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iTuner User Guide

  1. Installation
  2. Starting iTuner
  3. Main Window
  4. Notify Window
  5. Detail View
  6. Context Menu
  7. Librarian
  8. Export Playlists
  9. Import Playlists
  10. Synchronize MP3 Playlists
  11. Uninstall

Installation

Double-click the iTuner MSI installer and follow the wizard. After the installation is complete, if you've accepted the default location, you'll find a new directory under the C:\Program Files directory, or C:\Program Files (x86) on a 64-bit machine, for example C:\Program Files (x86)\River Software\iTuner. iTuner can run on either a 32-bit or 64-bit machine but the installer itself is a 32-bit application.

Starting iTuner

A Windows Start menu item is added called "iTuner" and contains two shortcuts: one to run iTuner and one to uninstall iTuner. Click the iTuner shortcut to start iTuner. If iTunes is not already running, iTuner will automatically start it and immediately minimize the iTunes window; while iTunes is initializing the iTuner splash screen is displayed:

Indent40.pngSplashScreen.png

When iTuner is finished initializing both iTunes and itself, it will appear as an icon in the Windows System tray.

Indent40.pngPausedIcon.png - indicates that iTunes is currently paused
Indent40.pngPlayingIcon.png - indicates that iTunes is currently playing
Indent40.pngPauseActive.png - indicates that iTunes is currently paused and a background scanner is active
Indent40.pngPlayActive.png - indicates that iTunes is currently playing and a background scanner is active

For Windows 7 users, you may find it convenient to customize the Windows taskbar Notification area icons so that the iTuner icon is always visible rather than hidden away.

  1. Right-click the task bar and click "Properties"
  2. On the "Taskbar" tab, click the "Customize..." button in the "Notification area" box.
  3. Scroll down to find the iTuner.exe application and change the drop-down selector to "Show icon and notifications".
  4. Click OK to close the Notification Area Icons window.
  5. Click OK to close the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog.


Main Window

Click the notify icon to display the iTuner main window. This window is shown here with its three area noted:

Indent40.pngAppWindow.png

At the top of this window is shown the current track information. This panel is further explained in the Notify Window section below.

At the bottom of this window are the track controls. This panel provides the same controls familiar to iTunes users including previous track, play/pause, next track, volume, and ratings.

Features

Clicking the Set hot keys button opens an additional window where you can customize the system-wide global hot keys to control iTuner and iTunes. Default hot keys are defined as follows:

Key Sequence Action
Alt+Win+Space Play/Pause
Alt+Win+Plus Next Track
Alt+Win+Minus Previous Track
Alt+Win+Comma Volume Down
Alt+Win+Period Volume Up
Alt+Win+M Mute
Alt+Win+L Show Lyrics
Alt+Win+I Show iTunes
Alt+Win+T Show iTuner


Clicking the Shuffle button toggles the shuffle playback mode of iTunes.


Clicking the Lyrics button displays the lyrics for the current music track using Windows Notepad. If no lyrics are available for this track then this button is not enabled. Lyrics are discovered for a song only when that song is played. Discovery may request lyrics from multiple Web sites. While discovery is active, the Lyrics button shows the identifier number of the Web site currently being searched.

Note that lyrics discovery relies on proper title, artist, and album names. If these need to be changed, you can modify any of these value from either the main window or the notify window, as explained below.

Clicking the Show iTunes button forces the iTunes window to appear.

Notify Window

Whenever a new track being playing or playback is resumed after pausing, the iTuner notify window is displayed. This is a picture of the notify window with its important parts noted:

Indent40.pngNotifyWindow.png

The current track information is obviously the most important information here. The title, artist, and album are clearly shown along with the current track position. The track position is an interactive control showing the current relative playback position. To change the current position, click and drag the position diamond and drag left or right. To the left of the position control is
the playback time. To the right of the position control is the remaining playback time.


Field Editor
If the title, artist, or album name is not correct, double-click the field to switch to edit mode. While in this mode, you can modify the field value. Press Enter to save your changes or Esc to cancel and revert to the previous value.

In the upper-left of this panel is an icon indicating the current source library. While no icon is displayed for music play lists since that is the most common source, icons are displayed for these other sources:

Indent40.pngSourceCD.png - currently playing a track from a CD
Indent40.pngSourceMovie.png - currently playing a movie
Indent40.pngSourcePodcast.png - currently playing a Podcast
Indent40.pngSourceRadio.png - currently playing a radio stream
Indent40.pngSourceStore.png - currently playing from the iTunes store
Indent40.pngSourceTVShow.png - currently playing a TV show

Note that the source icon is not displayed in the detail view.

