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How to Setup an iTunes Library On an External Hard Drive or NAS

Did you know it was possible to move your iTunes library over to an external hard drive? If you’re low on space and you have a lot of media that simply cannot be stored using iCloud, then one great option is to move everything to an external USB drive.

I personally never use iTunes anymore, but I know a lot of people who keep all their music and movies stored on their computer. I personally find it much easier to stream content from iCloud and to use iTunes Match or Apple Music for listening to my music.

However, if you use iTunes for managing music not in iTunes or home video files, etc., then you really have no choice but to store the content locally. In this article, I’m going to show you how you can easily move your entire iTunes library to an external drive.

Prerequisites

Before we do any moving of data, we first have to check to make sure everything is properly stored locally. Open iTunes and click on iTunes – Preferences in the navigation bar in OS X or on the small icon at the top left in Windows.

itunes preferences windows itunes preferences

Now click on the Advanced tab and check to make sure that the iTunes Media folder location is set to the default path, which should be Users/Username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media.

itunes preferences advanced

If the location is different, make a note of it because that is where you will need to go when we have to move the data. Next, on a Mac, click on File from the navigation bar, then Library and choose Organize Library. In Windows, you have to press CTRL + B or press the ALT key to see the navigation menu appear first.

organize library

When you do this, it will bring up another dialog where you’ll see a checkbox for consolidating all your media files. You should do this just to make sure everything is stored there before we make the move.

consolidate files

Check the Consolidate files box and click OK. Now that we have completed these two tasks, we can move on to the actual process of moving the library.

Move iTunes Library

Go ahead and quit iTunes at this point and connect your external hard drive. Now navigate to the iTunes Music folder on your computer. For Mac users, open Finder and click on Music in the left-hand list of shortcuts.

itunes music folder

In Windows, go to the location listed in the Advanced tab, which should be C:UsersUserNameMusic. Inside, you should see a folder called iTunes. Go ahead and copy this folder to the root of your external hard drive by dragging and dropping it.

copy data to external

Depending on how large your iTunes library is and your network connection speed, this process will probably take up the most time. Note that you should copy the library over, not move it. At a later point, we will delete the local copy. Once the copy has been completed, we need to open iTunes in a special way.

On a Mac, hold down the Option key and then click on iTunes from the dock. On Windows, hold down the SHIFT key and then double-click to open iTunes. When you do this, you’ll get a dialog before iTunes loads.

choose itunes library

From the two options, you want to click on Choose Library. Now navigate to the external hard drive and open the iTunes folder. There you will find an iTunes.itl file, which you want to select and then click Open.

itunes library file

If all went well, iTunes should load with your entire library enact! You should be able to see all your media files and play them. At this point, we can remove the local copy of the iTunes library. To do that, you should first close iTunes and then eject the external hard drive. Now delete the entire iTunes folder stored on your computer.

If you open iTunes without reconnecting the external hard, you’ll get an error message stating the library could not be found.

itunes folder missing

Click OK and then Quit. Connect the drive and then open iTunes and you should be good to go. Overall, the process is pretty straight-forward and you shouldn’t run into any major problems. The only issue I ran into was that I used a Synology NAS to store the iTunes library and if my NAS went to sleep, opening iTunes would fail. Eventually, I had to change the settings so that my NAS was on all the time.

Other than that, everything worked fine. When importing new media into my library, the files were copied to the external location and not to my local computer. If you do run into an issue where some files get copied to your local computer, just consolidate files like I mentioned above. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

The post How to Setup an iTunes Library On an External Hard Drive or NAS appeared first on Online Tech Tips.

Mac vs. PC Pros and Cons List

Can’t decide if you should buy a Mac or PC? It’s a tough decision because both platforms have different advantages and disadvantages. It really also depends a lot on external factors like what other devices you own and what kind of software you use.

For example, if you own an Xbox One, a Windows Phone, a Surface tablet and all the other computers in your home are Windows PCs, then it might be more convenient to stick with a PC. On the other hand, if you own an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple TV, and an AirPrint enabled printer, then a Mac would fit in really well with those other devices.

Additionally, even if you end up with a mixed environment with Windows and Mac devices, it’s pretty easy to share data across devices. It’s also fairly easy to access Mac files from a Windows PC and vice versa. You can even connect a Mac-formatted drive to a Windows PC and view the files directly. If you’re new to Mac, you’ll be happy to know that OS X has an equivalent for pretty much every feature in Windows.

So, without further ado, let’s go into the pros and cons for each platform, which includes the hardware and software. Obviously, this is a very biased and opinionated article, so feel free to share your thoughts if they are different.

