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multiple computers / one iTunes library

46631 Views 42 Replies Latest reply: Apr 12, 2014 6:28 PM by Meem101 RSS
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Sailacious Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jul 11, 2012 12:37 PM

I have an external drive for my iTunes Library and media files.  I use two different laptops and it works well to just plug in the external drive. Each laptop has its own playlists when I open iTunes so I assume they are stored on the laptop instead of the ex drive.  Is there a way to change this?

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  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 11, 2012 12:55 PM (in response to Sailacious)

    See my post on Making a split library portable.

     

    I see we are covering deduping in another thread. Another useful tool if you want to give one of the computers a semi-independent copy of the library as a backup is iTunes Folder Watch which can scan your media folders for new or missing files. Handy if you manage to get the two copies slightly out of sync and need to catch up.

     

    tt2

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 11, 2012 3:24 PM (in response to Sailacious)

    The libraries may have the same media but they won't be identical if they have different playlists. They will also have independent ratings, play counts etc. If you want them to be exactly the same pick one and make it portable as described in this thread, then connect to the portable library file when you hook up the library to the other machine. With your database on the external drive each machine sees the same playlists, ratings etc. You can also clone the whole folder as a backup method, which gives you a fully working copy of the library.

     

    tt2

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 12, 2012 9:45 AM (in response to Sailacious)

    Program files have to be installed on the system drive on each machine.

     

    Ideally your library files would be at E:\iTunes given the external drive shows up as E: and the media folder would be at E:\iTunes\iTunes Media.

     

    From the point of view of portability having the media folder inside the library folder is the key to making sure that when you move the library between systems everything keeps on working properly. In the right layout it wouldn't matter if one system wanted to shift the drive to F:, for example, you could just choose the library file at F:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl and everything would work as normal.

     

    That said, provided both systems assign the same drive letter to the external drive you should be able to use the same library on each even with a split library/media folder arrangement.

     

    Since you say the two machines currently have different playlists I think you may be mistaken if you think both are using the library files at E:\iTunes. To check which folder holds the active library on each machine you can use my script iTunesXMLPath.

     

    The post on Making a split library portable should explain the steps to get from the current arrangement to a fully portable library, if you want/need to. Once we've established exactly where things are I can write our a set of specific steps for your circumstances rather the general overview given in that post.

     

    tt2

     

    Message was edited by: turingtest2

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 12, 2012 1:53 PM (in response to Sailacious)

    Sailacious wrote:

     

    Now that I have this new ex drive (last one was full) I have no playlists and have not conected using the other laptop yet.  Can I just move them and then point to the proper folder in preferences?

    Probably not although you have to be specific about what you want to move. The preference for the iTunes Media folder location tells iTunes where to put new files that it is responsible for managing, not where to look for files that are no longer where they were last time it ran. Very occasionally, people get away with moving the folder, updating the preference and when iTunes can't find things where the used to be it sometimes picks up the new location, usually people just end up with a library full of broken links.

     

    If you let me know the full path to the folder that contains your media and the full path to the folder that contains your library files I can suggest what to do. As I said earlier though, if the library & media files are on the external, and both machines use the same drive letter, then it should work anyway, it's just not as reliable or easy to backup.

     

    tt2

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 12, 2012 2:07 PM (in response to Sailacious)

    If you let me know the full path to the folder that contains your media and the full path to the folder that contains your library files I can suggest what to do.

     

    (In a bit, because I'm about to cycle home from work)

     

    tt2

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,940 points)
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    Jul 12, 2012 3:42 PM (in response to Sailacious)

    Great, in that case it is all good.

     

    Database files inside E:\iTunes too?

     

    And, yes, if all files have been consolidated into the media folder you are then free to delete the originals. Often a good idea to temporarily rename the folders and test things just to make sure. My steps come in handy when there isn't room/time to make copies and then delete the originals...

     

    Using the options Keep iTunes Media folder organized and Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library will ensure that any file you add to the iTunes library will be available when you move the library between machines.

     

    tt2

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