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iPod Hardware and Accessories All iPod hardware discussions.

How do I create an iTunes vault?

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Hi iTunes fans,

This post is for anyone who wants to backup (or "consolidate" -- the term used in the Advanced pull-down menu in iTunes) their iTunes music to a physical location other than the internal hard drive on their Mac. I, for one, own an iMac G4 which is nearly 4 years old now. Granted, four years shouldn't be greater than the lifespan of an industry-standard hard disk drive, but I see no reason not to be wary.

So here's what I did; I bought an external firewire hard drive. After plugging it in (ahh, shiny & new!! ), I "consolidated" my 20 gig music library to it from iTunes. This procedure worked great, except that the iTunes database file was still located on my original hard drive (in my UserID/Music/iTunes folder).

So here is where my question emerges...

My original hope was to make the Lacie drive kind of an independent iTunes source. When it's off, and I boot up my computer, iTunes can find no music library. When it's on, however, and I boot my computer, iTunes recognizes the iTunes library (as well as the database file), and lists my songs. Is this scenario possible? :confused:

From what I understand, the iTunes application maintains two files in the users folder for tracking playlist, rating, and play count information. These two files are "iTunes Library" (an iTunes Database file) and "iTunes Music Library.xml" and are stored in My_Hard_Drive/Users/my_user_name/Music/iTunes. These two files MUST be copied along with the primary music folder when it is moved to other computers, otherwise playlist, rating, and play count information will be lost. They must be manually copied to the users folder on the new computer (example: New_Computer_HD/Users/my_user_name/Music/iTunes).

So, if all that is correct, then shouldn't I be able to unplug my new firewire hard drive from my computer (without creating a bunch of "missing music file" error messages in iTunes while I'm gone), throw it in my backpack, and plug it into my neighbor's computer?

If anyone reading this forum could post a quick reply to let me know if I'm doing this correctly, I'd really appreciate it. The last thing I want is to make my iTunes database corrupt or unusable!

Thanks in advance for help w/ this!! :batman:

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I figured out a way to describe my problem better. I wanted to keep my iTunes database files on my Lacie drive as well as the "iTunes Music" folder, so that if I brought it elsewhere and plugged it into somebody else's computer, all of my ratings, etc. would remain intact. iTunes didn't seem to have an option for storing those database files anywhere but on the local drive, where they would be inaccessible if I went elsewhere, but a forums user named phaseshifter posted this solution in the Applications forum at

"what you can do is move the iTunes folder in your Music folder to the external drive. Then rename the iTunes folder in the Music folder to iTunes.old, before you delete anything. Create an alias of the iTunes folder on the external drive an copy that file to the Music folder on your Mac. Rename the alias to iTunes from "iTunes alias". Now launch iTunes and it will read the from the folder on the external drive. Now when you unplug the external drive and then launch iTunes, iTunes will give you an error and not open. Plug the drive back in and iTunes will Launch. If you bring the drive to a friends house then you would have to do the same thing for his iTunes to read from your drive. When you leave you'd rename his iTunes.old folder back to iTunes so as not to screw up his stuff."

This technique is right on the money. Now, if my external Lacie HD isn't on, or plugged into my computer, and I try to start up iTunes, iTunes sends back a message that it "could not find any music folder", and refuses to start. This is precisely the scenario that I wanted. Now my external HD really is a vault (containing my music files AND iTunes database files), and iTunes will not run without it.

Thanks for a great service!

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