How to integrate/sync iTunes libraries on mac and windows partition

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by underwaterboy10, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. underwaterboy10 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #1
    I hav a MBP w/ both Snow Leopard & Windows 7 64-bit via BootCamp. i wanna be able to access (read/write but if not, read only access is acceptable) my iTunes content (music, videos, apps, etc), which is on my Mac partition, from my Windows side without having to create a separate, periodically updated copy of my contents on my Windows partition, which is what some of the solutions I read hav u do. (I don't like having to waste space unnecessarily)

    Basically, I would like to be able to sync my iPhone to my iTunes content on my computer from either OS and have all the content be current and in sync (for my 3 platforms: Mac, Windows, & iPhone) regardless of which side I am accessing it from. I wouldnt wanna hav to log onto my Mac side just so i can sync a song i downloaded on my iPhone to the library on the computer; i would like to be able to do this from my Windows side as well.

    Finally, is there a way to do all this without the use of an external drive?
     
  2. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2010
    #2
    I'm also really interested in this topic... I tried the following set up:
    - Macintosh HD
    - Partition Media
    - BootCamp

    The Media partition is in exFAT, so basically it can be read by both OSes.
    I started on Mac, transferring all my files from my laptop... it works fine.
    I have put my iTunes Media folder on Media, so all the music and apps etc are stored here.
    But now that I installed iTunes on Windows 7 I tried to load the Library from the Mac iTunes, but the file isn't shown...
    So I had to copy the file from my laptop backup...

    So it means I have the same library and Media folder, but a copied Library which will diversify from the original of course... so that means I've to add any file to both Library...

    The weird thing is my Mac could load the Library file from my laptop backup, but Windows can't load the Mac Library...
     
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #3
    I've tried this many times with no success.

    The crux of the issue, as it appears to me, is that Windows and OS X access a different library database - so that any updates made to the library in one OS will not reflect in the other. As far as I'm aware, there's no way to make one library database work on both platforms.

    It is possible, however, to have multiple computers running the same OS access the same library database.
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #4
    The only workaround I've seen is the one that uses symbolic links to link the two databases Since the formats and paths are different it ends up having to translate the library file each time you switch OS.

    Not at the same time though!

    IMHO. It's easier to share this with a NAS.

    B
     
  5. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    @balamw: Would you please explain how exactly the symbolic links method works and how to set it up step by step?

    Also, what's a NAS?
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #6
    Here's one version: http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=17272

    NAS=Network Attached Storage. Bascially a mini-server, I use a larger one, the HP MediaSmart EX490 in my set up. All my music is on it, but I still have separate iTunes libraries on each machine.

    B
     
  7. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2010
    #7
    @balamw: The guide says you've to have MacDrive installed in Windows, what's that exactly?
    and could the same thing work with a Media partition in exFAT to share it with both OSes?
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #8
    MacDrive lets you read/write to HFS+. In that guide they are using MacDrive to use the Mac library instead of putting the library on a FAT32/exFAT drive.

    I'll try to find the other guide I think I posted in one of your threads which is different.

    EDIT: This isn't the one I was thinking of, but is similar. http://www.2s2d.net/2010/01/14/how-...n-os-x-and-windows-using-windows-home-server/ It uses a NAS (Windows Home Server) to actually house the files. It actually avoids the symbolic link by having OS X open the *.itl library so that Windows is satisfied. Each time you switch OS it will rebuild the library so it won't be that great for large libraries.

    B
     
  9. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    #9
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #10
    Yeah, I was thinking of something else. I think it was on ilounge, but can't find it there.

    Basically all of these make use of the fact that iTunes is capable of converting the library between the OSes and somehow makes the Mac use the *.itl version of the library (Windows) by using a junction/Symbolic link or in the case of the one I just posted, forcing OS X to use the Windows library.

    As you found out the backups aren't in the library so you would need to experiment with getting those places linked. e.g. put the actual backups in a third location and create a symlink/junction from each OS to the common location.

    B
     
  11. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2010
    #11
    right, that sounds easy...
    but to be honest it still is not 100% clear to me how create symbolic or junction links...

    is there like a tutorial for dummiers which explain step by step or in video format?
     
  12. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #12
    @balamw: The symbolic links method you pointed out says that when switching OS's it will take some time for iTunes to update the library. Does this mean iTunes is rebuilding the library from scratch each time or just adding/deleting/modifying the appropriate files?

    Also, are playlists, song ratings, song file edits (eg renamed song title, album, artist, etc) synced/carried over on both OS's?
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #13
    I can't answer definitively as I don't use it myself, but in my experience importing libraries from the "other" OS, I think it is primarily uptating all of the paths from C:\path\to\File to ~/path/to/file (or vice versa) and making sure that the file is still there and readable.

    When I have imported this way all playcounts ratings etc.. have been preserved.

    B
     
  14. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #14
    Thanks. I shall try it out.

