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This may happen later with my iMac, but right now it is happening for my iTunes on PC. The PC had 60GB of partition to install Windows 7, and right now it is down to about 2GB of free space. All iTunes purchases, including Music and Movies, are downloaded to

C:\Users\mike\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music 
C:\Users\mike\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Movies

which will make the C: drive have less and less free space. (and C: will be more healthy if it has at least a couple of GB of free space). What is the safest, most proper way to migrate all the media to an external hard drive J: ? On J:, the path might be:

J:\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music

or

J:\iTunes Media\Music

My guess is that we can change the folder in iTunes, but won't iTunes go to that folder or create it, and find nothing, and index everything wrong?

So, should an exact copy of C:\Users\mike\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media be made as J:\iTunes Media first (probably 30GB of files copying), and then start iTunes and change the preference for the folder to the J: one? Is there a standard or official method to do this?

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4 Answers 4

You're actually on to the right approach. This Apple support article details the following approach for Windows (and this is the approach for a Mac user):

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Choose Edit > Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced tab in the Preferences window.
  4. Select the "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" checkbox.
  5. Click OK.

If you haven't been letting iTunes keep your media organized up until now, you'll have to wait while it sorts everything out. Could take a few hours. Have beverages handy.

Once it's done sorting things out you can change the location of the iTunes library and iTunes will shuffle everything over to the new spot. From that article:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced tab 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 Media folder to be created.
  6. Click the Make New Folder button in the Change Media Folder Location window.
  7. Enter the name of the new iTunes Media folder.
  8. Click OK in the Change Media Folder Location window. Click OK in the Advanced window.
    • For iTunes 9 and 10: Choose File > Library > Organize Library
    • For iTunes 8: Choose File > Library > Consolidate Library
    • For iTunes 7 or earlier: Choose Advanced > Consolidate Library.
  9. A message will pop up.
    • For iTunes 9 and 10: Place a check next to "Consolidate files" and click OK.
    • For iTunes 8 and earlier: Click Consolidate.
  10. After the folder has been copied, locate your original iTunes Media folder, and drag it to the Recycle Bin. 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 What are the iTunes Library files?
  11. Quit and reopen iTunes.
    • If you receive the alert: "The folder containing "iTunes Library.itl" cannot be found and is required. Please create or choose an iTunes library," you most likely moved the iTunes Library files. If this is the case, move them out of the Recycle Bin and back to where they were.
    • If you do not encounter the above alert when opening and closing iTunes, empty the Recycle Bin.

Circa iTunes 9.x I used this (nearly) same approach to move my library from my main hard drive on my iMac to my Drobo and can confirm that it works.

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Gary Rosenzweig of "MacMost Now" video podcasts has done a very nice 6 minute tutorial.

MacMost Now 631: Moving Your iTunes Media To an External Drive

"If your internal drive is getting full and you want to move your iTunes music to an external drive, you can do so by using functions built right into iTunes. Keep your iTunes Library on your internal drive, but move your music to an external drive. That way you move the bulk of your files to your external drive, but keep all of the primary functionality of your iTunes Library on your internal one."

You can watch this video at the link below:

http://macmost.com/moving-your-itunes-media-to-an-external-drive.html

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Pay the $30 and throw it all up on iTunes Match. Then wait while it syncs. Then you've got it in the cloud to be pulled down on any copy of iTunes or any iOS device you want to get to it from.

That's the safest. Not the cheapest, but the safest, and one of the easiest

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Use mount points or Junctions (similar to hard links/soft links on unix/OS X)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_junction_point (only works on a local directory and is similar to hard links)

or if you are on a different volume, consider mounting the remove filesystem directly onto the path where you want your data to be stored. (Do this in Disk MAnagement console)

Anyway, the following utility may help you do it right:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896768

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