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Itunes problem


Michael_D
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I think I may have done something wrong and I am hoping to get the advice of people more computer-knowledgeable than I.

 

My system is a Mac Mini using itunes for storage, ripping and playback. My files are stored in AIFF on a Drobo external hard drive system and played through an external DAC. In order to (1) backup the music files stored on the Drobo and (2) have a separate itunes library for compressing to ALAC for use with my ipod, I bought a Seagate external hard drive and copied my itunes library and music folder from the Drobo to the Seagate. So I now have two copies of my itunes library and music folder. To avoid user error and have safer backup of my files, my plan is to keep the Seagate separate from my computer system and connect it only when I need to synch my ipod or backup my files.

 

After I copied the itunes library onto the Seagate, I went into itunes preferences to make sure that itunes was still pointed at my Drobo music folder. Sure enough, the folder location was now listed as the Seagate. I reset it to the Drobo and ejected the Seagate drive, but for some reason, that does not seem to be working. When I try to play a file in itunes, I get a dialog box with the message "The song xxx could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?" If I click on yes, I can manually go into the song's location in the Drobo music folder in Finder and "locate" the file. Once I do that, itunes works fine for that song. I have 1400 CDs (16,000 songs) ripped and doing this manually song by song will take forever.

 

Is there an easier way to fix this problem? Once I do, will I have a problem using the second library on the Seagate?

 

Thanks for any help you can offer.

 

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Michael - I do the exact same thing, keep 2 different iTunes libraries. When launching iTunes from the dock, I just hold the Option/Alt key and it asks you for the location of the iTunes library, just point it to the one I want and voila. never have a problem with doing this (so far). are you doing this now by chance?

 

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couple thoughts: (1) can you move the Pref's file for itunes onto the desktop and see what happens when you re-open it and go through the initialization steps? (you can always drop the pref file back into the Pref folder). (2) hopefully you won't need to but could rebuild the library (definitely do not want to do this if you're storing information in the library dbase - i.e., manually tagging WAV files, etc.).

 

while not addressing your immediate problems, there is another configuration you can use to accomplish the same thing. setup another user account on the system, and have your ipod library placed in the System/Users/Shared folder (so accessible to both users -- may need to fix permissions checking the option to apply to subfolders the first time). each time you want to sync or work with the ipod library you can do a fast user switch (enable fast switching). not ideal, but it's very clean and you won't run into the issue you're having

 

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A question which may lead to an explanation if not a solution ...

 

How did you create the backup copy of the files? Did you create it within iTunes or externally with Finder? It sounds like iTunes has updated it's library to point to the new location - all changing the files location dialogue does is say for new files , put them here, it doesn't affect information about files already in the iTunes library. You could change the location, then (with the Seagate still attached) do consolidate, though you may end up with two copies of files on the Drobo this way). Alternatively, create a new library and then drag the itunes Music folder into iTunes to re-add all the music to the library (though this will loose information such as original date added, last played, play count, etc - if this is important to you).

 

When making a backup copy, the often recommended application to use is SuperDuper - this is free for non-scheduled use IIRC (search google to find it).

 

Eloise

 

PS. I didn't realize you were using ALAC on the Seagate - if you use something like Doug's Scripts iTunes Library manager, then this will adjust file location when you choose to load a different library, which (IIRC) doing the Option-Click to load iTunes does do.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise and Silverlight, thank you for your helpful posts.

 

Eloise, your explanation makes sense to me - I get now that I can't change the location for existing files simply by resetting within itunes preferences.

 

To answer your question, I created the backup by dragging dropping the itunes library and music folder files from Finder to the Seagate drive. The reason I copied my itunes library as well as my music folder was an attempt to copy my playlists into the Seagate ipod library -- I have each CD organized as a separate playlist, which I know is a little unusual, but I find it an easy way to navigate through my CDs and in particular, works really well for ipod management.

 

If you don't mind indulging me, I am only semi-computer literate, so let me make sure I understand step by step how I would implement what you are suggesting.

 

1. Delete the music folder and itunes library currently residing on my Drobo. [Question: there are several itunes folders/files that appear to be associated with the library. Which ones should I delete?]

 

2. Create a new library on the Drobo using Library Manager.

 

3. Drag the music folder from the Seagate to the new itunes library. Luckily, I have not yet converted these files from AIFF to ALAC. [Question: I don't care about losing play count, last played, etc. info, but I do care about losing any manual tagging or my playlists. I am particularly worried that this method would lose the playlists, right? Or could they somehow be separately copied into this library?]

 

4. Delete the itunes library from the Seagate and create a new itunes library on Seagate using Library Manager. [same question regarding preserving playlists, which is even more essential for this library since I manage my ipod through the use of playlists. Also, how do I make sure this library sees the Seagate music folder?]

