Consolidating two itunes libraries

Now that you've been going to town adding music and movies to your i Tunes library, your hard drive's pretty crowded - and all those space-hogging media files might have a better home on that empty external hard drive you've got set up.i Tunes has a (deservedly) bad reputation for taking total control of your music and videos, including where they live on your computer. Before you do this, back up your i Tunes library files. First, in i Tunes' Preferences panel, in the Advanced section, make sure "Copy files to i Tunes Music folder when adding to library" is checked, as well as "Keep i Tunes Music folder organized." Then, in the "i Tunes Music folder location" area, click on the Change...

When it asks what library to use, click the "Choose Library..." button and browse to the i Tunes file on the external drive.

From there, i Tunes will use the new library location and you can delete your old library folder and free up all that space on your hard drive it hogged up. Using this method, you can plug in your external hard drive to another computer (PC if you've got i Tunes on Windows, or another Mac if on the Mac) and as long as it gets assigned the same drive letter, you can access your full library, with play counts, playlists and other metadata intact from anywhere.

The single most common question we get from our readers is how to recover their content from their i Pod back onto their computer.

Like, if your new spot is D:\i Tunes\Gina\, set your music folder to D:\i Tunes\Gina\Library\. Now that you've set the music location to the destination folder, it's time to relocate the actual media files. From the Advanced menu in i Tunes, choose "Consolidate Library." You'll get a prompt that looks like this: That is exactly what you want, so hit the Consolidate button.

Depending on how large your library is, this process may take some time to complete. Now that your music is moved to the new location, you're almost there.

While the actual media files themselves are now in the destination, a few other internal i Tunes database files and album artwork images have been left behind. So, quit i Tunes, and browse to your original library location.Select the "Album Artwork" folder, as well as the files and copy them to the clipboard.Browse to your new library location and drop 'em in.Hint: here's where that music sub-directory you created comes in handy.If your music lives in D:\i Tunes\Gina\Library\, drop these files and folder into D:\i Tunes\Gina\. Now you've got two copies of your library, one in the source (internal drive) and one in the destination (external drive).To point i Tunes to the new location, hold down the Shift key (Option on the Mac) when you launch i Tunes.

187 Comments

  1. Now that you've been going to town adding music and movies to your i Tunes library, your hard drive's pretty crowded - and all those space-hogging media files might have a better home on that empty external hard drive you've got set up.

  2. i Tunes has a (deservedly) bad reputation for taking total control of your music and videos, including where they live on your computer. Before you do this, back up your i Tunes library files. First, in i Tunes' Preferences panel, in the Advanced section, make sure "Copy files to i Tunes Music folder when adding to library" is checked, as well as "Keep i Tunes Music folder organized." Then, in the "i Tunes Music folder location" area, click on the Change...

  3. It wasn't always easy to move your library in past versions of the software, but happily i Tunes 7 makes relocating an existing media library pretty painless - that is, with a little know-how. This method isn't the official one published by Apple - theirs still keeps i Tunes' internal database files in the default location - so make sure you've got a full backup before you begin in order to avert possible i Tunes disaster. button, and enter the folder on your external drive you want to move your library to.

  4. Hint: Store your music in a subdirectory of the destination.

  5. When it asks what library to use, click the "Choose Library..." button and browse to the i Tunes file on the external drive.

  6. From there, i Tunes will use the new library location and you can delete your old library folder and free up all that space on your hard drive it hogged up. Using this method, you can plug in your external hard drive to another computer (PC if you've got i Tunes on Windows, or another Mac if on the Mac) and as long as it gets assigned the same drive letter, you can access your full library, with play counts, playlists and other metadata intact from anywhere.

  7. The single most common question we get from our readers is how to recover their content from their i Pod back onto their computer.

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