How to Relocate your iTunes Library

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S2_Mac

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Apologies to the mods if this is considered OT...

FWIW, I do most of my iLounge searching via Google (man, they index this site quickly -- posts are often "in" Google before I even read them here ;-). To limit a search to a specific site, include the following in your Google search string: site:forums.ilounge.com[/b]. For instance, "transfer itunes new computer iphone site:forums.ilounge.com"

Of course, there are so many posts here that some weeding-outh is still needed, but at least it cuts down on the cruft. (And limiting a Google search to iLounge avoids links to low-quality/confuddled info like Yahoo Answers and all the wannabe iLounge competitors. Search aside, this site is still the class of the field.)
 

S2_Mac

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Jesse, maybe it's just me...but it sure seems that one of your fine tutorials on Moving iTunes to a New Computer -- the iPhone Edition would be a great traffic-driver for the site. (Esp. since Apple just can't seem to be bothered to produce a clear step-by-step guide.) Umm, in your copious free time, of course ;-)

Looks like our little heat wave crossed the bridge at Sarnia and took a leisurely drive up the 401; you're welcome <g> Try not to melt!
 

crash613

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Jesse, maybe it's just me...but it sure seems that one of your fine tutorials on Moving iTunes to a New Computer -- the iPhone Edition would be a great traffic-driver for the site. (Esp. since Apple just can't seem to be bothered to produce a clear step-by-step guide.) Umm, in your copious free time, of course ;-)

Looks like our little heat wave crossed the bridge at Sarnia and took a leisurely drive up the 401; you're welcome <g> Try not to melt!

Do you mean like this one?

Transferring your iTunes Library | iLounge Article

The search function really DOES work.

Admittedly it does not cover the "multi-media" nor apps portion of your backup. But i believe those questions were answered in the last few pages of this thread.

Maybe a refresh of the current guide would be in order. hum. :)
 

crashtestdummy

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Do you mean like this one?

Transferring your iTunes Library | iLounge Article

The search function really DOES work.

Admittedly it does not cover the "multi-media" nor apps portion of your backup. But i believe those questions were answered in the last few pages of this thread.

Maybe a refresh of the current guide would be in order. hum. :)
I looked at that article when I was contemplating moving mine, but there were many issues with it (for me). It's 2 years old, it's very long (very short attention span), and there was a lot of that info that I already knew.

Perhaps a FAQ, starting at the basic and working towards the complex.
 

S2_Mac

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LOL -- a quick review of my last 2,000 posts will p'bly indicate that I'm aware of the tutorials ;-) And maybe it's just me, but it feels like there's an uptick in folks wanting to know -- specifically -- about the fate of their iPhone and its backups when transferring iTunes to a new computer. The current tutorial is getting a bit long in the tooth (last update was 22 months ago), and mentions nary a word concerning "what to do" about preserving iPhone backups or what will happen to/with the phone when it first connects to its transferred library.

(Not that there's anything that needs to be done; unless the iPhone is having a problem, it will make a new backup as soon as it's connected to the new computer. But tending-to-their-backups seems to be on peoples' minds -- yay! -- and having the realities explained by an authoritative voice like Jesse's would go a long way toward easing their concerns.)

I'm not knocking Jesse's work at all -- he does great stuff. (Like, I wish there was a non-Kindle ebook version of his iPod & iTunes Portable Genius title; I'd promote it heavily.)

Actually, I'm going to backtrack on my first sentence... Since I returned to the forums after my injury, I've had less occasion to link posters to the "Transferring" article, p'bly because it doesn't address the issue of "what will happen to my iPhone/touch?". Apple's tech articles aren't addressing this particular bit of customer concern, and it strikes me that updating the current tutorial could bring lottsa new eyeballs to the iLounge site...and do a good deed at the same time.

Then again, this could all be in my head...Bog knows there's little enough going on up there, so every tiny thought has way too much room to grow ;-)
 

Thom_D

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CrashTest I read your how to article and it was great on how to move my music. I just wasn't clear on the whole where are my iPhone apps stored part.

Wouldn't it be great if Apple decided to just put all of iTunes in one folder so it could be backed up and moved as needed?
 

S2_Mac

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Wouldn't it be great if Apple decided to just put all of iTunes in one folder so it could be backed up and moved as needed?

