10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 2, 2013 3:14 AM by bolehill
bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I want to move just some of my music from my iTunes library onto an external hard drive (reason? the music cannot be got again, but right now I am not sure if I need it all or not).

So I want to move, say, 50 albums from the main iTunes libraray to an external drive and then be able to move some or all of them back again at later date.

Do I have to copy the whole library over to the external drive and then delete the albums there that I did not want to copy over?  Or is there a better way?

And how will I copy back just some of the back-up albums at a later date - is it the normal "Add folder/file to [main] library command from the File menu?

iPod classic 160GB (Late 2009), Windows XP
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (62,495 points)

    Ideally you want your entire library organized on a single drive, in turn backed up to a second drive for security.


    Putting that to one side however, if you want to move part of your library to a second media folder I have a script called ConsolidateByMoving which can do that for you, thereby freeing up space on the current library drive. The same tool can be used to move the files back if/when needed. Note that migrating your library to a new drive/computer is much easier if everything is in one place.



  • anon55555 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)



    If I'm understanding you right, you just want to have a second copy of certain albums/songs in another location in case your hard drive goes to crap.. But you do not necessarily want to back up your entire library since you can get some music back with relative ease?


    If that's the case, you should just be able to go to your Music folder(or My Music, depending on Windows version), select iTunes, then iTunes Media, Music, then you can just copy and paste what artists you want backed up to your external. If you only want specific albums from that artist, just open that artist's folder and you'll see the individual albums. Take it one step further if you only want certain songs off a particular album.


    Hope that helps.


    EDIT: Just saw that you are using Windows XP. Its been a while since I looked at iTunes in XP, but for the most part it works the same way. Your folder titles may just vary a bit (IE: iTunes Music instead of iTunes Media I think...)


    Message was edited by: anon55555

  • bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi and thanks for the ideas.

    Having read these and thought about the problem some more (which is as much about space on my laptop hard drive as anything else), I think it my be better for me to move the whole library to the external hard drive (where there is loads of free space) and get iTunes to run from the external hard drive.

    Or just back it up?

    By the way, with back ups, can you do incremental back-ups with iTunes (i.e. only adding to the back-up directory the music/photos etc added to the main library since the last back-up)?



    PS - by the way, just remembered I am using Widows Vista Business on the laptop where I use iTunes, not WIN XP

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (62,495 points)

    Yes, you are probably best moving the whole library. Close iTunes, move the entire iTunes folder from <User's Music> to the root of your external drive, e.g. E:\iTunes. Hold down shift as you start iTunes and keep holding until asked to choose or create a library. Click choose, browse to the new location and open the iTunes Library.itl file.


    The backup tip is effectively an incremental back, although it is actually a file level clone. You should find a library backed up in this fashion is ready to work on any system running the same build of iTunes which, in my eyes, makes it more useful than a propriety archive format which will need software to restore.



  • bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks tt2.

    I am about to do the backup with Sync Toy, as that sounds like exactly the way I want to go.

    I shall keep using my main hard drive iTunes library for now, backed up onto the EHD, until I run out of space again (I have freed up some disk space by deleting files from other space-hungry applications, such as photos).


  • bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Oops, just had a thought!

    I am currently running SyncToy by backing up the WHOLE iTunes folder (i.e. not just the Music folder or the Media folder, but the directory level above those folders - I have actually called the folder "iTunes Data" on my system and previously moved it onto my D Drive form the C:\Users folders).


    That is the right way to do it, isn't it?

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (62,495 points)

    You need to backup the whole library. Normally this will be a folder called iTunes which holds some library files and contains a media folder called iTunes Media. As long as all the media connected to the iTunes library is stored somewhere inside iTunes media then the library folder can be moved from one path to another really easily. This can include moving/backing up a higher level folder if necessary.


    Here are typical layouts for the iTunes folders:



    If you've previously moved the iTunes folder and simply renamed it iTunes Data then it shouldn't be a problem. If iTunes Data is actually the "media folder" then perhaps you have a split library. If you have media stored outside the media folder, or the media folder isn't directly inside the library folder, then the library won't be portable so moving it to a new location may break the links between the library and the tracks. I can talk you through the steps to repair things if necessary.



  • bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    HI again tt2


    Thanks for the edit/update.  I was Ok on this, as what I have labelled "itunes Data' in my file system is the iTunes root file that, in default, is just called iTunes (and called such in your reply above).  So I did NOT have a split library and everything seemed to copy across OK when I sync'ed it.


    One follow up question though.  If I were (also) to make a back-up copy of JUST the itunes Music file (the one organised by artist them album, which then lists individual mp3 tracks), and then chose to edit that back-up folder by dleting various albums/artists, could I at a later date re-move an album from there back to my main library by using (from the File menu of  iTunes) 'Add folder to library' and pointing to folder(s) in that back-up location?  If so, woudl it also copy across artwork etc, or just the music trcaks and album/artist name?


    Many thanks again

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (62,495 points)

    For a backup to work properly everything needs to be in the source folder and the destination, then you can afford for either device to fail. Alternatively if you're thinking about say iTunes Movies which could be downloaded again, then I guess you could discard one copy and exclude the particular folders from syncing in order to free up space on either the source or destination drives.



  • bolehill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, I don't think I have been making it very clear what I am trying to achieve - let me try putting it differently!!


    I have one iTunes folder and, at the moment, that is all backed-up via SyncToy.  I only have music in iTunes.

    Think of that music as being of 2 types - part A that I want for definite, and all that music is also on my iPod (I have my iPod set to Sync manually with iTunes) - this is probably well over 100 albums; and Part B music, that is on iTunes, not on the Ipod, and that I am not sure yet if I want to have in iTunes and on the iPod or not (this was a load of music copied over from another iPod several months ago) - this might be a further 50 albums.


    So - part A, I want to keep and want to be fully backed-up.  OK, SyncToy does that currently by backing up 100% of iTunes.

    But part B - I want to copy the part B music to a different copy location, and then just keep there the part B stuff which, album by album, I will either delete completely (if I don't want it) OR want to copy back to iTunes.  Once this second copy is set up, I would delete from this copy all the Part A stuff, and also delete from iTunes all the part B stuff.

    I would then have:

    - part A stuff on iTunes, iPod and back-up location 1;

    - part B stuff on back-up location 2.


    So the main question is - from what level in the iTunes folder do I need to copy over to the part B back-up so as to ensure that, when I subsequently try to copy albums back from the part B back-up to iTunes, I get all the information, artwork etc that already exists for the albums?  Do I copy the music file; the media file, or the whole iTunes folder?


    This may sound all terribly longwinded but, for various reasons, I am not in a position to be able to decide all at once which of the part B albums I need to keep.


    Is that any clearer?