Sharing iTunes with multiple users on one PC
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have four users on one Windows XP computer, but only one iTunes library which we all share. The iTunes library is under my own user account, and when other users such as my daughter are logged on, she can’t access the iTunes library to listen to music while she’s working. How can I let everyone access the songs without them logging on as me? On the iTunes library in my daughter’s XP account I changed the iTunes Music Folder location to point to the location that my iTunes uses at, but this hasn’t worked. How can I let the other users access the iTunes under their logon without copying the library into their directories?
A: There are a couple of ways you can do this, depending upon how your file rights are setup on Windows XP.
If other users have full read/write access to your “My Music” folder, or you’re willing to grant them this access, then the simplest solution by far is to simply point their iTunes installations at the iTunes library database in your own user profile. This is accomplished by holding down the SHIFT key when starting iTunes. You will then be prompted to either create a new library database, or choose an existing one:
Simply select “Choose Library” and then browse for the “iTunes Library.itl” file on your computer. By default on Windows this should be located under “C:\Documents and Settings\(your user name)\My Documents\My Music\iTunes”
Once you have specified this the first time you start iTunes under each user profile, they will continue to use that database as their primary iTunes database unless you switch it again by holding down SHIFT when starting iTunes and choosing/creating a different one. Note that each user will still have their own iTunes preferences settings, and you will need to ensure that the iTunes Music Folder location is set to the same iTunes Music Folder path as your own user profile.
Alternatively, if file sharing rights between user profiles is a problem, you can relocate the iTunes folder from your own “My Music” folder to a common, shared location, and then point all four users to that new database location.
Keep in mind as well that the iTunes library database is not designed for concurrent multi-user access. If you are using the “Fast User Switching” feature on Windows XP, always ensure that you close the iTunes application in one user profile before opening it in a different one.
Our article on Managing your iTunes Library on an External Hard Drive contains more information on how iTunes stores its library database and other related files.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post
- Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV
- Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider
- Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling
- Analyst: ‘iPhone 8’ to feature ‘revolutionary’ front-facing camera with 3D sensors
- Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers
- Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge
- Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE
- Rumor: iPhone 8 to eliminate Touch ID in favor of Facial Recognition
- Report: Apple working on 4K for next-generation Apple TV
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10