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multiple computers / one iTunes library

46598 Views 42 Replies Latest reply: Apr 12, 2014 6:28 PM by Meem101 RSS
  • SCULLY6868 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 21, 2012 9:32 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Hi TT2,

    I hope that you still log on here, you really seem to know your stuff.  No one seems to be able to be able to help me.


    I originally set up my Itunes on a home laptop, which is on its' last legs, then set it up on my work computer, then I just bought a used laptop for home.  Whenever the message came up asking me if I wanted to synch them, or erase the songs ( or whatever), I didn't do it.  My new home laptop, I've installed the latest Itunes, and it hasn't given me that syncing message.


    The problems that I'm having are:  on my home laptop:  it doesn't give me the message / option to burn a cd, I can't create playlists, nor can I even name them.  It's almost like I'm in a read-only state. 


    I'd like to just work from my home laptop and have it work, as well as have all of the songs be there, and be able to burn cds, and use my ipod.


    Any suggestions?  Thanks in advance!

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Nov 22, 2012 11:15 AM (in response to SCULLY6868)

    I'm pretty sure if the iTunes Library is in a read-only location when iTunes fires up it issues a warning, but just in case....


    Right-click on your main iTunes folder and click Properties, then go to the Security tab and click Advanced. If necessary grant your account and system full control to this folder, subfolders and files, then tick the option to replace permissions on child objects which will repair permissions throughout the library. This is the XP dialog but Windows 7 shouldn't be too different.





    Let's start by seeing if we can get iTunes to create a new library and have that work properly. Close iTunes, then click the icon to start iTunes and immediately press and hold down the shift key. Keep holding until asked to choose or create a library. Click choose, then browse to the root of your C: drive, or the drive holding the media if different, make sure the folder name is going to be iTunes (or rename as iTunes Test) then click Save.


    Go in to Edit > Preferences > Advanced and, for now, turn off the options to Keep... & Copy... This will let you add in albums without them being duplicated on the hard drive. Drag in a couple of albums and try creating some playlist folders and playlists. Does everything work properly now?


    Do you have any iOS devices that sync with your library? It is harder, but not impossible, to switch these to syncing to a new library. Regular iPods are not so much of an issue. If we have to settle on a new library as the only resolution then there is also the question of recovering ratings & playlists etc. How much of that really matters to you?



  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Nov 22, 2012 3:21 PM (in response to Dannyblue)

    Dannyblue wrote:


    You look like you know what you're talking about! Wonder if you could help direct me with this set up...


    I have all my music on a drive on an old desktop windows xp pc using iTunes. I have a macbook air. I have copied some music onto the macbook air so I can listen to it while out of about. However, when I'm at home, I'd like to be able to listen to music from the the old desktop windows pc through the macbook. My Macbook can 'see' the desktop shared folders inlcuding the iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library.itl.


    In summary, I want to use the macbook-based library while out and about and the pc-based library when I can. What do I need to do?




    Hold down Option as you fire up iTunes to create/connect to alternate libraries. There's no easy way I know of automatically switching between libraries in the way that you'd save two shortcuts to different files. There used to be (might still be) a Windows program that would physically shift the database files about though I always thought that was rather risky. There may be an equivalent for Mac but I don't know.



  • Dannyblue Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 26, 2012 5:30 AM (in response to turingtest2)

    Thank you very much - I'll try the option key route.

  • Anthony E Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 30, 2013 7:35 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Would it not be easier to have home sharing - sync set up?  I have my desktop set up to where every time I turn on my laptop (my main storage for my iTunes) my desktop syncs with the laptop so that both have the same songs and data.


    Wouldn't this be easier than all the changing around?




  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Oct 1, 2013 12:12 AM (in response to Anthony E)

    The original problem involved having one external drive containing media being accessed independently from two different machines. Home sharing can't apply. Since the drive is only connected to one computer at a time only one library can be active so there is nothing to share with. Neither is it a solution if you want to be able to sync a device from any of two or more computers that don't live on the same network.



  • dbetman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 18, 2013 8:43 AM (in response to turingtest2)

    Hi, My goal is to get the stuff I previously burned from legal CD's on my new iPhone.  Reading help it says multiple devices can only be synced to one itunes library.  How do I know which one it is?  I have three PC's with the full compliment of media but I am unable to get the non itunes purchased songs on my iPhone.  I suspect the PC that had this original full sync is dead and buried.  Can you help?

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Nov 18, 2013 9:00 AM (in response to dbetman)

    See Recover your iTunes library from your iPod or iOS device. You can skip the media recovery steps if you have all the media. Backing up and then restoring the device will update which library is treated as "home".



  • dbetman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 18, 2013 11:15 AM (in response to turingtest2)

    Perfect, Thanks!

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Nov 18, 2013 11:41 AM (in response to dbetman)

    You're welcome.



  • Meem101 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 7, 2014 9:03 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Hi TT2,


    I know this thread is little old - but I am having some similar problems with my itunes setup and it seems you have some expert advice - hoping you can offer some help?!


    I am attempting to mirror one itunes library between 2 MacBook Pros. I use the main MBP for all my ripping and editing in itunes - and the music files are all stored on an external HDD.  I do most of the editing away from the home wireless set up on this main MBP. I am attempting to mirror the 2 computers  so we can still play music from the 2nd MBP while the main MBP is away from home.


    So to simply - I want to mirror my iTunes from;

    main MBP (with external HDD)


    2nd MBP (with NAS drive)


    I want the 2nd MBP to be an exact mirror of the main MBP - including playlists and all meta-data.


    So far, I have manually cloned my original audio library (from the external HDD) onto the NAS drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. I have copied the iTunes folder ( with itl. and xml. files) and replaced them on the 2nd MBP - then changed the iTunes media location (in preferences) to point to the NAS, but iTunes on the 2nd MBP cant find the files. I know im doing something wrong here, but not sure what other way to do this without breaking my original file structure on the main MBP


    Also I am using the older file structure, and wary of changing this as my audio library size is sizable (over 1TB), which I also use to DJ with Traktor. It would be disasterous if my library in Traktor was messed up!!!


    What is the best way to achive what im trying to do??


    Thanks in advance!

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,920 points)
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    Apr 10, 2014 6:04 PM (in response to Meem101)

    Sorry for the delay. Meant to post a reply earlier but lost track of the thread after a reboot closed all my tabs...


    See for some basic backgound. You need to get the working library into a "portable" shape, then it can be copied from one drive to another. If needs be library files can be copied back to an internal drive for speed. I can give specifics if you go into a bit more detail.



  • Meem101 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 12, 2014 6:28 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Thanks for getting back to me!


    I am guessing that I dont need to Consolidate my files, as my music is all together & well organised on the external HDD already. Is that correct? Also my library is over 1TB, so I wouldnt have room to Consolidate my media into my MBPs internal drive anyway.


    And my main concern with moving my music files into a subfolder of the iTunes media file structure, is that it might break the file paths with Traktor. Is that the case?


    So to go into a little more detail about my set up;


    iTunes folder (on MacBook) :  User > Music > iTunes

    Music files (on external HDD) : >externalBRAINs > audioLIBRARY


    The shared NAS drive (where I want the duplicate library for the 2nd MacBook to read from) : Home > Music



    So i guess my main question at this point, is how do I get my library into a portable shape without breaking the file paths that Trackor also needs?


    Thanks again for the help!



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