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How to Make Your Music Library Truly Portable – Part 3: Moving your Serato Files to the new portable drive

Time to Move your Serato library to your new portable drive.

So, lets do a quick re-cap. You have bought your new drive, backed up your music to a different drive, and moved your music via iTunes to the new portable drive you plan on gigging with. You did that right?

Ok, now its time to move your Scratch Live Library to your new drive without losing any cue points, loops or crates, etc.

Ready? Lets go... click to read more:

Move your Library

Note: if you are new to iTunes organizing your music and have lots of SSL crates, then you will most likely lose your crates and will need to re-build them. The file names will still be there, they just wont know where the file is. So its not that hard to re-build them. If you stuck with your method of organizing your files, or have always used iTunes' organization then your crates will transfer over with no problem at all.

If you need some catch-up, read these articles: Part 1: Buying the Portable Hard Drive, Part 2: Moving your iTunes Library to your new portable (if you use iTunes), Part 2.5: Why letting iTunes manage your library is best, and Part 4: Plug and Play (literally) is coming.

So Step 1 is already done. That is moving your music files to the new drive. We did that in Part 2 of this series. Thats good...

Step 2:
Create a "_ScratchLIVE_"
folder on your portable drive (with no quotes). Don't just go strait into your drive and do this though. This is done within scratch live. Be sure your portable drive is plugged in. Here we go:

Creating a _SCRATCHLIVE_ folder

a. Open SSL, create a "crate" (its name does not matter).
b. Click on the "Files" tab in SSL and navigate to your new portable drive and find your music folder. It should be PortableDriveName > Music > iTunes > iTunes Music > all your artists and music will be in here.
c. Pick one song and drag it into your newly created crate. Any song will do. Once this is done and if you have a folder window open to your portable hard drive, you will now see a "_ScratchLIVE_" folder created on its root.
d. With your portable drive still connected, Quit out of Serato Scratch Live.


Step 3: Its time to move your SSL contents from your internal drive to your new portable drive. This is fairly easy.

Moving your SSL Files

a. Open 2 windows, one with showing your internal drive, and another showing your portable drive. On the internal, navigate to your "ScratchLIVE" folder (this should be in your Username > Music folder). On you portable drive, navigate to your "_ScratchLIVE_" folder now located on the root of the drive.
b. Copy all of the contents from the internal drive's ScratchLIVE folder to the portable's "_ScratchLIVE_" folder. You can do this by dragging and dropping, or copy and pasting the contents. It does not matter, as long as it copies everything. If you are asked to replace files while you copy, select "yes to all" and hit "Replace".

Note: Copying all this makes sure all of your settings in serato are moved over to the new drive and everything will be as it was before. Your cue points, loops, comments, history, effects, and everything else will be copied over and you will not have lose any of that important data.

Step 4:
Rename your ScratchLIVE folder
on your internal drive. Thats pretty simple. (Make sure Serato is still not open.) I recommend to rename it to "ScratchLIVEback_06-21-2010". The end is the date that you do this. This way you will know the date you last backed up your library and Serato will not read from the internal folder any longer.  If you don't do this step, Serato will read from both your internal and portable, essentially doubling up every file you have in Serato. You dont want that!

As an important note: The next time you open Searto, it will automatically put a "ScratchLive" folder back on your internal drive. You can ignore it. All the info going forward will now be saved to the portable drive.

Step 5:
Relocating your "lost" files.

relocate lost files

Now that you moved everything, you need to update Serato on where all your files went! You will get the lost file icon if you try to play your files now. Here is what you need to do:
a. Open Serato and click on the "Files" tab.
b. Minimise Serato, so its a smaller window. Open a new finder window and navigate to your music folder on your portable drive. Drag your entire "iTunes Music" folder to the "relocate lost files" button in Serato. Serato will now relocating all of the files and associate these file all to the portable drive. No longer will they be associated to the internal. This will probably take some time for serato to rebuild the library.

Thats about it!
You could rescan your ID3 tags too, but its not necessary at this time. If you already had iTunes organization (or skipped that), and all your files have finished relocating, then your crates will all be ready to go too. If you use iTunes playlists, those should also be running off of your portable drive now too. Everything should be gravy.

In the last section, Part 4: Plug and Play, I will teach you how to properly make your library ready to be played off of any computer. This one will be fairly short, and by now, you might have already figured it out. If you have followed Part 1, Part 2, Part 2.5, and this section Part 3, then you are already 95% ready to go!

