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I'm going to go to iTunes > Preferences, if you're on Windows you'll open Edit > Preferences, and go to the Advanced section. And I've mentioned a couple of times that I consider a best practice to keep these two options checked. Keep iTunes media folder organized and Copy Files to iTunes media folder when adding to library. And just make sure that all the files you import or copy to your central iTunes library, and to make sure iTunes keeps that library and its folders organized. In this movie, I want to talk about what happens if you imported content, but didn't have Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder checked.
So I am going to go ahead and uncheck this option for now and close my Preferences. In my video folder, from my Exercise Files, there is a short movie called rocks.m4v. I am going to drag that into my iTunes , library and if I go to My Movies section there it is and I can play it. So it plays just fine. Let's see where iTunes is playing it from. I'm going to right-click on it and choose Get Info, and under the Summary tab I can see under the Where section it's on my HD hard drive, Users folder, garrick, Desktop, video, rocks.
So the copy I dragged in the iTunes is the copy that iTunes is playing. It's playing the copy here in my video folder. Because I turned that Copy option off in Preferences, it didn't make a copy of the movie and placed it into my iTunes folder. Now technically there's really nothing wrong with this. You can have your media files scattered all over various hard drives, if that's the way you prefer it. iTunes to manage them just fine. In fact, even if you move the files iTunes can still keep track of where they go. So if I drag this rocks movie out of this folder and place it on to my desktop, iTunes can still play it.
And if I Get Info on that, you can see the location now is just desktop, so it knows that it moved. And it actually doesn't even matter whether iTunes is running when you move the file. So if I quit iTunes and move the file back into that folder and then open up iTunes again, the movie will still play just fine. And again it knows that it has been moved. Now it's on the desktop in the folder called video. So iTunes really can keep track of where everything in your library is really stored, but I really personally prefer to keep all of my iTunes content in the main iTunes library folder.
With files scattered all over the place, you run a much higher risk of deleting the folder or files you thought you didn't need, only to discover it later that the folder contained a song or video you were managing with iTunes. So if you find yourself in a situation where your iTunes content is scattered all of your computer in various places and decide you want to bring them all back together into the main folder, first of all go back to Preferences, and under Advanced make sure the Copy option here is checked again. Just so in the future you don't run into that problem. Then go to the File menu, choose Library and Organize Library.
That opens up a window with two check boxes, Consolidate files and Upgrade to iTunes Media organization. We'll talk about the second option in an upcoming movie, but for now I just want to make sure that Consolidate files is checked. And what that's can it do is identify all the files in my library that currently reside outside my iTunes folder and make copies of them inside the folder and then point to those files instead of the ones outside the folder. So I'll click on OK. Now, the only thing residing outside my iTunes music folder was that rocks movie, so that didn't take long at all and it didn't look like anything happened. I can still play the rocks movie, but if I get info on it again, you could see that the movie is now playing from my Users folder: Garrick:Music:iTunes: iTunes Music: Movies:rocks.
So this is actually is inside my iTunes Music folder now, which means if I wanted to know I can just delete the versions setting in my video folder if I don't need the second copy of it sitting around. So that's how you can bring in all the various files that might be scattered all over your hard drive and copy them into your iTunes music folder.
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