Can you use one library for two computers? (XP and a Mac)

Discussion in 'iPod' started by sman789, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. sman789 Customer Support


    Dec 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    The XP machine has the iTunes library one the C: drive and music stored on an external. I just picked up a Mac and would like to be able to use the same library file to keep ratings and playlist intact. Syncing my iPhone with both machines would be a great thing too. I know it will involve network sharing and writing permissions and whatnot. Every guide i've found on google only has one type of computer or they only explain how to set up library sharing in iTunes.
  2. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2006
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    You cannot access the same iTunes library on 2 different OS. The file structure is different for that to work.
  3. tjwsea macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2008
    Is there a recommended "clean" way to transfer or modify that Windows iTunes library so the playlists, purchased music, & other info remains intact and can be read from an external harddrive by MacBook? (And so leaving the old library behind, or no longer accessible by iTunes for Windows)
  4. Malbone macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    I have a similar setup -- one set of music files on a network HD connected to a Mac; both the Mac and the WinXP machine are on an Ethernet network through a router. The Mac's iTunes uses library database files stored on the network HD; the WinXP machine has these files in the local My Documents / My Music folder, but I set the preferences of iTunes to use the music files on the network HD. The Windows menu item "Tools --> Map Network Drive" is a handy way of giving the network drive a Win XP letter.

    I had a lot of problems trying to point both machines to the same library files. I try to use only the Mac to download and add music to iTunes, but both machines would download podcasts and iPhone apps, resulting in duplicate files. Even apart from that, iTunes for Windows would truncate very long filenames, which also resulted in duplicate files.

    My solution is a bit low-tech but works a lot better. After updating podcasts and apps on the Mac, I manually copy the database files from the Mac to the PC. (These are all the individual files in the "iTunes" folder, such as "iTunes Library.itl", plus the "Album Artwork" folder.) I then start iTunes on the WinXp machine. After updating the library, it shows ALL the files as "orphaned" (there is an icon next to the checkbox column). That's scary -- but I just close iTunes and start it again, and all is well.

    This method also has the advantage of copying all my smart playlists; the library looks and functions exactly the same as it does on the Mac.

    I suppose you could do this on non-networked computers by copying the files to a flash drive and recopying them to the other machine. The external HD could then be switched from one machine to the other. Just make sure it is connected before starting iTunes on that computer.

    I would advise making an archive (ZIP or RAR) copy of these files on both machines before doing the copy the first time, just in case it needs to be undone.

    By the way, I am using iTunes 10.6 on a Mac G4 and iTunes 11.0 on the PC, with no problems.

  5. hagr182 macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    I sync my iphone/ipad/ipod on 3 different machines, one (and my main computer) being a mac, and the other PC (Work and the Family PC).

    But you have to pay for dropbox. Basically you move your entire library folder to the cloud and point the iTunes app on each machine to your dropbox folder and presto.

    All you have to do now is set it up so as one machine still retains the files (so you have a backup not on the net) and the others to only read the contents without downloading the entire thing.

    This allows you to sync, play and enjoy your media everywhere. Plus if you use droptunes you can stream the contents to any iOS device, which is great.

    You just have to remember to set certain machines to read only (I.E. my family PC) so your library remains intact.
  6. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    iTunes Match will sync your playlists & counts.

    Your decision whether it is worth the $25???

    It also 'upgrades' your music to AAC and higher bit rate, where you have older rips etc.

    I signed up for a year for the latter purpose and decided to keep it for the convenience of using on multiple devices.
  7. douglasgb macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2007
    The Mac can read the Windows-formatted drive directly (but maybe not write to it, depending on format). So you may need to copy all its data onto the Mac, reformat the drive and then (optionally) copy it back. Or let it live on the Mac and use the external as a backup.

    See the official article:

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