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If like many people you use iTunes as your primary media management system to organize and play your audio and video files, you'll most likely reach a point where your content has started to fill up your hard drive to the point where you're getting dangerously close to running out of space. Now as we've seen, you do have the option of going into iTunes > Preferences or in Windows Edit > Preferences, and under the Advanced section unchecking Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library. And this lets you keep your media files on say an external hard drive while still letting iTunes manage them, so you can see them listed in your library, meaning your music files will stay on this external drive, but still be playable through iTunes.
But that doesn't solve the problem of files being added to your main iTunes folder when you rip songs off a CD or download content from the iTunes Store. That stuff will continue to fill up your main iTunes folder. As we've already discussed, the default location where iTunes stores your content is listed right here. We can change this to a different location. For instance, we can select a second internal or external drive connected to your computer by clicking Change. I would like to refer to this as extending or expanding your library. Now if you're following along with me I don't suggest you do this with your own copy of iTunes unless you really are running out of space.
Nothing bad will happen, but there's no need to change your Library location unless you've to. For this example, maybe I want iTunes to start saving my content to my drive A hard drive, which is an extra drive I have in my Mac, and maybe I'll create a folder in here and I'll call this iTunes Library Extension, or whatever you want to call it. So I will create that and choose that as my location, so you can see that's now listed as the location where new content in iTunes will be stored. Now at first glance it really looks like we just redefined iTunes' default library location, and in earlier versions of iTunes this would be true.
In earlier versions of iTunes changing this location information would make iTunes forget the default iTunes location information, meaning you would no longer be able to keep track of your content that still resided in the original location and iTunes would only track the stuff in the new location. But ever since version 7 of iTunes, iTunes continues to keep track of all the content in your original location as well as in the new one, and by specifying this new location on my second hard drive, which has a lot more room, any new content I add to iTunes, whether it's from a CD, the iTunes Store, or from just dragging files into iTunes manually, all that content will be added to the new location, but only if you keep Copy files to iTunes music folder checked.
And that's a case even when you're only using the original default location. So this allows me to spread my iTunes files out over multiple locations. So I still have all my original music in its original location on my main hard drive in my home folder, but anything I add after this point will be added to this new location. Let me show you what I mean. So you can see I'm getting this Updating iTunes library information here. Notice all my music is still in here, even though I changed the location of the iTunes library. Everything is still here. I can still play music.
(Music Playing) And if I look in my user account folder into Music > iTunes > iTunes Music, my music is all still in here. Now If I go to my Drive A and look inside iTunes Library Extension, that's a folder I just created and you can see it's currently empty except for the Automatically Add to iTunes folder, which iTunes automatically generates and we talked about that in a previous movie. Now on my desktop I have copied a folder of an album called Hot Fuss by The Killers that I want to copy into iTunes and I also have a copy of a TV show file here as well.
Now I'm not providing these songs as exercise files, because again, you shouldn't be extending your library unless you really have to, so I'm just using these as an example. When it comes time to extend your library you'll most likely to have your own personal songs and videos to add. So I'm going to drag these files just by selecting them right into iTunes and you can see they are getting copied over. And now if I go back to my Finder and look inside my Drive A and back inside the Library Extension, notice that the album in its entirety now appears in Music, there it is.
And it's also created a TV Shows folder since I dragged in a TV show, and there is the file I dragged in. And of course, if I look in my library under K for Killers, there is the album that I just dragged in right here. And also notice that I didn't lose access to any of the other content in my library. Everything is still here and still sitting in my original iTunes folder location and iTunes will still keep track of them. It's just that the new album and new TV show and any other content I add from now on will reside in the new location on my Drive A.
So this is a great way to increase the storage capacity of your iTunes library and spread your content across the multiple drives, instead of having to copy all of your old files to a new location. Although there may be times when you will want to move your entire iTunes library to another hard drive, and I'll talk about how to do that later in this chapter.
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