7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2012 8:45 AM by Limnos
John Baughman Level 1 (35 points)

For several years I have been running iTunes with the library and all its data on a secondary internal hard drive separate from my startup drive.  This has worked well.  Yesterday I added an SSD to my Mac Pro and I installed Mountain Lion on it. I would like to configure the SSD similar to my old startup HD so that it recognizes the iTunes library on the secondary internal drive.  But despite several hours of trying to set this up I cannot get it to work.


I've followed the instructions from Apple and various other google finds that give the same instructions.  I opened iTunes on the SSD.  Under Preferences/Advanced I changed the "iTunes Media folder location" to the pathway for the secondary hard drive ( /Volumes/iTunes/iTunes Media ).

I've selected "Keep iTunes Media Folder organized".  Under File/Library I selected "Consolidate files".  But when I restart iTunes it opens to show empty libraries.


I would appreciate any help.  I'm not sure how to begin to troubleshoot this problem.



Mac Pro
  • Limnos Level 8 (47,386 points)

    Unfortunately those are not the instructions Apple has for opening a library on another drive.  Those are for re-assigning where just media (which is not the totality of your library) are stored.


    To open the library you need to start iTunes and immediately hold down the option key.  When it asks you where the library is located, show it the one on the second drive.


    Hopefully re-assigning the media folder location has not made a mess of things.

  • John Baughman Level 1 (35 points)


    The secondary drive that contains the iTunes data does not have a "library" item on it.  It simply contains two folders, "Desktop" (which is empty) and "iTunes Media" which contains all the folders that make up the iTunes media.


    However, there is a "iTunes Library.itl" file in  Music/iTunes on the old boot hard drive that was replaced by the SSD.  Chosing that library when starting up iTunes with the option key down does seem to fix the problem.

    However, this is odd in that now three different drives are involved in this process– the boot SSD, the old boot HD, and the secondary drive that is dedicated to the iTunes media.  I wonder if I could just copy the "iTunes.Library.itl" file from the old boot drive to the drive that contains all of the iTunes media? 



  • Limnos Level 8 (47,386 points)

    Read the links below.  iTunes uses a somewhat involved structure of files and folders to present what you see as a library.  Moving the itl file alone would leave behind other components, but perhaps if you moved the whole iTunes folder to the external it would survive the move.  If you are going to do that you might want to consolidate it all to a media folder inside the iTunes folder (see examples in links), making a standard library format and so it becomes more portable in the future.


    In general you should not split up the iTunes library unless you really understand how iTunes operates with all these files.  I do have mine scattered about, but then I know how it works.


    What are the iTunes library files? - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660


    More on iTunes library files and what they do - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes#Media_management


    What are all those iTunes files? - http://www.macworld.com/article/139974/2009/04/itunes_files.html


    iTunes 9 [and later]: Understanding iTunes Media Organization - http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3847


    Image of iTunes folder structure Dec. 2011 - https://discussions.apple.com/message/16923545
    see also:
    Image of folder structure and explanation of different iTunes versions (turingtest2 post) - https://discussions.apple.com/message/13025536 and https://discussions.apple.com/message/17457605


    iTunes: How to move [or copy] your music to a new computer [or another drive] - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4527  Do not confuse moving your whole folder and library with moving just media files as in: iTunes for Mac: Moving your iTunes Media folder - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1449

  • turingtest2 Level 9 (69,090 points)

    Hi John,


    Take a look at my posts  Normalize the library and Make a split library portable. There should be enough there to help get your library into shape but I'll happily try to give you specific guidance if it all looks too daunting.


    Aha, I see I've been beaten to it.




    Message was edited by: turingtest2

  • John Baughman Level 1 (35 points)


    Thanks for your reply.  I have read over the posts you linked to and I have a much better understanding of how the iTunes file system works.


    This is what I did.  I copied the iTunes folder from my old boot HD to the secondary HD that is dedicated to iTunes media only.  Then when I started iTunes while booted in my SSD drive I held down the option key and chose the iTunes Library.itl file now residing in the iTunes only secondary HD.  Now everything seems to work fine.  Since I am no longer linking to the iTunes Library.itl file on my old boot HD I believe it is removed from the equation.  And in the future it should be easy to link to the self contained iTunes only drive.


    Thank you and Limnos for your input.  It was essential in straightening things out.


  • John Baughman Level 1 (35 points)


    Thanks.  Between you and tt2 I think everything is working properly.

    Apple discussions is so vital to the Mac community.  Thanks to people like you I have always been able to get answers to perplexing problems.


  • Limnos Level 8 (47,386 points)

    You're welcome!