10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2009 1:30 PM by idlewis
bj4mac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
To put it simply, my tracks are scattered in many non-iTunes folders throughout my hard drive, even in another partition on my hard drive.

1. What is the most efficient way to consolidate these track into iTunes. (I can currently see them all in iTunes, because I manually imported many of them there, over the years.)

2. Can someone explain how the iTunes library system works (I'm not afraid of details).

Thanks
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    If all these scattered tracks are in your library (just not all in the iTunes Music folder) then open iTunes 8 and go to File>Library>Consolidate Library. When you consolidate, any songs in the iTunes Library that are not in the iTunes Music Folder are copied to the Music Folder and the Library is updated to point to those new files. Files already in the iTunes Music Folder have no changes made to them:
    Consolidating your library - Mac
    Consolidating your library - Windows

    Consolidating only affects anything you already have in the iTunes library, it doesn't for instance scan for music files in other folders and add them into iTunes.
  • bj4mac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for your response.

    1. Can you tell me the technical details behind how the iTunes Library files works? I have pretty broad knowledge about database design.

    2. I have multiple gigabytes of songs scattered throughout my hard drive. If I choose to consolidate them, as you suggested, will I then have them all in two places?
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    These articles have some useful information on how iTunes works and the files involved:
    iLounge - Transferring your iTunes Library to Another Drive
    What are the iTunes library files?

    Consolidating as I've said will copy files that are in the library to the iTunes Music folder and point the database to the new location. So, yes you'll have extra files still in the original folders which once you are happy the consolidation has worked you'll be in a position to delete.
  • bj4mac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for staying with me.

    1. Does iTunes build its library based on the Location preference found under the Advance tab?

    2. Could I do the consolidation 'manually', so I have more control over what takes place? (i.e Tracks are moved to the iTunes folders, but I have no idea where the originals came from.)

    3. If I can do this manually, would I simply drag the existing folders in the iTunes folder, and relaunch iTunes?
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    *1. Does iTunes build its library based on the Location preference found under the Advance tab?*

    That tab simply tells iTunes the location of the iTunes Music folder. If you don't have "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" checked then the song files you add from folders on your computer will have their location referenced in the iTunes Library file.

    *2. Could I do the consolidation 'manually', so I have more control over what takes place? (i.e Tracks are moved to the iTunes folders, but I have no idea where the originals came from.)*

    No, iTunes doesn't support folder watching, if you move the files manually through Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer on a PC then iTunes will lose the location of the songs and display an exclamation mark against them in your library.

    *3. If I can do this manually, would I simply drag the existing folders in the iTunes folder, and relaunch iTunes?*

    You can't do it manually, iTunes doesn't "see" any moves you make outside of the program.
  • bj4mac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, this is very helpful to understand. If I'm hearing you correctly, outside of the "Consolidate" command, all management of music in iTunes is handled internally within iTunes (as in importing music).

    Is this correct?
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    Yes, you need to manage all changes to the songs from within iTunes.
  • bj4mac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the useful information, and links.

    I now know what my options are.
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    You're welcome, I'm glad that was of some help. By the way, you'll find many iTunes information pages if you use this link: Apple Support Search. Take care.
  • idlewis Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am trying to do the same thing. But my questions is. Since I have some of my music on the main drive, and now everything goes to an external which is which I changed it to awhile back. I now have an internal secondary drive (or slave drive) where I want to have it all. If I change my folder to that drive, would consolidate my library copy everything to that drive, or to the original (Main hard drive)or the external drive? I need to free up 50 gigs on the main drive to install some software.