How to Relocate your iTunes Library

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crash613

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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).
if you are just interested in getting your music running then just install itunes and put the music in the music folder and sync. If you want to keep playcounts,lists etc, you will need to do something like i outlined above.

If you do the first way, it will erase and sync your ipod the first time you do it, so it will take awhile (depending on the size of your library) while it re-copies the songs back to the ipod from the new location in the new itunes library. from then on out, it will sync with the new library.
 

designboy

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I am getting a new iMac today. I want to move mostly music and podcasts over to new iMac. I want to leave most of the Movies in my iTunes on my G5 and it will act as a server. Now do I move just some of the files and not all files in my iTunes library?
 

mrscotd

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Hey-did you ever get an easy fix to this problem-re; itunes not being able to locate the song file in the library even tho its listed...I have the same situation-its not all my songs but it is a lot of them. Thanks for any help.
Scot
 

bar

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Hey-did you ever get an easy fix to this problem-re; itunes not being able to locate the song file in the library even tho its listed...I have the same situation-its not all my songs but it is a lot of them. Thanks for any help.
Scot
I used to have that problem a lot. Now i have the option "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organised" ticked(And "Copy files to itunes Media Folder"), and it's never been an issue.
I have no idea if this is the option that does the trick, but it seems to be...
I hope this helps.
 

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JAbrams72

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I've read through this and can't find a solution. I've moved my music library (from C to an external HDD) and it seems to have worked fine, however, when I sync my iphone it backsup to the C-drive. This isn't a huge problem, but I'd like it to go to the same external location. Any suggestions? (I'm using iTunes 10 on XP)

thanks
 

Jesse Hollington

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Hi and welcome to iLounge.

Your iOS device backups will always go to your local system drive, as they are stored in a completely different folder from your iTunes Media. There is no simple way to relocate this folder, although there really is no reason to do so -- the folder is merely a backup and is only used if you ever need to restore your iOS device after a failure of the device or when replacing it or upgrading to a new model.

You can easily copy the backup folder to any other location you would like if you want to make a backup of it.
 

rockmyplimsoul

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You can easily copy the backup folder to any other location you would like if you want to make a backup of it.
Absolutely, not only should your regular backup routine include your native media files and your iTunes .itl library file, it should also include:

- Your iOS device backups
- iTunes preferences file (iTunesPrefs.xml)
- Applications*
- iPod firmware files*

The locations of these files vary by computer OS.

*By default, these get trashed by iTunes when new versions come out, so I keep down-rev copies.
 

Jesse Hollington

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Note, however, that if you've started your library with iTunes 9 or later, or upgraded to the new iTunes Media folder organization, your Applications should actually be stored in the main iTunes Media folder alongside your music and other media content.

iOS device backups, preferences and iPod/iPhone/iPad firmware files still live elsewhere, so you'll want to include these in your backups for disaster recovery purposes if you're concerned about this info.

Note that you only need to backup your iPod/iPhone/iPad firmware updates if you're concerned about keeping older versions around, as the newest can always be downloaded again from Apple. Further, iPhone and iPad 3G models are virtually impossible to downgrade, so older firmware packages won't do you much good with those devices.
 

Jesse Hollington

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Note, however, that if you've started your library with iTunes 9 or later, or upgraded to the new iTunes Media folder organization, your Applications should actually be stored in the main iTunes Media folder alongside your music and other media content.

iOS device backups, preferences and iPod/iPhone/iPad firmware files still live elsewhere, so you'll want to include these in your backups for disaster recovery purposes if you're concerned about this info.

Note that you only need to backup your iPod/iPhone/iPad firmware updates if you're concerned about keeping older versions around, as the newest can always be downloaded again from Apple. Further, iPhone and iPad 3G models are virtually impossible to downgrade, so older firmware packages won't do you much good with those devices.
 

Nadabi

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Well, that depends on whether you want to preserve your playlists and other database information such as ratings, play counts, last played times, etc.

