Author Topic: Can't use "removable" storage for Library?  (Read 4352 times)

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
[ tl;dr summary edit: MusicBee in certain circumstances lets you set up an auto-organized library on a large USB stick or SD card, but it only sort-of works. Is it safe to do it anyway? Is there any way around it? ]

I just got a $50 Windows 10 tablet to use as an mp3 player. MusicBee looks great as the software for it! I'm new to MusicBee, and don't normally use Windows - I'm coming from iTunes on the Mac.

I put a 32 GB SD card in it for the music library, but I'm starting to get the feeling that this setup isn't really supported. I could use some advice about whether it can be made to work, or if I'd be better off with some other software like iTunes for Windows, or foobar2000, or???

I've installed MusicBee 3.0.5929 internally on C:, and created the MusicBee library (the folder with the database files) on D:, the SD card. I configured it to be auto-organized, and all the files will be on D:. That seemed to go well, I didn't get any errors setting it up.

But the first problem is when I add files with "scan folder for new files"; it correctly moves the files into the auto-organized folder, and says ""File rescan/ add completed - xxx new files added". But they aren't actually added in MusicBee. They don't show up in the Music section, unless I do another "scan folder" on the auto-organized folder. I already made a bug report about that.

Now I've discovered that when I edit some tags, it doesn't keep the files organized automatically. I have to manually run "Organise Files" afterwards to move/rename the files according to the new tags. Well, at least it's possible, but it's a pain and I don't know what other problems I might run into...

I think it's because the SD card is recognized as "removable". Not really sure what that means, as there's no such concept on the Mac. I read in some older forum posts that MusicBee won't allow auto-organizing on removable storage. But with MusicBee 3, it seems to work - at least partially. Not sure if the "bug" is that it doesn't work fully, or that it works at all!

I googled a bit and it seems it's a hardware thing in the flash drive that can't be overcome without some highly dodgy looking hacks to the Windows disk drivers. Maybe it made sense a few years ago, when people only had slow 1 GB USB sticks that obviously wouldn't be used to hold their main music library. But these days with 128 GB, 50 MB/s flash drives for $30, it's a different world. Maybe there is (or could be) an option or workaround, to remove the restrictions on using them in the same way we used to use a 250 GB USB hard drive?

Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 03:19:48 AM by Elhem Enohpi

Alumni

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
If you're using the regular installer for MusicBee, your library file should be on the local drive. The music files themselves can stay on the removable disc. Alternatively you could try the portable version of MusicBee, in which case the whole application could remain on the SD card, or at least I think that should work.

boroda

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4033

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
[edit: Oh wait, Steven just posted a portable version of MusicBee 3. I'll give that a try...]
[edit 2: Uh, no. It doesn't work either. See next post. ]

Thanks for the replies.

I haven't tried the portable version. Does it have different code, that allows an auto-organized folder on removable storage? There doesn't seem to be a portable version of MusicBee 3, which is much more friendly on a tablet.

I used the regular installer for MusicBee 3, it created a default library on C:. Then I created a new library on D: (the SD card), at D:\Music\MusicBee3 and switched to that.

I think I have the auto-organization option set up correctly,
"move music on drive D:\ to folder D:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\"

I just tried switching back to the default library on C:, and tried to do "add drive mapping" in the auto-organize prefs, using the same "move music on drive D:\ to folder D:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\". But I got an error, "'D:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\' is on a removable device and cannot be chosen as the root folder for your organised library".

Ok, now I see what the difference is. When I created the D: library, and turned on auto-organize, I didn't have to browse to the organized library folder on D:, it was already pre-selected. And using the C: library, if I add the drive mapping for D: and directly type "D:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\" into the "to folder" box in auto-organize prefs, it lets me do it, without giving the error about "removable device". Looks like the check and error about being a removable device only happens if you use the browse button to choose the folder. So I've managed to choose a removable device for the root folder, when I shouldn't be allowed to do that. I guess there's code in other parts of MusicBee that refuses to auto-organize etc., when the root is on a removable device - even though it should be impossible to choose that in the first place?

If I jump throught some hoops - scanning the Music folder multiple times, and manually running Organise Files - it seems I can get what I want: an auto-organized folder on a removable device, using MusicBee 3. But maybe it's a bad idea...?
Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 03:25:46 AM by Elhem Enohpi

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
I just tried the new portable version and unfortunately, no. It's the same as the standard version.

It's not possible to have an auto-organized library on a SD card or USB stick, even with portable MusicBee installed on it.

It's an artificial restriction in MusicBee, for example it would work with a $60 128 GB USB SSD drive, but not with a $40 128 GB USB Flash drive.

Well it's sort-of possible, as I described. But it seems like some parts of MusicBee are ok with it, other parts not so much. I don't feel very confident about using it in that state, I don't know what might go wrong.

It's a shame, because MusicBee seems like a great match for my music-player tablet device. But it's only got a few GB free internal storage, so if I really can't use the SD card slot, then it's not going to work out.

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10694
Is the SD card showing up in MusicBee under Devices?
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
I don't know, and I don't have it with me right now.

If the SD card does show up in Devices, what does that tell me?

I assume it behaves the same as any FAT32 removable USB stick.

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10694
If it's under Devices, you might be able to right click on it and tell MB to treat it as a regular drive instead.  Not sure if that will help, but worth a shot.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Ok, it's not under Devices. It's under Computer, "Removable Disk (D:)".

redwing

  • Guest
Just tried with a portable v3 on a USB stick and can confirm most of what's reported by the OP.
The key problem seems to be that a portable MB on a removable drive is being in constant confusion over whether it's on a drive or a device. It allows auto-organization that's not working and thus shouldn't be allowed while it displays the drive under computer node rather than device node at the same time listing the same drive as a device under preferences/device section (BTW if you open MB on a fixed drive, it correctly shows the USB stick under devices node).
My suggestion is, in addition to fixing the confusion over drive and device, to allow auto-organization from a portable MB on a removable drive. As the OP said, there's not much differences between fixed and removable drives in terms of their capacity. And all the potential risks resulting from that setup should be held by the user, and a warning message can inform that when auto-organization setting is enabled.

Elhem Enohpi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
redwing, thanks for testing and confirming...

I can see why it would be a good thing to prevent MB from auto(re)organizing files on a portable device like a phone or mp3 player, since the built-in player might then be unable to find the files where it expects them. Maybe MB just can't reliably tell the difference between a portable player, and a plain old USB stick? So it errs on the side of caution, and disables auto-organize on anything that's identified as removable, i.e., has the "removable media bit" set in its firmware. As I said, that probably wasn't an issue when USB sticks were only a few gigabytes, but 200 GB sticks/cards are under $100 now. My laptop has only a 128 GB internal SSD drive, so I keep my main music library on a USB stick - iTunes handles it fine.

Another weird thing happened the other day, MusicBee changed the drive letter in the auto-organize Library preferences. So instead of "move music on drive D:\ to folder D:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\", it became "move music on drive C:\ to folder C:\Music\MusicBee3\Music\", which of course doesn't exist...

The behaviour is a bit flaky, but so far I'm able to use MB successfully for what I want. Maybe I should stop talking about it - I'd hate for it to get "fixed" by really completely disabling auto/re-organize on removable disks!