Populating Itunes Library from External Hard Drive

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DaveL23

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I just got a new laptop and I'm wanting to transfer my Itunes library to the new computer. I was using an external hard drive with my old computer so i wasn't using up memory. How would I go about populating the Itunes library from my external hard drive without copying all the songs the computer hard drive? Is this possible? I would still like to use the external drive to store all my songs. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks alot,

Dave
 
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There are a couple of ways that you can go about this, depending on your personal preferences.

You're going to want to check a couple of iTunes settings before you proceed to import your library, and set them according to what you want to do. Specifically, go into your iTunes advanced preferences (Edit->Preferences->Advanced), and look at the following three options and set them according to your preferences:
  • iTunes Music Folder Location: This specifies where iTunes will keep it's music files by default. iTunes will only manage/organize music files that are under this directory structure. If you want iTunes to manage your music for you, you will need to set this to the path where your music is stored on your external hard drive. Specifically, if a file is not in the folder, iTunes will never rename, move, or delete the file (so if you delete something from your iTunes library, it will remain in its original location).
  • Keep iTunes Music Folder Organized: This determines whether iTunes will organize your music folder structure according to your ID3 tag information. With this setting on, iTunes will name your files based on the song title, and organize them into sub-folders by Artist/Album. This only applies if the music files are in the iTunes Music Folder location (see above).
  • Copy files to iTunes Music Library: This goes with the first setting, and determines whether iTunes will copy files into your iTunes Music Folder when importing them. If you do not want to set this to your external hard drive, you will want to turn this option OFF to prevent iTunes from copying all of your music onto your internal hard drive.
Normally, it's simplest to let iTunes fully manage your music collection, unless you have other software that you use with your music files or you wish to manage the directory structure your own way.

Basically, if you want to allow iTunes to manage this for you, I would set your iTunes Music Folder path to your external hard drive, and leave the other two options ON.

Otherwise, you would turn the other two options OFF, and it really wouldn't matter where you set your iTunes Music Folder, since in this case, iTunes will leave all of the music files in their original location and simply "link" to them in that location. Note, however, that you may still want to set the iTunes Music Folder to your external hard drive, since this will affect where files you download from the iTunes Music Store or rip from CD are placed.
 
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