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Apple Says It Should Copy ... Why Won't It?
March 3, 2009 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Why Can't I Copy My iTunes Library to an External Drive?

Hi, I'm trying to back up my iTunes library to an external (WD MyBook) 320 GB USB drive (because I'd rather back it up than do the cumbersome method of backing it up to DVD/CD that iTunes 8 provides. For some reason, every time I try to copy the folder over, Windows XP Pro SP3 (on my laptop) insists that it can't copy it, but the error doesn't specify the specific folder or file it's hanging on.

I'm running off my Administrator account on the laptop, so it shouldn't be a rights/permissions issue. I'd really like to back it up in case I ever have to upgrade, so if someone could suggest why Windows isn't allowing me to copy the folder over, I would appreciate it.
posted by Gingercat to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have iTunes open when trying to copy it over? That might prevent it from copying because the files are in use. You could also try using TeraCopy for handling the copying, it speeds up copying under windows.
posted by lilkeith07 at 6:33 PM on March 3, 2009


Can you copy other files/folders to the drive? Try copying some other random file and see if it complains about that.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:33 PM on March 3, 2009


Lifehacker: How to Move Your iTunes library to an external drive
posted by limited slip at 6:44 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have done this as well as set up two additional laptops for purposes of synching--there are a number of online tutorials--you might try this one. I tried a number of different tutorials until I found one that worked for me. Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 6:48 PM on March 3, 2009


Hi again,

For answers so far: No, I don't have iTunes open, and yes, I can't copy other files/folders to the drive. I forgot to mention that I was able to copy over the iTunes database files, just not the actual media.

Another thing that might be causing an issue: I have an iPhone, rather than an iPod, and I also have apps and downloaded video stored in my iTunes folder as well.
posted by Gingercat at 7:22 PM on March 3, 2009


Whoops ... make that "can" copy other files/folders to the drive.
posted by Gingercat at 7:23 PM on March 3, 2009


There's nothing about iTunes that should be causing this; these are data files and folders being copied and have nothing to do with iTunes.

Can you copy other files from that user's documents folder? I'm wondering if it's a permissions issue with just a particular user.
posted by David Fleming at 7:50 PM on March 3, 2009


have you ever reformatted your external drive? if not, there's a good chance it's formatted FAT32 (which works on PCs and Macs). if it is, there's a 4GB file size limit, and you might have a video file in your library that's larger than that and tripping up your file copy. if you reformat using NTFS, you won't have to worry about file size limits. what's the specific error message you're getting?

alternatively, you can use xcopy from the command line; it can be set to not stop on errors.
posted by mrg at 7:52 PM on March 3, 2009


Ahh....press ctrl+alt+delete. Check the taskmaster or whatever to see what processes are running. I believe that itunes helper is one of them...it might even be one of those processes that starts up as soon as you log in successfully.

End that. See if you can copy after that.

THAT is exactly why I moved from windows to os x.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:52 PM on March 3, 2009


Give Unlocker a shot.
posted by phaded at 11:23 PM on March 3, 2009


Thanks for the continued responses:

So far:

1)It's not an iTunes processes issue; right after startup, I killed every iTunes/iPod related process that was running and attempted to copy. No luck there.

2)It might be a permissions/flag set issue. Even though I am running as Administrator, I have noticed that the read-only flag is set for these directories, and even though I remove that flag for folders and sub-folders, the flag remains set (though from what I've read, this may be a red-herring).

3)The drive is new out of the box, so it's never been reformatted to NTFS. For mrg, the message I'm getting is the Windows dialog: "Error Copying File or Folder". The error itself is "Cannot copy file:" and that's it. No additional information or file/folders are specified. I get the error even when just trying to copy the iTunes music folder (which is a 12 GB file, incidentially).
posted by Gingercat at 5:14 PM on March 4, 2009


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