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Mike__81 Level 1 (0 points)

I have followed a guide that was put on the forums for this  and it temporarily worked however, every time I disconnect the external hard drive and open I tunes to see if it has worked it seems to create another I tunes media folder, is their something I am missing?? Or does it create a new one every time I tunes is opened. (the guide explained that when you have selected a new location in the advanced preferences you can delete the I tunes media file from your old hard drive, as the location of the file has been changed I expected it not to open properly when I disconnected the new external hard drive, but it did and created a new I tunes media file in the old location, so checked preferences again to see the location and it has reverted to what it was in the first place! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!

iPhone 4, iOS 5.1.1
  • Stefaan Van Hoeck Level 1 (20 points)


    Whats happend is normal.

    If you have your music library on a external hard drive and you disconnect the ext. HD and start iTunes, iTunes shall make a library file on your computer (if there is not so one) because itunes can't read the library on the ext. HD.

    In the preferences shall be the location reverted to the new location.

    If you close iTunes and you connect back your ext. HD with the music en the library, iTunes recognice back the pad to your ext. HD.  In the preferences you shall see that the pad is back to your ext. HD.



  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    Stefaan is partially correct. The process you followed will have created a split library, that is the library database on your internal drive with the media folder on the external. If you fire up such a library when the external drive is not connected iTunes automatically creates a new media folder in the default location, i.e. as iTunes Media inside the library folder. Even if you subsequently connect the external drive iTunes will continue to use this new media folder for all new content until you change the location again via preferences.


    To avoid such problems it is much easier to simply move the entire iTunes folder to the external drive, then use the shift-start-iTunes method to select the library. When a library has been relocated in this fashion, and you start iTunes with the external disconnected, iTunes complains that it can't find the library and asks you to choose or create one. At this point you can cancel, connect the drive and then start iTunes as normal.


    If you want to make things easy in future, at the cost of a little effort now, read on...


    Make a split library portable


    Here are the typical layouts for the iTunes folders:




    In the layout above, with the media folder (everything in the red box) inside the library folder, the library is considered to be portable. A portable library can be moved from one path to another without breaking the links between the library and the media and being self-contained is much easier to backup (You do backup, don't you?).


    You can rearrange things to make a split library portable by taking a number of small steps which don't break the library.


    Before you start any media files that are outside of the media folder will need to be consolidated. If the library is in the old style layout then it should ideally be be upgraded to iTunes Media Organization (Library > Organize Library > Rearrange files in the folder <Media Folder>) to ensure that iPod Games, Mobile Applications etc. are brought inside the media folder.


    The basic non-fatal manipulations are:

    • You can connect to an alternate set of library files by holding down Shift (Win) or Option (Mac) when starting iTunes.
    • You can move the library files to a new location as long as the media stays put.
    • You can move the library files and the media together if the media folder is a direct subfolder of the library folder.
    • If you have already moved/copied the media content from a subfolder of the library folder to a different location then you only need to copy the library files for it to appear as if you have moved the entire library in the way allowed above. I.e. just copy the library files into the parent folder of the media folder.
    • You can rename the media folder to iTunes Media (if it isn't already) if the media folder is inside the library folder.
    • iTunes uses the name of the folder holding the library files as the window title. Having made a library "portable" you may need to take a final step of renaming the library folder to iTunes or, if the library files have ended up at the root of a drive, moving all of the library files and content folders into a new folder called iTunes.


    After each change you need to open, test and close the relevant library before attempting another change. If a change broke the library, undo it or revert to using the previous set of library files.


    In essence all you need to do to make your library portable is copy the library files into the parent folder of the media folder on the external/secondary drive and use the hold-down-shift/option-when-starting-iTunes method to connect to it. Other manipulations may be required to normalize the library so that the library and media folders have standard names.



  • Mike__81 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks mate, solved a massive head ache

  • FunkyMuzak Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm a bit dense but are there any simpler directions?  I read somethin like this:


    "Before you start any media files that are outside of the media folder will need to be consolidated. If the library is in the old style layout then it should ideally be be upgraded to iTunes Media Organization (Library > Organize Library > Rearrange files in the folder <Media Folder>) to ensure that iPod Games, Mobile Applications etc. are brought inside the media folder."


    ...And I have no idea what to do or where to begin.  I understand that the folks in this forum are more adept at iTunes, but is there a resource for simpletons who need to be led by the hand ?  I just began using WIndows 8 and I've now installed iTunes 11, using an external hard drive for the library.  I can't get the old songlists to appear in the iTunes display (nor do any songs appear in the library).


