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Transferred all iTunes content to external drive but...

by fiveomys / August 6, 2010 2:22 AM PDT I don't have the same functionality with iTunes. Basically, I can't use iTunes at all anymore as the interface for my music and videos. Once the external drive is mounted, I can navigate through it and play individual songs, but I can't use iTunes to do that. All my previous Playlists show up down the left side of iTunes, but there isn't any music in them. I downloaded 2 songs yesterday, made a Playlist out of them, and because the path in the Advanced tab of the iTunes Preferences is correct, it automatically added the songs to the external hard drive. I synced my iPod and it was completely erased except for the 2 new songs. Is there a way to use iTunes to navigate my music like I used to when I stored the information on the internal hard drive but keep the information on the external drive? I have a Mac running Snow Leopard and the latest version of iTunes. Thanks for the help!

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Certainly possible
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 6, 2010 4:10 AM PDT
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by fiveomys / August 6, 2010 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Certainly possible

Thanks for the reply. Those are the procedures I followed, which exactly mirror the instructional video on CNET. But I might have deleted the music files from within iTunes vs. merely dragging the media file to the trash. I can't remember. Either way, how can I recover from this? iTunes should still work the same with the music files on the external drive, right?

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Yes it will
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 6, 2010 5:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Performed...

but it has to know exactly where the media is and you destroyed that information.
If you have not yet emptied the trash, it would still be in there. Failing that, data recovery software may be needed.

If you still have all the music, you can use iTunes to add it all to the library. (again)
Once that is done, you will be able to use iTunes in the manner to which you have become accustomed.


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Appreciate the info
by fiveomys / August 6, 2010 5:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes it will

I've still got all of my files on the external data has been lost. I'll reverse the process. I'm still confused as to why iTunes doesn't see my media the same way because it knows everything is on the external drive. I imagine it's because I haven't added everything to the library like I did originally when I put the music on my computer, which is one of the things you suggested. Regardless, I'll reverse everything and see if I can fix it. Thanks for the help!

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You're welcome
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 6, 2010 9:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Appreciate the info

let us know how you get on


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by fiveomys / August 12, 2010 8:19 AM PDT
In reply to: You're welcome

I copied/pasted everything in my Music folder on the external drive back into iTunes, re-created my Playlists, and everything seems to be working fine. Thanks again for the help!

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Newer Mac Mini won't recognize my iTunes on External
by cowgal--2008 / August 29, 2010 2:33 AM PDT
In reply to: You're welcome

Hi, Mr. Mac -- I have been reading your thread with fiveomys, as my problem is about the same. I long ago placed my iTunes app and all the library on the External, deleted it from the internal, and it ran, stored, and played everything, downloads, imports, all. Home base. Got a newer Mac Mini recently, up a grade both in the OS (10.5.8 now, not 10.4), and the iTunes app (now 9.1, not 8.6).

Per your instructions, you placed a copy of the library for that fella on the external, open iTunes with the opt key, and point it there. I seem to have the opposite, or ? -- there is no icon to mount. I looked for the library in the Finder window as you also said, under my username, apps, documents. Nada. But since the library I want is already ON the external, .. ? Now what?

When I experienced this hitch at first, I just deleted iTunes altogether from this Mini's HD, threw it out. Still could not get the app and library recognized off. All my work is on it, and everything else accesses seamlessly. So - I finally just built a small library to play in this internal, but have added to it, and there is no evidence of those tunes other than opening the playlist window. I've tried opening that play window and even making an alias, but I have no command for that.

Could the hitch be that the external's app is 8.6? Doesn't seem it should. When I spoke to Apple, he said to just tell this hd in Advanced to mount the external's library. I did it over and over, and I have to have done SOMETHING wrong, as it just would not "take." I feel lucky nothing is corrupt on the external, and have no prob just using 8.6. But it is a massive library, and I don't want to lose it. I just want it to be Home Base again.

Thought you might have a suggestion here too, hope so!
Thanks for your time and thinking cap,

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What is 8.6?
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 29, 2010 5:02 AM PDT

Is that the version of iTunes that you had running on the old computer?

The actual iTunes application was never on the external, or should not have been, just the library.

If the old machine is still available, fire it up and check where that application is. You may as well update it to something a lot newer while you are at it.

Apple Tech support was correct, the way to tell iTunes where the Library is, is by using the preferences\Advanced and navigating there.

Could be that iTunes 9.2.1 does not recognize your old library, although it certainly should.

Put iTunes back on the new machine and try again


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A little further..
by cowgal--2008 / August 29, 2010 6:39 AM PDT
In reply to: What is 8.6?

Yes, the version of iTunes on the external is 8.6. As that old, partitioned G4 Power Mac I had was dang near out of space, i played the iTunes - and did everything else - from the ext. files while I still had it.

So, I want to be clear: when you say "put iTunes back on the internal in the new computer, do you mean the one from the external? You see, if the 9.1 that now resides on this HD will not recognize the large library, then I don't want it!

