Q: I just got a new laptop with a solid-state drive that’s much smaller than my old computer’s hard drive, so I’ll have to move my music and movies to an external hard drive. Can I still play them in iTunes?
A: Yes, but you’ll need to do some folder rearranging to get your iTunes library to turn to the media on your external drive instead of to the files in the iTunes folder on your computer. As with everything that involves moving files around, back up everything first. (It’s best to back up to a hard drive other than the one where you’ll ultimately store your iTunes library.)
Next, you’ll move the media stored in the iTunes folder of your old computer to the external drive. Then, attach the hard drive to your new computer, open iTunes, and go to the Preferences menu. In the Advanced tab of the iTunes Preferences menu, let your computer know where the les are by changing the location of the iTunes Media folder to the folder on the external drive. You could stop here and your music would play normally, but you’d run into trouble when importing new files. That’s because the iTunes Library file – the organisational database iTunes uses to know what’s in your library and how it’s organised – lives on your computer, and it would instruct your computer to put new files there, not with the others on the external drive. To fix that, put aliases of each of the media folders (movies, music, etc.) you moved to the external drive in the iTunes folder of your new computer. On a Mac, drag them while holding down the command and option keys; on a PC, right-click and choose Create Shortcut.