These are two possible approaches that will normally work to move an existing library to a new computer.
- Backup the library with this User Tip.
- Deauthorize the old computer if you no longer want to access protected content on it.
- Restore the backup to your new computer using the same tool used to back it up.
- Keep your backup up-to-date in future.
Connect the two computers to the same network. Share your <User's Music> folder from the old computer and copy the entire iTunes library folder into the <User's Music> folder on the new one. Again, deauthorize the old computer if no longer required.
Both methods should give the new computer a working clone of the library that was on the old one. As far as iTunes is concerned this is still the "home" library for your devices so you shouldn't have any issues with iTunes wanting to erase and reload.
I'd recommend method 1 since it establishes an ongoing backup for your library.
Note if you have iOS devices and haven't moved your contacts and calendar items across then you should create one dummy entry of each in your new profile and iTunes should merge the existing data from the device.
If your media folder has been split out from the main iTunes folder you may need to do some preparatory work to make it easier to move. See make a split library portable.
Should you be in the unfortunate position where you are no longer able to access your original library or a backup then then see Recover your iTunes library from your iPod or iOS device for advice on how to set up your devices with a new library with the maximum preservation of data.
There may be som confussion about my question. I have my Itunes on an external hard drive. I bought a new computer that has Windows 8. I want to connect the external hard drive to the new computer. I want to keep my music files on the external hard drive. I want to be able to use the external hard drive for Itunes. I do not want to put the music on my computer I want to keep it on the external hard drive. I no longer have the old computer. In addition I am using itunes 11 on the new computer. Thank you for your help.
Is the entire iTunes library folder on the external drive in a portable format? If so install iTunes. Then press and hold down the shift key as you start iTunes to get options to choose or create a library. Click choose and browse to the folder on the external drive.
If you only have the media you can create a new library at X:\iTunes (where X is the letter of the external), put the media inside X:\iTunes\iTunes Media and then import everything into the new library. If you have devices that sync with your library you will need to look at the last link in my post above.
I appreciate your help and time, but I am confused. What do you mean by entire Itunes library? What I have on my external hard drive is just the cd music I put into Itunes. I want this music to stay on the external hard drive and in the future I want to be able to add more music to this external hard drive. Which way do I go? Thanks for your help.
Take a look at the make a split library portable thread. An iTunes library is the media and a database, plus some supporting files. Ideally you would have migrated all the parts of your library from your previous system so that it all worked properly together. If that isn't possible then I recommend you set up your new library in a way that will make backing up easy and the next transition relatively painless.
Press and hold down shift as you start iTunes. Keep holding shift until asked to choose or create a new library. Click create. Make the library at the root of your external drive in a folder called iTunes. Move all your existing media inside the folder \iTunes\iTunes Media if you're particular about how it is laid out, or you have files in .wav format turn off Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Keep iTunes Media folder organized. Then use File > Add Folder to Library to import the media folder. Press ALT or CTRL+B to get access to the menu bar.
I checked my external hard drive and this is the only file I found relating to Itunes: Itunes in Drive F. What should I do so I can play my Itunes off my external hard drive and add new songs to the external hard drive? I do not want to put the music on my laptop. I want anything I purchase from Itunes to go to my external hard drive. Thanks for the help.
Use Windows Explorer to search your drive F: for a file called iTunes Library.itl just to rule out the possibility that you have a library database that you can reconnect to. Assuming that you don't then you need to build a new library from scratch.
- If your media is currently in a folder called F:\iTunes rename this folder something like F:\Temp.
- Click the icon to start iTunes and immediately press and continue to hold down the left shift key. Keep holding until asked to choose or create a library.
- Click choose, browse to F:\ edit the folder name if neccessary to iTunes and click Save.
- Check under Edit > Preferences > Advanced that the media folder is set to F:\iTunes\iTunes Media - correct if not.
- Move the folder F:\Temp to F:\iTunes\iTunes Media\Temp
- Use File > Add Folder to Library (press ALT or CTRL-B to reveal the menu bar if it isn't shown) and add the folder F:\iTunes\iTunes Media\Temp.
Assuming that the files all have sensible tags and you've left the option Keep iTunes Media folder organized option in place, all the media will be imported into the library and rearranged. You may need to correct the media kind of some items such as audiobooks, digital booklets, podcasts, TV shows, Music Videos and Movies as this information isn't stored in the tags. Anything left in the temp folder is stuff iTunes doesn't know what to do with.
Once your library is organized like this on your external drive you can move it to any other computer running the same build of iTunes and connect using the shift-start-iTunes technique to choose it, whatever drive letter it appears on. You should really make a second backup copy on another drive and keep it updated.
Message was edited by: turingtest2
still running into problems... I now know I have only media content on my external drive. I can not do step three of your last insturctions. I can find the file on the external drive, but I see no button to save. I have Itunes 11, and I think this is the latest version.
Here is what I do for to get to step three: I pick choose library. I then find the folder: itunes in drive F. I highlight this folder, and I am stuck. I do not see anything that says save.. What am I to do?
2. I was just wondering would be easier to put media content on my laptop. Then wipe the external hard drive clean, and then move itunes back to the external hard drive?
Thanks for your help....
I am having big problems to get itunes to run off my external hard drive. I get to step four and I get this error pAth does not exist......
I can not put in e:\itunes\itunes media
what do i do...
I thought your external drive has the letter F: - the media path should be F:\iTunes\iTunes Media