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iTunes 10.6.1 and Alias 10.7.3 - Not So Much

5572 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2013 7:45 PM by Gryphon MacThoy RSS
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Busta999 Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 8, 2012 11:36 AM

Just read an article in Macworld (US May 2012 pg 54) on moving iTunes Libraries from the built in HDD to an attached HDD and keeping iTunes intact by using the Alias option in Finder.


Anyone got any ideas on how to get iTunes to use the Alias?


A search of this forum indicates that others believe it should, the latest Macworld mag says the same......


So any insight on how to get it to work would be nice.....





Followed instructions to the letter ..


ie Copied Library from local HDD to a Firewire800 Drobo (5 hours)


Closed down iTunes and iTunes Helper - just to be safe


All Music lived in Music Folder on local HDD now on Drobo folder called Music


Deleted Music Folder on local drive, then emptied Trash


Option Command dragged Music Folder back to where old Music folder used to be.


Started iTunes


Every track I now try to play now complains the file is missing


If you check the Get Info in iTunes, after complaining about missing file goes to Summary


file://localhost/Music/iTunes/+Artists+/J-L/Jethro Tull Discografia/1980 - A/Jethro Tull -'A' - 01 - Crossfire.mp3


If you go to my local HDD /Music opens the Music folder on the Drobo and has :-


/iTunes/+Artists+/J-L/Jethro Tull Discografia/1980 - A/Jethro Tull -'A' - 01 - Crossfire.mp3


So in conclusion it appears that iTunes is not observing the Alias and has therefore 'lost' 40,000 songs

Mac OS X (10.7), IMacs, iPads, iPhones, TC, AEs, ATV
  • CGW3 Level 2 Level 2 (305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 12:59 PM (in response to Busta999)

    If you just want to use your music files on the external hard drive you can change your iTunes preferences to point to that hard drive folder, you don't really need to worry about Alias's and as far as I am aware alias's files will not let them be played in iTunes, folders might work as you can in Front row.


    Your current library is complaining because it is looking at your computers hard drive for its music where it is nolonger.


    Rather then edit the path for each, you can just tell iTunes to index your folder on the external hard drive which will then show your music.


    You can either delete your files in iTunes (as they are only references and will give your duplicates if not) or make a new iTunes library pointing to your hard drive (hold down alt when opening iTunes and then select to make a new library).


    To add your external drive music:


    Under the File menu in iTunes select 'Add to Libary' ... then browser to your external hard drive and the folder your music lives in, select the 'Open' button. If you have a lot of music it will take some time, so best to leave it to it.

    Once this has completed adding your files, you will be able to play them as though they were on your computer. Bear in mind that if your external drive goes to sleep, iTunes can make out it can not locate the file, so try to ensure the external drive is active before starting iTunes.


    This wil now mean that you now have your iTunes Library files on your computer, but the media files are on your external hard drive.

    Do bear in mind that if you do not change the Preferences in iTunes to point to this folder on your external drive, it will keep downloading any new files (music from cds/iTunes store, Apps etc) into your computers iTunes folder.
    To change this, go into Preferences...Advanced and select the 'Change' icon and browse to your 'Music' folder on your external drive.
    You can also tick the 'Copy files to iTunes folder when adding to library' and that will ensure all files are moved to the external drive, even if say they sit on your desktop and you add them manually to your iTunes.


    Do bear in mind that if you are not connected to your external hard drive your music files will not play (which can be why having a second library is a plus as you could have some tracks on your computer hard drive for when out and about, then your full library when connected at home).


    I use an external drive on the network to share Music, Films and TV shows around the house computers so that everyone can access them as well as using them on the Apple TVs. It is useful in keeping your computers hard drive slim and enjoying all your entertainment files.


    I hope this helps you.

  • CGW3 Level 2 Level 2 (305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 1:42 PM (in response to Busta999)

    no the Preferences refers to the iTunes Media Library, not the Library files as they can live anywhere and no I am not misunderstanding your problem.


    The problem you have is your iTunes library is looking for your files in a specific path, they no longer live in this path, even if the Alias worked, as the path is completely different on your computer hard drive to a network drive.

    Now you could run a Find and Edit on the xml file that stores iTunes libary details, but I would not recommend it.


    I am still not sure what Macworld are on about but in all honesty it sounds like they are making a simple job hard work.


    You don't have to lose your Play Count, but as you deleted all the files on your computer,you will need to move your files back again, then your iTunes would/should show the files and play them ok.

    Once that is confirmed go into Preferences and change 'iTunes Media Library location' to your folder on your external drive, iTunes will then move all of the files whilst retaining your Play Counts etc.

    Doing this will also mean that your iTunes media will be added to your new folder (although do bear in mind that iTunes Media folder is that, not your Music folder, its all the media types, Apps, TV Shows, Movies, Music etc).

  • CGW3 Level 2 Level 2 (305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 3:55 PM (in response to Busta999)

    no you are 100% right, it would move all the files, not just the Music ones, so not useful for your purposes I am afraid.


    I have checked around the web and lots of people trying what you are, and reporting it is not working, as iTunes does not like Aliases.


    If you were not worried about play counts you could just move the entire music to the external drive and then reindex it, I started with Films/TV shows so have never had to worry about them being indexed from the network drive and losing any previous data.


    I wouldn't give up too soon, especially if you are going to pay for Music Match, if that and the reduction is something you are looking at, I would think it was worth either editing the xml Library file to manually set the paths to the new folder or restarting the Play count etc with the 'new versions' indexed on the external drive.

  • CGW3 Level 2 Level 2 (305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 4:01 PM (in response to Busta999)

    also just to confirm, I have tried this with my Ringtones (wanted something small to test) and it will not work with an Alias, as others have also reported, I think it is a case of the article writer being wrong in this occasion.

