COOL PROGRAM REVISITED: iTLU

Last July I posted this article about iTunes Library Updater (iTLU). iTLU solves an annoying (and major) problem with iTunes: when you first install iTunes, the program scans your computer for music. After that, the only way to add music to your iTunes library is to either rip a CD using iTunes or buy music from the iTunes online store. If you prefer to rip your music using some other program, or if you download music from any other source (legal or not), there’s simply no way to add it to your iTunes library. So if you were to buy some music from Amazon’s new online store, you won’t be able to add it to your library… which means that you can’t put it on your iPod. And that’s where iTLU comes in. You just tell it which folders to scan, and it’ll add any music it finds there to your iTunes library.

I’ve used the program for over six months now, and I’ve found it invaluable. It “just works”. And that’s great. But there’s one nifty feature I didn’t mention in my original post that I thought you might want to be aware of: profiles. When you open iTLU, you’re presented with this window:

iTLU UI

You then click the small button next to “Locations” to add folders for iTLU to look in. You choose which file types to look for in the “Extensions” box. You then choose which options iTLU should use (“Add new music”, “Clean orphan entries”). When everything’s ready, you click the “Start” button. Here’s what my iTLU window looks like just before I’d click the “Start” button:

iTLU UI (Mine)

It’s not that difficult to get everything ready to go on my computer, but it does take 11 mouse clicks. You see that button named “Save profile”? This is the nifty feature I wanted to tell you about. “Save profile” will save every setting you’ve chosen in the iTLU window. So the next time you open iTLU, you’d only need to click “Open profile” > [choose profile file] > Start. That’s 3 mouse clicks versus 11 clicks, and that’s pretty neat.

What’s even cooler is that you can use the console version of iTLU (ITLUconsole.exe) to load the saved profile and run iTLU from the command-line. Which means that you can have iTLU update your iTunes library with a single click via batch file, or even have Windows Scheduler run the task automatically! The command-line syntax couldn’t be easier:

[path to ITLUconsole.exe] /p:[path to profile settings file]

What’s even cooler is that the profile settings files themselves are simple XML files, so if you’re comfortable with editing XML, you can easily create custom settings files for different situations. For example, iTLU needs to open iTunes itself to update the library. I would normally have iTunes open anyway when I update my library, so the “Close iTunes” setting in my default profile is “false”. However, if I want to have iTLU update iTunes automatically via scheduled task, I wouldn’t want iTunes left open. So I opened the profile settings file with my favorite text editor and changed the “<closeiTunes>” setting to TRUE, and then saved the settings file with a new name. Cool, eh?

6 Replies to “COOL PROGRAM REVISITED: iTLU”

  1. I just found iTLU while doing some research on a good server/client setup for iTunes. If I understand you correctly iTunes CANNOT be open for iTLU to start? It must open iTunes on its own?

    I was thinking of using DirMon to monitor when my music files are changed and have it trigger iTLU, but I’d like to keep my iTunes open while it’s doing that – is that possible?

  2. “If I understand you correctly iTunes CANNOT be open for iTLU to start? It must open iTunes on its own?”

    No. It doesn’t matter. iTLU will open iTunes if it’s not already open, or you can use it with iTunes already open. Optionally, iTLU can close (or not close) iTunes after its completed its task (if you wanted to run iTLU via batch file in the middle of the night, for example).

    Sometimes I’ve been working on an iTunes playlist and forgotten that I’d added some new songs to my music folders. So I’d run a batch file that invokes iTLU and does NOT close iTunes. iTLU opens, does its thing, and when the command-prompt window closes, I can go back to working on the playlist as I’d done before.

    The thing you CAN’T do is mess around with iTunes while iTLU is running. If you start iTLU and then try messing about with song tags or iTunes’ preferences panel, iTLU will stop and say “Waiting for iTunes to become ready”. As soon as you stop messing around with iTunes, iTLU will go back to adding\removing tracks from your library.

    This post was about specifically about iTLU’s profile and console features, so I apologize if there was any confusion.

  3. I love ITLU but have now upgraded to itunes 8.1 and am on Vista. I have read in a number of places that ITLU, Vista and itunes 8.1 do not work comfortably together and can cause problems with the irunes library, anyone know if this is true?

    I want to keep using ITLU but am scared to do so in case I ruin my itunes library (I have over 150gb of music)

  4. Martin: I’m just one person here, but I’ve been using Vista x64 since December, and am currently using iTunes 8.1.1.10 together with iTLU and am having *NO* problems.

    Can you give me a few links to the sites that say otherwise?

    Thanks!

    Jim

  5. Jan 2012, running iTunes 10.5 and IT STILL WORKS!

    One little detail, when setting up a batch job in Task Scheduler (Windows 7), the task failed and I got the following error:
    Additional Data: Error Value: 2147943859.

    Setting “Run with highest privileges” solved it. Running like a charm on schedule now.

  6. Yeah, this issue seemed to crop up under Vista\7\Server 2008, and “Run with highest privileges” should fix it (as you’ve noticed!) 🙂

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