3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 12, 2012 1:44 PM by Limnos
coleman77 Level 1 (0 points)


My start-up drive was reaching it's limit. I decided to move iTunes to another drive to free up some space.

Without doing my home work, I selected, drug and dropped my music from the start-up to another drive > iTunes Media> Music.


Unfortunately, I deleted the old files and emptied the trash before pointing iTunes to this new location. All my files were still within iTunes, but would not play.

I tried several times to get iTunes to recognize the new location, but nothing seemed to work. SOooo, I deleted my entrie library out of frustration and decied to re-copy everything.


As I did so, I noticed some (not all) of my the music I drug into iTunes would disappear from my iTunes Media > Music folder.

After a great deal of confustion and more frustration I realized that I now have a "Sub" Music folder within the original folder I created - this contained the "missing" files. This is annoying because seemingly not all files are "vanishing" from the original and I'm ending up with a split library.


So I have two questions. 1. Can I keep the program from moving the files?   and...most importantly 2. Shouldn't there be an automatic way to get iTunes to read the files where they are?


Thanks for any help here.

  • Limnos Level 8 (47,161 points)

    Unfortunately your description of what you did is lacking in very specific details which make it hard to track what exactly was done.


    before pointing iTunes to this new location

    How exactly?


    Probably the easiest way to unravel this is for you  to learn how iTunes works so you can figure out what it was you did and how iTunes reacts.  iTunes library isn't just your music files.  It is a series of files and folders in a specific order that act together.  Unless you know what you are doing you should not move individual components around.  It is all right to copy the whole iTunes folder and all its contents to a different drive.  You then point to the new location of the library by starting iTunes, immediately hold down the option key, and the next window will ask you to locate the library you want to use.  Guide it to the external.  If you did other things, and especially if you have subsequently deleted critical files, you have probably permanently broken your library and will need to start from scratch.  This is where we need very specific details on what you still have for original library files.


    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: How to move [or copy] your music to a new computer [or another drive] - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4527


    Quick answer if you use iTunes' default preferences settings:  Copy the entire iTunes folder (and in doing so all its subfolders and files) intact to the other drive.  Open iTunes and immediately hold down the Option (alt) key (shift on Windows), then guide it to the new location of the library.


    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


    You may decide to just start from scratch.  Do the option key thing mentioned several times above to create a brand new library on the external drive.  In Finder open the iTunes folder for that library and drag all your music files to the Automatically Add To iTunes folder inside that folder.  This will repopulate your iTunes library with your media on the new drive.  You will have to rebuild your playlists, etc.

  • coleman77 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, I wasn't very specific.

    I will respond with more of an explanation and refer to your links - thanks.


    I originally copied files directly from what I assume to be the default spot on my start up drive:

    User> iTunes> ITunes Media Music> Music>  to a folder I created on a separtate internal drive Volumes> Internal HD> iTunes Media> Music


    Unfortunately, after files were copied I deleted the originals and emptied the trash.


    I did then opened iTunes preferences> advanced and changed the location reflect where my files were just copied. None of my files would play - all had the exclamation point by the track #.


    I shut down itunes and restarting expecting evertying to be fixed... no go. I repeated the process a time or two - once after copying all files back to the original folder. Nothing doing. Trying to look at the orginail folder arrangement on my start-up I noticed some (seemingly) odd things. For example, within my iTunes Media folder I had Books, iPod Games and Music (among a coupld other folders). WHen I clicked in "Music" folder, again there were Books, iPod Games and another Music folder. Going inside this 2nd Music folder is where my actual "music files" were housed.


    After getting a frustrated at trying to "re-direct" my iTunes to read my files I just selected the entire library of music within iTunes and deleted it - at that point thinking it would be easier to recopy, the copied files from the 2nd HD.


    There had previously been some discrepency between what I saw in iTunes and what i saw in my "music" folder So I began the process of dragging and dropping one artist at a time. I noticed some, not all, of my artist files would disappear after dragging into iTunes. After loading the "B's" into iTunes I realized that at least half of what I moved over was no longer in my folder... Took quite a while before I realized there was now a 2nd "Music" folder within my newly created "Music" folder. I then noticed all that remained in my "original" folder was anyting that had WMA files that I had converted from a friend - all the MP3/M4A files were moved to the 2nd folder.


    I apparently don't know how this works, but it seems like there should be a way for iTunes to automatically load content from this folder.


    So after your comments I decided to re-re-copy from my 2nd HD to the original spot on the start up. Then I copied the entire iTunes folder to the HD #2, redirected iTunes to look here, closed the program, started up pressing option and selected the previous itunes library created today, modified moments before, selected this file. I still have nothing in iTunes except a few files I copied myself.


    So, worst case scenario I'll just have to drag and drop by hand and dea with it.

    But I just feel like I have to be missing something - and why the need to create a 2nd music folder?


    Just seems like I either have something very screwed up or this is a bit more complicated than it needs to be?



    Thanks for your response - I will keep looking into it.

  • Limnos Level 8 (47,161 points)

    When you change the preferences settings it does not tell iTunes that is where things are, it tell iTunes that is where it should put things in the future.  Your library.itl is telling iTunes to look for the existing files back in their old location.  It might have been able to fix this situation but unfortunately you started dragging things a about even more.  It's like a librarian telling you according to the card catalog a book is in the second room, third bookcase, second shelf, fourth from the left.  If you move that bookcase into a new room the librarian will not know where it is.  You did multiple variants on this.


    #1 rule with iTunes is you do not move files yourself, you let iTunes do all the moving so it can keep track of them as it moves them.


    If you had copied the whole media folder to a different drive and had not subsequently moved things about it might have been possible to locate a single file when iTunes asked you to locate it, and iTunes would have asked you if you wanted to locate others based on that structure.  That would have fixed things.  Unfortunately I am having problems tracking where things have been moved and I really think you're going to have to rebuild from scratch.


    As for, "Why the need to create a 2nd music folder?"  I am guessing that on one of the (multiple?) occasions when you "redirected" iTunes where to look for your media (incorrectly doing it with preferences) you told iTunes to put your media in your music folder.  iTunes then put all media using the multiple folder structure it likes in the place you told it to (the music folder).


    It is actually simple and you could have relocated the whole thing, intact, in 30 seconds + copy time.  Unfortunately this isn't always clear to people and they confuse moving their library with moving just media.