  • deejay1 Calculating status...
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    Jun 16, 2012 10:48 PM (in response to Busta999)

    It looks like this post is a couple of months old.  I hope at this point you have learned this is definitely not a problem and actually a simple process.  You were given some pretty good points hear already.  Just in case you are still pondering with this here is a.really simple way. 


    1) Change iTunes movie path to point to a Music folder on your external drive.  (Choose the clear cache option after the change).

    2) After you have "verified" all of your music is on the external drive DELETE all of the content from the iTunes library

    3) Select all of the music on your external drive (Ctrl+A), Rt Click, then select "Make Alias"

    4) After you see all of the alias files, Rt click the folder area and choose "Arrange by kind"

    5) Now that you can see all of the alias files, select them and "drop them in the empty iTunes library" area that you previously deleted the content from.




    Now your Library is completely linked to Alias files with content residing on an external drive.


    Repeat this same concept for other content such as video, podcast, etc..

  • Chris CA Level 9 Level 9 (73,385 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2012 3:42 AM (in response to deejay1)

    deejay1 wrote:



    Just in case you are still pondering with this here is a.really simple way.

    I highly recommend you do not do any of this.

    This does not sound "simple" at all.

    Make an alias for each of thousands of files and verify they are all correct?

    Then add them to iTunes and leave the thousands of alias files on the external along with the originals?

    How does one select all the music files inside the thousands of folders?


    Simply copy the entire iTunes folder to the external.

    Hold Option, launch iTunes and select the iTunes folder you copied to the external.

    That is all you need to do.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2012 6:07 AM (in response to Busta999)

    As Chris says just move the entire folder.


    Too late to help you now, but if anyone else runs across this then having "broken" the library by manually moving the media folder it is usually possible to "repair" it by copying the main iTunes folder out to the external/network location, placing the media folder inside the iTunes folder and starting iTunes while holding down Option (Mac) or Shift (Windows). Once the library has been repaired in this way the library files can, if needed for performance reasons, be copied back into the internal drive and accessed in the same way.



  • Gryphon MacThoy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 12, 2012 2:05 PM (in response to Busta999)

    I think many of the posters here are missing the point, entirely.


    I found this thread when searching for my solution to a very similar problem. Before I get into that, let me state this:

    1) At some point in the past few years, I had created an alias which pointed iTunes to an external drive. I did this because I had a tiny internal drive on my macbook, so things like movies and podcasts would live on an external drive. So, this USED TO WORK.

    2) The MacWorld article referenced USED TO WORK. Same procedure, different specific goals. iTunes USED to just follow the alias to go pick up a file to play.

    3) So there.


    Here's my specific need. See if you can solve it.


    1) I want my iTunes library to live on my laptop hard drive. That is to say, the xml and other files which comprise the library index and metadata.

    2) I want my music files and most of the rest of the media, apps, etc, to live on my laptop hard drive.

    3) I want Movies, TV Shows, iTunesU, Books, and Podcasts to live on an external hard drive.

    4) Just being clear : Yes, I want my iTunes Media content split by folder between two different physical storage devices.


    This used to be pretty easy:

    Copy .../iTunes Media/Movies to external drive.

    Delete local copy.

    Make alias to Movies on external drive in place of original .../iTunes Media/Movies folder.

    Launch iTunes. Ta-dah! iTunes didn't used to care that it was an alias - it just followed the Blue Folder Road to the External Storage City. In other words, aliases used to do what aliases are supposed to do - point to another storage location, seamlessly.

  • Gryphon MacThoy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 12, 2012 2:21 PM (in response to Busta999)

    And I believe I have started to solve the issue.


    In short, using the Mac OS GUI to do it don't work. But Terminal DO.


    For example:

    1) Copied /Users/me/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Movies to /Volumes/Mercury/Movies/iTunes Movies

    2) Deleted /Users/me/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Movies and emptied trash.

    3) In terminal, created a new Symbolic Link with this command:


    ln -s /Volumes/Mercury/Movies/iTunes\ Movies /Users/me/Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Movies


    Opened iTunes. Selected Hudson Hawk from movies. It plays. Magic!

    Look inside iTunes Media folder and you see a folder named Movies with a little black arrow, just like an alias. If you look at Info for the folder, it says it's an alias. It looks like an alias made with the Mac OS GUI, but it works differently.


    I am no proceeding with TV Shows and older subfolders of the iTunes Media folder in this same way. So far, so good. Now, I can free up space from videos and still have all my awesome music with me when I travel. And all you "It CANNOT BE DONE!" types can go back and edit your notes and comments so further readers are not so confused and disheartend.


    This moment of No WAY! You're AWESOME! brought to you by 15 years of UNIX experience and 20 years of smacking machines until they do what I tell them to.


    You're Welcome.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 12, 2012 3:23 PM (in response to Gryphon MacThoy)

    Glad it is working for you. A word of caution however, the last time I tried this on a Windows PC everything worked fine until iTunes wrote out a file to the location. At that point it broke the link and the only working file was the new one that it had put in the folder on my local drive.


    Your milage may vary.



  • daervi Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 11:07 AM (in response to Gryphon MacThoy)

    With Mountain Lion (10.8) creating a symbolic link works fine for playing existing media but when I add new TV or Movie content to the library iTunes copies the file into its own folder in music instead of to the Movies and TV Shows linked folders. I want iTunes to copy files and keep my folder organized but it just doesn't like using the symbolically linked directories when adding new content. If I rename the symbolic link to say TV Shows2 and then add a new show it creates the TV Shows directory and adds it in there. Frustrating!

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