Had a scare with iTunes last night. If you’ll remember my earlier optimisation efforts, I put the iTunes database and media files on an external drive. I love the Western Digital My Book, but it tends to go to sleep a little too readily.
I had iTunes open and the system lost the My Book. Not sure why. The drive didn’t seem to want to wake up when I pushed the button on the front. iTunes informed me that it couldn’t save the database. I force-quit, then launched again. This time iTunes informed me that it was unable to sync 100 items to my iPod because it couldn’t find the files. I force-quit again, ejected my iPods and copied the database to another drive. I then opened the database copy and had to point it at the media files. Then it started to remap all its paths to those on the My Book. This took a while, then it crashed on trying to process sound check adjustments.
I gave up, restarted and restored last night’s backup of the database, put it back on the My Book and opened it. All back to normal.
There are some things I’ve learnt from this experience:
- Daily backup of the database saved a lot of trouble.
- It’s a good idea to have your database (iTunes folder, excepting iTunes Music) separate from the media folder (iTunes Music). If you move the database, the link to the media is not broken. If the media folder is within the database folder, as is the default, then a relative link is established from database to media folder, thus breaking when they are separated.
- Put your database on a drive that will always be accessible to the system to prevent database corruption. You can put it on the main system drive which is closest to the motherboard and will probably never become unavailable or you can put it on an external drive but make sure that drive never sleeps.
Currently I’ve set the hard drives to never sleep and the My Book obeys but gets noisy from time to time when it gets warm, so I’m going to consider putting the database on one of my internal drives and turning the hard-drive sleep option back on. The internal drives don’t tend to sleep as they are being used constantly.