Separating iTunes Library

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by swwack91, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. swwack91 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2007
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    New Jersey
    #1
    I have many TV Shows & Movies in my iTunes library and my iPod auto-syncs with my entire library (an 80GB Classic).

    My library has around 30GB of video content... something that is NEVER utilized on my laptop and ONLY EVER watched on my iPod. Since I have a laptop, that 30GB is precious space on my internal boot drive.

    Is there a way to keep my music on my laptop's hard drive while placing my video content on an external hard drive? ...while maintaining my ability to one-click sync my iPod to all of my content.
     
  2. onehoop macrumors member

    onehoop

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    #2
    not easily

    Have you thought about upgrading your laptop's hard drive? If you only have 30GB of movies, that would be your easiest solution especially if you can replace the hard drive yourself through a website like ifixit.

    Okay, so there are actually two locations for iTunes libraries. There's the location that you set and the default location. If you set the library on an external drive and it is later no longer available, iTunes will automatically file any uploads to the default iTunes location. Later when connected to the external library, I don't have to do anything other than rebooting iTunes to reconnect to the master library (unsure if that's necessary all the time, but it takes care of the "I can't find this" exclamation point). This allows the possibility of a workaround, but first a warning... there's a key part here that might cause your iTunes library to double which is a HUGE pain to deal with especially if you use playlists extensively.
    • hook up your external drive.
    • open iTunes, open Preferences from the iTunes (file on Windows?) menu
    • select the Advanced Tab, select "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding...", and change the iTunes library to the desired location on the external. Press "Okay". IMPORTANT: When it asks you whether you want it to move and rename the files in your new iTunes Music folder to match the 'Keep iTunes Music folder organized' preference?" say *NO*.
    • you'll want to do one file as a test, because this part will take a while. Basically, you are going to move all the movies to your external drive. Again in iTunes but this time from the File menu, select "Add to Library" (note that this is also how you import things so that they don't automatically play when you add them). It will bring up a file browser and you'll move to "import" your first movie. This is a better way of doing it than manually moving the files because it will move all the metadata with it and it will keep track of where it thinks the file is. Since the libraries are set up on separate drives, it will just make a copy of your movie. Before deleting the original file on your laptop, I would recommend first checking that the target file is the same size (might have to divide by 1.024 memory conversion error?) and is where you would anticipate it going in your new iTunes music folder. To be super safe, check the info in iTunes (command-i, or File>Get-Info) to make sure that it knows it is located in the new library too.
    • Now that you've got the hang of it, you can do the same "Add to Library" command, but select all the remaining movies at once rather than one by one. If you have your iTunes set to automatically update podcasts, you might end up with them on your laptop or your external depending on whether it was hooked to the computer when iTunes was opened. You can still import movies into iTunes while on the road and they will go to the default location on the laptop. This is easiest on a day-to-day basis anyway unless you're working at a desk. Moving them to the external drive would be exactly as above.

    The same procedure can be used to selectively move files from the external to the laptop with the appropriate adjustments (ie, moving the library location back to the laptop and "importing" the files you want to move, then moving the library back.)

    It's really not _that_ bad, but you can see why I would recommend you buy a new hard drive if you can make room for it in your budget! Ideally of course, iTunes would allow you to set different library locations for different media types--or at least movies. Given the sizes of the AppleTV, I wouldn't hold my breath! I feel that they're not serious about ipod video until the hardware will work with 720p anyway. Do my friends really want to watch VHS quality movies on their big screen high definition television?


    Good luck,
    M@
     
  3. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    but does this mean that any new files added to the library will be added to the secondary library on the ext drive?
     
  4. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    i wonder if there's a plug-in out there for iTunes that would allow different media types to be stored to different locations....
     
  5. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #6
    Assuming you have a mac laptop, move the movies folder from your itunes music folder to the external drive. Create an alias in your itunes music folder that is titled "Movies" and points back to the folder on the external.

    Then as far as OS X and iTunes are concerned, the files are in the same spot they were before.

    But hopefully they add support in iTunes 9 for multiple locations.
     
  7. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    that's brilliantly simple and i can't believe i couldn't think of that... i've actually done that for several other applications' media files! DUH!!

    thanks! :D
     
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #8
    Not a problem. Though I totally agree with you that there should be a preference for it somewhere.
     
  9. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    it's not working. every time i try to play a movie, it says that the original file cannot be found. it's not accepting the alias.
     
  10. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    i actually need to go into each video file and relink the file... even though i'm relinking it through the alias... iTunes is identifying it as being in its real location, not its alias location.
     
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

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  12. onehoop macrumors member

    onehoop

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #12
    Only if the external is attached when adding the files. If the external is not attached, then they go to the default iTunes location.

    It is easier to go from the laptop to the external, for instance if you add movie files while not connected to the external, as it is pretty much the same process where you "add to library" while connected to the external. If you need to move music files from the external to the laptop, then "you can't get there from here." It takes too long for iTunes to rebuild the library (not something to be done lightly), so you'll probably just want to make a copy onto your scratch directory or a dvd or a thumb drive and then add them from there when not connected to the external drive.

    Multiple library locations is definitely a feature request for iTunes9!!! That and multi-thread optimization so that iTunes may handle multiple tasks simultaneously. (eg playing music to airtunes, importing video files, downloading podcasts, and changing metadata for tv shows that you already imported.) Oh, and for iTunes to remember which podcasts I told it not to autodelete, and for there to be a setting that tells it to keep downloading a podcast even if I lag behind.

    Sorry the easy approach (aliases) didn't work. Might have to do with how the external is formatted?
     
  13. scradeley macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    #13
    Bump

    I went looking for a thread on exactly this issue. That is having different kinds of media in different locations (i.e. music on my local laptop drive, and movies on an external....

    When I read this little comment here, I thought it hit the nail on the head so precisely, I filled out an Apple feature request/feedback form with this little comment explained in it.

    I can only hope that they notice it
     
  14. Devi1c0w macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #14
    Same here.
    This really stinks... does any of you guys use any different application(s) - other than iTunes, that is - to organize your video files?
    I played around with Boxee and XBMC but find them rather complicated to set up...
     
  15. Devi1c0w macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #15
    Today I found a cool way to get around this problem. You might even say: I found a solution.

    Read all about in my blog: http://www.schacknetz.de/?p=428

    Hope this helps one or two people around here...
     

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