For the most part, this is exactly how iTunes has worked for years. (The exceptions are preferences and iOS device backups.) In a default iTunes install, the all-important "iTunes Library.itl" file -- the catalog of all content files that have been added to iTunes, including apps -- lives inside the "iTunes" folder, as does the record of all CDs that you've ripped (iTunes Library Extras.itdb), results obtained from Genius (iTunes Library Genius.itdb), art downloaded from the Store and art cache for speedy Cover Flow display (Album Artwork folder), and copies of "old" library files automatically saved at the time of each iTunes update (Previous iTunes Libraries folder) to facilitate "rolling back" iTunes in the event of a truly disasterous release. Last but not least is the "iTunes Media" folder into which a default iTunes install will copy every content file you add to iTunes (and, in the case of files that iTunes creates, such as CD rips, Store purchases, and format conversions, is the place where such files are first created).

When you use the defaults, moving iTunes to another computer is exactly this simple:
1) Install iTunes on new computer; launch it once just to let it get set up (create a prefs file, create an empty iTunes folder, bug you about looking for music files, etc.); quit iTunes.

2) Make a copy of the "iTunes" folder from the old computer; use that copy to replace the just-created "iTunes" folder on the new machine.

2a) If you make purchases from the iTunes Store, or use AirTunes, or want to use Home Sharing, then iTunes Store menu->Authorize This Computer, and provide your Store login

3) There is no Step 3; you're done. The first time you connect your iOS device to the new machine's iTunes, a new backup is generated and you're all set.

With the exception of preferences, your new machine now has everything that was on your old machine -- all the tracks, all the apps, all the playlists, counts, ratings, art, etc. (crashtestdummy's method, from a few days ago, of using the "iTunes Library.xml" to effect a transfer was...overthinking. By the time I saw his post -- and its followup -- it seemed too late to save him the extra work he wound up having to do; sorry about that crash! Plus, I was moving households, and time & temper were short ;-)

With a default install, the above method works even when moving from one platform to another -- Win to Mac, or Mac to Win -- with the small added step of adding or removing the ".itl" file extension from the library file's name. It really is dead simple to do.

Most problems arise from folks wanting or needing to do things their own way. Wanting: "I've been storing my music files in my own directory structure since 1990, and I'm not going to give in to Apple's system!"; or " Apple's storage system makes it hard to easily 'share' all the files in my favorite playlist with my 100 best friends"; etc.

Needing: boot drives are too small to handle large music collections, so music files have to be offloaded to external hard drives; or trusting all their music to storage on an iPod and then having the iPod crash; or their old computer dies and they've got no backup; etc.

In those cases, transferring an iTunes install to a new computer usually requires Consolidating files, or emergency measures, or both. Consolidating wrecks peoples' private storage schemes; much anger ensues. Or the emergency measures cost money or time, which somehow is never the user's fault ;-). Or...well, take your pick -- these boards have p'bly seen every variant of issues arising during transfers. (When properly set up, custom folder schemes or other non-default behavior doesn't always require consolidation in order to transfer, but Apple doesn't publish anything about it and no one thinks to ask at places like iLounge before they jump in headfirst....)

Preferences have to be moved by-hand in order to be retained across a transfer, and that can be a small PITA, especially for Windows users (the filepath of the Prefs file keeps jumping around from Win XP to Vista to 7), but iTunes is kinda blameless on that one -- it tries to play nice with the conventions of the OS. Ditto for the location of iOD backups. But even then, you just locate the file on theold machine, copy it to the correct spot on the new machine, and Bob's your uncle. (But really, it certainly wouldn't kill Apple to create a simple tool that could bundle those things up and drop 'em into the right locations on the the new machine.) But overall, if you simply let iTunes do its thing, moving to another machine is a breeze.

It's tough to make everyone happy. On the one hand there's iTunes, asking folks to adopt its particular "zen" in exchange for ease of use; on the other hand there's MS Word, which stockpiles so many special-purpose features that "average" users are regularly overwhemed by features....
 

jjlaw

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S2 Mac, my music library is on an external drive the method you described is how I restored my playlists etc when I bought a new computer, but now i've come to replace both my hard drive and my laptop i've ran into some problems. I'm sure it is simple, but what am I doing wrong here?

I worked through as you said in the post above. iTunes on the new laptop has all my playlists/counts etc, but it isn't finding any of the songs. When I click on 'get info', it is still listing them as being on the old external drive as opposed to the new.

I've altered the information in advanced preferences to the new location and still nothing. I can do it manually by looking for the song, at which point the exclamation mark disappears; it asks if I want to search for other missing songs using the folder that I found this particular song in. I click 'yes' but nothing happens.

I've retraced my steps a few times. Once it started updating the library but it has only found perhaps ten percent of 250 gigs worth of music. That's where i'm at right now. It seems that i'm importing my old lib file over OK, but it is refusing to accept that i'm keeping my music on a new harddrive with a different pathway.

