External hard drives

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ynots, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. ynots macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Hi all,

    Ive only had my macbook a day, liking some of it, getting very annoyed with other parts due to my lack of patience.

    Anyway my latest problem in which i hope someone can help.

    My old (itunes/music) setup was a windows based laptop running itunes, but all the music was stored on a external hard drive. If i tried playing any music without the external hard drive connected id get the "itunes cant find the source of" error message. But the songs would still be listed on itunes at all times.
    Now i want the same setup on the macbook. Ive played a few songs off the external hard drive and the appear in itunes as they should, but they are getting saved to the mac hard drive. I can still play them when the hard drive isnt connected.

    Also can i tried copying a file from the macbook to the external hard drive, it seemed to go over fine so i deleted it from the mac folder and both (mac file and one sent to external hard drive) went in the trash.

    Hope that all makes sense.
    All help would be much appreciated
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > uncheck "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library"
  3. ynots thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Fantastic, ill give that a go, quite confident its what i was after tho.


    One down one to go.

    For now!
  4. spellflower macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    I also use my external HD to hold all my music. This used to work fine, but now itunes can't find any music I haven't specifically located for it in the past. I've set my itunes music folder to the folder on the external, but it doesn't seem to know to look there for my music. Individually locating songs is getting really old. What can I do?

    I thought unchecking "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" would keep new files I add from getting put in the right place. No?
  5. Funk-Dobie macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2003
    da south
    When you select the checkbox for "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" it is going to import any new songs to the path specified under iTunes > Preferences > Advanced...look at "iTunes Music Folder Location" and you will see where iTunes is going to copy your music. In your instance you have it unchecked which means iTunes will simply import your song and reference the original where ever that may be. That means if you move a folder that song is in or rename the folder then iTunes will not be able to locate your file hence you get to go search for it.

    As a general rule of thumb you want to select the checkbox for "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" that way you know where all of your music is located. For organizational purposes it is better.

    There is an article on apple's website that details how to move your iTunes music folder to an external drive. iTunes for Mac: Moving your iTunes Music Folder
  6. ynots thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    If the external hard drive has been used on a windows based laptop will it have to be formatted again to be used fully on a mac?
  7. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    Yep as it would be formatted either NTFS or FAT32,you could leave it formated FAT32 as OS X can both r/w to it but your limited to 4GB file transfers. You could also leave it NTFS but you would need 3rd party stuff like MacFuse & NTFS-3G to be able to r/w to it from OS X, you could format it HFS+ but would need Macdrive 7 if you wanted windows to have access to it
  8. spellflower macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    Actually, I DO have it checked, but I think you confirmed what I thought- unchecking the box will prevent new files from being put with the rest of the itunes files. I just don't understand why ggjstudios said unchecking it would fix the problem, since it seems to me that would make the problem worse. Wait, I think I figured it out. Ynots had his music on an external, but his itunes music folder was still set to the default one on his macbook, so with the box checked, it was copying music from his external to the macbook. Unchecking the box will keep it from copying everything he plays off of his external onto the macbook.

    In my case, however, my itunes folder is on the external, so having the box checked does make sense, since I want all new mp3s and CDs added to my itunes folder.

    So that answers the question of whether to keep the box checked. Unfortunately, I followed all the instructions on the link for transferring music to an external (thanks, Funk-Dobie) but itunes still can't find most of my music. It says that the file on my external is the itunes music folder location, but it still can't find tracks when I tell it to play them. This never used to be a problem, and I can't figure out what's wrong. Help!
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
  10. ynots thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008

    I can read the stuff thats on there, would this mean its FAT32? So i can leave it like that as long as i do nothing bigger than 4GB?
  11. spellflower macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    Thanks, Demosthenes, that looks like it might help. Only problem is those instructions are for the PC version of itunes, possibly from a few versions ago, so they don't exactly match up with the latest mac version I'm using. Can someone help me translate? I'm fine up until step 4, but I there's no "clear" option that I can find, so I don't know how to proceed.

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