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iTunes 11 for Windows: Change where your iTunes files are stored

Change where your iTunes files are stored

By default, the music, TV shows, movies, podcasts, and other files that appear in your iTunes library are stored here:

My Documents/My Music/iTunes

You can change where your iTunes media files are stored.

Change where imported files are stored

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences and click Advanced.

  2. Click Change and select a new location for your files.

    From now on, new songs and other items you import will be stored in the new location. Songs you’ve already imported stay in their current location.

    To go back to storing imported files in the iTunes folder, choose Edit > Preferences, click Advanced, and click Reset.

Consolidate your files in the iTunes folder

You can consolidate all the files in your library in the iTunes folder—for example, to make it easier to move your library to a new computer.

  1. Choose File > Library > Organize Library.

  2. Select “Consolidate files.”

    Files remain in their original locations, and copies are placed in the iTunes folder.

  3. To create folders (Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and so on) inside your iTunes folder, and place all your imported media files in the appropriate folders, select “Reorganize files in the folder ‘iTunes Media.’”

Locate your iTunes files

Do either of the following:

  • Find out where a file is stored: Select the item in iTunes, and choose File > Get Info. The path to the file is shown at the bottom of the Summary pane (next to Where).

  • Show the file in Windows Explorer: Select the song, and choose File > Show in Explorer.

Copy items to your iTunes folder when you add them to your iTunes library

When you import an item by dragging it to the iTunes window or choosing File > Add to Library, a reference (or “pointer”) to the item—not the item itself—is placed in the iTunes folder. You might not be able to play songs if you move them.

You can change this setting so that iTunes copies of all the items are placed in the iTunes folder.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences and click Advanced.

  2. Select the “Copy files” checkbox.

    The next time you add an item to your library, iTunes places a copy of the file in your iTunes folder; the original file remains in its current location.

    Tip:   When you drag files to the iTunes window, you can temporarily reverse the checkbox setting by holding down the Alt key while you drag.

If a song doesn’t appear in iTunes anymore

If you move songs out of the iTunes folder, you might have to add the songs to iTunes again before you can play them.

If you throw away the iTunes Library file, your songs will no longer appear in your library even though the song files are still in the iTunes folder.

If files have mysteriously disappeared, run a full scan of your computer with up-to-date anti-virus software.

To make your songs appear in the library again:

  • Drag your iTunes folder (by default, located inside My Documents/My Music) to the iTunes window. You will see the songs in your library again. If the iTunes Library file was included, you’ll also see your original playlists.

  • If that doesn’t work, your songs may be elsewhere on your hard disk. From the Start Menu, choose Search and search for a song by title or artist. Drag folders containing songs to iTunes to add the songs to iTunes again.

    If you don’t find songs by searching, check the Recycle Bin.

Important:   For best results, don’t change the location of the iTunes folder or the folders inside it.
Last Modified: Nov 5, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Nov 5, 2013
  • Article: PH12365
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