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How to share a iTunes library between OS X and Windows using Windows Home Server

I am sure this topic has been written about to death since I finally got around to doing a search and trying to get it done.  There are multiple steps involved and I could not find one solid piece that discussed them in their entirety; thus the post.

The objective here is to have your iTunes library on your Windows Home Server and have both your MAC and your Windows PC manage them simultaneously.  Simply put, add a song on your MAC and its in your library…add one on your Windows PC and its in your library.  The solution is quite simple and a few steps need to be followed in order to complete the process.  For the purposes of this post I am moving my library from OS X to WHS.

Step I: Create a folder on WHS

  1. Create a folder named iTunes under your Music folder on your WHS (you can name the folder anything you want)

Step II: Move your iTunes library content

On the machine that hosts your library currently:

  1. Open iTunes and go to preferences
  2. Go to Advanced
  3. Change the location of your library to the folder you created on your WHS in Step I
  4. Now go to the File menu in iTunes and select Library and Organize Library
  5. Check off Consolidate Files and click OK

Your entire library will now be copied to your Windows Home Server share that was created above.

Step III: Move the library file

  1. Quit iTunes on your MAC – you must quit and not just close the window
  2. Open the Finder and go to your home directory, browse to Music and then iTunes
  3. Copy the file named ‘iTunes Library’ to the folder you created in Step I above
  4. Rename the file on your shared folder to ‘iTunes Library.itl’
  5. Now on the MAC hold down the Option key and click on iTunes, you will be prompted for which library to use, select the ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file
  6. iTunes will now rebuild the library and create a file named ‘iTunes Library.itl.xml’ and start as it normally would. (Patience required)
  7. Quit iTunes

Step IV: The PC

  1. Hold down the Shift key click on iTunes to open it
  2. You will be prompted to select a library at which point you should select the ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file
  3. iTunes will now proceed to create a new file named ‘iTunes Library.xml’ and open normally

Voila, all done.

Yes it is a bit strange to see two different iTunes library files on the share you created but this method will allow both machines to use the WHS share for storage and library management.  Oddly enough both the ITL and XML files will be updated by iTunes for the MAC and or the PC and you need not worry about your library being in sync.  The only other thing that I noticed is iTunes goes through a library update process every time it is opened on either machine.

Note of caution: iTunes can only be open on either the MAC or the PC, but not at both locations simultaneously since it will see that the library files are locked.

Please let me know what your comments are and naturally share your experiences with us via the commenting system so we can all learn.  Thanks for visiting.

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