The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

iTunes and an external hard drive!

A great tip sent to me by Christian Underkoffler. Here is what Christian wrote:

I love iTunes, I have a small hard drive and it take up a lot of space, so music was always a problem. I've been looking for a way to continue to use iTunes while freeing up space on my hard drive. What I've learned, is that you can "Reference" your music, if you had it in another folder or put it on an external hard drive, your movies and music will still play in iTunes, without taking up space. Getting to the point:

I did it with an external hard drive hooked up to my time capsule, so it's wireless.

In iTunes, go to preferences.

Under the "Advanced" tab, there should be a check box that says, "make a copy of the file when added to iTunes" or something like that. The point is to uncheck it. If you FIRST put all of your music files onto your external drive, THEN delete all of the song listings in iTunes itself so it shows no duplicates, and in the actual "iTunes music" folder to delete the actual files off of your hard drive.When iTunes is clear, connect to your external drive, and drag the music files from your external drive, to the iTunes library, it will "reference" the songs, without adding or copying the actual files to itunes. Basically, iTunes will read off of your external drive, it's really great if you need to save space, and if you have a time capsule, it makes it really nice.

Thanks for the tip Christian!


Blogger Daniel Hoerr said...

Works fine for desktops, not so fine for laptops if you ever want to listen to your tunes away from home.

Similar solution (better for laptops) is to use an portable external USB drive (like a WD Passport), and connect it directly when you want to fire up iTunes. Reference the files the same way, etc. This way your music can still travel with you! =)

September 24, 2008 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger jmontreuil said...

I do this too at home to save space on the MB. Only problem is if the power goes out (as does often here in Costa Rica). If you are currently listening to music, iTunes reads all files as broken links and you have to close iTunes again and reload it with the drive plugged in.

Slightly annoying.

September 24, 2008 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger JF said...

If you wipe out all your music and put it on an external HD (basically moving your itunes folder in fact), will it also recognized music and apps purchased through iTunes, or will you have issues?


September 24, 2008 at 6:08 AM  
Blogger eddie said...

You can go into the Advanced menu and change the iTunes music location. That way you can add music on your laptop and it will automatically save onto the designated drive.

I do it yet a different way. My main desktop library is 'shared' and my laptop 'looks for shared libraries'. Now open iTunes on the laptop. Click the library under 'Shared' and there it all is!

September 24, 2008 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

All of these work well. But I have seperate accounts on my laptop & iMac. Me and my wife have seperate iTunes libraries. I have a wireless ethernet server that houses all of our music. I found that all I had to do in the end was create an alias of the music folder locally and the actual music folder lives on the server. Works really well when you encode also. The only big downfall is the portability, but we use our iPod for that.

September 24, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger エンゾウ said...

What I do is have all my previous music/itunes music folder moved to an external hard drive and deleted the original one on my internal hard drive. When I launched itunes, it would ask me to create a new library or find one, I'd point the itunes library folder at the external HD that has the XML file. I have it set to automatically copy songs, so it will always put my songs on my external HD.

I also created an account for my g/f and started itunes with option down. So it asked me to find a library, i pointed the same XML file folder and now we share the same itunes library. And it works great as afaik the xml gets updated in either account and both of us can do updates on our itunes library. I can share my music with her keeping her out of my little dirty secrets I have on my password protected account. bwua hua hua.

I just hope she never deletes my ramones. or else…

September 24, 2008 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I bought my macbook last year, I had enough money to either upgrade RAM or hard drive. I chose RAM. If I had to do it over again I would have waited till i could have upgraded both. My hard drive is small, I attempted to keep all my music on my 250GB WD Passport, but when I did this iTunes ran incredibly slow. It just was not worth it. While simply browsing albums, iTunes would freeze, it would not have to be shut down, but I would just have to wait for the external to catch up. But my iTunes purchases still worked. Let me know if you have any tips for me, I only have a few gigs left and they are filling up with pictures fast.

September 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the easiest way is to just move your library to the external HD. That's what I do- I have my external HD hooked up to my Airport, so whenever I'm home I just log into my router, it'll find the HD, and when iTunes starts, it's all good. Occasionally I'll have to point it to the library, but it's not a big deal. I don't see the advantage of not copying items there... what if you add new music, don't you want it saved on your external HD??

September 26, 2008 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I use Libra to switch between my local library and my larger one on an external HD. Selecting a library quits iTunes and restarts it with the new library. It can support multiple libraries and is free for now.

October 2, 2008 at 3:37 PM  
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