11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 7, 2007 4:29 PM by ehmjay
ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
Okay so heres my dilemma...

I want to use my external HD as my new iTunes library. However I want to keep all the music from my old library on my internal drive still in iTunes.

The main reason for this change is I want to have my podcasts be saved to the external drive rather than my internal laptop drive.

however im in school and will be carting my laptop around a lot, without the external.

as such is it possible to boot itunes without the external plugged in and still be able to use iTunes to access my old library?

did that make sense?

PowerBook G4 12-inch, Mac OS X (10.4.4), 1.5 GHz Power PC G4, 1.25 GB DDR SDRAM, 100GB HD
  • Bob Lasky1 Level 1 (10 points)
    If I understand correctly. You can start iTunes up while holding down the option key. This will allow you to choose your library or create a new one.
  • PT Level 7 (20,875 points)
    As Bob mentioned, here are the specific instructions...

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

    So what you can do is open/start a brand new library on your external drive. The use the File -> Add to Library... command to select and add all the old stuff on your internal drive. It will copy them to the external and add them to the library. This would be your main library.

    Now when you need to travel and do not have the external you can use the same instructions above to start iTunes and select the internal library and then use just that.

    If you want to change the internal library, while the external is hooked up, you can delete stuff out of in the internal library or add things from the external folders you want to transport with you (which should copy into the internal drive when added if you use the iTunes default setting to copy added stuff to your iTunes library).


  • ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
    okay one last quick question, once i create the new library on my external can I switch the "itunes music folder" in the advanced option to that external drive? then once i do so when i switch back to my internal drive library will it know to switch back to the previous "itunes music folder" location or will it remain on the external?
  • PT Level 7 (20,875 points)
    Don't use the Advanced option anymore at least for what you are trying to do. That one is sort of a throw back to when iTunes required that the database files had to be on your boot drive and then the media files could be located elsewhere.

    With version 7, using the technique in the link above, when you create a new library or open an alternative library, the library is all self contained with the database files and whatnot in the same location. So when you open the library on the external, anything you do will be done on the external including adding new stuff. When you switch back to the internal library, then everything you do will be done with that library.


    Message was edited by: PT
  • ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
    okay my only concern is podcasts. i want them all to download to my external drive NOT to my internal. if i set up using that "multiple librarys" method will it go ahead and save the podcasts to the external drive or will it put it in the itunes music folder on the internal?
  • Boris the Loud Listener Level 1 (30 points)
    By the way and for what its worth.... Apple iPhoto allows thge use of multiple libraries as well. To access them from iPhoto you hold down some key or another, (not sure which) when starting up and then select the desired library. That becomes the default library for photos. There is a good shareware utility called iPhoto Library manager that makes this easier and gives you menus for it. There is most likely something just like iPhoto library manager, only for iTunes since its the same basic idea.
  • PT Level 7 (20,875 points)
    It is not multiple libraries you are using, at least not in the way you are saying it. When you use that method to pick a library to open, you are then using ONLY that one library. If it is the library you created on the external drive then everything will be done in that library. Anything you add to your library, including podcasts, will be added to that library. The library is self contained on the external drive, so when you add podcasts to that library, they will go on the external drive with the other stuff in the library.

    When working off the library you created on the external, the internal library doesn't even exists as far as iTunes is concerned. Likewise, if you switch to using the internal library, then everything will be done in that library (including podcast downloads) and the external library doesn't exist as far as iTunes is concerned.

    For you, assuming I understood your original intent, you want to normally use the external drive as your main library and then sometimes switch to the reduced sized internal library when you are out and about with your laptop and don't have access to your external drive. I assume while out and about, you would not be adding or downloading new things to the library like podcasts?

  • ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
    Well here's how it stands right now. My iTunes library has been set up on my MAIN internal laptop drive. My itunes music folder is the default music folder in my user directory. I have been music from my internal by just dragging it into itunes (but not copying it to the directory).

    I have also subscribed to a few podcasts, which will automatically download themselves into my iTunes library on the main drive.

    What I'm hoping to do, is switch so that the library will be found on the external drive, the podcasts i subscribe to will download to the EXTERNAL drive, and then I can just drag in all the stuff on the laptops internal drive. Then once I head off to class or somewhere without the drive, switch BACK to the internal drive, with all the music only found on the internal disc still there. Naturally anything on the external would not show up.

    So what i want to know is once I create my new library on the external drive, if I subscribe to podcasts, and they download, will they download to the external drive?

    Thanks for all your help so far, its really just this one tiny detail that has me not switching yet.
  • Jeff Melrose Level 1 (20 points)

    I think I understand what you are trying to do, as I have done it myself.

    First, I have 3 iTunes libraries. I use the shareware software "Libra" to manage them. One is my everyday library that I keep ON my Macbook Pro. One is my 'Master" library that I keep on an external hard drive. The 3rd is my new "iphone" library where I have ripped everything to a lower bitrate so I can fit more on the phone. Libra allows me to jump between the 3 as I need to, keeping seperate playlists and locations for each set of files.

    On my everyday library, I keep all my music on the Macbook, but the videos stay on an external drive. Once the videos are on the computer, there are two ways I manage the file and its location.

    For videos I download from iTunes: It downloads to my MCP HD, and once a week I move them to the external drive. I have folders set up for TV/Movies/Music Videos. I used the Advanced preference to unselect "Copy files to itunes library." so itunes knows where the file is and that it's outside the regular library. When the external drive is not connected, I get the exclamation mark, but they remain put in the playlists. You cannot do a consolidate library after doing this.

    The other option would be to move the default location of the library by using the Advanced Preference pane. Then download the podcasts and move it back if/when you add music/videos, but otherwise it can stay put. THis might be a pain however depending on how often you add non-podcast content.

    There's likely other options as well, but that's what I use. I like Libra a lot, by the way. I use it regularly.
  • ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
    that sounds a lot like what I want to do. I'll just have to try it out. Afterall whats the harm since I have my one library backed up already.
  • ehmjay Level 1 (10 points)
    one last quick question... how do i get my iTunes purchases to show up in the special iTunes purchases list once I switch to the external? thanks!