Zune is a great music store. You will find it integrated in Music of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.5. If you are like me, you run Zune from multiple computers (not at the same time). And someone like me wants song play counts and last played to be consistent across all computers where you run this. As of right now, Zune does not store that online. It only stores your total plays for all songs online. So I have made this guide on how to have a single Zune index database on multiple computers and allow each to update the database, etc. I have made this guide specifically based on Windows 7 x64. I hope that the next major version of Zune will integrate this functionality with Skydrive officially considering Microsoft has come a long way with Skydrive and is heavily promoting it.
You will need the following:
- Zune Software
- Dropbox or Skydrive (or any other sync)
- Your music library MUST have the exact same file structure on all computers. I like to sync my music in my Skydrive. So I have it all in “E:SkyDriveMusic” and that is available on both computers in that same path/folder structure.
- Link Shell Extension (More info on using this program is at How-To-Geek)
Never, and I mean NEVER let two Zune programs on different computers be open at the same time when using this method. Before opening Zune, make sure your Dropbox/Skydrive have already updated. You can easily check the ZuneStore.sdf to see if it has a green arrow indicating it is good. Perform this procedure at your own risk. Remember to backup your ZuneStore.sdf prior to attempting this.
- Install Link Shell Extension, x64 or x86 depending on your flavor of Windows. When it asks to restart explorer, do it. Or Reboot your computer.
- Verify your Music Library structure is exactly the same as noted in the requirements above. If you need to create an additional partition with the right drive letter, in Windows 7 you can use the “Shrink Volume” function found in Disk Management. This can take some time, so be patient. You can view the progress by opening up Disk Defrag.
- Close Zune and make sure it is not running in the background.
- Create a folder in your Dropbox or Skydrive named something for where your User Profile data will be. I called mine “Profile Data”.
- Open “C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalMicrosoft”.
- Make a copy of your Zune folder and name it something like Zune.Backup. This is just a precaution so we don’t lose your index if there are problems.
- Cut your Zune folder and place it in your Dropbox/Skydrive profile folder. Allow it to sync.
- Right Click on Zune folder in your Dropbox and click “Pick Link Source”.
- In “C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalMicrosoft” right click on any empty space.
- Choose: Drop As.. Symbolic Link.
- At this time Zune will get created in your User profile with a little shortcut arrow.
- Open Zune, allow it to fully load, close. Check the date/time stamp on the ZuneStore.sdf in your Zune folder of Dropbox and make sure it updated.
- Repeat on other computers.
Now just run some tests between computers and make sure Play Count is increasing and persisting regardless of which computer you are running it from. Enjoy! I hope this helps.
Problem: Zune re-adds music each time I open it from any computer Reason: This is because your Music Library file structure is not consistent. It needs to be exactly the same as noted above.
Problem: I get conflicted files created for the ZuneStore.sdf. Reason: You are opening Zune from more than 1 computer at a time and they are conflicting on sync. Close both, allow it to sync, remove the conflicted file.
Please let me know if you have any other problems and I’ll see if I can help. Thanks for reading.