I'm going to wipe iTunes off the laptop now and give it another go; i'd really appreciate any advice anyone has. I've been reading through the forums but i'm not finding the exact same problem just yet.
Cheers,
B
 
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jjlaw

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After all that, when I rebooted I did as I read a couple of pages before and changed the drive name and subfolders so it was exactly the same as the old, and all seems well so far. Amazing that there seems to be no way to do it without changing the name of the drive. Thanks guys.
 

drawtheline

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HELP!!! Library gone

I woke up two days ago and the turned my brand new iMac that I had purchased in May on. The hard drive on it was completely gone. The most immediate thing I realized is that my iTunes library info was stored on that drive. Now all my music is stored on an external drive. Thankfully I still have the music (500+ gigs worth). The only thing is I had my entire library checked based upon what would go on my iPod. After sitting at the computer all day checking and unchecking I finally completed that task. Is there any way to get my playcounts and playlists to somehow sync back with iTunes? When I plug my iPod in it says it's synced with another computer and in order to sync with this one I'd have to erase my iPod and put everything back on it.

Any help on this would be much appreciated
 

Wellies

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Multiple iTunes folders

Hi all, have gained a lot of good advice from these forums, so thanks for that, but now I feel I need to post. I've read through many posts which I believe answer my question, I just need to clarify before I 'hit the button', so to speak!

I have my iTunes library on a external HD, as I've in the past used my parents/girlfriends/my own rickety old computers. I now have a laptop of my own, so I've been adding the last few hundred CDs to my library that I haven't already. The problem started the other day, I did a back-up of my laptop, which maybe was a bit daft as i don't have much on it. I then ejected my ext HD and plugged it in to my old pc to transfer some old un-sorted music files in a separate folder. I then plugged the ext HD back into my new laptop to import some more CDs, but it flagged up that I needed to scan and repair (after a little research it seems I may not have ejected the drive properly), so I did this and began importing more CDs.
After a bit of investigative work, i got the dreaded "!" against several files in iTunes, in fact quite a few. The worrying part was I couldn't locate them anywhere. I narrowed the problem files down to about the first 30 or so CD's I imported to my new laptop, some were missing completely, other albums had 5-6 songs left and the rest had disappeared. Also the few I'd imported before the back-up had also completely gone.
After searching high and low in both the laptop and the ext HD, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd be re-importing the CD's, so I deleted the problem ones from both iTunes and my HD, and imported them again.
Now, this isn't so bad (although I still don't know what happened), but whilst sorting all this I discovered that over the years I've amassed 3 different iTunes folders on my HD, each with some common and some exclusive folders (ie- they may all have "Elvis" folders, which may all have the same two albums in them, but then 1 will have an extra different album, and another a different one again).
Now, I did a bit of experimental drag-and-dropping hoping it would all come together, but it's started to get messy now. So, is my best bet now to wipe all traces of iTunes from the laptop, reload it, consolidate all files from my HD onto a new iTunes folder on the laptop, then wipe everything and use that new folder? I think it is the thing to do from what I read, but I just need some comforting ;)

Thanks in advance for any help, sorry to cover a lot of old ground!

Simon, at the end of his tether!
 

vEnlid

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From external drive to new pc

Sorry if this has been covered, but couldn't find any posts on this exact problem:
Last week my pc crashed, I've got it fixed but all content on it was lost. Luckily I already had my iTunes library on an external hard drive, as I need more space than was available on the pc's hard drive.

I've installed iTunes on the fixed pc, but I can't seem to get it to recognise the library on the external HD. I've gone into the advanced preferences and entered the correct iTunes folder on the external HD. I've also gone into the files>library>organize option, where I can only choose the consolidate option (the other one's greyed out).

To clarify, I DON'T want to move the library to the fixed pc, but to play the music off the library on the external HD.

What am I doing wrong?
 

mjenks

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I don't know if this will work (and I haven't read this whole thread, I've just messed around a lot with iTunes), but I'd try an option-select. Hold down the Option key, then click on iTunes. It should prompt you to choose which library you want to open, at which point you can browse to the library on your external hard drive, rather than the blank one on your fixed PC. The next time it should remember to open the iTunes folder on your external drive, as long as you have it plugged in.

I listened to a library stored on an external drive this way for years, and was able to have a separate library stored on each device and navigate to each with the Option button. Until the drive crashed, of course. If you're not moving your music onto your PC, make sure it's backed up on another drive!
 

MPiGTi

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Apologies if this has been raised before, I've had a look through various guides and posts and haven't found anything has yet worked.

I've recently upgraded by installing an SSD as my OS drive (OS: Win 7 x64). I've kept everything "as is" on my original drive and hope to use it as a storage drive of sorts. My iTunes library, files and so forth are stored there and I would like to update my SSD's copy of iTunes with that library. I've tried pointing the Media Folder location to the original drive, starting iTunes pressing shift and selecting the original .itl file, copying the original AppData files across and a few other tips I've read, none of which have worked.

