Issue moving iTunes external library over to new iMac

annk

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Apr 18, 2004
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Somewhere over the rainbow
I've had my iTunes library on an external for years, and it's worked fine. I've had no media at all on the computer itself.

I just got a new iMac, and followed Apple's directions for choosing the location of my iTunes library. But iTunes doesn't recognize the media library, and my situation doesn't seem to fit any of the instructions I find online. Can someone tell me what to do? I suspect it's very easy.

Here's the situation:

  1. No media on the old iMac, only on the external HD.
  2. No media on the new iMac.
  3. I want to indicate to the new iMac that the iTunes library lives on the external HD.
This is what I've done thus far:

  1. Gone to iTunes - Preferences - Advanced - iTunes Media folder location - indicated external HD folder that holds the library (here, I've also checked off "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library")
  2. Put the iTunes folder that exists by default on the iMac, in the trash (but didn't empty trash); after that didn't work, I moved this folder to the external HD, where it now lives alongside my real iTunes library.

I'm running the newest version of everything.

Help to point out what I'm missing is greatly appreciated! :)
 

Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
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Try holding down the Option key while you start up iTunes. That'll bring up a dialog that'll let you select your library on the external drive, or create a new library.
I'd make a copy of the ext drive lib file before doing anything though. That way when the new version of iTunes you probably have screws up while trying to update the library to match current specs, you'll have something to give the process a second shot.
 

annk

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Apr 18, 2004
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Somewhere over the rainbow
Try holding down the Option key while you start up iTunes. That'll bring up a dialog that'll let you select your library on the external drive, or create a new library.
I'd make a copy of the ext drive lib file before doing anything though. That way when the new version of iTunes you probably have screws up while trying to update the library to match current specs, you'll have something to give the process a second shot.
Thanks, I'll try that tomorrow evening and post back to report what happened (am in another city that my iMac now).
 

annk

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Apr 18, 2004
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Try holding down the Option key while you start up iTunes. That'll bring up a dialog that'll let you select your library on the external drive, or create a new library.
I'd make a copy of the ext drive lib file before doing anything though. That way when the new version of iTunes you probably have screws up while trying to update the library to match current specs, you'll have something to give the process a second shot.
Ok, holding down the Option key did let me choose my library, at least it appeared so.

I chose the "iTunes Library" folder on my external, which was working fine as my library in Lion. Now, in Mountain Lion, I get the following message when I try to choose it:

An iTunes library file could not be found in the folder "iTunes library". Please choose a different folder.
What am I leaving out?
 
I had a similar battle and went through several rounds of thinking I might have solved it only to find that iTunes couldn't see some media later on. Eventually, I arrived at a painful solution of using the old Mac to consolidate the external library into the music folder (where Apple seems to want it to live). Move that (newly consolidated music folder) to the new Mac. Choose that library on the new Mac and make sure it's all working fine (spot check media files). Then, move that library (on the new Mac) back to the external where you want it stored for the long run. Make sure both versions of iTunes are up to date before doing any of this.

I followed online suggestion after online suggestion the other way and could never get it to "just work" in a complete way until I did the above. Since doing the above, it has worked just fine.

If you don't have enough room on the original or new Mac to hold your entire library, this would get more complicated. Where you might go with that problem would be clone (super duper, carbon copy cloner) the internal drive of the old or new Mac (with too little space for all of your iTunes media) onto an external drive with enough space, boot with the external drive, do the above (to consolidate your library into the Music folder on the new, external boot drive), then import it to the new Mac, make sure it's all working fine, then move the library back to the external where you want it stored for the long run.

Big hassle? Yes. But it works.
 

annk

Administrator
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 18, 2004
13,609
4,468
Somewhere over the rainbow
I had a similar battle and went through several rounds of thinking I might have solved it only to find that iTunes couldn't see some media later on. Eventually, I arrived at a painful solution of using the old Mac to consolidate the external library into the music folder (where Apple seems to want it to live). Move that (newly consolidated music folder) to the new Mac. Choose that library on the new Mac and make sure it's all working fine (spot check media files). Then, move that library (on the new Mac) back to the external where you want it stored for the long run. Make sure both versions of iTunes are up to date before doing any of this.

I followed online suggestion after online suggestion the other way and could never get it to "just work" in a complete way until I did the above. Since doing the above, it has worked just fine.

If you don't have enough room on the original or new Mac to hold your entire library, this would get more complicated. Where you might go with that problem would be clone (super duper, carbon copy cloner) the internal drive of the old or new Mac (with too little space for all of your iTunes media) onto an external drive with enough space, boot with the external drive, do the above (to consolidate your library into the Music folder on the new, external boot drive), then import it to the new Mac, make sure it's all working fine, then move the library back to the external where you want it stored for the long run.

Big hassle? Yes. But it works.
This makes sense, and yes, I do have enough room on the new Mac to least temporarily put all my media files where Apple wants them to live. So I'll try your solution tonight, thanks!
 

Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
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This makes sense, and yes, I do have enough room on the new Mac to least temporarily...
I think HobeSoundDarryl's given you good advice. I've never used an unconsolidated library on an external drive, and can see that that very well may be causing you trouble when you switch Macs. The good news is that once you set up and do the consolidation, you shouldn't ever have to do it again.