What to do when your iTunes library gets too big

Not all iPhone users have Macs & large capacity hard drives

Although iPhone fanbois would love to portray it as the case, not all those who have picked an iPhone as their smartphone are owners of other Apple hardware such as Macs and Macbooks with  large capacity hard drives. Indeed, GoMo News knows from readers emails and comments that many keep their iTunes music (book and video) libraries on Windows based PCs. Especially ageing Windows XP based laptops. These machines are currently grinding to a halt – chiefly because they are running out of space on the hard drive. One solution? Migrate your iTunes collection to an external hard drive.

Some readers may be wondering – if your PC has run out of disk space, why don’t you move to a different machine?

The answer is simple. If you follow such a course, you have to ‘unauthorise’ you Apple devices from the existing machine and then ‘re-authorise’.

Frankly, we know so many people who have tried to do so and lost their music libraries in the process that we simply don’t recommend it.

The better solution is to purchase one of the many portable hard drives available on the market which simply plug into a USB port and then becomes something like drive E: with no effort whatsover.

We recommend a minimum size of 256GB. The best thing about this approach is that you can also use this external drive to backup personal data on the PC. Something you should have been doing in the first place!

Right. Now fire up the iTunes program on your PC. What you must ensure is that the option “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” is checked [selected]. Otherwise, this won’t work.

So, from within iTunes go to the Edit menu, find Preferences and then click on the Advanced option icon.

If you find there is a tick in the box against “keeping organized”, you can move onto the next stage which is also from the Advanced option menus.

You should see a large icon named ‘Change’ right next to the box informing you were the iTunes Media folder is currently located.

Click on the Change icon and then navigate your way to the new location for your iTunes media files. In our case we’d created a folder on drive E: called ‘Music’.

If you’re having trouble finding drive E: or F: or whatever, then try clicking on ‘My computer’ from the change location box.

Once, you change the location for your media files, the iTunes program should ask if you would like to move your files in accordance with your preferences? The answer is – Yes, of course.

You then have to wait a while whilst Windows starts copying files from one place to another.

Once that exercise is over, you haven’t finished yet. You need to go to the ‘File’ menu and then select ‘Library’ followed by the option of ‘Organizing’ or ‘Consolidation’ your library.

When you select, “Yes”, Windows will start copy realms of files over once more.

After waiting a considerable time for all those files to be copied, go to the original iTunes Media folder on the PC (usually Drive C;) and delete all of its contents. But onlyITunes Media. Not any of the other iTunes folders.

Don’t whatever you do, touch the Windows Recycle box yet.

Next, close down the iTunes program on your Windows computer. Restart iTunes once you are sure that the system has recognised the existence of your external drive.

if everything has gone well, you should still be able to see your entire collection within iTunes.

Only when you are positive the migration has been successful can you empty the recycle bin which will restore the performance of your Windows PC.

The best bit is that now you have almost unlimited disk space, you can grow your iTunes collection as much as you like.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
This article was published in Apple, hardware clinic, iphone and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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