Play music from an external hard drive

How to add an external hard drive to a music player's library

Daniel Shaughnessy wants iTunes and Windows Media Player to see the music on his external USB hard drive.

This can be done, but there are two caveats: You have to tell these programs that a particular folder on the external drive should be part of their music "library." And you have accept occasional error messages when the drive isn't plugged in and the program can't find the music you want to play.

Here's how to add the appropriate folder to the library:

In Windows Media Player 11, with the external drive plugged in, press F3. Click Advanced Options, then the Add button below the list of folders. It's all pretty obvious from there.

In iTunes 8, select File, then Add Folder to Library (in iTunes 9 this appears simply as "Add to Library"). Select the folder from the resulting Browse For Folder box. If the external hard drive is your main source of music, you can select it as the primary library source by going into iTunes Preferences, clicking on Advanced and hitting "Change" next to the iTunes Media Folder location. From here, you can also allow iTunes to reorganise your music collection or automatically update the hard drive with any music you add directly to iTunes. If you choose to do this, however, you must make sure your external hard drive is connected whenever iTunes is open.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags musichard drivesiTunesWindows media player

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?