Comments (8) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Does this feature work ok or would you do the whole thing like described??

    Copying And Moving Files And Folders
    Scratch Live gives you the ability to copy and move files, folders and crates between drives or to a new location on the same drive.

    To copy or move your files and/or folders, open the Files panel and select, drag and drop them in the desired new location. Scratch Live will then prompt you with the following options:

    Copy: Select this to make a copy of the selected files and folders in the new location. Your Scratch Live library will now contain entries for both the originals and copies.

    Move: Select this to move the selected files and/or folders to the new location. Your Scratch Live library and crates will now reference the files in their new location.

    Cancel: Cancel any changes.

    Remove original references from library: Check this option when using the copy feature to remove the original references to these files in your Scratch Live library and replace them with the copies in the new location. The original files will still be kept in their current location, but will no longer referenced in your Scratch Live library.

  2. If I were you, I would use the entire meths described in the articles on this site. I did this, it works and I have done it on my friend’s computers. This method is basically a blown out version from what is on the Serato website. Check it out:

  3. Hi. I followed your very helpful guide but noticed a few strange things.
    Shortly after moving it, I lost a lot of my crates. And recently other strange things have happend with my crates. Now I’m worried I’m doing something to switch my serato program form accessing the serato folder on the internal drive and the external drive.
    All my recent recordings have also somehow poped into the recordings folder inside the internal drive’s hardrive… Please advise me on where to start fixing this problem. Also, really appreciate all the advice. Cheers, Oli

  4. this might help: When I currently exit, Serato asks me to back-up my Scratch Live Library on to my external hard drive (which is a good thing!), as been over a week, etc.. And now I’m wondering if I’ve caused these problems by opening serato when the hard drive isn’t connected.. as has happend by accident on occasion (so I’ve now taken it off of the application bar at the bottom of my mac screen!). Also, if I continue as normal now and try not to open serato without the hard drive plugged in, will I be alright now? or do you think I need to check I havent messed up anything else? Thanks! Oli

  5. Oli,
    So, looks like you kind have already begun to fix the issues you are having. YES, you need your HD plugged in when using Serato. If not, what ever songs you play in serato will be associated with your internal, thus defeating the purpose of making your library portable. A good check for serato is, plug in the HD, and open Serato. Then open the “Location” tab in the main browser window of Serato, organize your files by location (by clicking on that tab), and check to make sure that all of your files are on the external HD. Any files that are not will be obvious. There are steps to fix that.

    There are also steps to ensure your crates are living in the right spot, but i cannot remember that off the top of my head. Read this for that help:

    Do you use iTunes to help organize your files? If so, and iTunes is working off your external HD, when you launch iTunes first and your HD is not plugged in, it will prompt you that it cannot find the library. Its a good reminder that you need to plug it in.

    And lastly, make your own backups of your Serato Crate files (with the backup folder too): Or the easy way, create your own backup folder, inside it make a folder with the date on it, then drag (while copying) your SSL folder in there. I do this every month or so, depends on how often i am playing.
    This is VERY important. If your folders get corrupted for some reason, say you HD gets unplugged while using Serato, your serato crates might also become corrupt. The serato backup might fix this, but if you backed up and did not notice your corrupt crates, then you are boned! This has saved my crates many times, including a week ago! Im not joking. Serato need to tighten that up, but in the mean time, make your own backups. And back up your drive on a clone too, sometimes they wont load and once again, you are boned. haha… uggh.

  6. Thank you for getting back to me! I’m up to my eye balls in work, so will have to go through everything you said in a bit. But yes, I use iTunes, apart from the recorded files, everthing is on there. Also I’ve noticed that something at least is updating in both serato folders.. can’t remember what now, I was looking quite late last night. Oh, but I remember that the ‘history’ only updates in the the internal drive’s serato folder, and the external history hadnt received an update since I moved the serato folder there last year! I HAVE backed up now – seemingly to BOTH folders. So how do I know whether my crates are currupt? To be honest. It’s isn’t the worst thing in the world if I have to delete all my crates and start again, presuming I don’t lose anything else. Thanks, speak soon.

  7. but I did make a separate back up last year. Though not sure how you, er, re-boot off an old back up.

  8. OK, so the only tracks not on the external drive were my recordings.. they are all in the ‘internal’ serato folder.


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