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Move your iTunes library to an external driveHas your iTunes media library grown too big to fit on your computer? CNET's Donald Bell shows you how to offload your content to an external drive.
Is your iTunes Media Library hogging up too much space on your computer? I'm Donald Bell, and I'm here to show you how to run your iTunes Library from an external hard drive. If you have a massive iTunes Library filled with music, movies, and podcasts, it's not a bad idea to offload that content onto a separate external or internal hard drive. But, transferring that library isn't as obvious as dragging, dropping your iTunes folder onto a new drive. It's not hard, but to do it right, you've got to let iTunes do the work for you. To get started, open iTunes and make sure the drive you want to move your library too is connected to your computer and ready to go. Next, go into your iTunes Preferences. On a PC, you'll find this under the edit menu. And for a Mac, it's under the iTunes menu. Click under the "advanced tab", and where it says "iTunes Music Folder location", change the location to a folder on your external drive. Next, make sure the copy files to Music Folder option is checked. This ensures that any new content you download or rip into iTunes gets transferred to the new location. After that, hit the "OK" button. Now, you're not done yet. There's one more big step to take before iTunes really starts moving your library to the new location, but before we commit your computer to what could be a few hours of transfer time, let's take a moment to do some general iTunes housekeeping. Delete any old podcasts you're not listening to or maybe some movies or TV shows you never plan on watching again. There's probably a lot of clutter in your Library that you don't need to waste time copying. A couple of minutes here could save you hours of transfer time. When you're ready to make the transfer, click the iTunes file menu, then go to "library" and select "organize library". You'll see a window with options here for consolidating and organizing your library. It can't hurt to check them both but the critical one here is the first option for consolidating files. This is gonna take all the files referenced by iTunes on your computer, your movies, your music, your audio books, podcasts, TV shows, and it's gonna copy it over to the new location on your external drive. It will take some time, and remember, it's not deleting the old files, it's just copying them to the new location. If you're feeling confident later on, you can move your old iTunes Music folder on your local drive to the trash can after the transfer is complete and check again to make sure everything is still working and then permanently delete the old files. Once the dust is settled, and all your precious iTunes content is running smoothly from the external drive, you can finally pat yourself on the back. Unless the drive is powered off or disconnected, iTunes will remember to load your music library from the external drive every time it launches. Without the drive connected, iTunes will temporarily revert back to the internal drive and function for things like streaming podcasts or Internet radio or downloading stuff from the iTunes Store, but you won't be able to play your Library content without connecting it back up to the external drive. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell helping you to give your iTunes Library some extra breathing room.