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I found this article http://gigaom.com/apple/one-itunes-library-on-multiple-computers/ which describes sharing a single library with multiple clients. Unfortunately this article is for Macs and I use Windows. The article mentions 3 jobs that need to be completed.'

A) - pointing all clients to the location of the Library. This is understandable and I can replicate using windows clients.

B) Universal Library Set-up. This mentions holing the option key and double click iTunes icon. This is so you can create the index at a specific location

C) Point clients to index. Again this mentions Option double click.

What is the Windows equivalent to option double click iTunes?

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2 Answers 2

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First make sure that regular Home Sharing (Preferences..Home Sharing) does not do what you're looking for, since that's the native, default way of sharing libraries with iTunes.

As Marcus said, shift-click lets you point to a library but it's a pain to use on a regular basis. If you're going this route, I recommend using junctions to create a reparse point from the default library location in /User/My Music/iTunes of each client towards the shared library location.

To avoid messing up file links within the library, just make sure to set the same music location in every client Preferences...Advanced BEFORE doing this, ideally a common mapped drive like "X:\Music". Even though the iTunes libray.itl contains the absolute paths of the music files, if the default location is different it won't add files correctly.

  1. In C:\Users\Me\Music\, move the iTunes folder to your shared drive.
  2. In an elevated command prompt, create a link to your shared library folder.

    mklink /D "C:\Users\Me\Music\iTunes" "X:\iTunes"

  3. Now iTunes will open this library by default (X:\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl)

Note that the is not the location of the actual music files, but just the folder where iTunes will put the iTunes database files and downloaded artwork.

Finally, the main inconvenience outlined by the article bears repeating: assuming iTunes doesn't otherwise complain, having multiple opened instances of the same library will end up reverting changes endlessly, including play counts, ratings, and most importantly, any addition/deletion. Only the changes done in the last iTunes to save the file will actually be saved.

On the plus side, I can confirm that iTunes updates works pretty well. The first client to load the library will update it, and all is good for the next ones.

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Hold down the shift key key whilst double clicking the iTunes icon to open the application. You will be prompted to point your client at a specific library of your choosing.

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If this is the answer, awesome. Somehow I have gone my entire IT life without knowing this...all of those wasted hours doing library migrations...My life will never be the same. Thank you Marcus! –  francisswest Mar 19 '12 at 22:41

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