Dumb Little Man

How to: Share iTunes Media With All Your Computers

iTunes Media

To do this, you will need:

This project assumes that you are starting from scratch with iTunes. If not, (and many people won’t be) details are listed at the end of the article to help you move your existing libraries too.

External hard drives are really common these days. Most of them connect via USB or Firewire and they provide a great way to store and back-up data. However, for family members to access the drive, the computer it’s plugged into must be turned on. Performance of the host computer will also start to suffer as people access the drive and stream music or movies. So, while it works, an external PC drive isn’t the best option for this.

What we recommend is a network hard drive like the Western Digital My Book World Edition. You gain a major advantage because it simply plugs into an open port on your router and does not require a host computer to be turned on to access the device. It is essentially a “computer” [do we want to use a “server” analogy?] on it’s own and you can access it from any other computer on your local area network. It’s also really small, about the size of your average router, so it shouldn’t take up much room.

To start sharing files

Sharing and accessing the music on the external hard drive

If you already have an existing iTunes library
You’ll need to change the Music folder location and move the files over.

If there is a caveat to sharing media over your local network using a network hard drive, it’s that iTunes purchases are limited to five systems, then they don’t work.

Using the a network hard drive will free up gobs of space on your computer’s local hard drive, increase the total amount of space available to store media, and give a safer place to store files. If you’re like me and use a laptop, there’s always a chance it will get dropped in transport or stolen from a car or coffee house, and you don’t want to run the chance of losing all those media files too!

Written on 3/23/2009 by Elmer Thomas. Elmer blogs primarily at Thinking Serious which focuses on programming, design, business and productivity content for tech entrepreneurs living in a 2.0 world. That is, when he is not tickling his entrepreneur itch or consulting. Photo Credit: volkanoboy
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