Using the "Consolidate Library" function will move your media files to the external drive, but iTunes' library database itself will remain in its original location on your internal hard drive. I'd recommend backing this up as well -- you can copy it manually from the "iTunes" folder located under "My Music" -- just copy the entire folder except the "iTunes Music" sub-folder (you've already consolidated that to the new location, so no need to copy it again)., and then on the freshly-reformatted hard drive, you can copy it back into the same location.

In fact, if you're really just looking to backup and restore the whole iTunes library, there's really no need to worry about the "Consolidate Library" option as this will take additional time to update the iTunes database. Assuming that your iTunes Music Folder is in the default location (under "My Music\iTunes"), you can just copy/backup the entire "iTunes" folder as-is, with all sub-folders, and then re-copy/restore it back to the same location after you've formatted your hard drive. The "Consolidate Library" function is only necessary if you plan to use your library from the external drive, or if you were going to change the location when you later put it back (ie, put it on a different partition, or a completely different folder outside of your "My Music" folder).
Hi,
I read every page of this thread and the article "Transferring your
iTunes Library", but I haven't found the right procedure described for
My problem / question.
I have a MacBook Pro, my iTunes Media folder is located in my
External hard disk (I moved iTunes Media folder with the Consolidate function), and my
iTunes folder is in the local disk (User Name> Music> iTunes).
Up to here all right.

Now I have to format the internal hard disk Mac: I made a backup
the iTunes folder. I formatted the hard disk, reinstalled Snow
Leopard and I put it in the same position the iTunes folder.
Even here so good.

I open iTunes and I find everything in order: playlist, charts, ..
I make "Apple-i" in a track, the position is right , the track is positioned on the
External hard Disk.

The doubt that I have is when I watching the Preference> Advanced: the Position
the iTunes Media folder is set to the local disk (Users / Nadabi /
Music / iTunes / iTunes media). This happens because formatting
lose the Preferences of ITunes.

At this point, is right to manually I change the location
of iTunes Media folder to external hard disk?

Following is procedure (changing Manually the position) show me a window that it
says: “ Do you want to move and rename files in new folder
iTunes Media according to preferences "Keep organized
the folder of iTunes Media? Confirm, pressing YES.

I think that is the right procedure, but I want to be sure!
.. I'd like one of your advice.

Sorry for my english

Thanks for your attention.
 

Jesse Hollington

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Hi and welcome to iLounge.

Yes, you've got the basic idea right -- simply change the path of the iTunes Media folder to the location on the external hard drive. If you've imported any music since reformatting you may also want to run the 'Consolidate Files" process again after you've changed the path to bring any new files over to the external hard drive.

The question about moving and renaming files is normal also, although in your case it should just quickly scan through what's there and not actually change anything, since it was already organized by iTunes in the first place.
 

ATHiker95

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Hopefully this thread is the right place to put this question - first time here. I am currently running Windows XP sp2 and iTunes 9.1.1.12. My iTunes library is on an external HD (music,podcasts,movies, the works). I just bought a new iMac (which I'm in the process of uncrating). I want to transfer my iTunes over to the new iMac. I don't really know what version of iTunes is installed on the new iMac yet. Is it vital that the version of iTunes on my XP machine match the version on the new iMac? (I don't really have enough C: drive space on this old machine to update my iTunes - pretty bad, eh?).

Next question - can I just move the iTunes folder on my external (K:\iTunes) and drop it on top of the iTunes folder on the iMac? Will that replace the iTunes folder at ~music\iTunes on the new Mac and all of it's content and will I be good to go then?

Thanks!
Mark
 

Jesse Hollington

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Hi and welcome to iLounge.

As long as the version of iTunes on the Mac is newer that the one on the PC you should be fine. iTunes will simply upgrade the database if necessary when you move your data over. You won't be able to move back to the PC without reverting to an earlier version of the database, so it might be a good idea to leave the data on the PC for a while as a backup until you're sure everything is working properly on the new iMac.

In terms of moving the data over, going from a PC to a Mac can be a bit tricky, as iTunes uses full pathnames which are formatted differently on Mac OS X. For instance, there won't be any concept of a K: drive on the Mac since it doesn't use drive letters.

