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iTunes Tune-Up 9: Moving your library up and out

Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.

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It didn't take long for the size of my iTunes library to start taking over my computer's hard drive -- especially once I started saving songs at a higher bitrate for better audio quality.

Fortunately, it was pretty simple for me to move my cramped collection of tunes out of my PC and into a 250GB external hard drive where it has room to grow. Here how it worked.

I set up my external hard drive and plugged it into my PC. In the iTunes "Preferences" folder, I selected the Advanced Settings. Under the "General" tab, there's a place to change the iTunes Music folder location (make sure both "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" are checked).

Using the "Browse" function, I selected the new drive and hit "OK." This changed the default location of the iTunes music library, so that everything I added to iTunes from that point forward would go straight to the new drive.

The final step was to go to the iTunes "Advanced" menu and select "Consolidate Library." This caused iTunes to start copying its library to the new drive. The nice thing about this process is that all of my music's metadata was preserved: playcount, album art, year of release and so on.

Once the process was completed, the only thing left to do was delete the original music files off of my computer's hard drive - which was the only tricky part. I found out the hard way that you should only delete the actual music files inside the iTunes folder (it's the one marked "iTunes music" and has the artist folders in it). In order for iTunes to function, the other folders need to remain untouched.

Now I have the space I need to save all the music I want to without having to stint on sound quality, and my PC runs a lot better, too!

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