In the upper-right is the Change View button that toggles between track playback information and track details.

Detail View

While either the main window or the notify window is displayed, you can click the Change View button to switch between the track view and the detail view. The detail view is shown here:

Indent40.pngDetailPanel.png

Ten of the most important pieces of information for the currently playing track are shown in thie view. Although the panel is often too narrow to display lengthy title and disk locations, you can hover the moues cursor over any field to display a tooltip showing the full information.

The Location field is a "hyperlink" that, when clicked, opens a new Windows Explorer window showing the contents of the directory on your hard-drive containing the current track.

Click the Change View button again to switch back to the track view. If the main window or notify window is closed, it will automatically switch back to the track view the next time the window is displayed.

Icon Context Menu

Right-click the iTuner notify icon to display the context menu.

Indent40.pngContextMenu.png

On the context menu, you'll find the following actions.

  • Show iTunes - show the iTunes main window, bringing it forward ontop of other windows
  • Show iTuner - show the iTuner main window. It will fade unless you move the mouse cursor over it
  • Clean - Library maintenance (see below)
    • Clean album - remove "dead tracks" and "duplicates" from the current album or playlist
    • Dead tracks - remove "dead tracks" from your entire library
    • Duplicates - remove (and archive) duplicate tracks from your entire library
    • Empty directories - remove empty disk directories under your current library
  • Export - Export playlists (see below) One or more of these items may be disabled if the current playlist does not contain audio tracks.
    • Album - export and convert all tracks in the current album
    • Artist - export and convert all tracks by the current artist
    • Playlist - export and convert all tracks in the current playlist
  • Synchronize MP3 Player... - synchronize one or more playlists to a USB MP3 device
  • Mute - toggle volume mute on or off
  • Previous Track - move to the next available track in the current play list
  • Next Track - move to the next available track in the current play list
  • Play/Pause - toggle the play/pause state of iTunes
  • Shuffle - toggle playback shuffle mode for the current play list
  • About iTuner - show the iTuner about window
  • Options - open the options dialog
  • Exit iTunes - exit iTunes and iTuner
  • Exit - exit iTuner but leave iTunes

Librarian

During normal use, ripping CDs, creating and deleting play lists, the library tends to get cluttered with dead tracks and duplicate entries. The librarian commands allow you to mantain and optimize your iTunes library.

  • Dead tracks - these are tracks listed in the iTunes library for which no corresponding file exists. There are many ways this can occur. The most common is if files are moved from Windows Explorer rather than iTunes. iTuner scans the library for these phantom entries and safely removes them.
  • Empty directories - these are disk directories often left around by iTunes after using its Library Organize feature. iTuner scans the entrie "library" directory hierarchy looking for empty sub-directories. These are safely deleted.
  • Duplicate tracks - these are entries that either point to the same file or are copies of a track saved as different files. iTuner compares and finds similar tracks by performing a multi-level intelligent analysis. If necessary, iTuner employs online services if network connectivity is available. Duplicates are never deleted but rather safely moved to an archive folder outside of the library directory hierarchy. The complete algorithm is show here:
    • If the title, artist, and album are the same then...
    • If the Duration is not the same (otherwise they're not duplicates!) ...
    • If Bitrate is different then choose higher
    • else if one has lyrics and the other doesn't choose one with lyrics
    • else if one has artwork and the other doesn't choose one with artwork
    • else if rating is different then choose higher rating
    • else if playcount is different then choose higher playcount
    • else they're equivalent and choose one to discard

While a Librarian task is running in the background, the taskbar notify icon changes to one of the active icons shown above. You can also show the status of all running tasks by clicking the task panel view button.

Indent40.pngTaskPanel.png

The librarian commands often take quite a while to complete; duplicate removal will take a couple of minutes for 10,000 tracks. So while you may invoke more than one command at a time, they are placed in a queue and executed one at a time. When a command is invoked, the menu item is disabled until that command completes. You may continue using iTunes and iTuner during this process. You may also stop iTuner at any time.

