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Move an iTunes library to a new machine
Authored by: acet on Jan 14, '04 06:20:12PM

I've actually played with this a bit and have discovered that iTunes is actually suprisingly smart with how it manages the Library file. I've observed a few things:

- The 'iTunes Music Library.xml' file is not required for backing up your music library information or to move the library from one box to another. It appears that iTunes doesn't actually use this file to remember anything, but rather keeps everything it needs in 'iTunes 4 Music Library'. I presume it writes out the .xml file for integration with other applications. But I can replicate an entire library without copying it over and it works fine. The .xml file is then re-created when I exit iTunes.

- The pathnames do not have to match when moving a library from one machine to another. I have 2 seperate machines on which I keep my iTunes library synchronized using rsync. One one machine, my home directory is in /Users/joe while on the other it is in /Users/jmr. When I rsync the iTunes 4 Music Library file over from the 'joe' machine to the 'jmr' machine, I can clearly see that the '/Users/joe' pathnames are encoded in the file. However, as soon as I start up iTunes on the 'jmr' box, the entire library is *re-written* with the pathnames to be '/Users/jmr'. This is not something that could have been done without someone coding some intelligent routines to detect this and handle it gracefully! I was quite impressed when I noticed this. There's some serious coding skill & pride that went into iTunes, I feel.

So yeah, in summary, to copy the iTunes directory over, just copy the 'iTunes 4 Music Library' file and the 'iTunes Music' folder from ~/Music on one machine to another. rsync works nicely for this, I've been using it regularly for over 2 years now. Don't sweat pathname changes, iTunes handles it gracefully. Also there aren't any resource fork issues you have to worry about.

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