    Also re the layouts above: My iTunes folders don't look anything like that, so I'm stuck before I've begun.  Is there a docent on hand who doesn't mind walking through a newbie through this step-by-step?  (Or a thread already in place for people who are not terribly adept at Windows or iTunes?)






  • justjoyce Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a problem. I'm trying to download or transfer my purchased music from itunes to my new computer.

    Can you please help me



  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    If you have a working library on one computer which you are trying to transfer to another then see this migrate iTunes library post.



  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    Apologies for not picking up on this one earlier...


    FunkyMuzak wrote:


    ...And I have no idea what to do or where to begin.


    Begin at the beginning....


    Where is your iTunes library now? Normally it is <User's Music>\iTunes.


    Where is the media folder? You can read this from Edit > Preferences > Advanced.


    Where do you want to move the library to?


    My long post above gives a generic overview of the steps that need to be taken to bring a disjointed iTunes library into good order ready to move and backup easily. For a step-by-step recipe that is specific to your circumstances I need a little detail to work with.



  • bmw99 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi tt2,


    Thanks for your posts on here.  I've read through and think I have an approach to my situation, but before diving in I thought I'd run past you.  A summary:


    My situation: iTunes 11, running on an XP laptop.  Media is on external hard drive (F:Passport Music).  Itunes Lib under itunes folder on the laptop.  Laptop aging and want to switch to a slightly newer desktop PC as I fear it will crash soon.  As an aside, I run Sonos off a NAS backup copy of the external hard drive library - updated via a synchback tool.  This NAS is effectively my music backup - and I suspect could be an alternate source for switching my library to the new PC, although I'm not going down this route at the momemt (say if you think that would be better/more flexible option!)


    A little more detail on the the external drive (F: Passport Music)


    It seems to be something of a mix of the examples you have above - it contains



    Automativcally added to itunes

    Various arrtists with music in


    Music (which contains the majority of the media library via many artist folders within)

    Other folders as per the itunes 9 set up above


    This set up was adjusted when I recently considated libary in readiness for the switch.  I wasn't really expecting much to happen when I did that as I thought the library was staying organised as I went, but it appears to have nested the majority of music into the music folder, rather than it being under the artist names within Passport music as previously.


    The itunes folder on the laptop contains itunes Library, extras, genius, iTunes Music Library, Temp file.tmp files


    Proposed solution:


    As per your posts, it looks like my best bet is to make the split library portable, then take across to the PC, and on opening itunes for the first time point it to the external drive.  (I think it would be possible to just take the external drive in a non-portable format and copy and past my existing lib file into the newly created desktop itunes folder, but looks like the best practice advice is to make portable first?)


    So I plan to do:


    1. Consolidate library (which I've already done)

    2. Copy and past my itunes library files(s) from laptop into the parent drive on the external drive (so for me that would be the route F: drive on the external drive). 

    3. Download itunes on new PC

    4. Plug external drive into new PC

    5. On opening itunes for first time, hold shift down and pick out the F: Passport music file

    6. Play music!




    - In 2 above, do I copy all the library, genius etc files?  I appear to have both a Itunes Library (.itl) and itunes Music Libabry files (xml) - is is right to copy both across?

    - Do I need to adjust my F drive/Passport music structure to add another layer in?

    - When opening itunes on new PC, do i select F or F:Passport music as the source folder

    - Do I need to install the same version of itunes (11.0) for the new PC (or upgrade my laptop? - which I'd rather not do given its running like a dog)


    I suspect the answers to this are probably within your other posts, but thought it would be worthwhile explaining my situation.  I hope its clear, and many thanks for any thoughts you might have.





  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    Hi Ben,


    Sounds like you've got the basic idea, but to give you specific advice I need to know exactly what you see displayed for the media folder location under iTunes > Preferences > Advanced.


    As to the questions:

    - Copy over the named library files listed earlier, plus the Album Artwork and Previous iTunes Libraries folders.

    - It depends. I'd recommend you rearrange the library so that the library is stored in F:\iTunes and the media in F:\iTunes\iTunes Media - I can give the specific steps once I know exactly where things are now.

    - You will select a file, either F:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl or F:\iTunes Library.itl depending on which bits of my advice you want to take.

