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HT1364: iTunes for Windows: Moving your iTunes Media folder

Learn about iTunes for Windows: Moving your iTunes Media folder

HT1364 How to install iTunes, but access music library from external drive?

2721 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jun 19, 2013 8:42 AM by turingtest2 RSS
FunkyMuzak Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 16, 2013 10:37 AM

I tried to install iTunes (11) on a new computer with Windows 8.  I keep the iTunes library on an external drive.  I tried to move the media files over to the newly installed iTunes within the hard drive program files, but it doesn't seem to work.  The relevant threads in the forum are a bit over my head (I am brand new to Windows 8, having leaped over from XP).  Is there some simple way to straighten out the paths on iTunes so that it will properly play songs from the external drive, show my old songlists, etc?


I've now uninstalled iTunes from computer.  Would like to reinstall without too much headache ...

Windows 8
  • sterling r Community Specialists Community Specialists (3,240 points)

    Hello there FunkyMuzak,


    iTunes can be set to use the library on the external drive, and save new content.

    To have iTunes open the alternate library on the drive use this option:


    Steps to create or choose a different iTunes Library file

    1. If iTunes is running, quit iTunes.
    2. If you are using Windows, hold down the Shift key and from the Start menu and choose All Programs > iTunes > iTunes.
    3. If you are using the Mac, open iTunes and immediately hold down the Option key.
    4. You should see one of the following screens:


    From: iTunes: How to open an alternate iTunes Library file or create a new one



    And to tell iTunes to save your new media when you buy songs or movies, etc., use this part of our article named Where are my iTunes files located? found here


    Discovering and changing the iTunes Media folder location

    Note: You would usually only change the iTunes Media folder location to share music between accounts on the same computer. See this article for specific steps on how to accomplish this. Also, see this article if you want to know how to move your music to a new computer.

    1. Mac OS X: Click the iTunes menu and choose Preferences.
      Windows: Click the Edit menu and choose Preferences.
    2. Click the Advanced pane. iTunes displays the location of your iTunes Media folder.
    3. HT1391_01-iTunes-advanced_pref_location-002-en.png
    4. You can then:
      • Note where your media folder is, such as for backing up your media.
      • Use the Reset button to reset it's location to the default (which is the iTunes folder).
      • Click the Change button to select a folder for a new location. Once you change this location:
        • If you make a new or alternate iTunes library, the new location will be used by that library.
        • Existing files will not be moved unless you choose File > Library > Organize library and choose the option to "Consolidate files."




  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,955 points)

    Reinstall iTunes. It has to be installed before you can connect it to your library.


    If you've got the entire library stored on the external drive in the usual layout, that is an iTunes folder containing the library files and an iTunes Media folder that contains the media then you should be able to connect to the library on the external drive.


    Click the icon to start iTunes and immediately press and hold down the Shift key. Keep holding the Shift key down until prompted to create or choose a library. Choose the library file on your external drive, typically X:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl where X: is the drive letter.


    In most cases this will repair the link between iTunes and the media files. If not then a script called FindTracks can usually relink things. If your library is in a non-standard form then once you have it working you may want to look at my post make a split library portable.



  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,955 points)

    When you installed iTunes 11 any library database that you accessed with it would be updated to work with iTunes 11 and the preceeding library archived into the Previous iTunes Libraries folder in the same folder as that library file. This means that you can't generally downgrade at will to earlier versions of iTunes, but if you replace the current library file with a copy of the one in the Previous iTunes Libraries, folder renamed as iTunes Library.itl, then your older version of iTunes should be able to open it. Alternatively reinstall iTunes 11. A few simple tweaks make it much the same as iTunes 10 with the exceptions of Coverflow and the ability to open multiple playlist windows.



  • sterling r Community Specialists Community Specialists (3,240 points)

    no problem at all, Teamwork right? I am glad to know you are now good to go and can get to your music!

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,955 points)

    You're welcome.




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