Meet the new drive, same as the old drive
July 19, 2009 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Can I fool iTunes into thinking my library is on the same drive as it was before, even though it's not?

I have my iTunes library on a 250G external hard drive. It's almost full, so I went out and bought a 2TB drive. Will the following method of moving music work?

1. Copy all the files from my existing external drive to the new drive
2. Disconnect my existing drive
3. Rename the new drive to the same name as my old drive
4. Start up iTunes
5. Rock

If I'm going from one external to a second, can I fool iTunes, or should I go through the same process as I did before? It seems like if I name the new HD the same as my old one, it should work, but it's entirely possible that I am missing something.

I'm on a Mac (OS X 10.5.7) if that makes a difference. And I'm not looking to switch away from iTunes so please don't recommend that as a solution. Thanks.
posted by pdb to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I _believe_ this should work, although I haven't tried exactly what you're proposing. I think all iTunes cares about is the pathname, so if that's identical, you should be golden.
posted by Aquaman at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2009

That is exactly the procedure I would recommend.
posted by kindall at 4:05 PM on July 19, 2009

CAn't you just copy to the new hard drive, then in iTunes go to add folder, and pick the root directory. It should find all the subfolders and albums, etc.. and keep the structure.. right?
posted by 0217174 at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2009

People always make iTunes on external drives way too complicated.

The best way in the first place is to have all of your files, all the library files and everything, on the external drive. Then it doesn't matter where you move anything. You can move your folders to a new drive named something new everyday and iTunes won't even notice.

If you switch from /Hard Drive/iTunes to /Another Hard Drive/iTunes all you have to do is start up with option and select the location of the new library.

Unless you're locating your music files on a NAS or something (which might drop your connection; you don't want your library files getting lost while iTunes is running) there is not a good reason to ever go into preferences and change the location of your iTunes Music.

The default location for iTunes music is the iTunes Music subfolder of whatever folder the library files are in. Not a hardcoded location. If you do change the location, you put in a hardcoded location, which makes it difficult to switch between different libraries. You will launch into a new library and iTunes will look to the hardcoded location, while if you just left that alone and located entire iTunes LIBRARIES on external drives you could switch between them willy nilly, because the iTunes Music would be in the same place, relative to the music files, for each of them.
posted by yesno at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just noticed you don't necessarily say you have your library files in ~/Music/iTunes and your music on an external drive, but that's what I assume. If you don't, then just option launch after you copy the library. (iTunes "library" means the whole thing usually, not just the music subfolder.)
posted by yesno at 4:44 PM on July 19, 2009

Plug both drives in - the current one and the (empty) new one.

Tell iTunes prefs that you want to keep your music in a directory on the new drive.

Tell iTunes to Consolidate your library and "Keep Organized."

iTunes will handle all the moving for you. When it's done, remove the old drive.

Of course, if you don't like iTunes to keep your music organized by filename and directory, this won't work.
posted by mikewas at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2009

I upgraded my external drive and moved all my music from the old to the new one. I didn't have to rename anything, computer recognized new drive as E, same as the old drive. iTunes operates as before.
posted by shinyshiny at 7:03 PM on July 19, 2009

Response by poster: Just for reference's sake, my method described above worked perfectly. No fuss no muss. Thanks all!

(shinyshiny: I'm on a Mac, thus no drive letters)
posted by pdb at 7:18 PM on July 19, 2009

Mikewas has it. Just change your "itunes library" location" to a new folder on the new drive. Click consolidate library and copy all your music onto the new drive via Itunes. Be prepared to leave your computer running for a long, long time. But it will work.

I believe strongly that the "keep organized" option in windows somehow makes Itunes erase random tracks from your library. Sounds ridiculous but I've experienced it, and when I shut it off it stopped happening. A friend suggested I try it. This is for windows, btw.
posted by sully75 at 7:29 PM on July 19, 2009

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