Please help me sort out this iTunes library across multi drive problem...
January 4, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Mac mp3s clusterf*ck... how to fix this "multiple mp3s in multiple locations, with some overlap, problem" after a hard drive crash...? Help...

So, due to various poorly executed backups and a recent drive failure, I now have this situation:

- Drive A has my latest MP3s of artists from A-L. It died and seems inaccessible.

- Drive B has my latest MP3s from artists M-Z. It is fine.

- Drive C has a backup of both A and B (all artists, A-Z), but shows it was last backed up in September. I acquire a lot of music due to my job (about one or two dozen albums a week) so anything since September is not backed up, which is a bunch of music. Obviously, anything acquired post-September from A-L is cacked.

- I bought a new drive which can hold all of my music, drive D we'll call it.

- I bought a second new drive to backup the first new drive; Drive E. Both drives will be used exclusively for music.

My questions:

1. What's the most thorough and least painless way to get as much of my music as I can salvage into iTunes and onto drive D?

2. What's the best way to ensure that drive E stays up to date with drive D? It seems time machine only backs up my iMac's main HD. How can I automate backing up an external?

3. Any way to try and get the data off of the dead drive? It makes a noise like a marble is being dropped inside of it. :(
posted by You Should See the Other Guy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Quick answer:

Dead Drive: no quick way, sounds like that means you may need to send it off to a data recovery place, mucho $$$$. But since you already have all the music backed up to Drive C, that would be a waste of money.

Concentrate on getting a fresh start on your library by rebuilding it (maybe time consuming), but worth it in the end.

Create a new playlist and begin to import songs to it (making sure that iTunes' prefs have "COPY files to library" checked) Importing to this new playlist should give you a dialog if you are importing duplicates.

You'll have to probably retag files, but that is a good thing when you're starting over anyway.

As for backing up from Drive D to E. There's a cheap shareware program called "chronosync" which will do the trick. Check it out, I use it to back up to multiple locations / drives, from multiple locations / drives, and it can do incremental backups as well.

Good luck!
posted by lonemantis at 9:09 AM on January 4, 2010

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it doesn't seem like it would be all that painful to do the following:
  1. Designate Disc D as iTunes' Media folder location.
  2. Copy the entirety of Disc C into iTunes. iTunes will then put it onto Disc D, sorted as it sees fit.
  3. Using iTunes, sort your library by artist and delete all files with artists from M-Z. When it asks you if you want to delete the files themselves or just the Library entries, delete the files themselves. (iTunes won't actually delete the files if they're not in its Media Folder, which is why Step 1 is necessary.)
  4. Copy the entirety of Disc B into iTunes.
This should result in the most recent available versions of A-L and M-Z being on Disc D, organized into folders by iTunes. It might take a few minutes for your Mac to complete each step, depending on how many files you have, but you can do something else while the Mac is thinking — the level of engagement on your part should be minimal.

Sorry I can't help with the other two questions.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:34 AM on January 4, 2010

I'll second Johnny's solution for the consolidating.

Re backing up from D to E when you are done, Chronosync is good (and automation is built in), but is free. You'd have to mess with cron to get it to be automated, tho.
posted by omnidrew at 10:44 AM on January 4, 2010

You can use Time Machine. Externally-attached disks are placed in the Exclude list by default, but can be removed (and therefore included in your backup)

Some discussion here:

posted by ZakDaddy at 12:21 PM on January 4, 2010

re: the Dead Drive. Depending on how damaged the 'dead' drive is, you may be able to access it using Linux, i've had success mounting a drive in linux that windows refused to read. Not sure what OS you're using. Really depends on the damage.

This is basically how I did it
posted by snowymorninblues at 1:03 PM on January 4, 2010

rsync -avP /path/to/drive_b/music/ /path/to/backup/

will do your consolidation.

To schedule the backups a similar rsync line saved as a script and launched by a recurring appointment in ical would do it.
posted by pompomtom at 3:04 PM on January 4, 2010

« Older Can you help me fix my Airport problem?   |   Places like Sea Ranch? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.