How can I get my laptop to recognize my old iTunes files?

Monika Zillekens January 19, 2012

I’ve been using a large desktop PC with a huge hard drive until now. But I am going to move to a smaller drive in a laptop, and I have put all my iTunes library files on an external drive since the laptop doesn’t have room. My old computer recognizes these files on the external drive as soon as I connect it. But my laptop doesn’t. iTunes stays empty even through I changed the file location in iTunes settings. Does anyone how I get my new computer to recognize the files on my external drive?

  1. Monika
    January 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks for the answers, guys. None of it did the trick though. What DID the trick was one very simple thing: 

    I had to coppy three files in the I-Tunes Folder on the old PC and paste them into the ITunes Folder on the new Laptop. It was not enough to have them on the external drive, because those files are what tells ITunes where to look for its media. Now I have all data on the external file and it is recognized on both computers. :) All files are called something like ITunes "something". 

    • Mike
      January 21, 2012 at 3:25 am

      So basically on your first attempt you only copied the media files (music, videos, ..) not the actual (or entire) iTunes library.

      Those "iTunes..." files contain the actual library information. Without them iTunes doesn't know what media exists and where it can find it. Hence your library was empty.

      • Monika
        January 21, 2012 at 8:21 am

        Well, basically I thought it would be enough to tell ITunes in its own settings where the data can be found. There's a tab where you enter your data's location under advanced settings. In all the manuals I read there was never a word about actually having to move ITunes files from the local drive of the old computer to the local drive of the new computer. 

        So I just wanted to explain that here again because there might some others that stumble over that little trick... 

        • Mike
          January 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

          Thanks for clarifying... yes, the option is indeed misleading.

          I'm not sure why Apple made it that way but it's probably to prevent speed issues if the library files were on a rather slow external drive.

          The best way to move or your entire iTunes library is to consolidate the files and then move/copy the entire "...My MusiciTunes" folder

    • Anonymous
      January 21, 2012 at 9:16 am

      thanks for telling us your method, will help others in case the same situation.

  2. Anonymous
    January 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

    perhaps concerns Shared Music folder?

    External hard drive shows up in iTunes but tracks don't show up...?

  3. Mike
    January 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Usually it should be enough to select the old library within iTunes.

    press SHIFT while launching iTunes
    It should give you the option to select the library on your external drive. 

    Did you consolidate your iTunes library before moving it to the external drive? 

    Otherwise items in your Library will be shown with an exclamation mark and won't play.

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