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Music on External HD - iTunes deletes it all

by Green-Lantern / September 27, 2010 7:26 AM PDT

Greetings. This is kind of a stupid problem. Either the soution will be very simple or there is no solution. Here are the details: I have my music on an external HD and when it's not in use I have it unplugged. A week ago I got an new iphone and synced huge amounts of music to it. Then I glibly unplugged my HD. The next sync removed it all. Like I said -- stupid. I looked through the available itunes settings but I'm not really sure if they will handle the issue. Like the setting for "manual management" of my music. Is there any way to set itunes so that it will sync my other content without deleting my music when the HD is not plugged in? Many thanks for your thoughts. GL

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Not a stupid question
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 27, 2010 10:49 PM PDT

ITunes syncs to the iPod, iPad & iPhone.

It is a one way sync. During the sync it will compare what is on the device to what you have in your iTunes library.
Because you do not have any music in your library, the external drive which houses the music is not visible, iTunes goes ahead and syncs NO music. In doing so, it make the device hold exactly what your iTunes library holds, Nothing!

I'm a little surprised that iTunes actually launches and allows a sync while not connected to a library. I suspect that there is another iTunes library inside your music folder on your computer. This is the library that iTunes is using when it syncs the device. Of course, it's empty.

Basically, the solution is very simple. Connect the external drive when syncing your device. Happy


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Moving Music from WMP to iTunes sorted by Album
by Green-Lantern / September 28, 2010 1:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Not a stupid question

Thanks for your reply. Actually, I had no misunderstanding or mystery as to why it was happening. The solution you propose is also obvious. The only thing is my music collection on the iphone changes rarely whereas the other content such as contacts and calender changes daily. While not a disaster, it's a pain to have to plug in the HD each time I want to synch. And frankly, this is the third time I've had to resync all the music. Why? Because I FORGOT to plug in the HD. Moral: maybe not stupid but definitely not perfect. Wink

If there is a more elegant way to handle it I'd love to hear about it. GL

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You didn't mention what sort of computer you have,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 28, 2010 5:40 AM PDT

or why you do not have the HD connected all the time.

Here is a solution that may work.

With the external HD disconnected, you launch iTunes. For iTunes to launch successfully it needs to be able to "see" a library.
As I mentioned, I think it is seeing the iTunes library that is on your computer, not the external one.
Create a playlist for your phone in the internal itunes library and then it would not matter if you had the external on or not.


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Music on External HD - iTunes deletes it all
by Green-Lantern / September 28, 2010 7:32 AM PDT

Thanks Mr. Mac. I have an HP running Windows7 64bit. Nothing special. I do have an iTunes library on my local computer. I don't have an iTunes library on the External HD. What I have on the external HD is my music. The music got there by ripping 450 CDs into WMP. When I got the iPhone I went into iTunes and imported the music from the external drive to the iPhone. Along the way it got converted to ACC. The music is now on the iPhone and on the external HD but not in iTunes. No music there. Just the library with the pointer to where the music resides.

The reason I have the HD disconnected is that I really only use it to move the music around and this is a rare thing, as I said earlier. So to save power and disc life I leave it off.

Sorry for being sparse with my information. GL

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Ahh, OK
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 28, 2010 11:46 AM PDT

maybe a sticky note on the drive to remind you to fire it up at Sync time. Happy


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Sticky note
by Green-Lantern / September 28, 2010 5:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Ahh, OK

Like I said, either there's an easy solution or none at all. In this case it's apparently both. Wink

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by rohn110580 / October 30, 2010 6:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Not a stupid question

The main idea between iTunes and the external hard drive is very simple. First, iTunes locates music files on your external drive everytime you plugged it in. Second, if you unplugged the external drive, automatically the music files in iTunes have no synchronization at all, the result iTunes will delete the music files because the source of the music file could not be located at all. In order to avoid this you have to backed up your music files into the internal drive of your PC so that everytime you unplugged your external drive, still the music files and iTunes are still synchronize and it will not be deleted...

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