    - You can install the same, or any later version of iTunes on the new computer. If you install a later version you won't be able to use the library again on the original computer once you've moved it to the new one.


    BTW, don't really expect to see both Various Artists and Compilations in the media folder if music is stored in subfolders of <Media Folder\Music\. Try going to File > Library > Organize Library and tick both boxes, or the one that isn't greyed out and click OK. Then go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced, turn off the Keep... option, click OK, then go back and turn it on again. If either of those folders remains then it would seem there are some disconnected files in there. These should be added to the library, then deleted properly if they are duplicates or files you no longer want.



  • bmw99 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi tt2,


    Thanks v much for the swift reply.


    In Itunes> Pref> Advanced i have the following path for Itunes: F:\Passport Music


    Within the external F Drive, Passport Music sits in the first line of folders (alongside various other folders)


    Thanks for answers to questions.  I'll follow your advice on renaming.  I presume I should do this rename directly into the folder structure, after disconnecting from current itunes and obviously before hooking up to new system.


    I wondered why I saw comps and different artists within the new organised library.  When I go to file> Org Library I see Consolidate files as tickable, and Re-rg files in Passport music is greyed out.  I'm almost certain that when I did the re-org Ilast time  ticked consolidate files.  If I go to edit preferences > advanced, both 'keep..organised' and 'copy files to itune lib..' are ticked.  When I check the artist seen in 'various artists' folder that appear direct in the folder structure, they also appear in the music folder.  They appear to play OK in itunes as well.  So looks like some duplicating has happened?


    Am I right in the thinking I'm best to go down this route rather than get the the libabry shared on the NAS drive?


    Thanks again?



  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    OK, from what you say I supect the folders F:\Passport Music\Compilations are F:\Passport Music\Various Artists are redundant copies of whatever is inside them. Move these two folders into, say, F:\Dupes and check everything is still fine before deleting them...


    As to the library itself...


    1. Copy the files iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library Extras.itdb, iTunes Library Genius.itdb, sentinel (hidden, so you'll need to use Windows Explorer's folder options to see it) and the Album Artwork folder into F:\ (We're ignoring the .xml file, iTunes will rebuild it with a slightly different name.)

    2. Press and hold down shift as you click the icon to launch iTunes, keep holding until asked to choose or create a library, click choose and open the file F:\iTunes Library.itl

    3. Check that the library functions as expected. Close iTunes. Rename the folder F:\Passport Music as F:\iTunes Media. Restart iTunes.

    4. Check that the library functions as expected. Check under Edit > Preferences > Advanced that the media folder location has been correctly updated to F:\iTunes Media.

    5. Close iTunes, create a new folder called F:\iTunes, move iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library.xml, iTunes Library Extras.itdb, iTunes Library Genius.itdb, sentinel and the folders Album Artwork & iTunes Media inside it.

    6. Press and hold down shift as you click the icon to launch iTunes, keep holding until asked to choose or create a library, click choose and open the file F:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl

    7. Check that the library functions as expected. Check under Edit > Preferences > Advanced that the media folder location has been correctly updated to F:\iTunes\iTunes Media.


    Your library is now properly portable. You can connect the drive to any computer running the same build of iTunes (or later) and shift-start-iTunes to connect to it. Because the library is portable it should work properly whichever drive letter is assigned on the new system.


    I'd suggest that rather than running the library from NAS storage you run it from the passport drive but backup the entire iTunes folder to the NAS for security.


    If you (or someone else reading the thread) needs to store their media on remote storage the general principles are the same however iTunes performance may suffer when accessing the database remotely. If so the library files and album artwork folder can be copied back to an internal drive for performance. These should be copied back to the NAS storage and the library opened & closed on the remote path at least once before attempting to transfer it to a new drive/computer...



  • bmw99 Level 1 (0 points)

    tt2 - thanks v much for the guidance. Completed up to step 6 so far and everything working well.  The help is much appreciated



  • turingtest2 Level 9 (68,552 points)

    You're welcome.



  • bmw99 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi tt2,


    I've been held up completeing this for the last week or so - I've just come back and repeated step 6 in your directions above.  I've found that when I open itunes using the shift method, I select iTunes Library.itl in its new location, itunes opens, but its still looking for the media in the old location (Passport music).  It had worked when I did it first time round, only difference is laptop has powered down & up since.  Should I just select the new media folder from within the edit preferences area?


    I thought it would be best double checking it is working on old laptop before trying on new PC for first time.





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