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Old Feb 17, 2013, 08:56 PM   #1
BigMacAttack1
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Help with iTunes, External Hard Drive, and NAS Device

I'm having some challenges setting up my new Macbook Pro (first time Mac owner) with iTunes, my external hard drive, and my NAS device. Any help is much appreciated.

Background: On my PC laptop, I had my iTunes folder (no music, just the .itl file, etc.) stored internally and had the iTunes media folder location directed to my external hard drive. As long as I had the external hard drive plugged in before opening iTunes, it would find the music just fine and keep the external as the "go to" place for the media folder location. No problems.

Then I got a D-Link NAS and I was able to set that up with no problems (surprisingly) and I would keep that as my iTunes media folder location and still keep my iTunes folder with no music, just the .itl file, etc. stored internally on the hard drive. If I ever had to travel/leave the house with my laptop, I would just bring the external hard drive with me and reset it as the destination for the iTunes media folder location. No problems.

Then iTunes 11 came along. In hindsight I'm not sure if it's iTunes 11 or my crappy D-Link NAS, but it took about an hour for me to reset the iTunes media folder location and even longer for me to "keep iTunes media folder organized" (upwards of 2 hours).

I've now bought a new Macbook Pro and my Synology NAS will be here Tuesday. In the meantime, I copied my iTunes folder (with the .itl and other such files--no music) from the PC to the new Mac in order to keep all of my album art work and playlists. They all show up fine in the iTunes program when I open it.

I'm wondering if it's normal with iTunes 11 to have such slow times to set the destination folder for my music and to "keep iTunes media folder organized"? Was the D-Link NAS the cause of being so slow? I am trying to do this with my external hard drive and it's taken literally half of the day to "organize" all of the files, even though they were already organized just fine on the PC. The first time that I tried this, after about 6 hours of organizing, a window suddenly popped up and said that it could not locate the NAS device. I'm not using a NAS yet--just the external hard drive. Needless to say, this was super frustrating as I have to restart w/the location and the "keep folder organized." Surprisingly the location only took about 20 seconds to set the 2nd time (took about 2 hours this morning). Now I'm waiting hours again as it processes "keeps folders organized." I'm wondering if there's something in the iTunes folder on my internal hard drive that still wants to locate the NAS device even though I have none hooked up.

So, with all of this time on my hands to think about this as I'm waiting for the files to organize, I'm wondering a couple of things--I hope someone knows this or has tried this!: What I'd like to do is, after this is done, set up Time Machine (which I am NOT familiar with) to remember my setting with iTunes and the external hard drive (assuming it will complete the "keep files organized" this time). THEN when I get the NAS, I will set up another Time Machine stamp to remember the configuration with iTunes, the destination file as the NAS/music folder, and "keep files organized." I'm wondering if, when I travel, I can go back to my time when the external hard drive was hooked up to iTunes and I won't have to go through all of the "reorganizing" again. And then when I return, I can revert Time Machine back to my latest time using the NAS w/iTunes. Also, what will happen if I add new files to either? I just need to create a new Time Machine stamp? Anyone ever tried this?

Also, if anyone has input on why it's taking so many hours to find the destination music folder and "keep music organized", that would be very helpful!

Sorry for the long write-up--I wanted to be as detailed as possible so as to figure out a good solution to this problem! Thanks for all of your help and time!
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Last edited by BigMacAttack1; Feb 17, 2013 at 09:05 PM.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 09:09 PM   #2
GimmeSlack12
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That's a lot of things going on!

I have a Synology NAS (DS212j) and have my libraries kept on it, the difference with you and me is I have an iMac that never goes anywhere.

I have to say that the organizing wait time is pretty annoying but are you doing this all via WiFi? Because that can really be a pain especially when dealing with tons of different small files (music, pictures, etc.). I'd say that you have to either keep a small iTunes library on your laptop or go without your library when you travel.