Before I downloaded iTunes once again to this computer (9.1 was available then), I had deleted it completely, to try to run solely off the external. Because even with no program IN this computer, it still would not launch that iTunes 8.6 outside, nor play it. So - back in, and now, with the version i have, I can indeed go search out individual songs and open them, creating a copy in the internal. Tedious, of course, and with a very limited selection!

Hope this makes sense,

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Update the old machine with the external connected
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 29, 2010 9:54 AM PDT
In reply to: A little further..

then you should be able to connect the external to the new machine, point iTunes at the external library and move right along


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I no longer have that machine..
by cowgal--2008 / August 29, 2010 9:57 AM PDT

what can i do short of that? Sorry I didn't clarify!

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If all your music is in the Music folder on the external
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 29, 2010 10:03 PM PDT

and it is in the iTunes folder, then iTunes should be able to find it.

If it's not, but you do have all your music, then create a new library on the external and "add to library" and choose your existing music.
iTunes will suck it in and allow you to get on with life.


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Newer version
by cowgal--2008 / August 31, 2010 10:45 PM PDT

Well, this is more than embarassing, and I feel like the dumbest stump on the planet! Yes, I pointed out the iTunes library within the iTunes folder, and it did 'consolidate' to 'keep with the selection of keeping files organized." The titles that flashed by were the ones that include all my recent additions, so those should now be copied to that music folder. However, if I try to open it, with either version of iTunes, I still get the dialog that says "the file cannot be read, because it was created with A NEWER version of iTunes," not an older one, which is the case. It's most puzzling, but I also realize that there are two "library" folders. The one within the iTunes general folder where some selections are, and the one I created in order to move it to the external, the main file now, and my Source. Or, it WAS. Neither will open, I can only fetch songs individually. There just seems to be some conflict in the program, or a bug.

There must be a nubian in the woodpile somewhere, or I am just totally off the beam, and so here I am, stuck again.

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iTunes on an external
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 1, 2010 4:32 AM PDT

what a pickle.

Not sure why you actually created a new folder when all you had to do was copy the original to the external.
Put the latest version of iTunes on the main machine, make sure it is completely up to date, then point it at the external.


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iTunes on an external
by cowgal--2008 / September 1, 2010 6:09 AM PDT
In reply to: iTunes on an external

The instructions i printed from the Mac site for the move said "create new folder," so i did. And I thought that is also what you told me this a.m. - to great a new library folder, and add to it. Is this not what you meant? Or - am I missing a command IN iTunes for this "Create New Library?" So, I also surmise that if this works, surely I will also be allowed to just "Add to" twice, to finally get it all in one place. That's the least of the hitch - at least for now. Do I need to jettison my inboard iTunes 9.1 before I download 9.2? Or do I just upgrade? Sorry to be such a dolt, but one false move is clearly stated as erasing your library if you don't do it right. Yeeeeaah...

Thanks a-gaain,

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Just update the inboard iTunes,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 1, 2010 9:46 AM PDT
In reply to: iTunes on an external

you will find that the latest version is 10, not 9.2

See how you go with that.

Sorry if I mislead you at all.


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Updated the iTunes to10
by cowgal--2008 / September 3, 2010 12:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Certainly possible

Hiya Mr macfixit -- the forum said to not post to the bottom again; so back to top.

Yes, I updated the inboard iTunes to 10, and now it will at least allow the new material to get opened IN iTunes, whereas when I was trying to point the source to the external, that chip was lost for a few. It's back. So - now. Is the next step to try to get the source to go to the external again? Now, after the update, it is at Users/Peggy/Music/iTunes, which is the small library inboard.


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Launch iTunes
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 3, 2010 1:34 AM PDT

while holding down the Option key.
iTunes should ask for the location of the library.
Navigate to the external library.

Any success/


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Opt key does not give me the dialog
by cowgal--2008 / September 3, 2010 2:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Launch iTunes choose the library when holding that during lauch. Another oddity - I then got the app icon, tried again with opt/double-clik, still, it just opens the iTunes window without the selection box. But even though the upgrade was to iTunes 10, and my window-skin has changed, the Info window and Get Info still say 9.1.

Maybe some hitch there?

Anyway -- I did that a couple times, then tried the Advanced>Change Media Location, and put the external library in the finder window and clicked OK. So now the dialog is again do you want iTunes to update and consolidate your library to match your "keep .. organized preference." I stopped there, as my fear is to do much of ANYTHING to that library that is over 10,000 cuts deep, and 25 gigs wide might be to make it irretrievable. (Not to mention might take hours to wade through - but small price to pay if that is the Fix.)

The other box to check in that Advanced is to Copy Files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library , which is unchecked. Only the "Keep Consolidated." Maybe a key there as well?

It's almost as if I cannot find the file, even with the Spotlight, only 9.1.


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Check out this page,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 3, 2010 10:39 AM PDT
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No dialog box appears
by cowgal--2008 / September 3, 2010 12:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Check out this page,

when I launch with the Option key. It just opens iTunes. I tried to click open then hold, hold then click, and although the desired box is right there on that page, it does not come up for me. Can I use an F-key? If so, which one, as I do not use those shortcuts?

