can easily change the drive letter back in your Windows Control Panel).

If moving the files back isn't an option due to disk space, then a search-and-replace through the XML file can be a solution. Just open it in a text editor and use the Find-Replace option that's built into just about every text editor out there to search for the incorrect path prefix and replace it with the prefix for where the tracks are now.

Of course, if you've moved your tracks all over the place out of their original structure, a simple search-and-replace is going to be more difficult as there's no common path to reference your files by. For instance, changing "C:\My Music" to "D:\Music" is easy enough, but if you've started changing around all of the artist and album folders underneath that, then you either have to go through the XML manually, or just give up and reimport your tracks into a whole new iTunes library.
 

Wwalsh1

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Is there a way to get Itunes to rebuild the XML file ? You said reimport ? Do you mean collect all my CD's etc... and reimport them all manually or can I reimport them from my Ipod ?
 

Jesse Hollington

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No, reimport your tracks simply by using the File, Add to Library option in iTunes. In this case you would lose all of your playlists, ratings and play counts, but other track information such as title, album and artist are stored in the files themselves, so this information would come back in.

In that scenario, you would just erase your iTunes library (the database not the actual media files), and then start a new library, importing your tracks from your hard drive using Add to Library.

You can find some more information in our article on Transferring your iTunes Library. This article doesn't directly address your specific situation with broken links, but it provides a good detail of background information on how iTunes locates files and the proper way of moving around your iTunes media collection.

Recovering your tracks from your iPod is also an option if you have your entire library on there, and may be easier than trying to mess with the XML file. See our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on how to do that.
 

steste

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heres my situation:

I have recently replaced my old clunky desktop and want to move my itunes library from it to my new computer.

Heres the current setup.

In My Documents/My Music there is an itunes folder. It does NOT contain my music but has other iTunes related files and folders in there. Things like iTunes Library.itl and folders called Mobile Applications and others (i have an iPhone).

The actual music library is stored on another harddrive within the PC. H:\iTunesMusic

I need to move all this to the new laptop without losing any of my data (playlists, playcounts, ratings etc).

From what im reading this will be difficult as the 2 locations (old and new) are completely different - new one is likely to be C:\something

I have an external hard drive I plan to use for the transfer.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
 

Jesse Hollington

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No, this shouldn't be a problem at all. See Transferring your iTunes Library -- there are much more detailed instruction in there.

In short, however, if you're going to change the path of the library on your external hard drive for your actual media content, then you'll need to do a "Consolidate Library" operation to have iTunes copy the files to the new location and update its paths in the process. If you're simply moving the iTunes library database to a new computer, then you simply need to copy the files in that folder, being careful to preserve the relative folder structure, and then point iTunes at the new location by holding down the SHIFT key when starting it up.
 

hadoob024

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I actually have the exact same scenario and concerns as Steste. However, additionally, I'm most concerned with preserving the album artwork when doing this transfer to my new hard drive. I read through that article "Transferring your iTunes Library", but it doesn't seem to mention album artwork. Any thoughts on this?
 

RediPod

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I am in need of assistance. I want to move my library from my iMac to my netbook. I have tried a couple of free software transfer programs to load music from my 30GB Video iPod to my netbook with no success. I also tried to transfer the library from my iMac to an external HD, then to my netbook. I followed the instructions and got no where. Can anyone give me another way to load 4,000+ songs, podcasts, and photos from my iMac to my netbook?
 

Jesse Hollington

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I actually have the exact same scenario and concerns as Steste. However, additionally, I'm most concerned with preserving the album artwork when doing this transfer to my new hard drive. I read through that article "Transferring your iTunes Library", but it doesn't seem to mention album artwork. Any thoughts on this?
The artwork issue is fairly straightforward. If you forklift the entire "iTunes" folder from your old computer to your new one then all of the album artwork should also remain as-is.

Note that iTunes actually stores any artwork you add manually within your actual music files, so even if the artwork gets lost, it can be easily recovered. Artwork added automatically through iTunes (by using the "Get Album Artwork" function), is only stored in the artwork cache in the main "iTunes" folder (alongside your library database), but even if this were to get lost, you could easily recover it simply by downloading the album artwork from iTunes again (using the same "Get Album Artwork" function).

That said, as long as you move the entire iTunes folder as-is, including the Artwork subfolder, you should be fine.

