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I use different user accounts on my laptop to segregate out my work, so I can keep personal use separate from work and hobby stuff. I have a single iTunes account and three Windows user accounts, and I'd like to be able to simply open iTunes when logged into any of my three Windows user profiles and view the exact same library and playlists. I know I can log into each one individually to get the iTunes store to be the same (wishlists, etc) but I want the local Music and Video libraries and playlists to all be the same as well. And I'd like to be able to buy something while logged into any of those Windows user accounts on a whim, and it will still show up when logged into the other Windows user accounts as well.

Basically, one iTunes library for the machine, and any of my Windows profiles can access the same library at any time, and add music to the library from the iTunes store or otherwise at any time and it will all be viewable the same way from any of my other Windows accounts.

I couldn't seem to find anything on Google, but maybe I just didn't type the right keywords. :(

I'm running iTunes 9 on Windows XP.

Thanks for the help!

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Just to clarify, copying the entire library to all 3 accounts won't solve my problem because I want to be able to manage the same library regardless of which Windows account I'm logged in to. I'll be using the same iTunes account regardless of which Windows account. So I want to be able to log into Windows as User A, buy a song, then later log into Windows as User B and see in iTunes the song I bought while logged in as User A. Again, I'm going to use the same iTunes account, but I want to use the same library across multiple Windows accounts on the same PC. Thanks. – user18297 Nov 17 '09 at 23:10
up vote 5 down vote accepted

iTunes has two things:

  • iTunes Library (music files)
  • iTunes database (playlists, ratings, etc)

To move both of these:

  1. Copy your whole ~/Music/iTunes to a shared location (for example C:\iTunes)
  2. Open iTunes
  3. Go to Preferences > Advanced and change the library location (choose something like C:\iTunes\Music)
  4. Close iTunes
  5. Hold down SHIFT and double click on the iTunes shortcut
  6. A dialog box opens up to move the iTunes database. Choose 'Choose Library' and choose where you copied the database to (for example C:\iTunes)
  7. Open iTunes, and it should be back to normal

This should make the current user use the shared library and database. Log into your other Windows user, and see if iTunes there opens the shared folder. If not, use the SHIFT+open trick to switch that iTunes to the shared folder as well.

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Hey, this gets me well over halfway there. I'm going to accept this as the answer though I don't have the playlists working yet. It prompts me for an Itunes Library file (.itl) when I shift-open and I think it will take more surgery to get that going than I'm willing to deal with right now. I'd have to re-arrange a bit of folders on my system to accomodate. My laptop is running out of HD space anyway so I'll deal with that bit later. But I have the library available and I can buy music from the store into one central library now. Thanks for the help! – user18297 Nov 19 '09 at 0:36
Dave, were you able to solve this problem? I am interested in a solution to this exact problem. – joyjit Nov 5 '10 at 0:45
@joyjit - The only difference to making this work with playlists is the following. Follow all steps in Steve Armstrong's answer except in step 3. Go to Preferences > Advanced and change the library location (choose something like C:\iTunes\iTunes Media) - instead of pointing solely at the \Music folder. The \iTunes Media folder holds ALL the types of content (e.g. playlists!,) not just Music (: – Kristopher May 11 '13 at 15:12

Sharing a common iTunes Media/Music folder (and Consolidating/Organizing library) does not allow purchases on one account to show up on another. If they all accounts are authorised to the same iTunes account files can however be added from one Windows Account iTunes instance to another (without authorisation hassles)

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I use iTunes on two different Windows machines as follows:

The iTunes Library (the artist/album folders and the mp3 files) is located at C:/iTunes/iTunes Music/ rather than ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music. This is set within the iTunes preferences, and is done to get the username out of the path to the mp3 files. (I did a search and replace in the iTunes Music Library.xml file in ~/My Music/iTunes to get iTunes to recognise the move.)

The files in ~/My Music/iTunes (the database files) are synchronised between the two computers using Microsoft's SyncToy (as are the updated mp3 files and folders).

This works well for me and could form the basis of a solution for you, copying the database files back and forth from one folder as you log in and out of Windows but keeping the music files in one folder. I think that the copy commands could be done as scheduled tasks, but there may be a better way (Group Policy perhaps?).

A better solution, which I haven't tried so I don't know if it will actually work, would be to use Hard Links or Junctions from the files in ~/My Music/iTunes (or the folder itself) to one central version of this folder.

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~ and / on windows... I think not. – Slomojo Mar 31 '11 at 3:00

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protected by slhck Mar 2 '13 at 22:44

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