Moving your iTunes Library

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If you have a large iTunes Library or a small internal Hard Drive in your computer you may want to move some of your music to a different location on your machine or to an external hard drive.

iTunes has this ability to do this, while retaining all your playlists, ratings, and play history.

First make sure that the "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" option is selected within iTunes Preferences:

  1. From the iTunes menu, choose Preferences.
  2. In the resulting window, click the Advanced button.
  3. Select the "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" checkbox.

Click OK.

Once this has been done, it is now time to consolidate the iTunes library to its new location. This will not only copy the media, but also the XML files that store play counts, playlists etc.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the iTunes menu, choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced button in the Preferences window.
  4. Click the Change button in the iTunes Media folder location pane.
  5. In the Change Media Folder Location window that appears, navigate to the location where you would like your new iTunes Media folder to be created.
Note: By default, your iTunes Media folder is a folder named "iTunes Media" in ~/Music/iTunes/ where the tilde "~" represents your home directory.
  1. Click the New Folder button in the Change Media Folder Location window.
  2. In the New Folder window that appears, enter the name of the new iTunes Media folder.
  3. Click Create.
  4. Click Choose in the Change Media Folder Location window.
  5. Click OK in the Advanced window.
  6. From the File menu, choose Library and then Organize Library if using iTunes 9 or later. If you're using iTunes 7 or iTunes 8 for Mac, choose File > Library and then Consolidate Library.
  7. In the Organize Library (or Consolidate Library) window, select Consolidate files.
  8. Click OK. Important: This action copies all of your music and media files to the new location. There must be enough hard disk space available to copy all of your music and media files.
  9. After the folder has been copied, locate your original iTunes Media folder, and drag it to the Trash. Important: Don't remove the iTunes Library files that may be in the same location as the iTunes Media folder. For more information about the iTunes Library files, see this article.
  10. Quit iTunes and then open iTunes once more.
  • If you receive the alert "The folder containing "iTunes Library" cannot be found, and is required. Please choose or create a new iTunes library," you most likely moved the iTunes Library files. If this is the case, move them out of the Trash and back to where they were.
  • If you can open and close iTunes without encountering the above alert, empty the Trash.

Note:If you move your music and media to an external hard drive, you will need to have that drive connected to access your files. If you launch iTunes without the external hard drive connected, you will have to quit iTunes, connect the hard drive and then launch iTunes.