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Question: Do I need to retain Previous iTunes libraries

I just consolidated my iTunes library and then backed it up to an external drive. When I looked at the iTunes music folder it had literally doubled in size, from 40gb to 80gb. I noticed the Previous iTunes Libraries folder was almost as large as my music folder - do I really need to retain the Previous Libraries folder?

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The Previous iTunes Libraries folder contains dated copies of the iTunes database (the iTunes Library.itl file) that are created automatically during some (but not all) iTunes updates - this only happens when the update includes a change to the database structure. Unless you think that you're ever going to revert to a very old version of iTunes, you can safely delete all but the newest of these files in the Previous iTunes Libraries folder.


However, this is probably unrelated to the increased disc usage you're seeing. My main iTunes library is around 1TB; the Previous iTunes Libraries folder is around 53MB (containing the copies of the iTunes Library.itl file from the last three updates that included a database change, from October 2014, June 2015 and July 2015) . I suspect that what you're seeing is a consequence of how the library consolidation process works. When you use this function, iTunes will copy any media files that are not located in the standard iTunes Media folder location into that folder structure. The original versions of the media files, though no longer linked to the iTunes library database, stay where they are. Is it possible that you have media files/folders contained within the Previous iTunes Libraries folder? In normal operation/configuration this should only include the dated copies of the database file:

User uploaded file

My suggestion would be to backup your complete library as it is now to a suitable device, delete everything in the Previous iTunes Libraries folder with the exception of the most recent iTunes Library yyyy-mm-dd.itl file, run iTunes and check that you can play and sync everything as expected. If so, you're good to go - if not, you can use the backup to restore the library folders to their previous state for further investigation.

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Mar 25, 2016 5:19 PM in response to Ian Crook In response to Ian Crook

How did you go about backing up? There is a suggested method at Backup your iTunes for Windows library with SyncToy.


See Make a split library portable for notes on the standard layout of the iTunes Library. If you have duplicated content inside the Previous iTunes Libraries folder it may be necessary to work out which set of media files is active before trying to rearrange everything into the standard form.


tt2

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Mar 19, 2016 10:09 PM in response to Ian Crook In response to Ian Crook

The Previous iTunes Libraries folder contains dated copies of the iTunes database (the iTunes Library.itl file) that are created automatically during some (but not all) iTunes updates - this only happens when the update includes a change to the database structure. Unless you think that you're ever going to revert to a very old version of iTunes, you can safely delete all but the newest of these files in the Previous iTunes Libraries folder.


However, this is probably unrelated to the increased disc usage you're seeing. My main iTunes library is around 1TB; the Previous iTunes Libraries folder is around 53MB (containing the copies of the iTunes Library.itl file from the last three updates that included a database change, from October 2014, June 2015 and July 2015) . I suspect that what you're seeing is a consequence of how the library consolidation process works. When you use this function, iTunes will copy any media files that are not located in the standard iTunes Media folder location into that folder structure. The original versions of the media files, though no longer linked to the iTunes library database, stay where they are. Is it possible that you have media files/folders contained within the Previous iTunes Libraries folder? In normal operation/configuration this should only include the dated copies of the database file:

User uploaded file

My suggestion would be to backup your complete library as it is now to a suitable device, delete everything in the Previous iTunes Libraries folder with the exception of the most recent iTunes Library yyyy-mm-dd.itl file, run iTunes and check that you can play and sync everything as expected. If so, you're good to go - if not, you can use the backup to restore the library folders to their previous state for further investigation.

Mar 19, 2016 10:09 PM

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Mar 25, 2016 5:19 PM in response to Ian Crook In response to Ian Crook

How did you go about backing up? There is a suggested method at Backup your iTunes for Windows library with SyncToy.


See Make a split library portable for notes on the standard layout of the iTunes Library. If you have duplicated content inside the Previous iTunes Libraries folder it may be necessary to work out which set of media files is active before trying to rearrange everything into the standard form.


tt2

Mar 25, 2016 5:19 PM

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Mar 25, 2016 5:25 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Thanks for the suggestions.


As I looked at my Music folder in detail I discovered that there are two sub folders that house the same music. One is a subfolder to the "iTunes Media" folder, called "Music". The second is a subfolder to the "iTunes" folder called "iTunes Music". The second subfolder also has a second set of Apps and Previous Libraries buried in it.


Any idea which folder is actively used by iTunes? I'm thinking of simply backing the whole library onto an external disk drive, deleting one of the folders and see what happens...


Thanks again

Mar 25, 2016 5:25 PM

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Mar 25, 2016 5:43 PM in response to Ian Crook In response to Ian Crook

See Make a split library portable. Check under preferences that the media folder is ..\iTunes\iTunes Media then consolidate the library. Anything in iTunes Music should then be a redundant copy which can be deleted.


tt2

Mar 25, 2016 5:43 PM

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Question: Do I need to retain Previous iTunes libraries