    *On another note, thanks for all your helpful and especially prompt replies throughout the thread. It is so refreshing to be able to get a quick answer to a question on a forum rather than have to check back everyday for who knows how long only to be disappointed at the absence of any responses. Much appreciated.:D
     
  15. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Oh yeah, I have 1 more important question. On its site, it says that MacDrive allows read/write access to my Mac partition from my Windows side. How about the other way around? Will it give my Mac side both read AND write access to my Windows partition? (I have Windows 7 64-bit and Snow Leopard)
     
  16. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #16
    No you need something else (like NTFS-3G or Paragon NTFS) for that.

    B
     
  17. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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  18. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    #18
    @ underwaterboy10:
    do you perhaps know where to start if you're completely new to creating symbolic links etc?
     
  19. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #19
    I actually ended up doing it without the use of symbolic links so I really can't help you. Sorry. I ended up just pointing both my iTunes to the same location on my Mac partition. (I have MacDrive and NTFS-3G for read/write access both ways).
     
  20. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #20
    I find NTFS-3G to be slow, but usable and reliable.

    MacDrive has corrupted my drives many times. Every single time I was able to run disk utility and repair it without data loss, but I became really scared to use MacDrive.
     
  21. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Hmm I hope that doesn't happen to me. So far so good though.
     
  22. Maxi86 macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2010
    #22
    so basically there are two options:
    1) using symbolic or junction links
    2) using MacDrive and NTFS-3G

    will both methods make it possible to sync your iPhone/iPad with both OSes?
    and if you make a new playlist, will it be saved in both OSes? and things like ratings, play counts? will changes to those also be saved?

    and which of the two methods is better? does anyone have experience with them and recommendations or whatsoever?
     
  23. underwaterboy10, Dec 15, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010

    underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    I recommend NTFS-3G (free) and MacDrive (costs $ though, I forget how much). Not only can you sync and add songs to one library from both sides (I have 1 library on my Mac partition that both iTunes get their content from), but it just makes it more convenient in general to be able to read/write both ways for other files outside of iTunes. Plus it seemed a lot less complicated than setting up symbolic junctions.

    The only thing is that in order to prevent both iTunes from thinking that they're on different computers (which causes iTunes on Windows for example to overwrite all my music on my iPhone and re-transfer ALL the songs from my computer from scratch instead of updating only the songs that have been modified and transferring any new songs. This happens whenever you sync after switching OS's), you have to do something to change some ID number in one of the iTunes files on one partition to match the number in its counterpart on the other partition in order for both iTunes to think that they are on the same computer. This required I think using a Hex Editor type program to modify the file. Sorry, it's been a while since I did this. But you should be able to find plenty of info online. It's basically what I did. That last part was kinda technical but it's really not that difficult if you follow the instructions. And once that's done everything is MUCH more convenient. It's really seamless how it makes it feel like you're using the exact same iTunes regardless of what OS you're in.

    PS: I don't really use playlists or rate my songs so I don't really have much to say about that. Sorry.
     
  24. balamw, Dec 15, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #24
    Now I'm massively confused as I thought you were just using NTFS-3G/Macdrive so that you didn't have two iTunes databases on separate partitions, only one on a single partition.

    If you have two databases I don't understand how they stay in sync. :confused:

    I've had to do this edit myself but for a different reason. Cloned iTunes database thought it was still in charge of the iPhone. Changed it so that the other machine would no longer recognize the phone. Here's a link that describes it. http://www.ismashphone.com/2009/05/how-to-sync-your-iphone-to-multiple-computers.html

    EDIT: Every time I've switched OS with my database it takes a while for it to "convert/import" the database from the other OS. Can you comment on a) how big your iTunes Library is (# of items) and b) if you have a delay opening iTunes each time you switch OS as it switches?

    EDIT 2: http://www.jeremyskinner.co.uk/2009/09/05/sharing-your-itunes-library-between-os-x-and-windows/ sounds very much like the approach underwaterboy10 is advocating, but comes with the caveat. (huge for my huge library).
    B
     
  25. underwaterboy10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #25
    When I open up iTunes in Windows after switching from Mac, there is a slight noticeable delay in the iTunes window popping up but it doesn't really update the library in iTunes. In other words, each time I add songs on my Mac side and open iTunes on my Windows side, I would have to manually Add to Library to update it since iTunes has yet to have a Refresh Library functionality. Maybe it does update it when you open it up if you give it some time but I wouldn't know cuz I don't like to wait for an inordinate amount of time.

    As for my library, I do indeed have only ONE collection of songs located in my Mac partition's iTunes folder. I have my Windows iTunes pointed at the same location on my Mac partition so I don't waste space. The reason I had to match the 2 iTunes' IDs was because before I did, every time I synced with one iTunes and tried to sync with the other after switching OS's, I'd get a message saying that my iPhone was currently associated with a different computer/iTunes and that to sync, I would have to associate it with that new iTunes. When I did, the new iTunes would transfer all my content FROM SCRATCH and overwrite everything on my iPhone even if it was the same content because the new iTunes saw my iPhone's contents as being from another computer. After this, if I switched OS's and tried to sync with the other iTunes, it would ask me the same thing. So without matching the 2 iTunes' IDs, both iTunes would treat the other as if it were another computer and syncing after switching OS's would have been unnecessarily time consuming each time.

    FYI my library is currently 2.25 GB.
     

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