The moment I read you wanted to store files on an external drive I thought of all the people that lost it all when the external hiccuped. These are less reliable than your average internal drive so besides your issue, is there a backup plan?
I just finished copying movies and TV shows to an external USB hard drive, freeing up around 30-40GB of disk space on my MacBook. I created an alias of the two video folders on the external drive and put replaced the original ones in the iTunes Music Folder. Once the original files were deleted from the Mac, I still had to manually locate all of the videos before iTunes would allow me to play them again. In order to do so, I had to go into the iTunes Preferences and deselect some option to prevent the program from copying files over when they were added to the library as well. I've done all of that, and right now, iTunes happily copies any film clip or TV show over to one of my docked iPods. Also, I think I read somewhere that doing the same with the Podcast folder will prevent iTunes from automatically updating and downloading new podcast episodes, so I'm going to leave those alone. Disconnecting the drive will cause iTunes to complain about lost files, but reconnecting it allows me to play the videos again, just as I thought. So far so good. This is why I could use a bigger internal drive, and a new desktop for that matter.
Now, the aliases I created link to the external drive, but I don't think iTunes actually needs them, since I had to manually locate the files myself. I think I am going to leave them in the iTunes folder for reference, perhaps, but one would think that iTunes could use an alias to find the something for me. Strange. Is this normal behavior? Just curious if I could make better use of them.
One other question: I saw an ad for some new Seagate Portable USB drives. They can be connected with a separate dock and come in 320GB and 500GB models. Not too bad. My only gripe here is that it lacks a FireWire connection and uses a 5400rpm drive. It is marketed towards and built for travelers and portable use, so I'm not too surprised. I thought about purchasing one and using this for my external video storage, which would allow me to watch more content when I'm out of town or away from my current USB drive. Would this be a viable solution? If it's as small as it looks, then I could easily keep it in my laptop bag. Although, I've been considering getting some sort of iPod Classic, most likely the 120GB model. I could put every movie in my library on it and watch it whenever I want to, pretty much eliminating the need for a portable, external drive. I think the iPod would make things easier: no cables attached. Any suggestions or recommendations? Thanks in advance.