Like any other piece of software it works the way its programmers have told it to. That's not always exactly what they intended to tell it to do and, more often than not, not exactly the way you would like or expect it to.
Things to bear in mind:
- If you have iTunes set up to Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library (default option) and then repeatedly import a folder that is outside the iTunes Media folder into the library, it will do as it is told and create a new set of copies of all those files.
- If you add a folder to iTunes which already has a bunch of duplicate files in it, iTunes will add in all the duplicates
- If you add in untagged files then iTunes will lump them all into Unknown Artist/Unknown Album and set the track name to <Filename>.
- Change your workflow. Move new stuff inside the iTunes Media folder before adding it to iTunes or disable the Copy to... option.
- Manually dedupe before importing or see my DeDuper script for use after the fact.
- Disable the Copy to... option and use my TagFromFilename script or fix the tags before importing into iTunes. (MediaMonkey's AutoTag From Filename is quite good for this).
This doesn't make much sense. I have personally scrubbed all 1300 files on my computer (nothing but free time in Afghanistan!) and I have no duplicate music files, so I have no idea why iTunes decides to duplicate everything.
Can you illuminate me on how I can, on a Windows computer, take my Music folder from my external harddrive, move it onto my netbook, then have iTunes just take what is in that folder and add it to the iTunes library without making duplicates? This way I could just move songs onto an iPod and only have one copy of each song!
I don't know what 'untagged files' means either. Sorry Windows Media Player can easily group them into their appropriate albums, so why cant iTunes?
Is there two places from which iTunes will collect files from? A Media folder? Isnt' that just where I keep all my music?
iTunes doesn't monitor your media folders in the way that Windows Media Player does. iTunes only offers to "collect" files on the first launch after the initial install. Depending on the options involved that can create duplicates. For example if you have albums already imported into Windows Media Player and sitting in the default <User's Music> folders as <User's Music>\<Album Artist>\<Album> then iTunes can create the first set of dupes (although they are unique to iTunes at this point) as <User's Music>\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\<Album Artist>\<Album>.
With your media held on an external drive you would probably be better off placing your iTunes Library there too. If you hold down shift as you start iTunes you can create a new empty library at X:\iTunes where X: is your external drive letter. If you already have a device attached to the current library, or ratings, playlists etc. that you want to preserve then it might be better to copy your existing iTunes folder out to X:\iTunes and then use the shift-start iTunes method to connect to it.
If you start fresh then just move everything into X:\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music before adding it to iTunes (up to you whether or not you want iTunes in charge or organising the structure i.e. "Keep iTunes Media folder organised").
If you want to sort out existing content into your relocated library use my ConsolidateByMoving script to, um, consolidate by moving files instead of copying them.
For tips on getting WMP and iTunes to play nice see this thread.
This sounds *entirely* too complicated to be worth it. Wouldn't it be a better idea to just re-import all my music from my external harddrive back onto the netbook and use the dupe removal script? What do you mean my iTunes library don't you mean my entire iTunes program?
Why is this such a monumental PITA? I thought Apple products were supposed to 'Just work' as their advertising and marketing hype claim.
They do "just work", until you do something unexpected with them.
See this post for more info. on the library folder. The crucial file is iTunes Library.itl which is the central database of what is in your library.
I've assumed your netbook's drive is too small to hold your library so you would want to keep the media on an external drive. Having a split library where the database & library files are on the internal drive while the media is on another drive makes problems more likely. E.g external drive letter changes because you connect another device. If I'm wrong then just go for it and defupe when you are done. I'd still recommend you follow the advice on WMP's options to make sure it doesn't go moving files from inside the iTunes Media folder.