I am in need of assistance. I want to move my library from my iMac to my netbook. I have tried a couple of free software transfer programs to load music from my 30GB Video iPod to my netbook with no success. I also tried to transfer the library from my iMac to an external HD, then to my netbook. I followed the instructions and got no where. Can anyone give me another way to load 4,000+ songs, podcasts, and photos from my iMac to my netbook?
Is your netbook running OS X or Windows? Moving iTunes between different operating systems can be trickier as the file paths will be different due to the different file systems (for instance, Windows uses drive letters, Mac OS X uses drive names).

If you've consolidated your entire library into an iTunes-managed structure and left everything in the default iTunes Media Folder, you can sometimes get away with moving cross-platform as iTunes will attempt to find any missing tracks in their default location, and your tracks will be there if you had let iTunes organize them into those default locations.

Otherwise, recovering your library from an iPod and rebuilding it on the new OS is the simpler way to go.

Moving the library between computers using the same operating system is much more straightforward -- copy all of the files and folders manually and make sure you put everything in the same locations on the new computer, adjust your iTunes Media Folder path if necessary and iTunes should be able to pick up everything from there.

Check out Transferring your iTunes Library for more information.
 

hadoob024

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The artwork issue is fairly straightforward. If you forklift the entire "iTunes" folder from your old computer to your new one then all of the album artwork should also remain as-is.

Note that iTunes actually stores any artwork you add manually within your actual music files, so even if the artwork gets lost, it can be easily recovered. Artwork added automatically through iTunes (by using the "Get Album Artwork" function), is only stored in the artwork cache in the main "iTunes" folder (alongside your library database), but even if this were to get lost, you could easily recover it simply by downloading the album artwork from iTunes again (using the same "Get Album Artwork" function).

That said, as long as you move the entire iTunes folder as-is, including the Artwork subfolder, you should be fine.
Cool. Thanks for the tip. The only other concerns that I have are that when adding music to my iTunes library, I deselected the option for iTunes to make a copy of that music. I'm assuming that I will now have to recreate the same directory structure on the new hard drive, correct?
 

Chocomates

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Well I'm close to giving up and manually checking a new location for each track I have. I've tried the consolidate method, and itunes does nothing. I can't move anything from the previous library.

I have a new computer with a new hard drive, and an old internal hard drive that I've hooked up via usb. All the data, tracks, etc., are on the old one. I just want to copy the track counts and all that stuff, while leaving the actual music files on the old drive. Relocating itunes to the old library method doesn't do anything. I may just tap out and copy the old library file, then redirect itunes for every single track, though it could take a couple hours. I've gotta be screwing up somewhere.
 

crash613

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Well I'm close to giving up and manually checking a new location for each track I have. I've tried the consolidate method, and itunes does nothing. I can't move anything from the previous library.

I have a new computer with a new hard drive, and an old internal hard drive that I've hooked up via usb. All the data, tracks, etc., are on the old one. I just want to copy the track counts and all that stuff, while leaving the actual music files on the old drive. Relocating itunes to the old library method doesn't do anything. I may just tap out and copy the old library file, then redirect itunes for every single track, though it could take a couple hours. I've gotta be screwing up somewhere.
Well I have a way to do it that absolutely works. I have posted it in another thread and was told that there were extra steps that i took that were not necessary. Either way, this worked for me. I will cut and paste exactly what i did.

What is following was written as a tutorial (to myself) so I remember what i did when i upgraded from XP to Vista. But it works for Vista to 7 or from old computer to new computer too.

anyway here it is:

Moving an itunes Library from XP to Vista

Before you begin: First and foremost make sure to back up ALL of your music and itunes Library files before you remove XP from your old system.

This done using itunes version 7.6.2.9 but should work for any Version 7.

