Sync iTunes Library to iPod and your Music Folder (Windows)

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sync itunes library I have a lot of music on my computer. I won’t bore you with the numbers, but let’s just say that I periodically have to painstakingly go through my iTunes library, deleting the few songs I don’t listen to, just to free up room for some more music on my hard drive.

Needless to say, my iTunes collection can easily get unwieldy. I delete songs from multiple different places, constantly download new songs, change the tags and titles of songs, and so on and so forth. I’m tough for any piece of software to keep up with when it comes to music organization.

Luckily for me (and all of us), there’s a small, free utility called the iTunes Library Updater out there that’s designed for those like me – serially adding, removing, and changing their iTunes library.

A quick note: before you do any kind of major editing to your iTunes library, it’s a good idea to back it up (the library, not just the songs). To do that, find the files called “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” in your “My Music\iTunes\” folder, and copy them somewhere else. If something goes wrong, just copy them back, and no harm done.

Once you download the iTunes Library Updater (Windows only), run it. It’s a small utility, and opens up a single window like this one:

sync itunes library

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Within the window, you have several options. The first thing you’ll want to do is point it to where all your music actually is. Personally, I hated having everything in an “iTunes” folder (I’m rebellious or something), so I had created my own folder called “Media.” Wherever your music is (one location or several), point iTLU there.

Then iTLU starts to really shine. You have several options of what to do with your music, each useful in its own way. The first, “Add new music,” does just what it sounds like – scans the files and folders you added to iTLU, and adds new songs to iTunes that weren’t already there. It’s so much easier than manually dragging every song into iTunes.

The next option, and my personal favorite, is to “clean orphaned files.” When I delete music, I rarely do it from directly within iTunes; if you don’t store all your music in the iTunes folder, it has trouble deleting songs from both your library and your hard drive. iTLU will scan your iTunes library, and if it sees that you’ve deleted a song from your hard drive but not iTunes, it removes the empty listing from iTunes. On my first pass doing this, I cleared something like 800 songs.

synchronize itunes library

iTunes Library Updater can also sync track data (artist, album, etc.) between iTunes and your music folder, as well as update your iPod. It will open and close iTunes for you, should you so desire.

Once you’ve run a particular task with a particular folder set, you can click “Save Profile,” to easily run the same one again next time. I use the same few folders all the time, and find running iTLU a lot easier than always manually adding songs to iTunes, so I run that particular profile once a week or so.

The most popular use for the iTunes Library Updater is to keep your library in sync with a folder outside of the default iTunes folder (which I recommend, because the iTunes folder can easily get deleted if you delete iTunes). Just pick a folder, tell iTLU to add new files and delete empty ones, and you’re back in sync!

What music player do you use? How do you manage all your music files? What do you like about iTunes Library Updater most?

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