iTunes Media Folder path and network drives

Q: I have moved my iTunes library to an external network drive. I have configured the Music folder in iTunes to point to the corresponding folder on the external drive. iTunes finds the music and plays it without a problem. However, if I exit and restart iTunes, the music folder has been reset to the default location in my user folder and iTunes is unable to find any of my music. I have to manually reconfigure it to the external network drive to be able to play any music and to be able to sync to my iPod. What’s going on here? Shouldn’t iTunes just be able to reconnect to the network drive at each startup? Why does it change the location of the music folder in the config? This setup used to work just fine when I was still using a Win XP box.

– Alberto

A: When using an iTunes Media folder on an external hard drive or network drive, iTunes will default back to its default original path if it cannot find the external drive or network path when it’s first started. This most commonly happens if the external hard drive is disconnected or you are not logged on to the network share.

Once iTunes is running, it will remain set to this path until you either set the path back to the external or network drive manually, or shut down and restart iTunes after connecting to the external drive or network location. iTunes will not automatically connect to or map a network share at startup—you must establish this connection manually before starting iTunes.

Note that this default iTunes Media folder location should not affect your ability to actually play your tracks as iTunes still references those using a full path to the network share regardless of what the iTunes Media folder path is set to. Again, however, if the network share is not connected, then iTunes will not be able to find the music until you’ve manually connected the network share.

The easiest way to solve this is to ensure that you’ve actually connected to the network share in Finder before starting iTunes by using the Connect to Server command on the Finder menu, or selecting the server from your Finder sidebar and establishing a connection to the actual shared location.

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