Moving iTunes to an External HD -- only 9.7 GB of 186.6 GB Music Shows

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jamesmcnee, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. jamesmcnee macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    I'm trying to help my daughter clean up her iTunes. She has an old MacBook with an internal HD too small for all her music. Over time she has stored music many places so the files are sorta messy.

    I have an external HD and copied all her music there. Then, as best as I can figure I also moved the rest of the iTunes folder from her internal to the external. I deleted the folder from the internal except the system required me to leave a folder -- now empty -- called iTunes. It is at Users / her name / Music / iTunes.

    On the external "Get Info" tells me I have 186.62 GB of stuff organized as shown in the attached finder screenshot.

    I launched iTunes and held down the option key. It asks me to "Choose iTune Library" and I click on the iTunes folder on the external. Then when iTunes opens, at the bottom I read there are "1,641 items, 4:09:21:54 total time, 9.70 GB"

    So what have I done? Why is it only reading 9.7 GB instead of the 186.62 GB?

    In finder when I click to expand the iTunes Media / Music folder it says there are 1,774 sub folders -- typically with the name of the artist. And when I click on them I get an album folder (or folders) and then clicking on that the individual songs.

    I see there are two iTunes Library.XML files -- one a subfolder of the big iTunes folder and one burried in the iTunes Media subfolder. Could that be an issue?

    And that "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder also exists in the iTunes Media subfolder and at the same level as the iTunes folder -- nothing shows in either. Even when I delete the new one it reappears every time I launch iTunes.

    What would happen if I deleted everything except the music folder and then launched iTunes?

    Even if we lose playlists and play count (those might already be gone) would it give us a clean start with all the music?

    I know I'm close but damned if I know what I'm missing.

    Any help would be much appreciated.


    I'm running iTunes 10.7 on OS X 10.6.8

    Attached Files:

  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    It might be a good idea to consolidate your music. File menu>Library>Organize. Though, you probably should have done this first, a consolidation will move all music to the currently selected iTunes Music folder.

    Even if, as you said, all the music is in this folder already the iTune Library XML file might not have the right file path for all of the files and therefore not all of the music is showing up. Just my thought.
  3. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007

    At this point who knows what I've done. Getting organized sounds like a capital plan!

    When I go to "Organize" iTunes offers me two options (see attached) -- "Consolidate files" or "Reorganize files in the folder 'itunes music'"

    Which do you suggest?

    Getting there!

    Many thanks GimmeSlack!

    Attached Files:

  4. kippertron macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    Before you start adding any media files to your iTunes library, you need to go to your preferences>advanced>select your external drive for the media location and check the two boxes underneath to keep it organised and copy files to media folder when adding to library.

    If you consolidate your library, it's only going to consolidate what you have in there currently. You said that you deleted the iTunes folder on the MacBook's internal hard drive, but you copied it over to the external first, is that right? If that's all you've deleted, then there's a whole bunch of media elsewhere on the internal drive. In iTunes, you need to go to open, then in the spotlight box, type m4a which will search for AAC audio, select to search just the internal drive, then make the search display in list mode and sort by kind, this way you can select the aac files and add them to your library. Do the same if the library had mp3 and m4v files as they're probably dotted around the drive.

    If this doesn't find them, then they're probably gone. With the way you're organizing, you have to add everything that's not in the library before consolidating. And I know it may be a moot point, but did you have a time machine backup?
  5. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    The one thing I've done right is make multiple backups! :)

    Thanks for your advice ... I'll work through your plan and see where I end up.

    Fingers crossed.

    Thanks Kipperton.
  6. kippertron macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
  7. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    The world got in the way for a day but I'm back on the case!

    1) I went into the iTunes preferences advanced settings and it shows the iTunes media location is the external drive and both the "Keep organized" and "Copy files" boxes are checked.

    2) I did the file / library / organize thing and did both the "Consolidate" and "Reorganize" -- didn't seem to make a big difference.

    3) I searched on the internal for mp3s and m4as and there are some files there -- 1,620 items in total taking up 10.75 GB. These files seem to be in her download folder and another folder where a file sharing program sends downloads. I'm not sure if these files are also on the external HD or not but certainly there is nothing in the internal's Macintosh HD / Users / My Daughter's Name / Music / iTunes folder (the one I once tried to delete and the OS wouldn't let me.

    I haven't done anything with those files.

    So ... back to iTunes and the external.

    I attach a screenshot of the external's finder window.

    The external partition is called "Music" (I realize things get confusing when everything is called the same thing!)

    On that partition there is an iTunes folder that contains a "Music" subfolder that get info tells me contains 33,077 items and is 172.74 GB in size.

    Outside the iTunes folder there is also a Music folder (the one just above the Podcasts folder). It is 10.4 GB and 2,154 items.

    I don't know if the files in this music / music folder are also in the music / iTunes / music folder or not. In the long run it would be nice to have them all together.

    I get the feeling that iTunes is picking up that second music folder and missing the first. When I open the iTunes program it says there are 1,641 items taking up 9.7 GB. When I go to a song and click on "get info" the summary page "Where" shows /volumes / Music / Music / Artist Name / Album Name / Song Name. I didn't check all 1,600 hundred but the few I did all had that location.

    These files showing and playing in the iTunes program are, as I expected, from the music / music folder not the music / iTunes / music folder.

    Clear as mud?

    What do you think I should try next?

    I think I'm close but oh so far!

  8. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    I get the feeling the screenshot didn't attach with my previous post.

    I try again.

    Attached Files:

  9. kippertron macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    OK James, if you add the large folder that iTunes doesn't seem to be seeing, it will copy them to wherever you have your iTunes pointed to add them. In the preferences, uncheck the Copy files to iTunes folder, and change your folder where you want iTunes to store the media to the "iTunes Media" folder that has the 172GB of media in, then File>Add to Library, select the iTunes folder that has the music folder with 172GB of media in it.

    This will add the media into your iTunes library but not copy the actual files anywhere. After this is done (it may take a while), you should have your 182GB back in iTunes. Go back and check the copy media check box so that the two boxes under the media location are checked, then consolidate your library. As the bulk (172GB) of your media is in your chosen location, iTunes should just have to copy the other 10GB or so. Get Info on the "iTunes Media" folder after the consolidation and it should be 182GB-ish. You can then delete the other music folder that had the 10GB in.

    This should solve your problem. If not, come on back.
  10. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007
    Many thanks!

    okay, I've done as suggested and the gerbil is running in his cage. I'll leave iTunes to work through this change and will report back.

    Fingers crossed and thanks again.
  11. jamesmcnee thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2007

    There are still a few little hiccups -- lost playlist and podcast -- but nothing material.

    Thanks for your help Kipperton!
  12. kippertron macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    Glad to hear it for the most part. Glad to be of service.

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