I’ve been working on my Windows Home Server 2011 and the one thing that I’ve been wanting to do was consolidate an iTunes database on my server that all individual PCs in the house pointed to. This way, if you were to rip a CD on any computer in the house, it would be saved to the server and not to the individual computer. In this way, all computers in the house would share a single iTunes database – not just the media folder – but the entire database and installation. I accomplished this for my Google Picasa installation a few months ago as well – all computers share and contribute to a single Google Picasa library (see this link for how – http://www.cloudave.com/911/how-to-guide-picasa-multiple-computers-multiuser-network-nas-shared-1/).
To accomplish this for my iTunes installation as well, I followed the tutorial on the Microsoft Forums at – http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/whs2011/thread/bd62ee3d-a933-4cad-ae9b-fd38adc994c0. On my journey, I learned a few things about my own install and a few tweaks that I needed to do to make it work correctly. In support of the power of social forums such as this, and since I learn so much from them, I always like to “give back” to the community as a whole. After all, I learn everything through social connections and collaboration. It is the new learning model.
Below is my contribution to the forum and reflection on my process – I’ll need to remember what I did later, too:-). The Microsoft Forum for this topic can be found here.
This worked like a charm for me to consolidate all instances of iTunes in my house to one central database now housed on my Windows Home Server 2011. For those that may be giving this a shot, I thought I’d add one little thing I learned to save you some time. At first, I kept the original iTunes database as installed in it’s folder on the Server at C:\Users\Administrator\Music\iTunes with a symbolic link to the same at M:\ServerFolders\Music\iTunes. I then also created a symbolic link on my central PC (E:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes) to the Server at \\SERVER\Music\iTunes. This caused me some difficulty as I was attempting to create a remote symbolic link to another remote symbolic link (I always refer to this post to remind myself about Symbolic Links – http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/using-symlinks-in-windows-vista/). Doing this provided me with this error – “The symbolic link cannot be followed because its type is disabled”. I found this tutorial which will explain how to change the SymLink default to allow Remote to Remote linking – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2012/05/07/the-symbolic-link-cannot-be-followed-because-its-type-is-disabled.aspx. This still, however, wasn’t the best answer as I continued to get errors from the iTunes program on the PC.
The one thing I would add to point 5 above (and it’s minor, but I find it easier):
5. On WHS Server box, make symbolic link so that iTunes sees same absolute path as on Desktop
– mklink /D C:\Users\Public\Music\iTunes F:\ServerFolders\Music\iTunes
…would be to navigate to the folder you wish to put the symbolic linked folder in on the client PC – in my case E:\Users\USERNAME\Music. Then all you have to do is type the ‘mklink’ command followed by the /D modifier that acts like a shortcut to a folder. Then enter the folder name you would like created (i.e. ‘iTunes’). This will create the folder inside the folder you are currently in. The easiest thing to remember is that the first command creates the folder that you want linked to somewhere else (not the other way around). I also found that I needed to put quotation marks (“”) around the location of the folder I wanted to create the symbolic link to(in my case – “\\SERVER\Music\iTunes”) – it did not work for me without the quotation marks. So the final command looked like this: E:\Users\USERNAME\Music>mklink /d iTunes “\\SERVER\Music\iTunes”
THE BEST ANSWER is to have the original and main iTunes folder located IN THE SERVER SHARE (\\SERVER\Music\iTunes) with the symbolic link in c: drive where iTunes is looking (C:\Users\Administrator\Music\iTunes). This way, iTunes is looking to the symbolic link that connects to the original in the server share. This server share is accesible via the client PC and a symlink on the PC now connects beautifully to the iTunes instance on the server.
I did find that, after a reboot, that iTunes locked me out as it did not see me as having permissions to access the iTunes database – “The iTune Library .itl file is locked. On a locked disc or you do not have write permission for this file”. I noticed that my user name was not attributed as owner and without read/write. What I did here was change the owner of the folder from the administrator account to my user name and everything worked great. This forum post was also very helpful – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_programs/itunes-error-the-itune-library-itl-file-is-locked/20dfa800-c0d6-4852-93d5-d1fe5af2e796