Basically, don't do all these big location changes of the iTunes files. Or keep the .itl file on the NAS only (when you use the NAS library). I believe when you do that you are causing iTunes to check everything in the .itl file and the NAS whenever you change the location. This takes a long time especially if you have a large library.

Be patient with the Synology, it's a little complicated to get setup but once it's up and running it's quite a marvel of a device.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 09:34 PM   #3
BigMacAttack1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GimmeSlack12 View Post
That's a lot of things going on!

I have a Synology NAS (DS212j) and have my libraries kept on it, the difference with you and me is I have an iMac that never goes anywhere.

I have to say that the organizing wait time is pretty annoying but are you doing this all via WiFi? Because that can really be a pain especially when dealing with tons of different small files (music, pictures, etc.). I'd say that you have to either keep a small iTunes library on your laptop or go without your library when you travel.

Basically, don't do all these big location changes of the iTunes files. Or keep the .itl file on the NAS only (when you use the NAS library). I believe when you do that you are causing iTunes to check everything in the .itl file and the NAS whenever you change the location. This takes a long time especially if you have a large library.

Be patient with the Synology, it's a little complicated to get setup but once it's up and running it's quite a marvel of a device.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I do have a lot of music (~200GB or over 28,000 songs). I don't really like the idea of having to make the compromise of traveling without it all at my fingertips. I also ordered the DS212j and I plan on using my external to plug into the DS212j to transfer files. And I will have the DS212j plugged into my router so hopefully it'll go faster. Since you have the same NAS as me, another thing I'm wondering is can I just leave the external plugged into the NAS and somehow configure it to automatically update when I update the NAS?

If I keep a small library on my internal for when I travel, won't I come across the same problem of having to pick the new destination folder and "keep files organized" whenever I switch from the NAS to the internally-stored music?
Granted, it will be easier/faster when I switch to the internal, but still a pain when I switch back to the NAS when I return home.

I thought about just keeping the iTunes library with the .itl on the NAS instead of the internal storage. What are the ramifications of that? And what would it be like if I switch the destination folder to the external then? Would I need to copy the .itl iTunes folder as well?

Thank you!
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 09:44 PM   #4
GimmeSlack12
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Most of what you're asking is beyond what I've ever attempted, I can only expect this is going to be a trial and error thing. Though, the idea of plugging a USB drive into the NAS and have it get updated is not a bad approach. I think that may have some promise.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 10:43 PM   #5
phrehdd
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There are a few ways to handle your issues but I think the following might be worth considering with your new set up.

1) Allow "Library" to exist on your computer and simply "add to library" the files on your NAS. Just make sure to set it up so it does not move the files to your computer. If you have everything on your NAS including the iTunes database files you will have issues. When iTunes is turned on, and if you are not connected to the NAS location of your media files, it will create a new local database that is empty. (akin to when you delete the iTunes database files)

2) Consider a second Library that plays locally on your machine. You can switch between libraries.

3) It is a matter of tastes how to keep libraries up to date. If you organize your local library and when adding to either library new files, you emulate the "organization" of the local Library onto your NAS, it shouldn't be too difficult. Simply copy it from the local computer Library up to your NAS and put in the correct location then do the "add to library" for the new file(s) along with directories as needed. It is a pretty simple task.

I have my entire library on my NAS and use the NAS apps provided to help make sure my computer always sees the NAS. There are other steps you can take to recognize the location of your files when your laptop is connected. Synology (not what I have but somewhat familiar) is a very decent NAS for home users. They have some good apps and a decent forum community to help each other. If I was not so deep into QNAP, I may have switched to Synology though QNAP has so far (few years) been very good to me in terms of use and no failures.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 12:23 AM   #6
BigMacAttack1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrehdd View Post
There are a few ways to handle your issues but I think the following might be worth considering with your new set up.