Mac Pros and Windows Cons

macs

bootcamp

  • Macs work better with other Apple products in terms of software. This includes features like Handoff, iMessage, iCloud, iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Keychain, Find My iPhone, etc. Microsoft has tried to copy this, but only partially. 

icloud

  • Macs are less complicated and more intuitive to use. This is a very debatable point and the reason why I also list it as a con in the section below. If you’ve always been a Windows user, it can initially be counter-intuitive to use, however, I’ve found that it’s more logical once you get used to it. 
  • Even though Macs can get viruses or malware, the number of threats is still significantly less than for Windows just because the Windows base is so much larger. 
  • Almost all new PCs come installed with loads of bloatware from PC manufacturers, which requires manual removal. Mac computers have pre-installed software, but only from Apple and they don’t slow down your system. If you’re technically savvy, this is a non-issue, otherwise it can be a major nuisance. 
  • Apple has excellent customer support, AppleCare warranty programs, and exclusive Apple Stores where you can take your Mac or other Apple products for repairs, training or other issues.

apple care

  • Macs are sleek and visually appealing. To get something close from PC manufacturers usually ends up negating the higher cost factor for Apple products. 
  • Speaking of cost, Macs are more expensive than PCs, but they also hold their resale value far better than PCs.
  • Apple computers have some of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the industry. When you purchase a Mac, you are getting a high-quality machine. This can be true for PCs also, but with so many manufacturers and configurations, getting the best quality can be more difficult. 
  • Macs tend to be a bit more innovative in design and features. For example, Macs include Thunderbolt, USB Type C ports, multi-touch trackpads, force touch, keyboard backlighting and more. 

force touch mac

  • Macs can read NTFS or FAT formatted hard drives. Windows cannot read Mac formatted drives unless you install a third-party program.
  • The iMac, the only Mac desktop other than the Mac Pro, is an all-in-one computer that you can get with a 4K or 5K display, something that really doesn’t exist in the Windows market at all unless you get an ultra-expensive custom rig. There is the HP Envy, but it isn’t as good as the iMac.

PC Pros and Mac Cons

windows 10 laptop

  • PCs are manufactured by many different companies, resulting in a huge selection of devices with a wide variation in prices. With Apple, you have only a few choices with set prices. In terms of desktops, Apple has only one geared towards consumers, so if the cost is prohibitive, a Windows desktop will be a much better choice. 
  • PCs are more up-gradable and configurable. On Macs, you can usually only upgrade the RAM or hard drive and that’s it. Pretty much every component on a desktop PC can be switched out. When purchasing PCs, you also have a lot more options that you can configure including processors, cases, memory, hard drives, ports, displays, etc. 

pc components

  • Overall, there is a lot more software available for Windows than for PC. The opposite is true when you look at smartphones, but we’re talking about computers here. There is usually an equivalent Mac program for every Windows app, but they are not always as good.
  • Windows based PCs may have greater backwards compatibility. A five year old PC can easily run Windows 10 without any issue. A five year old Mac can run the latest version of OS X, but half the features will be missing and things don’t run as smoothly. For some reason, you always need the latest Mac in order to utilize all the new features in OS X.
  • PCs are the absolute best option when it comes to gaming. Macs simply do not come with as powerful graphics cards, even high-end machines like the Mac Pro.

pc gaming

  • Worldwide, most computers are PCs and Windows is the most popular operating system by far. This means the community is much larger and you can get more support for software and hardware.
  • In terms of accessories, PCs have a lot more options and those options are usually cheaper.
  • Though OS X is simpler, that’s not always the best for some people. Windows is more complex and powerful than OS X.
  • PCs can be configured with hardware that Apple considers obsolete. Some newer Apple machines don’t even come with CD/DVD drives. It also seems Apple keeps reducing the number of ports on each newer machine. The new Macbook has one USB port and one headphone jack and that’s it.
  • PCs work great with a whole slew of other products too. For example, you can stream your Xbox or PlayStation games to Windows.

These are some of the major pros and cons when it comes to Mac and PCs. There are a ton of other smaller pluses and minuses, but I don’t think those warrant that much attention when discussing this topic in general terms. Obviously, if you’re a professional graphics designer, then looking at specific compatible hardware and software would make more sense. 

The point of this article is not to say one platform is better than the other, because that is simply not true. If you are a college student and the only thing that matters to you is your budget, then a Mac will probably not be best choice, regardless of the other benefits. In my opinion, if you have never tried a Mac, you should ask a friend or family member to loan you a device to see how you feel about it. Just about everyone has used Windows, so you pretty much know what you are getting in terms of software.

Let us know your opinions about why Mac or PC is better for you in the comments. Enjoy!

The post Mac vs. PC Pros and Cons List appeared first on Online Tech Tips.

Microsoft just acquired an Italian firm to help it stitch together the Internet of Things

Redmond betting that smarter Espresso machines mean happier customers and more efficient employees

Microsoft is betting big that smarter devices can mean better business, and the company has acquired Italian Internet of Things startup Solair to help get it there.

While big data can sound great in the boardroom, it can be challenging to turn into actionable information. Solair built a platform to address that information, focusing on a few key areas such as helping connected devices phone home when they needed maintenance or allowing smart vending machines to recognize and reward their most loyal customers.

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Converged Infrastructure Adoption Rising Among Smaller Businesses

Slowly but surely, small and midsize businesses are beginning to adopt converged infrastructure solutions in larger numbers. A recent survey from Techaisle, a global SMB IT market research firm, found that 10 percent of small businesses and 27 percent of midmarket businesses—higher numbers than in the past—plan to incorporate some degree of converged infrastructure into their environments. As the market matures, Techaisle expects these numbers to grow even more.

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