Bringing iTunes files from my Mac HD onto an external HD
June 12, 2006 1:02 PM   Subscribe

iTunesfilter: I have the vast majority of my songs on an external hard drive, but somehow maybe 20 GB of songs have wound up on my Mac HD. I'm hoping to move all the tracks from my Mac HD to the external without having to re-import all my songs or have any broken links to tracks. Hope me, AskMeFi!

I know there are a ton of iTunes questions out there, some of which seem close to on point, and I did search them all. However, I didn't want to risk messing things up and getting forced to reorder 150+GB of music and pare through duplicates and stuff again, as it was a huge pain the first time. Thanks in advance...and sorry if this is a duplicate.
posted by evadery to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Set your iTunes folder in Preferences > Advances to a path on the external drive and choose "Consolidate Library" from the Advanced menu. Be warned this will also rearrange the files that are already on the drive.
posted by cillit bang at 1:05 PM on June 12, 2006

(By "rearrange" I mean move them into the folder you chose. It shouldn't affect how your library appears in iTunes)
posted by cillit bang at 1:06 PM on June 12, 2006

piggyback question: If there is an mp3 on his local drive and a duplicate mp3 on his external drive, and he performs the Consolicate Library action, what happens to the two files? Does one overwrite the other? Does iTunes rename one?
posted by jazon at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2006

Consolidate Library makes a new folder and copies all the songs in the library to it. If there are copies of that song elsewhere on the target drive, they are duplicated.

I find iTunes to be terrible at keeping track of songs that are on separate volumes from the boot volume. I have to periodically re-import my songs, for reasons that have never been clear.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2006

I do this by moving the directory to the external hard drive, and making a symbolic link (in the unix sense, in terminal: something like "cd ~/Music/whatever; mv Album /Volumes/EXTERNAL/Music; ln -s /Volumes/EXTERNAL/Music/Album .") from the original location to the new one. This solution is most useful if you don't keep your library consolidated. When the hard drive is not plugged in, and you try to play a song, it will get an ! mark (sometimes they get them randomly), and the ! will go away if you reattach the drive and try playing. Just never say yes when it asks you if you want to find the song. Playlists will silently skip the missing songs, but you don't seem to be able to add them to a playlist while they are missing.

I wish there was a better way to handle external drives in itunes.
posted by advil at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2006

cillit bang, will such a reorg on the external drive affect the files on the internal drive?
posted by fenriq at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2006

Consolidate Library puts all of your songs in the currently set iTunes Music Folder. It doesn't affect songs on the internal drive, but I don't think it deletes them either. The originals will also no longer be "in" your iTunes library, since it will use the copy it made instead.
posted by cillit bang at 3:47 PM on June 12, 2006

Phew. It worked. Thanks!
posted by evadery at 7:05 PM on June 12, 2006

I have my iTunes Music Folder to be set to /Volumes/External Disk/Music and iTunes has no difficulty coping with that. I don't know why others are having a problem.
posted by salmacis at 3:28 AM on June 13, 2006

« Older Different cell phone standards around the world   |   Pet Friendly Pet Food Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.