Introduction: 2 PC's 1 ITunes.

Picture of 2 PC's 1 ITunes.

Like most people I hate iTunes. I admit the iPod showed up on the scene and dominated the MP3 player market for good reason but ever sense then iTunes has been more of a bully than a help. I want to control where my files are located, and I do NOT want iTunes syncing ANYTHING. I will choose what music is on what device.

Also, my music collection is just over 70GB. I don't want to give up 70GB on my laptop and I want my MP3's backed up. I own physical copies of my music so that means I have ripped all of this 70GB myself. It would take a LONG time go through it all making MP3's again if tech problems killed my files. I need my MP3's safe on backed up NAS.

That's easy enough to do by turning off everything in iTunes and changing your iTunes media folder to your NAS.

Now here is the problem. What if you have more than one PC that you want to use to access your music collection on your NAS? I run a PC in my basement as an iTunes server for my whole home audio. No one wants to go down to the basement and use that PC when adding music to iTunes so we use the good laptop that is always in hand.

I have two PC's accessing an iTunes library media location and the iTunes server PC is an iTunes mirror of the main PC.

This is how I am working around it.

Step 1: 2 PC's 1 Music Library

The main PC has its iTunes media folder pointed to the NAS but, it has its own iTunes library file "database" stored locally. This file is the brains of iTunes and tells it that it has music and where.

For example:

C:\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl

The iTunes server PC has its itunes library folder located on my NAS so its also backed up.

Z:\Underground_iTunes_library\iTunes Library.itl

Here is the tricky part. If you were to set iTunes on both PC's to point to the same NAS they are both capable accessing all the music BUT only the PC that use's iTunes to add music to its' iTunes library file (file>add file to library...) will actually have it available. So you have to go add it a second time on the other PC or copy the .itl file from one PC to the other.

Step 2: .itl Copy

Picture of .itl Copy

I let the main PC be used to add music to our collection just like it has always been done. I do a manual step to make the iTunes server recognize changes done by the main PC.

I use Chrome Remote Desktop to remote in to the iTunes server and close iTunes. Then I run a batch file to copy over the iTunes server .itl with the main PC .itl

xcopy /Y "C:\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl" "Z:\Underground_iTunes_library\iTunes Library.itl"

Then I start iTunes backup on the iTunes server machine and it's once again a mirror image of iTunes on the main PC. It happens as fast as I can click.

If you don't turn off all of the "sound check" options then the process could be very slow. There is one "hidden" sound check to turn off. Right click on a playlist and choose to burn it to a disk. (you don't need a disk, we aren't going to really burn one). In the Burn Settings make sure "use sound check" is NOT checked. Even if you have this unchecked elsewhere in iTunes, the setting on this screen will cause processing time every time you update the .itl

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