The best way to migrate between operating systems is to ensure that you have consolidated all of your content into a single iTunes Media folder (this can be a folder on the external drive), so that iTunes places all of your content in its default locations. When you copy the library onto the Mac, iTunes won't your files in their specific paths (again, it would have no idea what a "K:\iTunes" folder is), but it will "fall back" to looking in the default location for any files it can't find, and since you've put those files in their default locations, it should be able to link them back up easily enough.

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

ATHiker95

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Hi and welcome to iLounge.

As long as the version of iTunes on the Mac is newer that the one on the PC you should be fine. iTunes will simply upgrade the database if necessary when you move your data over. You won't be able to move back to the PC without reverting to an earlier version of the database, so it might be a good idea to leave the data on the PC for a while as a backup until you're sure everything is working properly on the new iMac.

In terms of moving the data over, going from a PC to a Mac can be a bit tricky, as iTunes uses full pathnames which are formatted differently on Mac OS X. For instance, there won't be any concept of a K: drive on the Mac since it doesn't use drive letters.

The best way to migrate between operating systems is to ensure that you have consolidated all of your content into a single iTunes Media folder (this can be a folder on the external drive), so that iTunes places all of your content in its default locations. When you copy the library onto the Mac, iTunes won't your files in their specific paths (again, it would have no idea what a "K:\iTunes" folder is), but it will "fall back" to looking in the default location for any files it can't find, and since you've put those files in their default locations, it should be able to link them back up easily enough.

See our article on Transferring your iTunes Library for more details.
Thanks for the reply! Good to know about the different versions. On my K drive, it is K:\iTunes\iTunes Media (where all my music, podcasts,etc are located) and another folder K:\iTunes\Album Artwork and then various database files (iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library.xml, iTunes Music Library.xml, sentinal, iTunes Music Genius.itdb, iTunes Library Extras.itdb), all of which are located under K:\iTunes

So, I would just drag and drop the K:\iTunes folder on top of the iTunes Folder on the Mac and that would replace all of it's content with the above content? (if I understand Mac system correctly, dragging and dropping replaces all underlying content and does not merge it?)

It seem like I read somewhere that the Genius.itdb wouldn't transfer over in a kindly fashion (different OS issues) and that I shouldn't transfer that one over and just let the iMac recreate that.

I did read the excellent link you mentioned. I believe that I have everything properly organized in my current iTunes residing on my external drive. Is there any need to run iTunes first on the new iMac before copying my iTunes folder over to the ~Music\ folder on the iMac?

And lastly, will my iPod Touch (2nd generation) version 3.0, sync up ok with the new library since all the databases are in place? I would not want it to automatically sync my entire iTunes library over to the iPod

Thanks again for your help! Much appreciated!

Mark
 

Jesse Hollington

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So, I would just drag and drop the K:\iTunes folder on top of the iTunes Folder on the Mac and that would replace all of it's content with the above content? (if I understand Mac system correctly, dragging and dropping replaces all underlying content and does not merge it?)
In principle, that's correct. Before doing this, however, you'll want to make sure that all of your media files are in the "iTunes Media" folder (or "iTunes Music" if you've come from an older version of iTunes) and named and organized in the way that iTunes expects them to be. Using the "Consolidate Files" option found under File, Library, Organize Library can do this for you.

It seem like I read somewhere that the Genius.itdb wouldn't transfer over in a kindly fashion (different OS issues) and that I shouldn't transfer that one over and just let the iMac recreate that.
I've seen some problems with this as well, although not always. However, since it's trivial for iTunes to recreate you might as well just let it do so to be on the safe side.

I did read the excellent link you mentioned. I believe that I have everything properly organized in my current iTunes residing on my external drive. Is there any need to run iTunes first on the new iMac before copying my iTunes folder over to the ~Music\ folder on the iMac?
Nope, not at all. In fact, all that running iTunes first will do is create a bunch of empty database files. and folders that you'll be overwriting anyway.

Note that your iTunes Preferences will not transfer over as these are stored separately from your iTunes library. A quick trip through the Preference tabs is all that's need to set these up the way you want, however.