 

5. In itunes, convert files in Seagate music folder from AIFF to ALAC.

 

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Just a quick suggestion - wouldn't delete anything at this point. If you want, you can create a new folder, call it whatever (ITUNESTESTFOLDER) and place your existing folders in there rather than deleting. you might need them again.

 

As for losing your playlists, I'm quite certain starting from scratch and re-importing into a new library all your songs again will result in losing your playlist as well as manual tags in any WAV files (should stick with ID3 tag files).

 

I'd recommend as a test setting up a new clean user account with the Seagate or Drobo attached, and try Option/Alt launching iTunes and pointing it at the library you believe is the correct one (you say you might have a couple, check their sizes, look at the contents inside to see which one is correct). when pointing just make sure to pick the /Music/iTunes/iTunes Library file (database file). would be a helpful experiment to see if it opens and the files are playable and playlists functional. if this is the case, you should be able to replicate this in your main account by clearing all itunes Pref files in the /[user]/Library/Preferences folder and restart iTunes.

 

I wouldn't give up yet if keeping your playlists is important. Someone more proficient in iTunes than I may be able to do a workaround to revive your playlists in the new library also (they're contained in an xml file, although I highly doubt it's as simple as importing the old file)

 

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What I would do ...

 

As Silverlight says, if at all possible don't delete anything to begin with ...

 

1) Make sure both drives are connected.

2) Make a new folder on the Dobo (call it iTunes Main or something similar

3) Copy the iTunes Library files (not any of the music files) to this new folder (basically all files and folders except the "Music" folder.

4) Start iTunes with held down and browse and select the newly copies iTunes Library.

5) Check that the music will play ...

6) In preferences, select the new folder as the location for your music files.

7) in the File menu, select Library then Consolidate Library. Now sit back as all the files on the Seagate and original Drobo folder will be copied to the new location. This will keep all your playlists and other tagging information, etc. You may loose album art that iTunes has downloaded from the iTunes Store, if so just select all and click "Get Album Art"

 

You should now have a fully working iTunes library containing your AIFF files.

 

8) Download the iTunes Library Manager from Doug's Apple Scripts

9) Click to create a new library within iTLM (iTunes Library Manager) - call it ALAC or something memorable. This new library will have all the music from your existing library.

10) Start iTunes with the new library.

11) Change your preferences so that the location for files points to new library, change the rip settings, etc. The location for the compressed library could be also on the Drobo, or could be on the Seagate drive, whichever you are comfortable with.

12) Tell iTunes to convert to ALAC (or AAC or whatever you choose).

 

You should now have two libraries - accessible via iTLM. One will be AIFF files, the other ALAC.

 

Now, download SuperDuper and make a backup of your iTunes library onto a separate external disc - you don't want to have to do all this again :-)

 

Hope this helps ...

Eloise

 

 

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Thanks again for your detailed advice. I really appreciate your taking the time to do this. I just have a fewfollow up questions:

 

1. In Step 7, will this create duplicate files, since the two libraries being consolidated are identical, or will itunes know to throw out duplicates? Does this physically copy the Seagate files onto the Drobo?

 

2. In Step 11, I am not sure I understand what this means: "Change your preferences so that the location for files points to new library". Do you mean that I should make the Seagate music folder the music folder location for this library? I thought in a prior post you told me that this only affects newly added files, not already existing files. How do I make sure that this library only looks to the Seagate files and not the consolidaetd files on the Drobo? Obviously, this is an important point to me because when I compress the files in this library, I only want to compress the Seagate files, not the Drobo files.

 

3. As to backing up on a third external hard drive, I am disinclined to do this. Part of the reason for putting the ALAC library on a separate hard drive rather than also on the Drobo was that it could do double duty as a backup copy. I plan to keep it in a separate room and only attach it to the computer to sych my ipod or update it with new files. Do you think this is a bad idea and that I should really create a third copy of the library?

 

Thanks again.

 

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1) when you consolidate, iTunes copies all the msic files to the location specified in the preferences dialogue. You'll end up with a copy of all your music on the Drobo in a new folder. Once you're sure everything is good you can delete the old folder on the Drobo and the Seagate.

 

2) When the iTunes Library Manager creates a new library it contains the music from your existing library without making a copy. When you tell iTunes to convert to Apple Lossless it creates a new copy in the location specified in the preferences - this you will have changed to the seagate drive. The advantage of the iTLM programme is it tracks and stores preferences you select for each library (unlike starting iTunes with option held down).

 

3) No you don't need a separate backup. Apple Lossless files can be converted back to AIFF without problem so yor ALAC library will be fine as a backup.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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