[iTunesFilter] Want to fill 160 Gb iPod, but only has tiny teensy hard-drive
July 1, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

How to handle a 160 Gb iPod when the computer only has 30 free Gb?

My girlfriend asked for a 160 Gb iPod for her birthday, and I offered her. She wanted a bug iPod because she wanted to have all of her music in there - her older 4 Gb iPod Nano wasn't enough, she constantly had to renew its content.

Thing is, she handles iTunes and therefore her music from her old laptop, where she just doesn't have the disk space to fill up her new iPod. The issue here would be that iTunes requires that you have all your music in it, before you can put in the iPod - and that you then keep the music in iTunes. Given her drive space, she just can't do this.

She does have an external drive, and I advised her to put all of her music in there, and let iTunes handle her music from there, but she doesn't really want to carry around her ex-drive when on vacation, for instance.

Does anyone around you had to deal with this kind of situation? Any advice could be pretty useful...

Thanks a lot.
posted by XiBe to Technology (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think an external drive is still the way to go. She won't need to carry it on vacation; that's what the iPod is for. The entire point of its existence is to provide access to a large music collection without having to lug stuff around.
posted by boomchicka at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2008

The point of having the 160GB iPod is so you don't have to have the external drive with you. I'd say get an external drive to put on the laptop. Keep the music on the iPod and the external drive to make the computer happy, and then when traveling just take the iPod, leave the external drive at home.

Even better, get an Apple or Linksys router with a USB port and put the hard drive on IT at home so all home computers can access the music library, and you'll still have the music on the iPod when you travel.

(Because if I'm reading this post right, 160GB iPod is enough so she can store all the music on it, therefore the need to refresh while traveling is not really there...right?)
posted by arniec at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2008

You don't need to keep your music on the computer. If you set the ipod to manually manage your music, you can import the music into iTunes, copy the files from iTunes into the ipod, and then erase them from the computer. As long as you are manually managing the files on the iPod, it doesn't matter what you do with the files on the computer.
posted by markblasco at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think your two choices are external drive or new computer. Some of the external drives are getting really small nowadays.
posted by jockc at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2008

markblasco has it.

Set the iPod to manually manage your music. Yes, you don't get the autosync, but you do get the ability to keep music only on your iPod and not on your computer. The iPod then becomes the external HD, and if you want a backup, use the actual external.

I have my 3rd gen 40gig iPod set up this way, and it works just fine. You just have to remember to transfer any new songs you put in iTunes to your iPod.
posted by SNWidget at 8:10 AM on July 1, 2008

Honestly, it sounds like you're overcomplicating this. You can get an external drive (or a bigger internal one) or not. You can use autosync or not. A matrix of four choices, each with pros and cons.

External drive and autosync is the most expensive.
External drive and no autosync is the least convenient.
No external drive and autosync will limit you to only using 30gb or so of the iPod's capacity.
No external drive and no autosync is the least convenient.

If you want the autosync, you need an external drive. If you don't have an external drive, you either won't be able to fill up all 160gb, or you won't be able to use the autosync.
posted by box at 8:14 AM on July 1, 2008

Oops--make that 'no external drive and no autosync will force you to delete stuff from the hard drive.'
posted by box at 8:15 AM on July 1, 2008

markblasco is correct.

You DON'T need to have an external drive or whatever to use the music on the iPod. You only need to have your music "online" if you want to sync your music automatically, which to me doesn't make sense with the larger iPods. Set the iPod to manually manage, and all you have to do is drag and drop your music to the iPod one time, and that's it.

I have a 160GB iPod Classic, and have completely filled it up. All I had to do was connect the iPod in iTunes, then drag my entire mp3 folder on my network drive directly onto the iPod icon in iTunes. Once everything copies over, you never have to have the originals accessible again.
posted by melorama at 8:16 AM on July 1, 2008

Follow-up question:

is she expecting to amass a large collection of music suddenly? Or is her current music collection already 160GB (hence why her hard drive on her laptop has so little free space)?

