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r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have my music located on an external hard drive and every time I have to reinstall itunes, I have to recreate my playlists from scratch! This is extremely cumbersom when you have over 10,00 songs. I have tried to create shortcuts in the playlist floders but when I drag and drop the folder, it doesn't copy the song. If I make a duplicate of the song in a different folder, I end up with at least 2 copies. Does anybody have any ideas!!!! Help!!!


PC, Windows XP
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    You're doing something wrong. Reinstalling iTunes should have no effect on your library. You should backup the library database (iTunes Library.itl), supporting files and the media folders on a regular basis. If your library is damaged for whatever reason just restore the backup...

     

    See this user tip for backup suggestions.

     

    See my DeDuper script for removing duplicates and this thread for more background on it, including tips on how to dedupe manually.

     

    tt2

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    For some reason Itunes wont stay on my external hard drive. It always weasels its way on to the main computer. I rebuild my computer often (I have a ****** PC) and everytime I do that - Itunes and all of its folders seem to get erase because I cant get it to stay on my external hard drive. Frankly I would like more control over my music and not have to rely on itunes. This is my way of backing things up, due to having computer problems. I also buy my music from a multitude of sources, so how does that play into it? IS there a way I can control things manually?

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I guess I am looking for ways to organize my external hard drive, not itunes, so when I have to install itunes on a fresh computer/hard drive, all I have to do it drag and drop - or somehing similar... Any other suggestions on maybe doing things differently would help too. Thanks for the reply!

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    You can build your entire library out on the external drive. For a fresh library simply hold down shift and click the icon to launch iTunes. Keep holding shift until asked to choose or create a library. Create a new library at X:\iTunes where X: is your external drive.

     

    If you'd like to preserve your existing library then it can be done but there are a few steps involved. I've written a generic set out elsewhere on these pages but I can be succinct if I know exactly which folder your media is in now. That is under Edit > Preferences > Advanced what does it say the location of the iTunes Media folder is?

     

    tt2

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    First of all thank you so much for helping me! Finding and manipulating my library is not the problem. The problem lies with when I create playlist folder on my external hard drive. I dont know how to create a playlist my self by making a new folder and not be able to make a duplicate of the song from my master library. There are lots of songs that are in several different playlists. I have tried making folders with the song's shortcut. But when I drag and drop into Itunes, it doesnt recognize it. When I make a copy of a song from my master library and put it in a new playlist folder, and then drag and drop that folder into itunes, it creates duplicates in my itunes library. Help - I am so out of options!

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    I guess I don't understand what you mean by a playlist folder. A playlist is simply an ordered selection of tracks from the library. In iTunes playlists are stored within the database and don't need to be exported. iTunes can export .m3u files to record the contents of a playlist such that it could be rebuilt later, but if you backup the iTunes database then there is no real need to backup individual playlists as well.

     

    tt2

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Imagine your music library on your 'G drive'. Now imagine trying to make your own playlists on your G drive by creating separate folders within that G drive, "cutting and pasting" from your master library into the new playlist folders on that G drive. Except instead of "cutting and pasting", you are copying or making a shortcut or whatever. Here is where I am having trouble creating duplicates. All of this work I am doing because I have over 10,000 songs and I have to rebuild my computer at least 2x a year and it takes soooooo long to reorganize and create new playlists. So, I was thinking of organizing all my music on the external hard drive so when a crash/rebuild happens again, all I have to do is drag and drop my master library into the new itunes and drag and drop all of my already existing playlist, instead of having to recreate them. I hope I have explain myself better. Thanks for trying at least...:o)

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    You should be making playlists within the iTunes interface, not Windows Explorer. If you use iTunes the same tune can appear in many playlists without any duplication.

     

    If you ensure your iTunes database file is out on the external drive, or at least backed up to it, then you can rebuild Windows without having to rebuild the library. You just restore/create the connection to the database. All the vital information about your library is stored in the iTunes Library.itl file. As long as you have this and the media your library should be able to survive a Windows rebuild.

     

    tt2

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Holy crap that would be so helpful! But how does one keep itunes on an external hard drive? Every time I ensure it to be on the hard drive, then erase it from my operating system drive, everything (playlists, ect..) gets erased. Any suggestions there?

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    As above, you can create a new library or open an alternate one by holding down shift as you start iTunes. See this support article for more. Once the library is on the external drive connecting it to a rebuilt OS or a new computer is simply a matter of holding down shift.

     

    Ideally you want the library at X:\iTunes with the media folder at X:\iTunes\iTunes Media where X is the current letter of your external drive. That way, if it has to change for some reason, e.g. what was G: is now forced down to H: then you just shift-start-iTunes again, connect to H:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl and, in those famous words, "it just works".

     

    If you want to tell me where your media folder is now, and the location of your library file, I can give you step-by-step instructions for making your library fully portable for the future, or you can attempt to make sense of my generic set of instructions below.

     

    If your external media folder is called \iTunes\iTunes Media then process is relatively easy. Copy the contents of the iTunes folder on your internal disk into \iTunes on the external, then hold down shift as you start iTunes and choose the iTunes library on your external drive.

     

    If you external media folder has a different path or name then a few more steps are involved.

     

    1. Consolidate your library before you start just in case the are any files outside of the designated iTunes Media folder.
    2. Copy the contents of the iTunes folder into the parent folder of the media folder.
    3. Connect iTunes to the library on the external with the shift-start-iTunes method.
    4. Close iTunes and rename the media folder as iTunes Media, then start iTunes, check a track or two, then close it again. (Skip this stage if the folder already has the correct name)
    5. Rename/move the parent folder as \iTunes (or create a new folder at \iTunes and move the iTunes library files, Album Artwork & iTunes Media folders into it) then reconnect iTunes to the library with the shift-start-iTunes method.

    If you should now start iTunes without the external drive connected, iTunes will warn you that it cannot find the library and prompt you to choose or create one. Simply cancel, connect the drive, and restart.

     

    tt2

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok tt2 - I am going to try it. If I need help I will let you know. Thanks so much!

  • r_lauren_d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ok - I think I am having some issues. So, I renamed my external music file itunes media. I choose the library when I shift-started itunes. Now the folder is showing all of my songs as well as having an 'album artwork' folder and another 'itunes media' folder - location: itunes/itunes media/itunes media. I have a feeling I did something wrong. Plus I was expecting that when I choose the library, it would of automatically transfered my 8000+ songs over. It hasn't. I also do not see an itunes\itunes library.itl. Maybe because I have no songs in itunes? Also wanted to ask how it will keep track of my playlists if I am consistantly changing and expanding them. DO I do this processes each time?

     

    HELP! Thanks! ~

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,745 points)

    Yep, you've done something wrong. There should be only one iTunes Media folder, not two, and the steps I gave would have left your library intact if carreid out properly. And yes, it was supposed to be a do it once solution. Did you click Create or Choose at step 3?

     

    Note that at the outset I say:

    If your external media folder is called \iTunes\iTunes Media then process is relatively easy....

    That's not an invitation to rename it other than by using the numbered steps as given below.

     

    If you moved/renamed the media folder in some other sequence of steps then you should be able to set things back to where you started by reversing the steps and using shift-start iTunes to open the original library file. You can then try again, if you fancy.

     

    tt2

  • bmw249 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    there are a couple of independent programs/software that do actually work / create seperate itunes libs-and select between them.

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