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Hard Drive Full – Again -iTunes moving!

Western Digital WD7500AAKS (4)

I’ve just gone to install yet another app on my iPod Touch and noticed my hard drive fill up again in seconds as hundreds of Podcasts came down that I haven’t had a chance to listen too yet. So, something has to be done:

download White Noise 2: The Light

  1. I have to listen to more Podcasts!
  2. I have to move my iTunes library to an external drive.

#1 I just need to do, #2 makes me a little nervous – but let’s give it a go!

  1. First things first give your iTunes a spring clean, get rid of anything you don’t really need.
  2. Give iTunes the new location where your media is going to live
    Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man film
    (Under Windows: Edit –> Preferences –> Advanced)
  3. Make sure that “Copy files to iTunes Music folder” is selected.
  4. Click OK, iTunes may offer to move your files for you (mine didn’t).
  5. Tell iTunes to consolidate your libary (File->Library->Consolidate Library).
  6. Go out for the day…

At this point iTunes has migrated it’s library to your external hard drive (it hasn’t deleted it, just copied it) you can check that everything has copied across by selecting a song and doing a File->Get Info to see where it’s being served from).

Now apparently…

A long as your external hard drive is connected and powered on files will be served from it. If it isn’t connected iTunes will default to the original location until it’s connected again (this could be useful for subset data loss and the like – I guess?!).

You can of course choose to keep your old library around as a backup – I’m not going to as I was doing this to free up space on my laptop! So I’ve deleted the iTunes Music folder (NOT any of the other folders around it like the itl file etc!).

Useful Tip!

If you start iTunes in future and your external hard drive isn’t switched on then you won’t be able to play an of the music from that drive (obviously), but you can download new stuff and simply “Consolidate Library” again when you reconnect your external Hard Drive! Now that I like!!! I’m not sure if I then synced my iPod with it that it wouldn’t wipe everything except the new stuff – has anyone tried this?

Going off at a Tangent

So far what we’ve done is to just move the Music library (and is the official Apple way of doing this). But what about the other stuff (databases, playlist, alburm art, ratings), surely it would be good to have all that in a secure offsite location to?

  1. Copy Album Artwork, iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml files to the folder above your iTunes library you just created.
  2. Point iTunes to this new library by holding down shift as you start it and selecting your iTunes Library.itl

Now you should be able to point any iTunes on your network at this library – outstanding!

Creative Commons License photo credit: William Hook

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 6:49 pm and is filed under Software. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Comments (5)


  1. TheChrisD says:

    How can you fill up a 750GB hard drive with stuff…?

    I was originally going to suggest to get a new bigger one, but that might prove tough 😐

  2. Keiron says:

    LOL it’s not the external hard drive that’s full, it’s the one on my 4-5 year old laptop. Full of stuff, getting a 10GB iTunes library off the laptop will help!!

  3. subcorpus says:

    nowthat you mention it … i wanna move my iTunes library as well …
    my aging MBP needs some space … hehe …
    .-= subcorpus´s last blog ..Get Caught … Get Flipped … Or Get Deeper … =-.

  4. Brent says:

    My 120GB hard drive is almost completely full of junk from iTunes, haha. I did the external hard drive trick some years back, as well. It was good…until the external died. D’oh!
    .-= Brent´s last blog ..Notebook Hard Drive =-.

  5. Keiron says:

    Hi Brent,

    That’s one of the main reasons I bought a MyXerver that I could plug a USB hard drive into that would automatically backup to.

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