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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:03 PM   #1
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itunes library on an external hd

my laptop is running out of room on the HD. I have about 30 gigs of music on it. None of which I really need while on the run. I have an external HD (500gb w/ usb 2.0). I want to put my music in there and then have iTunes simply be able to play right off of that. How can this be done? Will the lack of firewire make it laggy?

thanks
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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Not at all. That's exactly what I do. I did the transfer a few months ago, so I don't remember the specifics on the commands.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian. View Post
my laptop is running out of room on the HD. I have about 30 gigs of music on it. None of which I really need while on the run. I have an external HD (500gb w/ usb 2.0). I want to put my music in there and then have iTunes simply be able to play right off of that. How can this be done? Will the lack of firewire make it laggy?

thanks
With the drive mounted and the music already copied over to the external drive, go to iTunes:Preferences:Advanced:General and choose a new location on the external for your iTunes music library. Can't remember for sure, but you might also have to drag the folder into an open iTunes window.

I have my music on a firewire drive, and there is a slight lag when accessing the drive for the first time in a session. You'll probably see the same thing, but there should be no further lag.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:42 PM   #4
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iMatt: that lag might be the drive spinning up. If you go into energy saver system preference and uncheck the "try to sleep hard drives" you shouldn't run into that any longer
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:43 PM   #5
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I duplicated the iTunes folder onto an external drive and made an alias.

On the internal drive I renamed the iTunes folder to "iTunes Internal".

Copied the "iTunes alias" into the Music folder on the internal drive.

When I open iTunes, the external drive folder is used. If I want to use the internal drive library I rename the alias to "iTunes External" and rename the "iTunes Internal" to "iTunes". I can switch back and forth any time I want.

After confirming that everything I wanted was actually on the external drive I started removing stuff from the internal drive library to clear up space.


There is some software made for switching libraries, Libra, I think but it was a bit wonky when I tried it so gave up on it.

Good luck.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:43 PM   #6
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iMatt: that lag might be the drive spinning up. If you go into energy saver system preference and uncheck the "try to sleep hard drives" you shouldn't run into that any longer
Yup, that's exactly what it is. It's maybe a second or two, no biggie.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 10:03 PM   #7
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To set up storing iTunes music files on an external drive:

Be sure your external drive is powered up and mounted.
Also, if you don't intend to have your iTunes music folder on that drive be at the root level, set up the folders as you want them, so that you can simply navigate directly to where you want iTunes music to be stored in the next step.

Launch iTunes.

Go to Preferences: Advanced: General

To be sure all is well with setting this up, I prefer to manually install music files this first time. So, I recommend you uncheck "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" if they are checked. Then:

At: iTunes Music folder location, select the [Change] button.
Navigate to where you want your music to be stored and set the location. You should see the correct path displayed in the window.

Quit iTunes.

Go to the old location of your iTunes Music, which typically is [Name of HD]/Users/[username]/Music/

Open the iTunes folder.
The key files are: iTunes Library (file); iTunes Music Library.xml (file), Album Artwork (folder), and iTunes Music (folder).

Move (drag) the iTunes Music folder to the location you specified before in iTunes preferences (ie your external drive, in the directory you specified, if you specified one). iTunes may have created a blank folder here when you set the location in the earlier step. Just replace it with the one you're moving.

Because it's being moved to a new physical disk, the Finder will copy the folder and it's contents, ie your music, to the location you drag the folder to it, leaving the original files intact. I would recommend not deleting the originals just yet.

You must leave the iTunes Library file and the iTunes Music Library.xml file in the original locations no matter what. They are fairly small text files, so that's no problem, really. I'm not sure if you can move the Album Artwork folder, but for now don't move it.

Move the original iTunes Music folder out of your home directory, but on the same physical HD (ie the desktop works fine, so does the Trash but it's safer on the desktop). Because it's on the same physical HD the Finder doesn't need to actually move the files themselves, so there is no long copy process to wait for.

Launch iTunes. Your library should appear as before. Be sure the external drive is mounted. Click on a song. It should play fine.

Go to iTunes: Preferences: Advanced: General

Now check the boxes at:
Keep iTunes Music folder organized, and:
Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library

This way, all new music will be copied to this external folder from now on, and the library in your home directory will update as well with any new music you add.

Problems you may encounter:
If you launch iTunes when your drive is not mounted, any song you ask for won't be available. This can result in the [!] mark by the song, and a tedious process where you have to locate each song after you do mount the drive.

Be careful, for example, when plugging in your iPod, since that will cause iTunes to hunt for very many songs and not find them if the drive isn't mounted. Another situation that sometimes launches iTunes when you don't necessarily intend to is if you have iTunes set to play mp3s and you encounter one on the net while surfing. I have QuickTime set as the default player for mp3 files for this reason.

If you do end up with too many [!] by songs for some reason, it's best to simply restore the whole library file, as it's much quicker. Quit iTunes, then go to your library files in your Music folder on your main HD at:
[HD Name]/Users/[Username]/Music/iTunes
... and move the two library files to some other location (ie your desktop; again I would not delete them at this point).

Then launch iTunes, and drag the Music folder you installed on your external HD into the iTunes Window. iTunes will now index all the music, and also index the artwork as well, by itself. It takes a while, but at least you're not sitting there for two hours clicking and navigating.

Note that to a certain extent you have to accept iTunes/Gracenote's idea of metadata if you do this; for example if you are fond of changing the genre (is every pop song really "alternative"?), this may revert to the "other" genre when you restore a library this way.

Once you are sure all is well (do a restart, check that everything works) you can delete the iTunes Music folder on your main HD. If you moved it to the desktop as I suggested, that's where it will be now. Remember the library files must stay in the [username]/Music/iTunes directory, the Artwork folder might need to stay here (not sure), and that no extra space will be available until you empty the Trash.

Be careful with music; it's not as easy as data files to recover them if you have to re-rip instead of just copy from backups. I recommend backups of your library files and the music itself. DVD-Rs work not too bad for this.

Also, if you have regular "CD-quality" files in your iTunes library, you can save perhaps 30% of the space (it varies quite a bit depending on individual songs, but in a large library that's about what to expect) by encoding as Apple Lossless and deleting the originals.

Last edited by gordguide; Jan 22nd, 2008 at 12:33 AM.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 10:18 PM   #8
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Great advice!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 11:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macified View Post

On the internal drive I renamed the iTunes folder to "iTunes Internal".

Copied the "iTunes alias" into the Music folder on the internal drive.

When I open iTunes, the external drive folder is used. If I want to use the internal drive library I rename the alias to "iTunes External" and rename the "iTunes Internal" to "iTunes". I can switch back and forth any time I want.
Why don't you use Automator to do all that?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:48 AM   #10
 
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I just moved my library to my file server (Windows XP Pro) on the weekend: I copied my iTunes folder to my share, option clicked on iTunes (this forces it to prompt for a library location), and then pointed to the folder on my network share. The nice thing about this is that all the accounts on my Mac have access to the same library without it taking up space on the hard drive. I'm in the process of building my iPhoto library the same way.
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