Help a Mac access music over the network stored on a Windows XP machine.
December 7, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

My wife just purchased a Macbook after using a Dell Mini 9 for several years. All of our music is on a WinXP server and shared out over the network. We want to keep it all on the server if possible. Importing the music into iTunes (over wifi) is slower and more painful than it is on the Windows machines, which I'm surprised about.

Tthe Mac seems to be having tons of trouble. It can see the share and seems to process the files, but iTunes freezes and generally misbehaves. We have 80GB of music and would prefer not to have to copy it to her machine. It's really slow even if we import one or a few folders or the whole thing. I let it run for about 24 hours and iTunes crashed and nothing was imported. Are there some network settings I can change or something (either on the XP or the Mac)? Also, it's an Air, so we'd have to go out and buy the network adapter if that's the best thing to do. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.
posted by reddot to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The latest iTunes (last I checked...) has trouble with Windows File Sharing. Downgrade to iTunes 9.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2010

I have 50GB of music over a SMB (Windows) share from a Windows Home Server box with a desktop Mac and Macbook Air clients using iTunes 10.1. My solution is to use the media sharing from the Windows Home Server box (firefly media server). You cant sync the music to an iDevice but it'll work to playback music.

Another option is to move the iTunes XML library files over manually (involves editing XML files) from your old Mini9 (hackintosh??) to the new MBA.

As as last resort, just buy the network adapter, and resell it on ebay/CL.
posted by SirOmega at 4:12 PM on December 7, 2010

When you got the MacBook did you also get AppleCare and 1:1 with it? This is something a Mac Genius could help you configure in store.
posted by patronuscharms at 4:13 PM on December 7, 2010

My attempts at storing an iTunes Music Library on a file share have been fraught with problems. iTunes assumes that libraries will be one of two types: (1) local, as in on one of the machines local disks, or (2) remote, in which case it'll be exposed over DAAP, not just a bunch of files on a shared folder.

If you want to keep the music on the server, the solution is something like Firefly. Then the collection will appear in the left-side pane of iTunes as a shared library on a remote machine.

Alternately you can just copy the music. 80GB isn't much these days. This is the solution I went with; I just have multiple copies of my music in different places (desktop, laptop, iPod, work computer, etc.). As a bonus, if one of them craps out tomorrow, I won't lose my music.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:17 PM on December 7, 2010

What's going to happen if you try to use network sharing to access your music in iTunes is that iTunes is going to read every single music file all the way through to figure out its peak volume (for the Sound Check feature). Turn that off and you will have somewhat more joy.
posted by kindall at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2010

Do you need iTunes for some reason? I use VLC for pretty much everything.
posted by yeolcoatl at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2010

Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback so far.

She has an iPhone that she syncs using iTunes. (I also do, using my windows machine, but that's working ok.) We might just transfer the music that she wants to the computer.

Does anyone know what the format for the location tag would be for accessing music on a network share in the iTunes library.xml? I haven't been able to find that out.

We could also sync her phone w/ my computer as a last resort.

Please keep the ideas coming! :)
posted by reddot at 4:58 PM on December 7, 2010

Does anyone know what the format for the location tag would be for accessing music on a network share in the iTunes library.xml? I haven't been able to find that out.

I'm working entirely off of memory here, but a year ago I had iTunes on a Windows laptop, and the entire media library was pointed to a shared network location (not a mapped drive) that lived on a WinXP box. I believe the path was the usual:


So for example:

\\mediaserver\my_documents\my_music\Hanson - MMMBop.mp3

*cough* Not that that particular song was in my library, but you get the idea. YMMV since you're pointing a Mac at the shared network location and my client machine was on Windows.
posted by Tehhund at 5:20 PM on December 7, 2010

This is an example from my Mac desktop's itunes music library.xml database...
Where Music is the name of my share. You'd probably want to add one file from the share into iTunes, look at the XML file, and then use find/replace on the existing IML.xml file to format it just like the mac iTunes would like it.
posted by SirOmega at 7:36 PM on December 7, 2010

After trying out a bunch of options, we opted to just copy the music to the computer. Thank you for your help everybody.
posted by reddot at 6:32 AM on December 8, 2010

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