Stopping iTunes from copying media to computer?
November 29, 2004 7:05 PM   Subscribe

I'd like my iTunes to look at a library stored on an external drive. Unfortunately, every time I think I've got it doing that, it turns out iTune's just copied the contents of that directory onto my computer. Is there any way/thing out there to solve this?
posted by me3dia to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
find the enclosing folder (On a Mac it's called Itunes Music)

Move that folder to another drive. Create an alias/shortcut to that folder, making sure it's the exact same name. That should work.
posted by filmgeek at 7:16 PM on November 29, 2004

Best answer: PC or Mac?

On a Mac, go to:

iTunes > Preferences > Advanced >

Click the change button to point to a new folder for your musid folder.

You might also want to Uncheck Copy files to iTunes music folder when adding to library

Hit OK, then you might want to delete all the songs from your library and re-add them so that it's looking in the right place.
posted by willnot at 7:16 PM on November 29, 2004

Windows: File -> Add Folder To Library. You can do this any number of times and it'll just add the new stuff. By "add" I mean it just creates an index of the files in the external library. It doesn't copy anything.
posted by e40 at 7:29 PM on November 29, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks willnot, I didn't even know that option was there.
posted by me3dia at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2004

Create an alias/shortcut to that folder

It's funny, sometime aliases and shortcuts aren't quite as good as you think they should be and don't actually redirect whatever app is looking for something to the new location.

What you really want is to use 'ln -s' in terminal to create a link.

That being said, using the prefs in iTunes will let you choose where the Music Library should be located.
posted by warhol at 9:08 PM on November 29, 2004

If you do what willnot says, you may need some iTunes brain surgery so that you can keep your playlists and other metadata intact. I had good luck doing the "move the directory then change the xml data" dance. ymmv.

I've never done the link thing suggested by warhol's, but that might be easier.
posted by zpousman at 6:28 AM on November 30, 2004

I keep my iTunes music library on my external.

"Preferences > Advanced > iTunes Music Folder Location" works for me.

For whatever reason, the actual index document lives in ~/Music/iTunes/. I haven't seen fit to mess with that.
posted by adamrice at 7:19 AM on November 30, 2004

I've got a similar question that I don't think is different enough to warrant its own post.

I also want to move my iTunes library off my computer, but rather than use an attached local drive I want to go with a networked drive.

Is this possible? Will iTunes throw a hissy fit if the library isn't local? Will multiple computers on the network (a mix of OS X and XP) be able to access the single library (which is the real goal)?
posted by Monk at 10:12 AM on November 30, 2004

I don't think multiple computers can access one directory and have them all treat it as if it's "their" directory.* However, you can share one computer's library over a network.

Look in iTunes' preferences under "sharing." You'll probably want to have one "master library" and share that out over your network; make it available from the host for the library, and subscribe to it from all the others. It's pretty slick, and you can control what playlist gets shared. Apparently some college dorms have their own LANs, and people engage in playlist snobbery when they see what's in their friends' shared playlists.

* I suppose this would be possible, sorta, if iTunes automagically detected new files in the directory. In theory, this could be done using a script that periodically scanned the directory for new files (deposited there by other copies of iTunes) and added them to the local library. Some features that are dependent on the "iTunes Music Library" file (like ratings, I think) would not carry over, which would be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
posted by adamrice at 2:55 PM on November 30, 2004

Thanks, adamrice. The downside to sharing, which I'm trying to avoid, is the need to have both the host and the client computers turned on and running iTunes. (The machine hosting the iTunes library is too noisy and to much of a power hog to leave on 24/7).

Also, Party Shuffle doesn't work with shared music. I dismissed this feature when it first came out, but now I find myself using it most of the time.
posted by Monk at 9:37 PM on November 30, 2004

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