And lastly, will my iPod Touch (2nd generation) version 3.0, sync up ok with the new library since all the databases are in place? I would not want it to automatically sync my entire iTunes library over to the iPod
Yes. The ITL file stores the info about which iPods are synced with it, so it should continue to recognize your iPod in the same way as the previous computer did.
 

guthrie-ji

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wrong drive for iTunes library -how change?

I realize that this is some sort of FAQ - but I read through a bunch of the 37 pages in this thread, and 3-4 other threads, and much of it is very out of data, and thus wrong and dangerous!

I have a W7 system, and the iTunes library is on the standard C: drive (iTunes media folder location = C:\Users\me\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music), and there are a few purchased and downloaded things there.

But the bulk of my music is on another large drive (M:Media), but iTunes thinks it is on an old drive (T:Media).

I do not want to have iTunes manage my music files, as they are shared over the network with other streaming devices and programs.

I tried one suggestion from this thread to force a rebuild of the library with an updated XML file with the changed drive - and indeed it did fix all the music files, but lost *every* app and other setting that I had. It was a mess to recover.

If I try to delete the songs from iTunes, it says it will also remove from the device. The device is fine, just that iTunes is confused.

I did an export of the library and got an XML file, but I see nowhere to import it again. And even so, and afraid it would just mingle in with all the old (bad) file references.

Solution?? I want to not have iTunes manage music (and make copies), leave device alone, but re-target iTunes to the new disk drive.

If this is really a FAQ - where should I look for it!? Thanks.
 

Nadabi

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Hi and welcome to iLounge.

Yes, you've got the basic idea right -- simply change the path of the iTunes Media folder to the location on the external hard drive. If you've imported any music since reformatting you may also want to run the 'Consolidate Files" process again after you've changed the path to bring any new files over to the external hard drive.

The question about moving and renaming files is normal also, although in your case it should just quickly scan through what's there and not actually change anything, since it was already organized by iTunes in the first place.
Hi jhollington,

Thanks !!!!
My insecurity is born after to be reformatted the hard disk: in the iTunes, in Preference > Advanced I see the path Media iTunes folder to the local disk and the position of tracks in the external disk.
This behavior made me very doubtful; if the procedure was correct for reposition the folder iTunes on the local disk (Users> Nadabi> Music> iTunes).
I did a test retaining also the Preference i Tunes and I have reposition their to the same position after the reinstall of Snow Leopard (User> Nadabi> Library> Preferences).
In this way, after the formatted, iTunes preserves also the location of the folder iTunes Media on the external drive.
But reading your article, you say that it isn't recommendet replace the Preference from an old installation on the operating system.

Thanks for your attention.
 

Jesse Hollington

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I do not want to have iTunes manage my music files, as they are shared over the network with other streaming devices and programs.
Unfortunately, this is the crux of the problem. If you're not letting iTunes manage your file and folder structure, it is extremely difficult to relocate it to another path, as you effectively have to get into the iTunes database and update this information manually.

Note that if it's simply a matter of a different drive letter, the easiest thing to do is to reassign the drive letter to be the same as it was before. You can do this under Computer Management->Disk Management in the Windows control panel. As long as the path structure remains the same, updating the drive letter should allow iTunes to find everything again.

I tried one suggestion from this thread to force a rebuild of the library with an updated XML file with the changed drive - and indeed it did fix all the music files, but lost *every* app and other setting that I had. It was a mess to recover.
The XML file method hearkens back to a day when iTunes stored only music, however even at that point, you would lose other information such as preferences and associated iPod devices.

Note that the XML file is intended to be used for third-party applications to read your music library -- it was never designed to be user-edited nor to be used as a backup for your iTunes library. iTunes can use it in the event that that the main library database is damaged beyond repair, since something is better than nothing at all, but it's really just an emergency fallback position.

If I try to delete the songs from iTunes, it says it will also remove from the device. The device is fine, just that iTunes is confused.
If you were to delete and reimport the tracks from the new location, iTunes should still be able to match them up with the iPod on the next sync. You would, however, lose playlist entries and metadata such as ratings and play counts by doing this.