Because if the music is already on the laptop and she's not acquiring 160GB of NEW music with the new iPod then, well, it doesn't matter how much FREE space she has. Only how much space she has devoted to music en toto.
posted by arniec at 8:21 AM on July 1, 2008

You don't need to manually manage your music either. I set my iPod to take its music from a variety of Smart Playlists.
posted by mkb at 8:33 AM on July 1, 2008

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what the "markblasco faction" (as it were) is advocating, but it's a really really bad idea, IMO, to put a file on your iPod (or any portable player) and then delete it from your computer. You absolutely want a backup for when the iPod dies/breaks/gets lost.
posted by mkultra at 8:34 AM on July 1, 2008

Yeah, but if you've still got the CD/record sitting on a shelf, well, that's also a backup. (And can't you re-download already-purchased iTunes music?)
posted by box at 8:38 AM on July 1, 2008

Granted, I wouldn't be eager to rip 160gb worth of CDs again, let alone re-download that much from Apple.
posted by box at 8:39 AM on July 1, 2008

I'm with mkultra. You always want more than one copy of your MP3s. While I think letting the iPod manage the music itself is a good idea (this is how all my media players work, which are not iPods), not keeping copies of your MP3s on a separate HD is bad.
posted by jockc at 8:39 AM on July 1, 2008

box: And can't you re-download already-purchased iTunes music?

No. Can't speak to any of the other services, though.
posted by mkultra at 8:41 AM on July 1, 2008

Ditch iTunes. Well, first, open your iTunes and tell it to 1) mange music manually and 2) NOT to open automatically when an iPod is connected. Then just forget about iTunes.

Download Floola (comes in PC/Mac/Linux versions. I use and love all three).

Drag Floola to your iPod. It lives on the iPod. This is key (and handy, that makes it portable).

Open up your iPod, launch Floola. Now you can manage your iPod without iTunes, add/delete music from any computer. Same with photos and movies. It will even manage podcasts.

iTunes is great as a music manager and an music store, but the way it locks into the iPod and causes problems like the one you're encountering is just plain silly.
posted by quarterframer at 9:00 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to throw this out there: upgrade the laptop hard drive. It's just not that expensive to do and you can copy the existing hard drive on to the new one (no data loss, nothing changes at all except your free space.)

Or, if your Windows install is running slowly, take the opportunity to do a clean reinstall.

Newegg 160 gig PATA hard drive for $70
posted by mysterious1der at 9:34 AM on July 1, 2008

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what the "markblasco faction" (as it were) is advocating, but it's a really really bad idea, IMO, to put a file on your iPod (or any portable player) and then delete it from your computer. You absolutely want a backup for when the iPod dies/breaks/gets lost.

Nobody is saying that.

The "markblasco faction" is saying that everyone else who is telling the OP that they need to buy a whole new harddrive (or even more ridiculously, a new computer) just to use the 160GB iPod on a computer with a 30GB drive is flat out wrong, and apparently doesn't understand the music management functions in iTunes.

The statement that "you can delete the files from your computer after copying it" just indicates that once you copy an mp3/m4p/m4a to your iPod, it's no longer dependent on having the same file on your computer.
posted by melorama at 10:33 AM on July 1, 2008

No, but then it's completely at the mercy of a consumer device with a low life expectancy. I've got over a thousand bucks in purchased music on my iPhone.- not having a copy of that stuff somewhere more secure than my pocket is totally crazy to me.

Of course, I guess it depends on where the music is coming from- if she's burning her existing CD collection, then yeah, toss it.
posted by mkultra at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2008

I have an 80 gig iPod and only about 20 gig free on my computer and mainly just do what markblasco is suggesting. Set it to manual management. Put 20 gigs of music onto the computer, transfer to the iPod, delete music from the computer. Put on another 20 gigs, transfer, delete, etc until everything is on there. Any mp3s etc that I've downloaded or only own in digital format got burnt onto CDs as backup so now I have two sets, one on my iPod and one on CDs (either original or burnt by me). I use my iPod on several computers with a few different versions of iTunes and have never had any problems, the manual management means nothing is ever overwritten or moved around without my say so. And it all seems smart enough to only update podcasts from the one computer that downloads them (I do a lot of this). The main issue is the podcasts have filled up my hard drive once so I can only keep five or ten episodes now rather than let them accumulate indefinitely.

If in this case the OP's girlfriend also puts a copy of everything onto the external hard drive as backup then I don't see any problem with the whole idea, she'll have a decent backup that can be quickly re-transferred if the iPod has issues and the convenience of a portable music collection the rest of the time. She doesn't need to be continually taking the backup around with her, that's what the iPod is for. They aren't that fragile.
posted by shelleycat at 3:53 PM on July 1, 2008

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