Any pointers as to where I'm going wrong would be much appreciated!
 

Kentaro

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I need a bit of help with my specific library relocation issue.

I ran iTunes off of my external hard drive that used iTunes version 8 (the version that didn't organize files in the "iTunes Media" folder. I just got a new MacBook that uses iTunes 10. Is there a way for iTunes to find the music in the old iTunes folder or transfer the music to a new "iTunes Media" folder without consolidating/ copying the files? I don't have enough room on any hard drive to copy the entire library using the "Consolidate Files" option.

Thanks in advance.
 

newnerd

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Hi, my old computer stopped recognizing my external HD (which contained MOST of my song files)so I have SOME files on the default C:/ itunes music file and I am unable to consolidate before moving to my new computer (which I've never done before btw).

So, I ripped the C:\Users\myname\Music\iTunes files (including the itunes library.itl and the itunes music file which contained the recently-added music files I couldn't consolidate with the External Drive) and copied them in the corresponding C:\Users\myname\Music on my new computer. I was then going to plug in my ExtHD and hoping it would recognize it and then consolidate from there.

Unfortunately, I haven't got that far so as to find out if that will work. There is no iTunes icon on my new desktop, so how do I open iTunes? There is no "run program" option when I right-click the file, so I don't know what to do.

I've been searching for an answer but I'm making no headway atm. I'm sure someone in the know will spot my mistakes in a second...could anyone be so kind as to tell me my (rooky) mistake(s)? :-0
 
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You can also try this. Just open iTunes then open your Library Section, delete all the stuff which you have added before go to menu then click on add folder by that you can relocate your iTunes library.
 

balpease

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Moving iTunes library from PC to Mac (external drive)

Hi there, apologies if this has been covered in any of the previous 40(!) odd pages.

I have been using iTunes on a PC, sourced from an external drive and need to relocate it to a new Mac Book Pro, still sourcing from the same drive. I saved off the .itl file from the PC onto a folder on the external drive, launched itunes on the mac for the 1st time, then shut it down. Then I hooked up the drive to the mac, deleted the iTunes Library file in the ITunes folder and replaced it with the exported .itl from the PC, then deleted the .itl extension. When i launched iTunes it had moved all my playlists over, but every track had the dreaded exclamation mark.

I understand that this is to do with a descrepancy between the pc's file path for that .itl and how a mac reads it, but am not sure how to proceed. Before exporting the .itl from the PC I decided against consolidating because I assumed this made a copy of the music files, and as my collection is around 120gb i thought there wouldn't be enough room. Is this my mistake? As things stand I have set itunes up on the mac to just read from the file on the new drive, but of course I have lost all my playlists.

I tried something I read about opening the .itl file with a text editor on the mac to attempt to rename the filepath, but it just opened a page with random squiggles on, nothing resembling a file path.

Can anyone advise me on the best way to retrieve my playlists and set up the new itunes to source from the external drive? thanks in advance...
 

bar

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Hi there, apologies if this has been covered in any of the previous 40(!) odd pages.

I have been using iTunes on a PC, sourced from an external drive and need to relocate it to a new Mac Book Pro, still sourcing from the same drive. I saved off the .itl file from the PC onto a folder on the external drive, launched itunes on the mac for the 1st time, then shut it down. Then I hooked up the drive to the mac, deleted the iTunes Library file in the ITunes folder and replaced it with the exported .itl from the PC, then deleted the .itl extension. When i launched iTunes it had moved all my playlists over, but every track had the dreaded exclamation mark.

I understand that this is to do with a descrepancy between the pc's file path for that .itl and how a mac reads it, but am not sure how to proceed. Before exporting the .itl from the PC I decided against consolidating because I assumed this made a copy of the music files, and as my collection is around 120gb i thought there wouldn't be enough room. Is this my mistake? As things stand I have set itunes up on the mac to just read from the file on the new drive, but of course I have lost all my playlists.

I tried something I read about opening the .itl file with a text editor on the mac to attempt to rename the filepath, but it just opened a page with random squiggles on, nothing resembling a file path.

Can anyone advise me on the best way to retrieve my playlists and set up the new itunes to source from the external drive? thanks in advance...

I used to get that exclamation mark thing a lot. If you go into the settings, EDIT, PREFERENCES, ADVANCED, and see if the setting "Keep iTunes folder Organised". If it isn't highlighted, try highlighting that. It's the one thing i ever altered and that seems to have fixed it for me.
Each time my iTunes opens up, it takes about two full minutes for it to check the files are all in their place.
 
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