I did an export of the library and got an XML file, but I see nowhere to import it again. And even so, and afraid it would just mingle in with all the old (bad) file references.
You can reimport it using the Import Playlists option, which might work to update your existing files, or might add new information and mess your library up further. It might be worth making a backup of the iTunes Library.ITL file (the real database) and then giving that a short. Different versions of iTunes have handled this a bit differently, but the Import Playlist function should match up existing tracks rather than creating new entries.

Solution?? I want to not have iTunes manage music (and make copies), leave device alone, but re-target iTunes to the new disk drive.
Again, however, the simplest solution is to change your drive letter back to what iTunes expects it to be, then everything will just match up again properly and you won't have to hassle with any of the XML files or other stuff like that.

I did a test retaining also the Preference i Tunes and I have reposition their to the same position after the reinstall of Snow Leopard (User> Nadabi> Library> Preferences).
In this way, after the formatted, iTunes preserves also the location of the folder iTunes Media on the external drive.
But reading your article, you say that it isn't recommendet replace the Preference from an old installation on the operating system.
Copying the preferences over to a new computer doesn't always work the way it should, especially if you're moving between different operating system versions. There are some computer-specific values stored in there, and some values that are stored differently by different operating system versions.

The issue is that it's generally not worth bothering to copy the preferences file over when you can just as easily go through them again and set them up how you want. The majority of the settings in Preferences are just for personal customization -- the only options that are actually crucial in moving your library over are the first three on the "Advanced" tab -- the iTunes Media folder location and the "Copy Files" and "Keep Organized" settings.
 

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library relocation:

jhollington;
Many thanks for your very complete and informative response.

I do not want to change the drive letter back, nor have iTunes manage things. The later as I understand it would mean that it would make a copy of all media, and that does not appeal to me.

So it seems to me I should just delete all of the current music items, then re-add them all, and it will sort it out. Will it delete all music on the iPod, and then re-install? (But not damage other apps and settings?)

One other idea - what if I were to just delete all of iTunes from the machine, and then start it as a clean install, and tell it to copy everything from the device - all apps, screen layouts, music, files, everything. Shouldn't this work, just as if sync'ing the device with a new machine?

Thanks.

PS: This topic shows up since 2004, so is obviously an issue - Dear Apple ...
Some Photo organizers support this by providing a drive mapping relocation feature, specifically to allow movement of libraries between machines. It's not a technically hard thing to add. iTunes allows one to re-locate individual songs, why not the same for higher level directories, or disks.
 

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Well, you could assign the old drive letter as a secondary drive letter if you have other reasons for keeping the new one as well.

Having iTunes manage your media content would not necessarily make a copy of all of your media. More to the point, iTunes would reorganize your media into its own file and folder structure, basically ARTIST\ALBUM\TRACKNAME.MP3 for music tracks. If your iTunes Media folder was in a different location from where your content is currently stored then you would need to use the Consolidate Files option to copy everything into the iTunes Media folder, after which you could delete the originals. Alternatively, you could just set your iTunes Media folder path to the current location of your files, in which case iTunes would just reorganize them in place. See our article on Transferring your iTunes Library for more details on how this all fits together.

If you were to reimport the music into a new library, then iTunes will prompt you to "Erase and Sync" your iPod the next time you connect it. If you're starting a new library, your music would be removed and re-added, but other than taking some time to do this, you wouldn't end up losing anything except for metadata like ratings, play counts and playlists. The erase and sync process only affects media content such as music, movies, TV shows and books. Everything else is left on your device as-is unless you specifically enable those syncing options (ie, Apps, Contacts/Calendars, etc).

Starting a new library and importing from the iPod is also an option, and if you were to use a third-party tool you could also get back your playlists and preserve rating and play count information by doing this. Of course, you'd still have to deal with iTunes' organization to get this content all back properly, as third-party tools that re-create your iTunes library are going to do so based on where they (or iTunes) wants to put the music. Some will allow you to customize your file locations, however. See our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on your options there.
 
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