1) Allow "Library" to exist on your computer and simply "add to library" the files on your NAS. Just make sure to set it up so it does not move the files to your computer. If you have everything on your NAS including the iTunes database files you will have issues. When iTunes is turned on, and if you are not connected to the NAS location of your media files, it will create a new local database that is empty. (akin to when you delete the iTunes database files)

2) Consider a second Library that plays locally on your machine. You can switch between libraries.

3) It is a matter of tastes how to keep libraries up to date. If you organize your local library and when adding to either library new files, you emulate the "organization" of the local Library onto your NAS, it shouldn't be too difficult. Simply copy it from the local computer Library up to your NAS and put in the correct location then do the "add to library" for the new file(s) along with directories as needed. It is a pretty simple task.

I have my entire library on my NAS and use the NAS apps provided to help make sure my computer always sees the NAS. There are other steps you can take to recognize the location of your files when your laptop is connected. Synology (not what I have but somewhat familiar) is a very decent NAS for home users. They have some good apps and a decent forum community to help each other. If I was not so deep into QNAP, I may have switched to Synology though QNAP has so far (few years) been very good to me in terms of use and no failures.
Thanks for the reply/ideas phrehdd! Of course, I have a few follow-up questions, if you don't mind:

I'm still in the process of "keep files organized" on my external HD. After it's complete (hopefully--looks like it'll go through the night), it seems like the set-up would be complete for the external. As far as the NAS, I like the idea of two separate, but mirrored libraries. I'm wondering, w/your NAS, do you have an external hooked up directly to it to back-up the NAS and keep your external up-to-date? If not, I could periodically update the external w/data I've put on the NAS just by searching the files by "date added" and transfer all from the NAS to the external that were "added" since I last updated, yes? Know of an easier way to do it?

As far as 2 libraries, go, can I name 1 "NAS iTunes" and the other "EHD iTunes" and they would both have the same database files internally? Would one of the database files need to be stored in the NAS or EHD? Any way to sync the music in the 2 libraries or would it be the same case of me having to periodically drop the new music that I had on my NAS into my EHD and then into the "EHD" iTunes library? Sorry, need some more clarity on this--new to me!

Thank you!
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 03:46 AM   #7
phrehdd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMacAttack1 View Post
Thanks for the reply/ideas phrehdd! Of course, I have a few follow-up questions, if you don't mind:

I'm still in the process of "keep files organized" on my external HD. After it's complete (hopefully--looks like it'll go through the night), it seems like the set-up would be complete for the external. As far as the NAS, I like the idea of two separate, but mirrored libraries. I'm wondering, w/your NAS, do you have an external hooked up directly to it to back-up the NAS and keep your external up-to-date? If not, I could periodically update the external w/data I've put on the NAS just by searching the files by "date added" and transfer all from the NAS to the external that were "added" since I last updated, yes? Know of an easier way to do it?

As far as 2 libraries, go, can I name 1 "NAS iTunes" and the other "EHD iTunes" and they would both have the same database files internally? Would one of the database files need to be stored in the NAS or EHD? Any way to sync the music in the 2 libraries or would it be the same case of me having to periodically drop the new music that I had on my NAS into my EHD and then into the "EHD" iTunes library? Sorry, need some more clarity on this--new to me!

Thank you!
A NAS can be backed up to an external drive via USB (usually). It depends on the NAS and either software or command line for the NAS. As you stated, you only want to update newer files that were not backed up before.
What NAS do you plan to use?

In my case, I have RAID 5 and my back ups of the NAS are more spread out than perhaps they should be. However, I don't use the iTunes organize feature per se but rather have have my own structure that is akin to something like this -

Multimedia/
iTunes Music purchase
iTunes Audio Book purchase
iTunes " " purchase
iTunes Lossless <- these are CDs
iTunes MP3
iTunes FLAC converted (I pay for hi def downloads but some I would like to play on my iPhone)

and so forth.


The organization above makes it rather easy to keep track of things for back ups.

If you have other questions PM me and I'll share what worked for me and what didn't work.
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