The Duplicate tracks command moves duplicate files to a safe archive directory. This may be one of the following, assuming the first location to which iTuner has write-permission:

  1. Your user folder. This is something like C:\Users\steven\_iTunerArchive on Windows 7 or C:\Documents and Settings\steven\_iTunerArchive on Vista.
  2. Your local application data folder, such as C:\Users\steven\AppData\Local\iTuner\_iTunerArchive
  3. Your system drive such as C:\_iTunerArchive
  4. Your TEMP directory such as C:\Users\steven\AppData\Local\TEMP\_iTunerArchive

Export Playlists

The Export feature has two primary purposes.  First, you may export iTunes tracks from an album, by an artist, or from a playlist with just a couple of clicks and optionally convert these tracks from their native iTunes format to any formatted supported by iTunes: AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, and WAV.  Second, you can export a playlist to backup or share playlists; this can be done without actually exporting the associated media files - just creating a playlist file itself.

There are many reasons why you may want to export tracks from iTunes and copy them to another location.  For example, you may have a number of children's songs that you wish to copy onto your child's little MP3 player.  The iTuner export feature allows you to export all tracks from the current album, by the current artist, or in the current playlist to any location and in any format.  You can also create a standard index file such as in the M3U format.

Indent40.png ExportDialog2

This Export dialog shows the number of tracks to be exported and the source of those tracks: album, artist, or playlist.

  1. Choose the conversion format. Or choose "No encoding" to copy the tracks in their native format to the export location.
  2. Choose the playlist index format. Or choose "No playlist" to only copy tracks without creating a playlist index file.
  3. Check the "Create artist/album sub-folders" box if you want to create a hierarchy of directories beneath the export location to organize tracks by artist and album. If unchecked, then all tracks are copied to the export location itself with no sub-directories.
  4. Select the export location by clicking the "..." button and browsing your computer.
  5. Click the Export button.

iTuner uses iTunes to convert tracks. As each track is converted, you'll hear a short tone from iTunes. This is normal.

Note the "Create playlist without exporting media files" checkbox can be selected to create a playlist file without exporting tracks.  The playlist file will reference the physical files located within your iTunes library.  This is useful for backing up playlists independently so they can be recreated later from your library.

Import Playlists

The Import feature creates a new playlist by reconstituting the list described by a chosen playlist file.  It can also import new media files that do not yet exist in your iTunes library.

When you choose a playlist file, a new playlist is created and named using the name of the file.  So if you import your PartyFavs.m3u file, a new playlist is created and named "PartyFavs".

The location of each media file is read from the playlist file.  iTuner determines the artist, album, and title of file and looks for it in your iTunes library.  If it already exists, a new reference is added within the new playlist.  If it does not exist, the new media file is imported into your library.

Note that the media files referenced by the playlist file must exist.  If a file is not found then that item in the playlist is skipped and iTuner continues on to the next entry.

Synchronize MP3 Player

Whereas the Export feature allows you to export tracks out of iTunes, convert them to any format, and store them in any location, the Synchronize feature is specifically designed to synchronize one or more iTunes playlists to a USB MP3 player.

Indent40.pngSynchronizeDialog.png

The Synchronize dialog shows the available iTunes playlists, by default selecting the currently active playlist. The drop-down list on the right displays each USB device currently attached. Below that is shown some information regarding the currently selected device, including its assigned drive letter, model, and free space.

Below that is shown the target folder information. By default, the Auto-detect folder capabilities checkbox is enabled. This means that iTuner will attempt to create folders according to the "Folder layout" specified. The layout "Artist\Album\# Title" indicates that a folder will be created with the artist's name; below that a sub-folder will be created with the album's name; and below that the track file will be stored. If iTuner cannot create folders on the USB device, tracks will be copied to the root folder with artist and album information embedded in their filenames.

To change the default folder location or layout, uncheck the Auto-detect checkbox and change the Target folder and Folder layout accordingly.

When you're ready to synchronize the selected playlists to the USB device, click the Sync button. The button will disappear and a status bar is shown along with the processed track information. You can cancel this at any time. When the sync is done, the word "Completed" is displayed below the status bar.


Uninstall iTuner

To uninstall iTuner, click the "Uninstall iTuner" shortcut from the iTuner Start menu item. If iTuner is currently running, it will be shut down. Its program files directory is deleted and the start menu item is removed.

Copyright (c) 2010 Steven M. Cohn. All rights reserved.

Last edited Apr 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM by stevenmcohn, version 63

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