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How to Move iTunes Library to External Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7

If your iTunes library is getting bigger and you don’t want to bear too much cloud service costs; or you just worry about your computer malfunctioning and want to back up your entire iTunes library to an external hard drive., in this case, you need to know where to find the iTunes library and transfer the iTunes library to an external hard drive.

Many people think that iTunes will back up automatically or try to create a backup by exporting the library directly. However, when you export your iTunes library, only your playlist and organization information will be saved. It does not create a backup of the media files. So, the only way to ensure the safety of your iTunes library is to create a local copy. This makes understanding how to back up your iTunes library an essential skill. In addition, as the iTunes library grows larger, you need to spend more on cloud storage. So, for most people, the pragmatic option is to move the iTunes library to an external hard drive.

Part 1. Move iTunes library to external hard drive on Windows 10/8/7

You need to consolidate your iTunes library into a folder, and then copy the folder to an external drive to back up your iTunes library.

Integrate your iTunes library

First, make sure that all the items in your library are in the same place.

1. Open iTunes Preferences:

Mac: Choose iTunes> Preferences.

Windows: Choose Edit> Preferences.

2. Click Advanced.

3. Make sure the “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” options are selected.

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After you select the options and add the file to iTunes, iTunes places a copy of the original in the iTunes Media folder. The original files are left in their original locations.

If you want to save space on your computer, you can delete the original files after you confirm that there is a copy of original files in the iTunes Media folder.

4. Click OK.

5. Choose File> Library> Organize Library.

6. Check the “Consolidate files” option.

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7. Click OK.

Copy iTunes folder to external drive

To copy all items in the iTunes library (includes the iTunes library file that holds all playlists, plays, ratings, and other data), to the external drive:

1. Exit iTunes.

2. Locate the external drive.

Mac: On the desktop or in the Finder sidebar.

Windows: In My Computer.

3. Find the iTunes folder: By default, the iTunes folder is located at:

Mac: Finder> username> music

Windows XP: Documents and SettingsusernameMy DocumentsMy Music

Windows Vista: UsersusernameMy Music

Windows 7/8/10: Usersusernamemusic

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4. If the iTunes folder is not in the default location listed above, follow these steps to locate the iTunes folder:

a. Open iTunes Preferences:

Mac: Choose iTunes> Preferences.

Windows: Choose Edit> Preferences.

b. Click Advanced.

c. The location of the iTunes folder will be listed in the iTunes Media Folder Location box.

5. Drag the iTunes folder to the external drive. If there are many projects, it may take some time.

6. After the transfer is completed, the iTunes library is successfully copied to the external drive.

Note that this tutorial helps you transfer iTunes library to another hard disk, and there is no synchronization backup function. That is to say, you just copy the iTunes library to an external hard drive, once the iTunes library on the computer’s hard disk updates. iTunes on the external hard disk will not be updated automatically. Instead, we need to manually repeat the above action again to update! Therefore, as long as each period of time passes, we must copy and transfer the data once to maintain the library in an up-to-date state!

Part 2. How to restore iTunes library backup

If you need to restore your backed-up iTunes library from an external drive to your computer:

1. Exit iTunes.

2. Locate the external drive.

Mac: On the desktop or in the Finder sidebar.

Windows: In My Computer.

3. Drag the previously backed up iTunes folder from the external drive to any desired location on the internal hard drive. We recommend choosing the default location for the iTunes folder, which is:

Mac: Finder> username> music

Windows XP: Documents and SettingsusernameMy DocumentsMy Music

Windows Vista: UsersusernameMy Music

Windows 7/8/10: Usersusernamemusic

4. While holding down the Option (Mac) or Shift (Windows) key, open iTunes.

5. When the “Choose iTunes Library” message appears, click the “Choose Library” button.

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6. Select the iTunes folder you just moved to the internal hard drive.

7. Click Choose (Mac OS X) or Open (Windows).

8. Then, select the iTunes Library.itl file inside.

After performing the above steps, iTunes will open and the iTunes library will be restored.

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