Moving library to ext. HD w/o "consolidate library"

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eqblues

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Heres the deal:

1. I dont allow iTunes to control my file structure (yes, Im a control freak).

2. I want to move my library to an external HD (soon to be purchased).

3. I cant use "consolidate library" because it would mean giving up control to iTunes from that point on.

4. I want to keep my play counts when I move the library.

How would I go about accomplishing this?

(Please, kindly spare me the "but its so much easier to let iTunes control things!" arguments and related questions. I have my reasons)
 

jasn

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In general terms, you need to open your iTunes Music Folder.xml file (with Notepad if in Windows) and replace the string that identifies your current music folder location with the location that will be your new music folder location. Make this change with the "Edit:Replace" function, as this string exists for every song in your library. Be sure to make a back up of the .xml file first.

After you get your new external drive and copy your music over to it, in EXACTLY the same folder structure as that you are currently using, you can come back for more specific info if you still think you need it. Don't delete your current music folder or .xml back up until you're sure this is all working correctly.
 
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S2_Mac

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I don't think hacking the xml is the way to go for you...

Just to add to the above post, the key step in jasn's method is import the xml file after editing it for pathnames. If you just edit the xml and then fire up iTunes, all your work will likely be lost -- the xml file is meant to be a mirror of the "real" index file (iTunes Library.itl), and whenever a change is made to track or playlist info the xml file is overwritten. Also, iTunes will overwrite the xml file every time the app quits.

As well, playcounts (and last played, last skipped, and skipcount) will not import from the xml file; that info is lost.

Unfortunately, Consolidate is the only means iTunes provides for migrating all your stuff onto another drive/location, so you're kinda screwed.
 

eqblues

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S2_Mac said:
Unfortunately, Consolidate is the only means iTunes provides for migrating all your stuff onto another drive/location, so you're kinda screwed.
Thats what I was afraid of. I guess Ill just have to start a new library from scratch after I migrate the files to the external HD. I can always just manually add the playcount with an iTunes script I found (for windows), but it works kind of slow, so adding it to over 16.000 songs is gonna take a long time. (I just want to keep track of played and not-played songs, so adding a play count of 1 to all of those, is enough for me).

I would rather do that, than give up control to iTunes. Yes, Im THAT pigheaded, lol. I dont have much info I care about anyway. I havent even bothered to rate my music, since I was the victim of the "disappearing iTunes library bug" over three times. I learned to back up my library files after the third time (yes, Im slow to learn too. haha).

But anyway, thanks for the responses.
 

pluto6

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I don't know if this helps, but what I have done is just copy all the files and folders to the other drive, then just go into iTunes, delete all the songs (just the names, not the songs on the disk), go into the advanced tab - set the iTunes location as your new drive, and the top subdirectory, then go into the file tab, and "add" that top subdirectory to the iTunes library - iTunes will then go and find all the new files... voila... No information about the old files is obviously kept, but it keeps total control in your hands...
 

eqblues

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pluto6 said:
then just go into iTunes, delete all the songs (just the names, not the songs on the disk)
Maybe Im confused, but wouldnt this step get rid of the play counts Im seeking to keep? (As soon as you delete any song from iTunes, the play count is lost, in my experience).

Whats the difference from what you are suggesting, to what I was planning to do, which is:

1. Moving my files to the external.
2. Deleting all songs from iTunes.
3. Adding the folder where my music is now, from the "Add folder" menu.
4. Start building my play counts from scratch.

I dont see why I have to bother going into the preferences and telling iTunes anything. But maybe Im wrong. Does anybody else see what Im saying?
 

pluto6

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No, you are doing exactly the same thing that I am suggesting. The only thing is that if you want your entire library being maintained on the ext hdd, you need to tell iTunes that. Otherwise, iTunes will use your old directory when you add new stuff. That is set in the Edit - Preferences - Advanced... then set your ext hdd as the location of the iTunes Folder music location.

Sorry for any confusion.
 

eqblues

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pluto6 said:
No, you are doing exactly the same thing that I am suggesting. The only thing is that if you want your entire library being maintained on the ext hdd, you need to tell iTunes that. Otherwise, iTunes will use your old directory when you add new stuff. That is set in the Edit - Preferences - Advanced... then set your ext hdd as the location of the iTunes Folder music location.
The location of the iTunes Music Folder in the preferences doesnt matter at all if I have control of my library (by means of having the "keep iTunes music folder organized" and "copy files to iTunes music folder when adding to library", UNchecked). This is what it means to NOT let iTunes control your music.

I will need to move the default location of the iTunes Music Folder to my external HD, but only so that the podcasts I download, end up in the external, and not in my computers HD.
Other than that, I could have the songs on the external and STILL have the iTunes Music Folder (in the Advanced preferences), be at the default location if I wanted. It wouldnt matter, since I'd be adding new music through the "Add folder" menu all the time (like I do now).

But anyway, this is not answering the question on the original post, which is, how to move the library to the external HD, without consolidating, and still keeping play counts. I think "S2_Mac" answered it already tho, by telling me "Im screwed", haha. Which I agree with.
 
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