I have tried changing the media folder location to both the files on my external, the iTunes one with the default iTunes music folder inside it, as well as the "iTUNES LIBRARY," which is the file I created to move the whole thing over. But now, I am thinking that the way THAT folder appears in the library is not being read, so - no result. So I "Reset" again to go back where it was, and the media file is depicted as /Users/peggy/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music. But - when I "created" the location folder, it's name is simply iTUNES LIBRARY. It seems those slashes are like code and the one I just kinda made isn't configured that way, if that makes any matter.

But trying both, and in allowing iTunes to "Organize Library' still does not yield any access to that main library.

When I called the Mac Tech Support at first over this, he walked me through that Advanced window to change the Media folder location, and said that an icon for the external should appear in the left column of my iTunes window, to select another playlist to pop up, same as Radio, DJ, those. Well, no such thing has ever happened, and of course the problem is still unsolved.

The only thing that is left to try seems to be to just create a new media location, and start over. I sure hope this is not the case. That or copy the new update of iTunes to the external, and see if it will launch from there? And if so, just jettison the old version that may or may not be the bollox in the works?

You're so kind to help, and I am sorry that these things are not working. I've never had this kind of trouble with iTunes, or a Mac for that matter, in all these 20 years on them!!!


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Strange behavior
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 3, 2010 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: No dialog box appears

When I hold down the option key and then launch iTunes, keeping the option key down, I get a dialog box saying that iTunes needs to create a new library or find another one.

I'm not sure I understand what the Support person was saying when he said that the new library, one the external, would appear in the side bar of iTunes.
It would never do that. It would be the library that iTunes opened and would look exactly the same as the one you had on the internal drive.

When you are doing the Advanced thing, do you just get to the external and then select the iTunes Library or do you open the iTunes Library and go inside it?

Take another read of that link that I sent you and satisfy yourself that you actually did all the things that it requires to move music to an external.
I am beginning to suspect that your music was never transferred to the external and that you have been running off the internal library all this time.
Of course, I could be wrong.
Before you got this new machine, where was the iTunes application located? In the Applications folder?


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File hierarchy?
by cowgal--2008 / September 3, 2010 11:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Strange behavior

Mornin'. When I moved it all to the external, yes, the application was also moved to it, and in the applications folder, but also an icon in the dock, an alias I suppose, but still, it all played and worked from there. The last step in the Move string is to can it all off the internal, so I did that when I was sure I had it all.

Enter this Mini I'm on, and it wouldn't play from the ext. library; I can only fetch a song at a time. But yes, I can open that library, the "iTUNES LIBRARY" one, and get a column of folders by artist name, and then yet another down to albums>tracks, etc. I can double click that or right click that for a track, and it does indeed COPY to the external. But the library built up here is only about 300 tracks deep, so no, I don't really think it's been running off that; it only plays that limited list.

It is possible that there is a conflict with an app in both places? Esp. since they are not the same version. One reply on this thread had indeed been to "be sure both versions match." Would it be wise to put a copy of the new and improved 10 in the app file on the ext? There is little sense in keeping the 8.6 version, as it doesn't play anyway. As I said, I launch everything from there, and all is seamless but for iTunes.

For unknown reasons, I have suspected all along that I must surely have done something wrong in titleing that folder for the move off, or - something. Has to be. I did get the library choice dialog once with the Opt key, but not since I upgraded to this 10. Just doesn't happen. Not when I got it, either, and pointed to the "made" location.

Yes, I agree about that Mac Tech. There would be no point in browsing my ext's menu from w/i iTunes!

I do have both those sets of instructions printed, the move and the access-it ones, and have gone over them several times, and that file name is all I can come up with. I CREATED a new folder, but it was named by me, not the system. So - mayhaps the legend in the Advanced window for location just can't be read. Heck if I know much at this point, just a thought.

In speaking with my pal last night, he was saying the legend for the location should end in iTunes>iTunes Music. Sooo - no, if I try to point up the one as LIBRARY, it just doesn't take it. Acknowledge. Mount. Play. Nuttin'. It reads: /Volumes/Elements/iTunes/iTunes Music at present, as the last manipulation was trying the one WITHIN the iTunes Folder instead of the new one I created, the default one, "iTunes Music." When I put that made-one in the window, it reads: /Volumes/Elements/iTUNES LIBRARY. Only. Is this perhaps not enough information?

I know this is a lot to by typing, but I just don't know what else to do! You're great, and thanks again for your amazing patience.


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Here is a suggestion..
by cowgal--2008 / September 4, 2010 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: File hierarchy?

.. from the tech I use from time to time, but I have never really asked him anything about software much. Mostly just the mechanics. But he said to locate my main library and make an alias of it, and put THAT where iTunes thinks it should be.

Well, this is what I don't know. Just exactly where DOES it want to go? He doesn't seem to want to say anything further, so I don't want to try this unless it makes sense.


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