Moving iTunes

In preparation for my trip, I wanted to move my entire iTunes library computer from my tablet (Daedalus) to my netbook (Nautilus) so I could listen to music while I was traveling. Unfortunately, I’m of the anal-retentive type when it comes to managing my music. Specifically, I must keep track of my play counts and ratings. I have no idea what I’m like this way, it’s my thing, just go with it.

I decided the best way to this would be to copy my entire iTunes folder over the wired-network, essentially duplicating my entire music library on my netbook, which is the computer I’ll be bringing for my trip. I used TeraCopy to move the files, which took about two hours. I get the files onto Nautilus, but then I run into a bit of trouble with iTunes.

iTunes keeps thinking the music files are located in C:\Users\AndrewFerguson\Music\iTunes, however, for various reasons, I’ve put them onto the D drive at D:\iTunes. After dinking around1 for a while with iTunes, trying get my music, play counts, ratings, playlists, and podcasts all imported, I conclude that iTunes will not be helping me in this endeavor and that I’ll either need to put the music into C:\Users\AndrewFerguson\Music\iTunes, which I can’t do for various reasons (including the fact that I don’t have enough space on that partition), or just reimportant my music and lose all my beloved data.

To me, neither of these solutions is adequate. Then I have a stroke of genius. I remember that *NIX systems have something called symbolic links or symlink, for short:

A symbolic link merely contains a text string that is interpreted and followed by the operating system as a path to another file or directory. It is a file on its own and can exist independently of its target. If a symbolic link is deleted, its target remains unaffected. If the target is moved, renamed or deleted, any symbolic link that used to point to it continues to exist but now points to a non-existing file. Symbolic links pointing to non-existing files are sometimes called orphaned or dangling.

The only question remain was: Would Windows XP Home support my cunning plan? As it turns out, the answer is yes! Although it took a bit of massaging.

First, I had to download a program from SysInternals called Junction. This brings up a side note, what everyone else calls symlinks, Microsoft calls junctions. I don’t know why, they just do.

Second, I had to create the C:\Users\AndrewFerguson\Music\ file structure, which is basically just a bunch of empty folders. Not a huge deal and only a minor inconvienence.

Finally, I opened up a command prompt and typed in

junction c:\Users\AndrewFerguson\Music\iTunes\ D:\iTunes\

and got the following response:

Created: c:\Users\AndrewFerguson\Music\iTunes\
Targetted at: D:\iTunes\

I fired up iTunes and my music played! When I’m done at the end of my trip, I can just copy the iTunes Library file back and all my ratings and play counts will remain intact.

  1. yes, that’s the technical term