1. Install Vista
2. Install itunes (do not open program once installed)
3. Open a text document using text editor (set aside for later)
4. Physically move music to the new folder. By Default it should be something like c:\users\Administrator\music\itunes\itunes music (it may be your user name and not Administrator)
5. Copy your “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” to the itunes folder
6. Open itunes holding down shift so you can choose which library to use... choose yours.
7. Click on one of the songs, First one would be the easiest, you should get the broken link pop-up
8. Click to find the song manually
9. direct the dialog box to the song that you put in c:\users\Administrator\music\itunes\itunes music
10. Ensure that song is working
11. Close itunes
12. Move the “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” files to a different location (MUST MOVE, don’t do it from this location, and don’t COPY you MUST MOVE it)
13. Open “iTunes Music Library.xml” in a text editor (right click and choose edit)
14. Find the song you changed in the library.
15. find the line that looks something like this <key>Location</key><string>file://localhost/C:/Users/Administrator/Music/itunes/itunes%20Music/Arctic%20Monkeys%20-%20Baraclava.mp3</string> (it should be towards the end of the group of lines, before the next song’s info)
16. select and copy everything from “File” to the last “/” before the song’s name. Highlighted selection should look like this: file://localhost/C:/Users/Administrator/Music/itunes/itunes%20Music/
17. paste that into the blank *.txt document you opened earlier
18. Go back to the open XML file and choose one of the songs you HAVEN’T changed.
19. highlight and copy the same info to the open notepad. It Should look like this file://localhost/D:/My%20Music/
20. Keep in mind that it will look different depending on where your music was originally. In the above case mine was in D:\My Music
21. Choose find and replace from edit -->Replace (or Control + H)
22. Paste the original location info into the “FIND” box. (it should still be in your clipboard, since you just pasted it into the notepad)
23. Go back to the Notepad and highlight the edited location. (the first one you pasted there)
24. Copy it to the “REPLACE WITH” Box
25. Click on the “REPLACE ALL” button and let it go to work.
26. Once it is done, leave it.
27. Open itunes.
28. Since you physically moved the *.xml and *.itl file itunes will build a new one.
29. There shouldn’t be any music in itunes at this time.
30. Go to File->Import and select the edited version of “iTunes Music Library.xml”. This step can take some time.
31. Once done you library should be working now.
32. You can delete the *.xml and *.itl file’s you had moved and edited, as they are no longer needed.
 

colin84

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Hi

I have an iphone 3g and have just brought a new PC with windows 7. My old Pc had XP.

I have followed the instructions that you have set out and put the itunes folder in the Music folder. However when i load itunes (i am using the most up to date version which I think is 9) my library is blank! When i click on the music folder all my songs are there and when i opened Windows media Player all the music appears in there but not in itunes?

I am sure it is something basic that i have done wrong but for the life of my i don't know what!
 

crash613

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Hi

I have an iphone 3g and have just brought a new PC with windows 7. My old Pc had XP.

I have followed the instructions that you have set out and put the itunes folder in the Music folder. However when i load itunes (i am using the most up to date version which I think is 9) my library is blank! When i click on the music folder all my songs are there and when i opened Windows media Player all the music appears in there but not in itunes?

I am sure it is something basic that i have done wrong but for the life of my i don't know what!
did you copy your “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” to the itunes folder.

they would have been on the old machine. they need to be put on the new one, along with the music
 

Chocomates

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Well I have a success story. I was going to do the tedious "relocate" method for every single track, just cause I was tired of messing around.

I copied the music and the library file to my new computer, and was prepared to delve into the abyss when I found out....that itunes automatically located everything! I didn't have to relocate any file!

It might be because of this:

- Upon setting up the new computer, I made it a point to use the same username as the old one.

- I copied all of the files onto the same spots they were, with the same folder names.

I guess doing that negated the need to click on every track individually. What a relief!
 

turningaugustus

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I actually came across the main article everyone keeps alluding to last December because I had plans to buy a new computer. Today the new computer arrived, and I thought I had the process down but I guess not.

Here's what I did: This morning I made some final changes to the Library on the old computer. Then I copied the library database file from its original place (in my music folder on the old C:) to a new place on the external hard drive (which is in the same folder as the actual music database).

When I turned on the new computer, I copied the database from the external to a place on the new C:. I opened iTunes, pressing SHIFT, and then selecting the library database file. My library came up but immediately all the songs starting going haywire. The little black exclamation points scared so I closed it down and tried again.

I tried opening iTunes and starting a whole new Library and then physically adding the music database (not one by one; just selecting the entire folder). This meant all of my playlists were gone and I had to organize my movie files all over again but it was ok until I discovered I couldn't access the song info for my entire music library. I read someone because the folders locked or some such.

Basically, I have my correct library database file and all my music. Can someone help me in putting it all together?
 

grubco

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Hi. Sorry to ask this question which has surely been covered already, but I couldn't find anything that answers it 100%.
I have my iTunes library on a laptop running XP (Service Pack 3 I think) as my desktop at that time only had XP SP1 and iTunes wouldn't install.
I now have a new desktop with 7 and would like to transfer my library to it. I already have a back-up (31gb) of the laptop contents on the new PC. What else is needed to make the iPod accept the new desktop as its "master" instead of the laptop? I don't have any playlists, just albums. What will I lose? Playcounts? All my cover art is custom-made or scanned, and is also backed-up (just in case).
 
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