7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 22, 2009 10:07 AM by Chris CA
Mozzy_90 Level 1 (0 points)
Wow, I have had so many problems with this.

And it has always been the same problem, basically I have an external 500GB hard drive because I dont want to use up all the memory on my Laptop with my music/video/etc...

The way it seems like I have it set up, is that the external hard drive has all of the music on it (plus all of the itunes files) but im sure my actual itunes library is reading from the itunes folder on my actual laptop's hard drive. I hope this makes sense so far.

So as you would expect, I unplug my external hard drive often, but I always put it in the same USB slot, because otherwise im sure itunes would get confused. But for some reason every now and then it decides to just load up itunes and not display any of my music/playlists!

This has always happened when I have just recently unplugged then re-plugged my hard drive. So then, all of my files and playlists are deleted and I have no idea where they go.

Ive tried a few things to fix this, like trying to move the library files (xml and stuff) to my hard drive so tha everything is together...but for some reason whenever I open itunes again, it just creates a new iTunes folder somewhere on my laptops hard drive instead.

Its so frustrating because its annoying to re-create all of those playlists I made.

I have a feeling that the reason why it messed up again just now, is because when my laptop loaded up (after having it unplugged from the ext. HDD), I plugged in some devices to the USB ports and the HD was the last one I plugged in...so maybe that confused things...I dont know..

Can someone advise or help me on what to do with this problem. I could backup my library, but that would mean having to do it on a regular basis which would get tiresome.


Im sure alot of people use external hard drives with itunes, so someone must be able to help!

Toshiba, Windows Vista
  • MooMuir Level 1 (50 points)
    Hi Mozzy_90.

    I do use an external drive, but don't unplug it too often. The problem you are experiencing is because iTunes keeps some key files on your local drive. IF iTunes can't find the Library, it assumes the worst, and will try to rebuild. Theoretically you could back those up, and then restore before attaching the HDD and starting iTunes again -- messy.

    Ensure your PC is OFF before unplugging the HDD, and ensure it is plugged in before starting the PC. If you don't use iTunes at all during the times the HDD is disconnected, then you shouldn't have a problem.

    Alternatively, IF POSSIBLE, you may be best to set up an old PC as an iTunes server of sorts. I have a Mac Pro that runs constantly, so that is where my external HDD iTunes library is connected to. I then use the sharing capabilities within iTunes to share that library with others on my network -- I have 3 Mac Minis which act as HTPC's -- and I don't have any problems EXCEPT that the artwork doesn't show in FrontRow (liken it to the Mac equiv of Media Center, but not quite). I also run my Sony Vaio (Win XP) off the same system, and it works just fine.

    Let us know how it goes....
  • Mozzy_90 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for that, im glad there are other people using itunes with external hard drives and not just me!

    I guess its just a case of having to be more cautious when doing the whole plugging and unplugging. I was just gutted that iTunes just deleted all the files and started over again! How annoying! Maybe Apple should address this problem in the next update, just make it easier for iTunes to work with external hard drives...because as the iPod capacity is increasing over the years, surely alot more people are having to buy external hard drives so that their computers are not filled up with GBs of music.

    Anyway, I guess i'll just go back and start again, creating all those playlists. I think in this situation, it was because of me plugging the iPod into my laptop before plugging the ext HDD because plugging the ipod would automatically open up iTunes...and if my ext HDD was not yet plugged in at that time, then it would have messed things up, and thats exactly what it did.

    One other question: If I were create all of my playlists again, then back the whole library onto a disc...then would I then beable to take whatever files were put onto the CD and copy them to a 'backup' folder on my HD?

  • Mozzy_90 Level 1 (0 points)
    Guys. Im screwed.

    I just re-installed iTunes and because I have no Music folder, it will not open...saying that it is unable to find the music folder.

    I have googled problems involving deletion of the Music folder and have tried most suggestions, none have worked and I have no idea what to do now..because I have no Music Folder and im unable to use iTunes at all.

    Can anyone help?
  • Mozzy_90 Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow, was so worried, stressed, annoyed...but now all sorted and luckily I didnt even have to do all of my playlists again.

    Thanks guys
  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,230 points)

    Care to enlighten everyone as to what you did so if they have the same problem, they will know what worked?

    As you may have noted, the external drive must be connected and mounted on the desktop before you launch iTunes else iTunes will revert back to the default location on teh C: drive.
    Hold Option and launch iTunes then select Choose existing library and select the _iTunes library.itl_ file in the iTunes folder on the external.
  • rcruz79 Level 1 (0 points)
    I use an external hard drive where i keep all my music. Last week my lap crashed and i had to load everything up from zero. I've loaded iTunes again, and even when have already selected where my music library is the external hard drive (changing it from the preloaded one)... my music won't appear in my library in iTunes... freaking out! somebody please help.
  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,230 points)
    The _iTunes library.itl_ file in the iTunes folder (which was on your internal) tells iTunes where each specific file is located.
    Since it was erased, iTunes does not know anything about what was previously in your iTunes library.
    Pointing iTunes prefs -> Advanced to the music location simply tells iTunes to use that location for anything add in the future.
    It will nto automagically add thing sin that folder to iTunes.

    Go to File -> Add folder to library and select the folder where your music is located.