Will spanning to a removable drive cause me problems?

Steven Marsh shared this question 7 years ago

What happens if I span material to a removable drive, and the drive is removed? I'd like to span some TV shows that I don't plan on watching often to an external USB drive that is sometimes removed (to clear up USB ports for other purposes). If the drive isn't plugged in and I try to access those files from iTunes, will it get confused and cause problems? Or will it just say, "Hey! Plug in that drive, dummy!" (Pre-TuneSpan, I remember trying different methods of relocating files, and the exclamation point "file not found" error was a real PITA to deal with... for each file iTunes couldn't find, I'd need to go and point it to its locale. Ugh!)

BTW, TuneSpan is an amazing piece of software. I absolutely love it. Thanks in advance!

Comments (3)


Using TuneSpan with removable media will absolutely NOT cause you problems :-)

That is precisely how I made TuneSpan to be used.

Of course, the files will not be available to play when the drive is unplugged, but when you plug the drive back in, iTunes will find your files again.

Sometimes it can be helpful to relaunch iTunes after you reconnect a drive with spanned media on it so that iTunes will load all the artwork and not continue to think any files are still unavailable after they had already been tried to be played when the drive wasn't plugged in.

Of course, if you happen to run into any issue, I'll be here to help!

Please don't hesitate to get in touch f you have any other questions or anything.

Also, thanks so much for using TuneSpan!


Hi Steven and Pico,

Indeed the process of spanning and having iTunes to update the location works fine. However, when my drive is not connected and when I accidentally try to play a music that is located on that disconnected drive, iTunes hangs... it doesn't pop any error message, and instead I have to kill iTunes... which is a bit annoying.

Am I doing something wrong ? My set-up is iTunes 11.0.2, TuneSpan 1.1 and Synology NAS D211j.

Anyway thank you for this great soft. Regards,




Hey Tristan, so sorry I didn't get back right away.

I believe this issue may be connected with a normal iTunes behavior.

When media is on a NAS, iTunes will attempt to mount the drive if it can. You can think of it as the same way iTunes would try to spin up an idling drive if you attempt to play media on it. iTunes would stall for a moment while waiting for the drive to spin up.

Waiting for a NAS to mount can take even longer than just a drive spinning up, and it may take longer still for iTunes to realize that it can't mount the NAS which would cause a longer stall, like if you're connected to the internet, but not on your local network where the NAS is, iTunes may not realize that and continue trying. It shouldn't totally freeze up iTunes, but I could imagine how that might happen... it would be a bug in iTunes if it totally froze, but it may not be totally freezing, just take longer than you want to wait around for it.

I don't really have a solution, but you could test the idea by turning off your Wi-Fi, totally disconnecting from the internet or any network and attempt to play a track on the NAS in iTunes. Since there is no network, iTunes should quickly tell you that it can't play the track rather than stalling out trying to mount the drive.

So, that's my thoughts so far, I'll keep thinking about it and do some investigating online to see if there's some way to avoid this in iTunes, maybe to have it not try to mount the NAS drive. But, in most cases, you may want iTunes to automount the NAS when media on it is played. Anyway, I'm not sure yet.

Let me know if my idea is true, if iTunes doesn't stall out when you aren't on any network. That would at least narrow the exact issue you're running into.