Windows – How to share a single iTunes library amongst multiple Windows accounts on the same PC


I use different user accounts on my laptop to segregate out my work, so I can keep personal use separate from work and hobby stuff. I have a single iTunes account and three Windows user accounts, and I'd like to be able to simply open iTunes when logged into any of my three Windows user profiles and view the exact same library and playlists. I know I can log into each one individually to get the iTunes store to be the same (wishlists, etc) but I want the local Music and Video libraries and playlists to all be the same as well. And I'd like to be able to buy something while logged into any of those Windows user accounts on a whim, and it will still show up when logged into the other Windows user accounts as well.

Basically, one iTunes library for the machine, and any of my Windows profiles can access the same library at any time, and add music to the library from the iTunes store or otherwise at any time and it will all be viewable the same way from any of my other Windows accounts.

I couldn't seem to find anything on Google, but maybe I just didn't type the right keywords. 🙁

I'm running iTunes 9 on Windows XP.

Thanks for the help!

Best Answer

iTunes has two things:

  • iTunes Library (music files)
  • iTunes database (playlists, ratings, etc)

To move both of these:

  1. Copy your whole ~/Music/iTunes to a shared location (for example C:\iTunes)
  2. Open iTunes
  3. Go to Preferences > Advanced and change the library location (choose something like C:\iTunes\Music)
  4. Close iTunes
  5. Hold down SHIFT and double click on the iTunes shortcut
  6. A dialog box opens up to move the iTunes database. Choose 'Choose Library' and choose where you copied the database to (for example C:\iTunes)
  7. Open iTunes, and it should be back to normal

This should make the current user use the shared library and database. Log into your other Windows user, and see if iTunes there opens the shared folder. If not, use the SHIFT+open trick to switch that iTunes to the shared folder as well.