Ipod/Itunes Question

My girlfriend just got back from traveling around Guatemala. I’m really glad to have her back and all, but it seems that while she was there, she dropped my ipod into a limestone pool and fried it. However, like a great girlfriend, she bought me a brand spanking new 120g Ipod when she returned home. I suggested that we share the Ipod, since my old Powerbook only has 80g of memory as it is and we both have a lot of music.

Here’s the problem, pt. 1: she has a PC and I have a Mac. This means we can only have the Ipod hooked up to one of our computers. My solution was to have all of her music store on an external hard drive that we could connect to my laptop, but I’m not sure if Itunes recognizes those songs and allows them to be put onto an Ipod without adding them to your library and, thus, my Powerbook’s hard drive.

Is there some simple solution that I am over looking here (besides getting a laptop with a larger hard drive, which isn’t all that simple)?

Any help would be much appreciated.


Tim K

about 14 years ago

I think if you install I-tunes on both Machines, you should be able to access your account from either. Storing them on the ext. drive may or may not work depending on what you name the songs. (Sometimes you have to rename a song on your hard drive so Windows will recognize it). The best solution would be to boycott I-tunes. Buy your CDs from actual musicians and independent record stores, then get a free mp3 convertor program (like RightClick) and copy and convert your CDs onto a hard drive for long term archiving. I've been doing it this way for many years without hassle. Remember, you are only really RENTING music from I-tunes. After a certain number of device loads, they stop working.

Tim K

about 14 years ago

Oh yeah, I cannot guarantee what your Ipod will do this, either. I refuse to buy one of their overpriced mp3 players. I've got some generic $40 thing that has been a workhorse for 4 plus years.


about 14 years ago

use mediamonkey to transfer music.  its free.  tell itunes that you want to manually sync your ipod.  it has full support of your ipod. 



about 14 years ago

Yeah, ok, I get the whole anti-Itunes thing.

Without going on a long winded explanation about how much music I buy and from where, I'll only say that I don't buy music off of Itunes.

Now, the facts here are:
I have an Ipod.
I have Itunes. 
My girlfriend and I have a shitload of music in digital form.
My laptop hard drive has only 80g.
We'd like to combine our music on an external hard drive and Ipod.

And my question:
Is there a way to add music to Itunes (and your Ipod) without also adding them to your computer's hard drive (ie., storing them on an external hard drive)?

Barrett Chase

about 14 years ago

Yes. An external hard drive will work this way. Basically, you just have to tell iTunes to consider the folder full of music on the external drive to be the main iTunes Music directory. You simply do this by changing the path to the iTunes Music folder location under Preferences > Advanced.

This is how I have my iTunes library set up, and it works great. New music that you download, or rip from CDs, will automatically go to the external drive, not your laptop.

The hitch is obvious: You have to have the external drive connected and turned on in order to use iTunes or sync your iPod. 

It will take a little fiddling to consolidate your two libraries and get everything set up. Here is a good guide to get you started. Please read that article, as it contains steps I'm leaving out. It isn't hard, but it will be somewhat time-consuming since you have so much music. Don't panic, though, it's all automated, and you don't actually have to sit there and watch iTunes think and groan.

The problem you're going to run into, however, will occur if you attempt to switch the external drive back and forth on both your machines. You can do this, but new music added using one machine will not show up in the library of the other machine until you add it manually. It's a real pain. But since you have only one iPod, maybe you were thinking of just using one computer with the drive? That's no problem, if so.

Barrett Chase

about 14 years ago

Funny you should post about this, by the way, since I just posted on my blog last night about the problems of using iTunes, one external drive, and two computers. 

But like I said, if you just use one computer it works fine.


about 14 years ago

ITunes.  God help us.  I could go on a wild spiel about apple trying to control the world :), but instead I would suggest adopting a more friendly/promiscuous format.  You may not have that option, but if that is the case, I cry for you.

I suppose if I was a terrible person, I'd say the same thing about MS :)  And, guess what, I did.

Tony D.

about 14 years ago

Of course, the simplest solution is to get a new girlfriend, one that comes preinstalled with a Mac....


about 14 years ago

thanks for all the help folks!


about 14 years ago

What Barret Chase said.  Set your itunes music folder preferences to point to the external HD.


about 14 years ago

I'm done a lot of tinkering with iTunes, here's what I know.

"Remember, you are only really RENTING music from I-tunes. After a certain number of device loads, they stop working."

This isn't correct. iTunes' stuff is now unencrypted MP4 (AAC) and a lot of it is pretty good quality, i.e high bitrate.

"Is there a way to add music to Itunes (and your Ipod) without also adding them to your computer's hard drive (ie., storing them on an external hard drive)?"

Yes. iTunes Menu > Preferences > Advanced

Plug in your external drive and change the library location. ITunes will copy everything over. Then check that it really has (compare the size of the old and new iTunes Music folders. Then you can delete it from your laptop. Even so, consider another drive to act as a backup or dump the contents of your external drive to another computer somewhere.

Here are some other things you should know. I've done a lot of moving iTunes libraries and separating music I write from the stuff I listen to. You can't have separate libraries for you and your better half but you can tag your stuff - select it all,  hit Apple + i to show the information for the selected files. Pick a field that isn't going to get used .. the comments one is good, then tag everything. Now you can copy your girlfriend's stuff over after she's done the same and set up a smart playlist that will only show your music.

There are a few other ways of organizing and sharing music with iTunes but if you want to use an iPod together iTunes expects that the iPod is only associated with one computer running one iTunes library.

Hope this helps :)

Barrett Chase

about 14 years ago

Also, with regards to "renting," etc. please realize that iTunes does not equal the iTunes Store. Just because you use iTunes, that does not mean you must purchase all or indeed any of your music from the iTunes Store. It will play any sound file that is not proprietary to another player/system.

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